If you love those strawberry shortcake ice cream bars, you’re going to NEED this strawberry crunch cake in your life. This easy, snack cake size treat pairs a moist strawberry cake with a delicious vanilla buttercream frosting and a strawberry cookie streusel topping.
This strawberry shortcake ice cream bar inspired strawberry crunch cake has me feeling all the summery things: the sunshine on my face, the grass against my shorts-clad legs and that deliciously refreshing summer breeze.
You know, everything the Pacific NW is currently NOT serving. We’ve got rain, we’ve got 50 degree days, we’ve got all the dreary things.
So until our weather gets it act together, checks its calendar and realizes we’re in MAY, I’m going to eating my summer feels with this easy cake.
Here’s how to make this cake
First, make the strawberry reduction.
Wash, remove the stems and puree your fresh strawberries. It’ll take about 10 ounces of strawberries to make the one cup you’ll need.
In a saucepan, combine the puree and granulated sugar over low-medium heat. It should bubble a bit but shouldn’t boil.
Stirring occasionally, cook the puree until it reduces to about 2/3 cup.
Remove the reduction from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before use. If you want to work ahead, you can easily do this step the night before making this cake.
Second, whip up the cake.
In a bowl, beat the eggs and sugar on high until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). It’s important to give the egg/sugar mixture the benefit of a full whipping here as this is part of what will help your cake rise and give it that fluffy texture.
While you whip the eggs and sugar, whisk together the wet ingredients (oil, milk, sour cream, strawberry emulsion and strawberry reduction) in one bowl and the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) in another.
What’s the difference between an emulsion and an extract? While both extracts and emulsions add flavor to baked goods, the primary difference between the two is that emulsions are water-based and extracts are alcohol based.
So what does this mean for baking? It means the flavors from emulsions don’t evaporate as quickly as extracts when exposed to heat. And this means that your flavoring won’t “bake out”.
Pour half of the dry ingredients into the egg/sugar mixture, whisking until just combined. Add the wet ingredients, again, whisking until just combined. Finally, add the remaining half of the dry ingredients, and whisk gently until everything is just incorporated.
Line a 9″x9″ square cake pan with parchment paper and pour the strawberry cake batter into it. Bake at 350F for 25 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just cooked crumbs.
Third, make the frosting.
In a bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and starting on low, increase the speed as the powdered sugar works into the butter until high. Beat until a smooth frosting forms. Add the vanilla extract and beat until just combined.
Spread the frosting over the top of your cooled cake and drizzle with the remaining strawberry reduction. Swirl with a butter knife or offset spatula to combine.
Finally, make the strawberry crunch topping and finish assembling your cake.
Combine your Nilla wafers and freeze dried strawberries in a sealable plastic bag. Using a rolling pin, crush the cookies/berries until a coarse mixture forms. You can also use a food processor but I found the rolling pin method produced better, more uniform results.
Transfer your cookie streusel to a bowl and add the melted butter. Stir with a fork until combined.
Spread the strawberry crunch topping over your frosting and gently pat it into with your hand so it stays in place.
- Estimating strawberries for the puree: About 10 oz of fresh strawberries will make about 1 cup of strawberry puree.
- Strawberry emulsion substitute: If you can’t find strawberry emulsion, you can substitute for a strawberry extract at a one to one ratio.
- Testing for doneness: Although tempting to wait until the toothpick comes out clean, doing so will likely lead to over-baking your cake. Instead, you want your toothpick to come out without any raw batter and with some cooked crumbs still clinging to it.
- The trick to bubble-free frosting: Although this frosting whips up relatively smooth, you can beat out any air bubbles that might have worked their way in by beating the frosting on low for about 5 minutes.
- Storage: This cake can be kept at room temperature in an air tight container for 2-3 days.
- Making this cake for a crowd: If you need more cake, simply double the recipe and bake it in a 9″x13″ at 350F adding 5-15 minutes to the bake time.
Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear how it went in the comments below. Better still, snap a photo and tag it on Instagram with #thesimplesweetlife. I love seeing your creations!Print
Easy Strawberry Crunch Cake
This easy strawberry crunch cake pairs a moist strawberry cake with a delicious vanilla buttercream frosting and a strawberry cookie streusel topping.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 16 slices 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
For the strawberry reduction:
- 1 cup strawberry puree
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
For the strawberry cake:
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp strawberry emulsion
- 1/2 cup strawberry reduction
- 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 tsp baking soda
- 1/3 tsp salt
For the frosting:
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Remaining strawberry reduction
For the strawberry crunch:
- 3 oz Nilla wafers or other shortbread cookies
- 1/2 oz freeze dried strawberries
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
- In a saucepan, combine the puree and granulated sugar for the strawberry reduction.
- Cook over low-medium heat until the mixture reduces to about 2/3 cup.
- Remove and allow to cool.
- In a bowl, beat the eggs and sugar for the cake until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
- In two separate bowls, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and the wet ingredients (vegetable oil, milk, sour cream, strawberry emulsion and strawberry reduction).
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the egg/sugar mixture, whisk until just combined.
- Add all of the wet ingredients, again whisk until just combined and lump-free.
- Finally, add the remaining dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
- Pour the batter into a parchment paper lined 9″x9″ square cake pan and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes.
- In a bowl, beat the butter for the frosting until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue beating until a smooth frosting forms.
- Spread the frosting over your cooled cake.
- Drizzle with the remaining strawberry reduction and swirl with a butter knife.
- Combine the Nilla wafers and freeze dried strawberries in a plastic bag and seal.
- Use a rolling pin to crush to a coarse mixture.
- Transfer to a bowl, add the melted butter and stir until combined.
- Top your frosted cake with the strawberry crunch.
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 358
- Sugar: 33.5g
- Sodium: 179mg
- Fat: 19g
- Saturated Fat: 8.3g
- Carbohydrates: 46g
- Fiber: 1.9g
- Protein: 3g
- Cholesterol: 48mg
Keywords: strawberry crunch cake, strawberry crunch cake recipe, strawberry crunch cake from scratch
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This sounds so fresh and delicious!