Vintage Strawberry Cake Recipe

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Vintage Strawberry Cake is rich, dense, and packed full of fresh strawberries from top to bottom. However, the strawberry cream cheese icing steals the show!

strawberry cake with strawberries on top in the shape of a star

What's Special About This Recipe?

Old fashioned cakes are truly some of the best desserts out there, and for good reason. Our mothers and grandmothers created cakes that stood the test of time.

Vintage Strawberry Cake will take you back to the days when Granny was baking in the kitchen and the smell of strawberries filled the air!

slice of strawberry cake on a white plate surrounded by strawberries

If you've made Old Fashioned Chocolate Sheet Cake, you'll recognize the method behind this dessert. The addition of buttermilk makes it as moist as it can be.

Throwing in several cups of fresh strawberries doesn't hurt either. Together, the combination will make you click your heels and take you back to simpler days...when Granny was cooking up a storm.

How To Make Vintage Strawberry Cake

Start by stirring together 2 cups of self-rising flour with 2 cups of sugar. Pour into a mixing bowl and set aside.

flour and sugar mixed together in a clear bowl

Mash up 2 cups of strawberries with a potato masher or whatever you have on hand. Leave the strawberries a little chunky and set aside.

strawberries mashed in a bowl

Melt a stick of butter in a saucepan, then add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vegetable oil. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Pour into dry ingredients in mixer. Blend on medium speed for 1 minute.

Beat 2 eggs and ½ cup buttermilk together. Pour into dry ingredients. Mix batter on medium speed for 1 additional minute.

Drain the strawberries really well with a cheesecloth, then fold them into the mixture. If you don't want to use fresh berries, freeze-dried strawberries (ad) work great. There's less moisture involved and you don't have to squeeze the water out of them!

Mix for another minute on low speed. The batter will turn a beautiful shade of light pink.

Pour the batter into a 13 x 9 inch greased and floured pan. (ad) Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Let the cake cool and pour on the icing!

strawberry cake baked in a 13 x 9 inch pan

How to Make Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

The texture of the cake is dense in this recipe, but the cream cheese icing steals the show. Maybe it's because there are real specks of fresh strawberries in every bite. Or, it could have something to do with the fact that everyone loves cream cheese icing.

Place 1 block of cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat until fluffy. Slice a stick of butter into chunks and add to the cream cheese gradually, beating until smooth.

strawberry icing poured over strawberry cake in a 13 x 9 inch pan

Add 4 cups of powdered sugar to the mixture in the bowl, along with a teaspoon of vanilla. Gradually fold in 1 cup of mashed strawberries (that have been drained well) and beat until icing turns pink.

Again, you can use freeze-dried (ad) or dehydrated strawberries to avoid having to drain the berries. I have found that the freeze-dried berries work nicely.

vintage strawberry cake iced with strawberry cream cheese icing

If the icing is too thin due to the moisture in the strawberries, add more powdered sugar until it thickens enough to spread easily. Pour over cooled cake and spread evenly with a knife or spatula.

Garnish With a Strawberry Star

There's really no right or wrong way to decorate a cake, but I was extremely proud of this one, so I topped it with a star!

If you'd like to top your cake with a star too, start by making a circle in the middle of the cake with sliced strawberries facing up. Then, fill in the middle of the circle with more strawberries facing the same way.

vertical image of a star made out of strawberries on a strawberry cake

Once a star pattern is filled in, layer more sliced strawberries on top by staggering them face down. This gives the design a little dimension and variation in color.

Of course, you can make any design on your cake that you wish, or cover the entire cake with strawberries if that's your style. Heck, you can serve this one plain and nobody will even notice. They'll scarf it down before you can say 'Did you see my Strawberry Star?'

Why You'll Love This Recipe

Old Fashioned Strawberry Cake is totally homemade. There are no artificial ingredients. This easy sheet cake tastes like you bought it at a bakery!

It's made with real butter, real buttermilk, and real strawberries. Did I mention it's topped with strawberry cream cheese icing? It's definitely a keeper!

strawberry cake and icing with a strawberry star garnish on top

More Cake Recipes to Love

Recipe Card

strawberry cake with strawberries on top in the shape of a star

Vintage Strawberry Cake

Vintage Strawberry Cake will take you back to the days when Granny was baking in the kitchen and the smell of strawberries filled the air!
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Calories: 551kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.



  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups mashed strawberries drained well (or use 1 cup freeze-dried berries)


  • 1 8 oz block cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter sliced in chunks, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar may need more if icing is thin
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup mashed strawberries drained well (or use ½ cup freeze-dried berries)



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Stir flour with sugar in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Melt butter in a saucepan, then add oil and water.  Bring to a boil for 1 minute.  
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients in mixing bowl.  Blend with a mixer on medium speed for 1 minute.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and buttermilk together. Pour into contents in mixing bowl.
  • Add drained strawberries and mix batter for 1 minute on medium speed until combined.  Batter will turn pink.
  • Pour batter into a 13 x 9 inch greased and floured pan. (ad)
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes until cake springs bake in the center.  Remove from oven and cool.  


  • Place cream cheese in a mixer and blend until smooth.  Add slices of butter gradually and continue to blend until creamy.
  • Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and mix until thickened. Mix in vanilla.
  • Drain strawberries well and add to mixture. Or, use freeze dried berries. (ad)
  • Blend until icing turns pink. 
  • If icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar to thicken.
  • Pour icing on top of cooled cake and spread with a knife or spatula.
  • Top cake with additional strawberries if desired. 


  • Make sure strawberries are drained well each time they are used.  Use a paper towel or cheesecloth to squeeze out all the excess moisture. If you want to avoid this step, use freeze-dried (ad) strawberries instead. They work better in my opinion. 
  • You may need more powdered sugar if the icing is too thin. 
  • If you can't find self-rising flour, add 3 teaspoons of baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt to 2 cups of all-purpose flour. 


Calories: 551kcal | Carbohydrates: 92g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 25mg | Potassium: 102mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 75g | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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  1. 5 stars
    What a beautiful, delicious to make for Easter Dinner. I love the Idea of this cake and will be making it real soon. I'm Catholic, and we are in Lent right now, so I will be making this for Easter Dinner. Thank you for the lovely recipe.
    Donna Pollock

  2. I did do a “test” run and did not succeed successfully? First try my cake never rose? Followed instructions also to add soda and salt since we only have all purpose flour around here! On my second try, I found online that I needed to add 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 of a tsp of salt PER cup of all purpose flour! That worked! Using freeze dried strawberries was easy! I used one cup and crushed as much as possible. Loved that in the cake but not so much in with the frosting? I would probably stick to a regular frosting and decorate with fresh strawberries 🍓 I also used 2 8” pans and kept a close eye on time since directions were for 9 x 13 outer edges overcooked but inside cake was super moist and delicious! ( probably my junky pans!)

    1. That's good to know. I've never made it with all purpose flour, so I added the amounts per 1 cup of flour on the directions. I've adjusted the amounts in the notes to reflect 2 cups and the correct measurements for those. Thanks for your input! Great to know your testing is working!

  3. Hello! Excited to make this for my daughter’s 3rd birthday. Wondering how the cake would do if I make just the cake the day before, and store covered in fridge overnight. Then I’d make the frosting the day of. Would that work?

    1. Hi Danielle. That would work out perfectly! I can't wait to hear about her birthday. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    This sounds delightful! My granddaughters bday is coming up and she’ll be 3! Keeps telling me she wants a strawberry cake??? So I’m thrilled I found this! Before I start I had one question...fresh strawberries are worrying me about liquid? Would cheese cloth work good to drain out liquid or what would be your suggested way? I want to do this right? The liquid part is worrying me??

    1. Hi Diane! Great questions. Sometimes vintage recipes can be tricky. I've made this cake using the fresh strawberries and squeezing out as much water as possible and I've made it with the dehydrated strawberries. The fresh strawberries work, but the dehydrated strawberries work much better. If you make it with the fresh, using a cheesecloth is a great idea. It will be a very dense cake. If you use the dehydrated strawberries, the cake will be lighter. I found the dehydrated strawberries at Aldi. Let me know how it goes!

  5. I'm having a baby shower, and wanted to make the recipe into cupcakes? it sounds delicious but with COVID i would rather serve cupcakes to my guest

    1. Hi Cheni! Have you seen my Strawberry Coconut cupcake recipe? The buttercream icing would work better on cupcakes than the cream cheese icing for the Vintage cake. You could omit the coconut in that recipe or use the vintage cake recipe and substitute buttercream icing instead. 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    I have a bajillion frozen strawberries. How would you recommend using them in this recipe? I'm assuming to simply thaw and thoroughly dry.

    1. Hi Julie. Great question. Actually, the more water involved in this recipe, the worse it turns out. You can try your idea of thawing and thoroughly drying the strawberries. I've never done that, but it might work. You can also try to reduce the amount of water in the cake batter and substitute frozen strawberries in its place. I've considered recommending freeze dried strawberries for this recipe, but I love the fresh strawberry taste. If you try these variations, please let me know how it turns out!

  7. Strawberry season is may favourite and coming up soon, I can't wait to try this out! Yum!

  8. I wonder if my daughter will notice that I made her strawberry birthday cake from scratch and not a box this year lol!? I can't wait to surprise her!!

    1. Oh boy! I sure hope she likes it! And, I am honored that you're using my recipe to celebrate her special occasion. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Lorna. My neighbor brought me a big tub of strawberries, so I had to make something with them!

  9. 5 stars
    Love,love,love this cake!! The flavors are blended together for an absolutely luxurious treat! Delightful and delicious!

  10. Oh my goodness, I need this in my life! Luckily i have lots of strawberries in my grocery order for this weekend!

  11. 5 stars
    I've never even thought of decorating the top of a sheet cake like this! You are so creative. I just love how beautiful this cake looks.

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