Make Ahead

Strawberry Cake for Mother's Day (and Other Days)

May 12, 2013
13 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8 to 12
Author Notes

When my daughter in law asked me to make dessert for Mother's Day, I gave her the choice of berries or chocolate, and she chose berries. I was going to make my Beach House Strawberry Cake (, but because i had made it in a vacation house, it had some flaws I wanted to correct--it was dense and heavy, it used oil instead of butter (oil imparts moistness, but I prefer the taste of butter), and it was kind of ugly (my fault for my random placement of strawberries). So I decided to modify that recipe, but still make a snacky cake that could serve a bunch of people for dessert after a barbecue.

I used Shirley Corriher's wonderful book Bakewise to make the improvements I wanted--she suggests beating the butter well before adding the sugar and then beating them well together, adding the eggs on low speed, whisking the flour-baking powder-salt mixture well to evenly distribute the leavening, and adding a little oil to increase the cake's moistness. —drbabs

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  1. Butter an 8x12 ceramic dish. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together till thoroughly blended. Whisk milk and yogurt together. Set both aside.
  3. Place butter into bowl of stand mixer, and beat on medium speed till very light, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed another 3 minutes till almost white in color. Scrape down as needed. Add vanilla extract and oil, and continue to beat on medium speed till well blended.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add eggs one at a time and continue to mix just till well blended.
  5. Reduce mixer speed to lowest setting ("stir" on my mixer). Alternate milk mixture and flour mixture and stir till just well blended.
  6. Pour the batter in the prepared pan and smooth the top. Place the strawberries on the top in a pretty pattern, cut side down. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for about an hour and 10 minutes, until the edges are golden brown, and a tester comes out free of cake batter.
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106 Reviews

mbobden May 5, 2022
I am making this for Mothers Day! You mention Ms Corriher's advice in your intro. I wonder if you have tried this cake with her aha moment, ie adding 1/2 c whipped cream to the batter which she has learned lightens a cake and loves the result. I am thinking it might apply here as some comments report denseness.
Re Greek yogurt, Which do you recommend, the thicker type like Fage or thinner as Chobani? Thank you, love your recipes.
drbabs May 6, 2022
I have not tried adding whipped cream. And I usually use whatever yogurt I have in the house. Let us know what happens if you change it. And thank you!
Amy L. April 17, 2022
I made 1/2 recipe of this cake for Easter brunch and was pleasantly surprised. The cake is a light and fluffy consistency and still very moist. I will definitely be making this again and probably play around with different fruit combinations on the topping.
drbabs April 17, 2022
I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know.
bakergirl July 11, 2020
Made this today. Love, love, love!!!! Thank you.
drbabs July 11, 2020
Thank you! You made my day!
FrugalCat October 11, 2019
I made it with raspberries and also used all turbinado sugar. It was fantastic. Would frozen berries (thawed, drained) work as well?
drbabs October 11, 2019
I’m so glad you liked it. I think frozen berries will work, but will probably have a more jammy consistency.
Eric W. May 15, 2019
Is this just the snack cake renamed? Looks like the same recipe.
drbabs May 15, 2019
Same concept. I reworked this one a bit.
Eric W. May 15, 2019
Gotcha! It's one of our favorites and our strawberries are ripening so I'll have to try this version. I see oil is added and I'm guessing some qty. adjustments?
Louise A. November 14, 2018
Made this yesterday and it was lovely. Thank you.
drbabs November 14, 2018
Thank you! I’m so glad you liked it.
Amy June 29, 2017
Seems 7x11 is a more standard size than 8x12.
Stephanie S. May 1, 2017
This looks so wonderful! Perfect treat for a sunny afternoon with Mom. I only have a 9" springform pan or a fluted, round 8" cake pan (removable bottom). Any thoughts on which one would work better and how I should modify? Thanks for the insight! I am new to baking!
drbabs May 2, 2017
Stephanie, I think the 9" springform pan will work, but to be extra safe, make sure it's locked well (check for leaks with water ahead of time). And even so, I would probably cover the outside bottom and sides with foil so that if it leaks, you won't get batter all over your oven. I hope it works well for you. Baking is fun!
Erica February 4, 2017
I know this is years later.....but I'm wondering about frozen strawberries so I can make this for Valentine's Day. Would there be any increase or decrease in any ingredients? Would it work? Thanks!
drbabs February 5, 2017
Hi Erica. I didn't know if it will work... Probably... The strawberries might soften more and be a little jammy, but that might be ok. Good luck! Please let us know how it turns out.
Erica April 17, 2022
Ha! Again, years later! I made this quite a few times (really great simple recipe) and once broke down and used out of season strawberries - in Calif we have everything all yr long - and once used frozen strawberries w/out defrosting and slightly reduced the milk. Came out well every time.
drbabs April 17, 2022
I’m so glad!
LULULAND July 7, 2016
ok, just trying to help. I didn't refrigerate it either, the leftovers, but it did make the strawberries look kind of funny, or spent. So, that's why I suggested to refrigerate it..
drbabs July 7, 2016
Yes, I can see how that would happen, but for just overnight, I think Julie will be OK.
LULULAND July 7, 2016
Yes, I think it would keep fine. I would refrigerate it overnight, and then bring it out in the am to come again to room temperature!
drbabs July 7, 2016
Hi Lululand. For just one day, I wouldn't refrigerate it--refrigerating it will change the texture of the whole cake. I'd let it cool completely and then wrap it to store at room temp overnight.
Julie July 7, 2016
How long will this keep? I'm wondering if I can make it a day ahead of when I want to serve it.
drbabs July 7, 2016
It should be fine; the top will probably be more jammy than crisp, but that's OK.
Jane K. June 20, 2016
I made this cake for a housewarming party on Saturday and it was a smashing success!! Thank you.
drbabs June 20, 2016
I'm so glad you liked it!
Jean'sCuisine June 16, 2016
Anyone tried this with with rhubarb or strawberry rhubarb combo??
drbabs June 16, 2016
I haven't, but it should be fine. Other fruits do work well.
Laura D. June 16, 2016
Has anyone tried freezing this cake?
drbabs June 16, 2016
Sorry, no.
LULULAND June 1, 2016
I used a 9x13 pan and it turned out lovely! Try that size pan and it will work! Check your oven temperature. Good luck!
Nanda G. June 1, 2016
Thanks! Mine didn't really work in the 9" either. That's what it says to do in the food52 Baking book (congrats drbabs for making it in!), so i'll cross it out and put 9x13 as the alternate. i did check my oven temp, for what it's worth, so i think we should just remove the 9" pan recommendation.
Alev E. May 30, 2016
I just made this and I am really disappointed. I used a 9" pan. There is just too much fruit for it (I think also for the other size). It took more than 2 hours to bake thru by which time all the fruit on top got dry and almost burnt.
drbabs May 31, 2016
I'm so sorry it didn't work for you.
Nanda G. May 15, 2019
TMine didn't really work in the 9" either. That's what it says to do in the food52 Baking book (congrats drbabs for making it in!), so i'll cross it out and put 9x13 as the alternate. i did check my oven temp, for what it's worth, so i think we should just remove the 9" pan recommendation.
Nanda G. May 8, 2016
One thing that was never addressed here is when one changes to the 2" deep 9" round cake pan, there is far less surface area for the strawberries. I tried my best to get them all on there, but a bunch were left behind. I just find the 8x12" pan size unusual, not sure what I will do next time.
Bevi May 2, 2016
Made this cake a third time in 2 weeks. For the last iteration, I did not have enough strawberries, so I subbed with blueberries to fill in the blank spaces and made a pretty design. Blueberries appear to work just as well, so my nephew, who is deathly allergic to strawberries, will be getting a blueberry cake for Mother's Day!
drbabs May 2, 2016
LULULAND March 28, 2016
I want to try this as I have a lot of strawberries. Can I use a 10" springform pan? thanks
drbabs March 28, 2016
Yes, it should be fine. You just might have to bake it a little longer. Enjoy!