This moist strawberry lemonade bundt cake is a scratch cake that uses fresh strawberries and fresh lemon juice and zest. It’s the perfect combination of strawberry and lemon flavor and really does taste like strawberry lemonade.
Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!
I love the taste of strawberry and lemon together. It reminds me of spring and summer…of hot summer days, then coming in for a cool refreshing drink. This cake is my nod to that summer strawberry lemonade.
Let’s talk about some of the ingredients in this strawberry lemonade bundt cake:
- Sliced frozen strawberries: You’ll use these defrosted. You could also use fresh sliced strawberries as well. We’re making a reduction out of these, so that we get the taste of strawberries without adding too much liquid to the cake.
- Strawberry jello: You’ll want to add in some strawberry jello as well to give it a good burst of strawberry flavor. You’re doing that because the lemon flavor adds a little competition and can overwhelm the real strawberries. The strawberry jello just adds in a little extra flavor.
- Sour cream: I LOVE sour cream in cakes. It adds moisture and gives the flavor a kick. (Make sure to read the FAQ section in this post for substitutions.)
- Lemon extract: This is optional and you’ll only need to add a tiny bit to bump up the lemon flavor.
- Lemon juice and zest: This is where the cake will get most of its lemon flavor.
Mixing method for this cake:
We’re using the reverse creaming method for this cake. It makes a softer cake and it helps keep the gluten from overdeveloping quite as easily, which just means the cake has less chance of being over-mixed and then becoming dense.
The reverse creaming method is essentially just mixing the dry ingredients in one bowl and the liquid ingredients in another bowl. Then cutting in the butter and mixing it directly into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly and sand-like.
Then you’ll add in the liquid ingredients in two steps, mixing only until combined. I like this method because I find it easier and I like the texture it gives to the cake.
TIPS & FAQs for the strawberry lemonade bundt cake:
Well the strawberry reduction gives a lot of flavor to the cake. I haven’t tested this recipe without it, but essentially the cake just won’t be as moist or flavorful without it.
Sure! I used defrosted frozen sliced strawberries because I didn’t feel like slicing my strawberries up, but you can certainly use fresh strawberries instead.
This will take about 20 minutes.
It needs to be cool before you add it to the cake batter. You could even make it the day before and keep it chilled in the fridge. Just make sure to take it out of the fridge and let it come closer to room temp before adding to your cake batter.
It’s best to use sour cream if you have access to it, but if you don’t you can substitute it with plain yogurt. Just make sure you are using the full fat yogurt and not the low fat kind. The cake needs the full fat version as it helps make the cake moist.
It’s optional, but it will add in a little extra lemon flavor.
Its really best if you do. Lemon zest gives the cake most of its lemon flavor. Just grate the outside of your lemon and make sure not to grate it once it gets down to the white peel. You just want the yellow part grated.
It’s really best if you do because it will add extra strawberry flavor. You need that extra boost of strawberry to compete with the lemon flavor.
Don’t microwave your butter. It will heat it unevenly and you definitely don’t want to add overly warm butter with this mixing method. You can slice up your butter so it will come closer to room temp quicker and it’ll be easier to add to the dry ingredients.
Once the liquid is added, only mix until the ingredients are well combined. You do not want to mix until every speck is smooth. Do not mix for a couple minutes…that is too long and that will cause your cake to be too dense or even sink in the middle.
This cake is moist and will stick to the pan if it’s not greased well.
I have not tried it as a layer cake, but it should be just fine if baked in two, 8 inch round cake pans. You may have a bit of extra batter though.
You’ll bake it at the same temperature, but not as long. Since I have not tried it as a layer cake yet, I can’t give an exact baking time, but you should start checking it for doneness at about 30 minutes, although it may take a bit longer than that.
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Supplies & tools used to make this cake:
Ok now let’s get to the recipe!
***I write recipes using volume (cups) measurements because here in the U.S., this is what people are used to seeing and using. For weight in metric measurements, click the ‘metric’ button under the ingredients in the recipe card. The weights are converted by a program, not me, and it’s a best guess. Please note that because I develop recipes using ‘cups’ I can’t guarantee that weighing the ingredients will produce the exact same results.
Strawberry Lemonade Bundt Cake
For the strawberry reduction (make this first):
- 16 oz. defrosted frozen strawberries (sliced)
- ¼ cup sugar
For the cake batter:
- 2 ⅔ cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter (slightly cooler than room temp-do not microwave it, let it come to room temp on its own)
- 1 cup sour cream (you can substitute with full fat yogurt if needed)
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
- 4 eggs (close to room temp)
- Juice and zest from one lemon (about 1 tablespoon of zest and 2 tablespoon lemon juice)
- 1 cup strawberry reduction (see instructions for the reduction below)
- 1 3 oz box instant strawberry gelatin mix
For the lemon glaze:
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoon milk
For the strawberry reduction
- Defrost the strawberries.
- Add the strawberries and the sugar into a saucepan and heat over medium/high heat and bring to a low boil.
- Reduce heat to medium and let the mixture simmer and cook down until most of the liquid is gone. As the strawberries soften up, mash them up with a spoon, potato masher or meat tenderizer. Stir periodically. It will take about 20 minutes for it to thicken up. It will look like the consistency of tomato sauce.
- You'll have about 1 cup of strawberry reduction.
- Once thickened, add to a bowl and let it cool to at least room temperature before using in cake batter. (The strawberry reduction can be made a day ahead of time if wanted, but make sure to store it in the fridge and let it come closer to room temp before using in the cake batter.)
For the cake batter:
- Make sure you've made the strawberry reduction before you get started mixing the cake batter. You'll want your strawberry reduction to have been made and cooled at this point. You'll also want your butter at room temperature (not warm though).
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease and flour a large bundt pan very well.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- In another bowl, mix together the sour cream, milk, oil, extracts, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, strawberry reduction and strawberry gelatin. Whisk well and set aside.
- Make sure your butter is slightly cooler than room temperature. Add the butter (in chunks) slowly to your dry ingredients. (You can turn your stand mixer on low and leave it on while you add the butter chunks at a time, or you can use a hand mixer.)
- Once all the butter has been added, turn the mixer up to medium or medium/high and mix until all the flour is coated with the butter and the mixture is crumbly. It will have a sand-like texture.
- Pour in about half of the liquid mixture. Mix on medium only until just combined. About 15-20 seconds.
- Pour the last of the liquid mixture and mix again until combined. Don't over-mix the batter. Mixing it for several minutes is too long. Once all the ingredients are incorporated, stop mixing.
- Use a rubber spatula and scrape the sides of the bowl. Mix again for only about 10 to 15 seconds.
- Pour into prepared bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees for approximately 60-65 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the cake will come out with a few moist crumbs on it, but no uncooked batter.
- Set on a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes, then turn out the cake onto the rack and let cool out of the pan completely before adding the glaze.
For the lemon glaze:
- In a mixing bowl, add the confectioner's sugar, lemon juice and milk. Mix well.
- Check the consistency. If it’s too thick for drizzling, add more milk by tablespoon until desired consistency. If it’s too thin, add in a bit of confectioner’s sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
- Drizzle or spoon over cooled cake.
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Can you give an approximate time for the second mixing period?
Hi Jerry, I’m not sure which part you’re referring to, but if it’s the butter and flour mixture there’s no exact time really. You just want to mix it until it’s a sand-like texture. It usually takes me about a minute more after I’ve added in all the butter. Any of the other times, you basically just want to mix until all the ingredients are incorporated well. It doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth…just mixed. I do have a post with a video that will show real-time how long to mix cake batter. It doesn’t show this exact recipe, but it will show another reverse creaming recipe and you can see how long I actually mix the butter with the flour (there’s a timer on the screen). Here’s that link if you’re interested: https://iscreamforbuttercream.com/how-to-mix-cake-batter/
Is this only for bundt cake or can it be used in 6 or 8 inch pans?
Hi Rebecca, I talk about that in the FAQ section in this post. Here’s what it said: I have not tried it as a layer cake, but it should be just fine if baked in two, 8 inch round cake pans. You may have a bit of extra batter though. You’ll bake it at the same temperature, but not as long. Since I have not tried it as a layer cake yet, I can’t give an exact baking time, but you should start checking it for doneness at about 30 minutes, although it may take a bit longer than that.
Hope this helps!
Can I use Strawberry Jam instead?
Hi Meredith, I haven not tried this with strawberry jam, so I’m not sure if it would work or not. You could try it though!
OH I CANNOT WAIT TO TRY THIS CAKE. BESIDES THE FACT OF SOUNDING SO SUMMERY PERFECT MY MOM’S FAVORITES WERE STRAWBERRY PIES, CAKE’S TO GRANDMOTHERS WAS LEMON. IT SOUNDS SO GOOD MY MOUTH IS ALREADY WATERING FOR IT. LOL 1ST CAKE EVER BAKED WITH MY GRANDMOTHER WAS AN ORANGE WITH CONFECTION SUGAR GLAZE ONE OF BEST CAKES I REMEMBER GROWING UP HELPING MY GRANNY OR HER LETTING ME HELP. SO DELISH. MANY GREAT MEMORIES HERE TO MUST MAKE. THANKS SOUNDS SO GOOD!!
Hi Tammy! Yes those family baking memories are so special (and that orange cake sounds absolutely amazing). I hope you like this one!