Here's a vegan Strawberry Cake that's perfect to make this time of year when strawberries are at their most delicious, seasonal best.
I am somewhat weird with strawberries in that I love strawberries in desserts but I can take 'em or leave 'em when it comes to eating them fresh. It's because strawberries, even ones that look ripe and lovely, can sometimes be tart, and I don't love biting into tart fruit.
In desserts, however, that tartness can be an asset (think rhubarb). And strawberries, baked with sugar into flour, are magical.
This vegan Strawberry Cake in incredibly easy to make and unless you have never baked a cake before or are challenged when it comes to following instructions, you are not likely to mess up. But there are some caveats to keep in mind and I'll cover them below in greater detail.
There are also no artificial colors or flavorings, as you might find in other strawberry cake recipes. All you need to flavor this cake and make it stunning are the berries themselves.
Why you will love this vegan Strawberry Cake
- It is packed with the fresh flavors of strawberries and lemons--the flavors of Spring.
- It is a sweet cake but with a hint of tartness from the berries--an addictive combination.
- It is easy to make. The berries need no special treatment or cooking before going into the batter. All you need to do is chop them and stir them in.
- The fresh berries make the crumb very tender and moist.
- Lemon juice and zest
- All purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Tapioca flour
- Vegan Butter
- Vegan yogurt
- Nondairy milk
- Strawberry extract (optional)
- Pure vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar
Frozen strawberries could work here, but make sure they are thawed and any excess water sticking to them drains out. You can also use canned strawberries after draining them.
However, do not use freeze-dried strawberries because that will change the amount of moisture needed for the cake.
Yes. I baked this as a bundt cake, but you can divide the batter and bake it in two 9-inch or 8-inch cake pans. Bake the cakes for 30 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out dry or with a few crumbs. Layer the glaze between the layers and on top.
You can also bake it as a loaf cake and drizzle the glaze on top once the loaves are cool.
The cake batter should be quite thick--thicker than your average cake batter--because remember the strawberries will ooze out their moisture as the cake bakes.
You can make this with whole wheat pastry flour, but keep in mind that the crumb will not be as light and could be even more tender.
I haven't tested this cake with a gluten-free flour, but I think it would work with a few adjustments. For now, I have a delicious Vegan and Gluten-Free Berry Almond Flour Cake on the blog that you can make with strawberries and strawberry preserves.
I tried the cake with and without the extract and while Desi, my chief taste tester, did not think the extract made a huge difference, I did think the version with the extract had more strawberry flavor. It's purely subjective, I suppose, so add it if you have it and want to, but leaving it out won't hurt.
Tips and steps for making the strawberry cake
- Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and tapioca starch before using. This adds lots of lightness and airiness to the flour and therefore the cake.
- Beat the sugar, butter and lemon zest in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until incorporated, about two minutes.
- Toss the strawberries with the lemon juice first, and put them in a strainer over a bowl to let the juice drain out. Then add the juice to the batter. This might seem like an unnecessary step, but the reason I do this is that the lemon helps the strawberries keep their color when they bake. But because I add the strawberries only to part of the batter I don't want all of the juice to go into just that portion of the batter, which would make the moisture in the batter uneven. Sorry if that's confusing and hopefully it will be clearer in the instructions below. If you aren't very keen on preserving the color of the strawberries in the cake you can certainly skip this step and just add the lemon juice directly to the batter along with the yogurt.
- Add the yogurt, lemon juice and nondairy milk to the flour and sugar mixture and beat it in.
- Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl and beat in until just incorporated. The batter is really thick but that's okay -- the strawberries will express more moisture as they bake.
- Before you add the strawberries to the batter, spread about a fourth of the batter evenly into the bottom of a thoroughly oiled and floured bundt cake pan. This will keep the strawberries from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Now stir the strawberries into the rest of the batter and scoop it out into the bundt pan. Smooth out the top with a spatula.
- Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 50 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean or with some crumbs (not wet batter) sticking to it.
- Unmold the cake after 30 minutes by running a knife along the edges, then placing a plate over the opening of the bundt pan and flipping it quickly. If it doesn't release tap the pan slightly. The cake is not hard to unmold but remember that bit about oiling and flouring the pan thoroughly? This is why we do it. If a few small bits of cake stick to the pan that's fine. The beautiful glaze will hide any imperfections. Let the cake continue cooling on a rack.
- As the cake cools, make the glaze by placing the strawberries, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice in a food processor. You can just mash the berries with a fork and mix the glaze in a bowl but the reason I like to put it in the processor is that it creates a prettier, stronger pink for the glaze by breaking down the berries without pureeing them completely.
- Once the cake is cool pour the glaze over the cake. Serve as is or with more fresh strawberries.
More vegan berry dessert recipes
- Vegan White Chocolate Raspberry Bundt Cake
- Vegan Strawberry Pie
- Vegan Strawberry Bread
- Vegan Peach Berry Pie
- Chocolate Strawberry Shortbread Bars
Vegan Strawberry Cake
- Large bowl
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Bundt cake pan (a standard, 12-cup pan)
- 2¼ cups strawberries (hulled and chopped into ⅓rd inch pieces)
- 3 tbsp lemon juice (approx 1 large lemon)
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
- 12 tbsp vegan butter (1 ½ sticks, softened, at room temperature)
- 1¾ cup sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup vegan yogurt
- ¼ cup nondairy milk (I used oat milk but any kind is fine)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp strawberry extract (optional)
For the strawberry glaze
- ½ cup strawberries (hulled and chopped)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- Toss the strawberries and lemon juice in a bowl. Place the strawberries in a colander over the bowl and let the lemon juice drain into the bowl. Reserve.
- Thoroughly oil and flour a 16-cup bundt cake pan, making sure you get all of the crevices.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and tapioca flour in a bowl. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the sugar, butter and lemon zest for two minutes. Scrape down the bottom of the bowl midway.
- Add the yogurt, the reserved lemon juice from draining the berries, milk and the vanilla extract and strawberry extract (if using) to the bowl and beat them in.
- Add all of the flour mixture and mix over medium-low speed until just combined. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is evenly incorporated.
- Dollop about a fourth of the batter into the bottom of the prepared bundt cake pan and spread it evenly.
- Add the strawberries to the remaining batter and mix them in. Then scrape the batter into the bundt pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake 50 minutes or until a toothpick near the center comes out dry or with a few dry crumbs sticking to it (not wet batter). Remove the cake from the oven, place on a rack to cool for 30 minutes, then unmold and continue cooling on a rack.
Make the glaze
- Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a glaze forms. You don't want the berries pureed too smooth--a few bits of berries look pretty in the glaze. You can do this in a bowl as well by mashing the strawberries first with a fork and then whisking in the other ingredients.
Assemble the strawberry cake
- Once the cake has cooled, pour the glaze over the top of the cake. I like doing this in a plate rather than over a rack to collect the glaze, which is scrumptious. You can spoon any remaining glaze over the top of the slices of cake when you serve them.