This Strawberry Crunch Cake is super easy to make! It’s made with layers of strawberry cake, white cake, homemade buttercream, and it’s all topped off with the best strawberry shortcake crumble.
Strawberry Crunch Cake
If you loved the strawberry shortcake ice cream bars when you were a kid as much as I did (they were my FAVORITE – it’s what I always bought when the ice cream truck stopped in our neighborhood), then you’re going to LOVE this strawberry crunch cake.
This cake tastes just as wonderful as it looks! It has super moist layers of strawberry cake and white vanilla cake. Then it’s all coated in a creamy American buttercream frosting. Dress it all up at the end with an easy homemade strawberry crunch topping made from Golden Oreos and freeze dried strawberries.
Don’t let the looks of this cake intimidate you. The steps are actually very easy, so even a beginner can bake this cake!
I promise you that anyone who tries this cake will be telling you how much they love it. I baked this for a family gathering and served it with some vanilla ice cream. My nephew even requested this for his next birthday cake! Seriously, it’s so good!
Boxed Cake Mix: Boxed cake mix is the secret to making this bakery style cake actually easy to make at home (even for a beginner baker!). You could make the white vanilla cakes and strawberry cakes from scratch, but since the real star of this recipe is the strawberry crunch topping, I don’t think the extra effort is necessary.
I used the Duncan Hines Perfectly Moist Strawberry Supreme Cake mix, and the Betty Crocker Super Moist White Cake mix. You can use whichever brand you’d like, but from what I’ve seen, it looks like other brands of strawberry cake mix will yield lighter pink layers of cake (just in case that darker pink layer is important to you).
Water: We’re using water in two places in this recipe. First is in the strawberry cake layers. I prefer using water over milk (per the box instructions) because it keeps the pink hue of the baked cake really vibrant.
The second place we’re using water is in the buttercream frosting. Adding just a little bit of hot water is one of my favorite tricks for making truly spreadable buttercream (which is so great because then it doesn’t tear up your cake as you spread it across).
Milk: Since we don’t have to worry about muting the color in the white cake layers, I prefer using milk. Whole milk has a higher fat content than water, which means that it will make the cake more flavorful, tender, and yield a finer crumb.
Vegetable Oil: I used vegetable oil in this recipe, but you can easily swap that for canola oil with no noticeable taste or texture difference. I prefer using oil over melted butter because oil makes cake very moist. It has to do with the fact that oil is liquid at room temperature, which is why cake baked with oil tastes noticeably more moist than a cake baked with butter.
Eggs: Eggs are both binders and leaveners in this cake recipe. If you want the white cake layers to stay white (not off-white or yellow), then it’s important to only use egg whites for the white cake layers.
Freeze Dried Strawberries: Freeze dried strawberries are the perfect way to add that delicious strawberry flavor to the strawberry crunch topping. You can’t really substitute this with anything else.
Golden Oreos: Golden Oreos have the perfect flavor to balance out the freeze dried strawberries in the strawberry crumble topping. If you don’t have Golden Oreos, you can substitute Nilla Wafers instead (you just may need more melted butter if you opt for the Vanilla Wafers since you won’t have the moisture from the creamy Golden Oreo filling).
Butter: We’re using butter in two places in this recipe. First is in the strawberry crunch topping. Adding some melted butter brings the crumble topping together and really amps up the flavor.
Second is in the buttercream. I love buttercream as the frosting for this recipe, but if you’re not a fan of buttercream, you could always make a cream cheese frosting or a whipped cream topping instead.
I used salted butter because I love the salty sweet combination in frosting, but a lot of people prefer to make desserts using unsalted butter. It’s totally up to you. If you do decide to use salted butter, just taste a bit of it first to make sure it’s not an exceptionally salty brand (since there are no guidelines about how much salt should be in salted butter, so it does vary a lot by brand).
Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar is perfect for easy homemade frosting because it dissolves quickly and creates a smooth texture.
Vanilla: A little pure vanilla extract goes a long way in making the most delicious buttercream frosting. Since the vanilla isn’t being used in a portion of the dessert that will be baked, the taste will be noticeably better if you use pure vanilla extract instead of artificial vanilla extract.
Cream: I prefer using heavy whipping cream in frosting because it’s able to be whipped up and hold shape through the air pockets (just like butter). Since we’re only using a small amount, don’t worry about it if you need to replace this with milk.
Fresh Strawberries: These are technically optional, but I love adding fresh strawberries to the top of this cake for garnish. They look beautiful, and I love having a bite of fresh strawberry while eating this cake.
You could also add layers of sliced strawberries to the buttercream layers between the cake layers if you want to incorporate more fresh strawberries.
How To Make A Strawberry Crunch Cake
Start by preheating the oven, then grease the cake pans with cooking spray or butter, dust them with flour, and then line the pans with parchment paper. Mix together the ingredients for the white cake batter. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)
Mix together the ingredients for the strawberry cake batter.
Evenly divide the cake batters into the prepared cake pans.
Bake the cakes until a toothpick comes out clean, then let them cool for a bit before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
While the cakes are baking, make the crumble topping. Add the freeze dried strawberries and Golden Oreos to a food processor and pulse to combine. Once you’ve reached your desired consistency, add in the melted butter and pulse to combine. (If you don’t have a food processor, add the dry ingredients to a large Ziploc, then close it and use a rolling pin to crush everything to a fine texture.)
Spread the strawberry shortcake crumbles out on a baking sheet.
Make the buttercream frosting next. Beat the butter in a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer) until it’s light and fluffy.
Add in the powdered sugar a little at a time. Once you’ve added about half of the powdered sugar, mix in the vanilla extract and about half of the heavy cream.
Continue adding the powdered sugar and beating the frosting until it’s all fully incorporated. Then add in a little bit of hot water at a time (until you get a spreadable consistency).
Level the cakes with a serrated knife. Transfer some of the icing to a piping bag, and add a dollop of the frosting to the center of a cake board.
Add the first layer of cake, then frost that layer before adding the rest of the layers.
Alternate between the layers of white cake and layers of strawberry cake, adding frosting in between each layer. Once all the layers are added, frost the entire outside of the cake.
Work quickly to add the strawberry crunch topping (starting from the bottom of the cake and working your way up to the top). Press the crunchies in as you go so that they stick to the frosting. Pipe rosettes onto the top of the cake, then garnish the rosettes with fresh strawberries. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.
How Do You Make Strawberry Crunch Topping For A Cake?
It’s so easy! Just add the freeze dried strawberries and Golden Oreos to a food processor and pulse until it reaches a fine crumble texture. Then add in the melted butter and pulse until it’s combined.
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If you like this recipe, be sure to check out all of our dessert recipes! Some reader favorites are:
Strawberry desserts have always been some of my favorites. If you love this recipe, I’m sure you’ll also love these ones:
- Strawberry Brownies
- Bisquick Strawberry Shortcake
- Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries
- Strawberry Cheesecake Cups
- 1 (15.25 ounce) box strawberry cake mix
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs (room temperature)
- 1 (15.25 ounce) box white cake mix
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs (whites only, room temperature)*
Strawberry Crunch Topping:
- 1 cup freeze dried strawberries
- 10 Golden Oreos cookies
- 3 Tablespoons butter (42 grams, melted)
- 1 1/2 cups butter (340 grams, room temperature, cut into pieces)
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 6 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream (divided)
- 3 Tablespoons hot water
- 8 fresh strawberries (for garnish)
- 1 (10 inch) cake board
Baking and Preparation:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C). Grease 4 (8 inch) round cake pans, dust with flour, and line with parchment paper.
- Prepare the cake batter according to the package instructions. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans, making 2 strawberry cakes and 2 white cakes.
- Place the cakes into the preheated oven and bake according to the bake time on the box (about 20-22 minutes). Cakes are ready when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. While the cakes are baking, proceed to the next step to prepare the strawberry crunch topping.
- Place the freeze dried strawberries and Golden Oreo cookies into a food processor. Pulse on low until it becomes a fine crumble. Add in the melted butter and pulse until well incorporated. Remove and spread out onto a rimmed baking sheet.
- When the cakes are finished baking, remove them from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes. Once the cakes have cooled slightly, carefully remove them from their pans and place them onto a wire rack. Allow them to fully cool before assembling (about 30 minutes). While the cakes are cooling, proceed to the next step to prepare the buttercream frosting.
- Add the butter to a large mixing bowl or to the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat on medium speed with the stand mixer or a hand mixer until the butter is light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add in 2 cups of powdered sugar at a time, and beat on low until it’s mostly incorporated, then increase the speed to medium until it’s fully incorporated. Halfway through adding the sugar, add in the vanilla extract and half of the heavy cream, then continue to add the powdered sugar, 2 cups at a time, until it’s all incorporated (if you notice that the buttercream is getting too stiff to beat, add in the remaining cream). At the end, add in a Tablespoon of hot water at a time, and mix until it’s fully incorporated before adding more (add hot water until buttercream has reached an easily spreadable consistency).
- Once the cakes have finished cooling, use a serrated knife to slice off the domed top of each cake (so that you have evenly leveled cakes).
- Scoop out roughly 1 1/2 cups of buttercream into a piping bag. Place a dollop of buttercream in the middle of the cake board, then place one of the white cakes on top. Spread 1 1/4 cups of the buttercream evenly over the cake layer all the way to the edge. Add a strawberry cake layer and repeat, alternating between the white and strawberry cakes.
- Once all the layers are assembled, apply a thick and even layer of buttercream over the entire cake. Don't worry, the frosting doesn't need to be smooth for this step, just make sure you can't see any cake poking through.
- Next, take a handful of the strawberry crunch topping and apply it to the soft buttercream, starting from the bottom up, and gently press it in as you work your hand up. It's important that the strawberry crunch layer is applied before the icing hardens in order for it to stick, so you'll need to work a little bit quickly here! You can use a spoon or a spatula to help press them in around the bottom of the cake.
- Pipe 8 rosettes evenly around the edge on top of the cake.
- Place the strawberries on top of the rosettes.
- Cut, serve, and enjoy!
*If you want the white cake layers to look white instead of off-white/yellow, it’s important to only use egg whites (not whole eggs).
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 813Total Fat: 40.2gCarbohydrates: 111.3gFiber: 0.9gSugar: 86.9gProtein: 5g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
You’ll love this DIY bakery style strawberry crunch cake!