Doctored Strawberry Cake Mix Recipe

An easy strawberry cake mix recipe that tastes almost as good as scratch! The perfect recipe for when you want a delicious strawberry cake but you're short on time. Frosted with a yummy lemon buttercream!
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Print Recipe
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 24 servings
easy strawberry cake made with box mix

A strawberry cake mix recipe that makes box mix taste almost as good as homemade! 

The best strawberry cake mix recipe! I’m obsessed with a good strawberry cake from scratch but sometimes I just don’t have a lot of time and need a good strawberry cake recipe FAST! This is my go-to strawberry cake mix recipe with lemon easy buttercream! 

Slice of strawberry cake with lemon buttercream on a blue plate

What’s the best strawberry cake mix?

I personally prefer Duncan Hines box mixes. I think they taste the best and are very moist. Their strawberry box mix is already super tasty but I add in a few ingredients to make it taste even better. 

how to make strawberry cake mix taste like scratch

Adding these ingredients to your strawberry box mix will make the cake a little denser and better for stacking. You can even cover this cake in fondant or stack multiple tiers for a birthday or wedding cake. Just make sure you chill your cakes first to harden the butter that’s inside the cake before you try to stack the cake layers. 

For more information on learning to make your first cake, check out my how to make your first cake tutorial

Can you add fresh fruit to box mix?

I have experimented a few times with adding fresh fruit to box mix and it generally works really well. Strawberries work best if you use a reduced puree or fruit preserves so that you aren’t adding too much liquid into the cake recipe. 

I tried adding chopped strawberries one time and it turned out ok but the strawberries got a little soggy inside the cake and turned grey around the edges. 

Adding strawberry puree to the box mix results in beautiful pink layers!

easy strawberry cake recipe

How do you make a strawberry layer cake?

After you mix up your cake batter, divide it into three 8″ cake pans. If you only have one pan, you can bake one at a time and leave the leftover batter in the fridge until you need it. 

how to make easy strawberry cake from a cake mix

Let your cake layers cool for 10 minutes in the pan then turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. You can speed this process up by putting the rack plus the cakes in the freezer for about an hour. Then they will be ready to frost. 

I decided to frost my strawberry cakes with lemon buttercream! But any kind of buttercream would work like cream cheese frosting, stabilized whipped cream or fresh strawberry buttercream

how to make lemon buttercream

To make my easy buttercream into lemon buttercream, I just added in some fresh lemon curd, lemon extract and lemon zest, then mixed it all together. You can leave the lemon curd out if you don’t have any but it is pretty yummy and easy to make! 

Fill your chilled layers of cake with the lemon buttercream. I shoot for about 1/4″ of buttercream between my cake layers. Repeat with all the cake layers then cover the entire cake with a thin coat of buttercream. This is called the crumb coat and seals in all the cake crumbs. 

how to frost a strawberry layer cake

Put the cake into the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up the crumb coat. Then you can put your final layer of buttercream on the cake and decorate it any way you like! I decorated mine with sweetapolita sprinkles. This is the “Twinkle” sprinkle medley! One of my favorites!

strawberry cake frosted with lemon buttercream and decorated with sweetapolita twinkle medley sprinkles

I love how easy this strawberry cake mix recipe is! I hope you love it too! Happy baking!

Cake Batter and Frosting Calculator

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Cups of Batter Needed

8 cups

Cups of Frosting Needed

5 cups

Note: measurements are estimated based off the vanilla cake recipe using standard US cake pans and sizes. Measurements used are for 2" tall cake pans only. Your results may vary. Do not overfill cake pans above manufacturer's recommended guidelines.

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
easy strawberry cake made with box mix

Doctored Strawberry Cake Mix Recipe

An easy strawberry cake mix recipe that tastes almost as good as scratch! The perfect recipe for when you want a delicious strawberry cake but you're short on time. Frosted with a yummy lemon buttercream!
4.98 from 44 votes
Print Rate
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 24 servings
Calories: 505kcal


Strawberry Cake Mix Recipe

  • 1 box strawberry cake mix or white if you can't find strawberry
  • 1 cup (5 oz) AP flour
  • 1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz) sour cream room temp
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) melted butter
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) milk
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) strawberry puree
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp strawberry emulsion or extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract

Lemon Easy Buttercream Frosting

  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) pasteurized egg whites
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 cups unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/4 cup lemon curd optional
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest


Strawberry Box Mix Cake Ingredients

  • The instructions for this cake are super easy. Basically, put it all into a bowl and mix it for 2 minutes! Voila! Cake batter is ready. 
  • Pour batter into three 8" cake pans prepared with cake goop or your preferred pan release. Bake at 350ºF  for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean

Easy Buttercream Frosting

  • Place pasteurized egg whites and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Mix on low until combined and then bump up to high and whip for 3 minutes. It will look like royal icing, not meringue.
  • Add in your salt then your butter in small pieces while mixing on low until combined, then bump up to high. Whip until light, white and fluffy and it doesn't taste like butter anymore. This can take 10-15 minutes.
  • Switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for 15 minutes to smooth buttercream and reduce bubbles (optional)
  • Mix in your lemon curd, lemon zest and extract until combined.
  • Frost and decorate your cake as desired


Tools & Materials List
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Serving: 1g | Calories: 505kcal (25%) | Carbohydrates: 55g (18%) | Protein: 3g (6%) | Fat: 31g (48%) | Saturated Fat: 19g (95%) | Cholesterol: 97mg (32%) | Sodium: 270mg (11%) | Potassium: 51mg (1%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 44g (49%) | Vitamin A: 986IU (20%) | Vitamin C: 5mg (6%) | Calcium: 63mg (6%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)

71 comments on “Strawberry Cake Mix Recipe

  1. Can I use cake flour or does it have to be AP flour ?

      1. Hello. I’m a little confused about your answer to the question regarding which flour to use. The recipe says AP Flour but you also said to use cake flour because the cake is moist. Can you please clarify which flour is best. Thank you. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

      2. My apologies, I meant AP flour. I am used to people asking me if they can use AP flour instead of cake flour and not the other way around.

      3. No worries. Thank you!! I love your recipes. Can’t wait to try this.

  2. I am your big fan and I already tried your strawberry cake that was amazing .
    For this recipe can i use 1/2 cup strawberry puree?
    If yes then how ?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Someone asked about using cake flour instead of AP. Your response was it jad ro be cakr flour, but recipe states AP. Just thought I would see if that was an error.

  3. Would this recipe work with a lemon box mix and switch the strawberry puree to…. maybe lemon curd?? Thanks for your help

  4. If I want to half the recipe, should I half everything or certain ingredients?

    1. Well, you can’t really half this recipe unless you halved the actual box ingredients as well. Then yes you would half everything else.

    2. 5 stars
      I tried this in three 8 inch pans. The cake turned out amazing. Now I want to make a two layer half sheet cake. I’m a beginner and I have no idea how much I should put in the pan. I’m planning on baking the two layers separately.

      1. Try making a 1 1/2 batch of batter and dividing evenly between two pans 🙂 Trim the dome off before stacking them on top of each other.

  5. Is the yellow color of the buttercream a direct effect of the lemon curd and zest or did you use food coloring as well?

  6. In the blog post you said Duncan Hines was the best strawberry cake mix, but it the picture of ingredients you have a Pillsbury cake mix. Which is better in your opinion?

  7. If I’m making this recipe into cupcakes instead of a stacked cake, would you reccomend using oil, or still use melted butter? Thank you!! Also, I’ll be using a lemon box mix… should I use 1C milk if not using puree or curd??

    1. If you’re using lemon box mix and not adding anything else then use the WASC cake instructions but lemon extract instead of almond. I don’t change anything for cupcakes. Just make sure you only fill the cups 2/3 of the way or they could overflow

      1. What if you want to do a strawberry cupcake?

  8. Just a quick question. The recipe says 3- 8 inch pans and the links below says 3- 6 inch pans. I have both sizes which ones do I use?

  9. Can this be turned into a bundt cake using the recipe? 10-12 cup bundt pan?

  10. Hey thanks for the recipe but is there a different extract or emulsion I can try on Amazon or in store that you like I need it asap.. Amoretti shipping is way too long.. Tia!

    1. Yes you sure can 🙂 I might have more sugar in it than homemade though so if it does, reduce the amount of sugar you add to the cake mix

  11. Is there a reason why every time I take my cake out from the oven it deflats to half it’s size? This has also happened to your chocolate, yellow and white box recipe mix. It still taste excellent, but would just like it to remain the same size. Any idea?

  12. 5 stars
    This was so yummy and easy to make! I used the batter to make cupcakes. I actually completely forgot my melted butter in the microwave until I had already baked the cupcakes! They still turned out pretty good, so maybe a slightly healthier version if anyone is interested. Haha.

  13. I’ve made this recipe twice so far and it’s been delicious! But both times I’ve made the cake, the tops end up so sticky feeling and make it had to level out. Help!!

  14. 4 stars
    Hi, I love your tutorials. I recently made this recipe, and it was delicious; however, I underestimated how big it would be. I would suggest 2 (8″) pans or maybe even 3 because it literally overflowed my 6″ pans. OMG!! It was almost a disaster, but I managed to cut off the tops, so the inside could bake. I did have a quick question. I made the icing, and it was super good; however, it wasn’t stiff enough for Russian balls tips. What can I do to make it a littler stiffer to decorate more with different designs? BTW, I used strawberry jam instead of puree, and it would great. Thanks

  15. 5 stars
    I made this twice in three 8” pans and again in 2 quarter sheet pans (to make two layers). I lined them with parchment because the first attempt resulted in sadness. This recipe is perfect. Box cake comes out too foamy (is that the right word? Like a foam mattress) but this allows for more layers and the texture is more hearty. It’s better than trying to make a strawberry cake completely from scratch because it’s got a stronger strawberry flavor. As for the buttercream, I wanted to make a theme cake, so I needed it to hold up. I made a buttercream using only butter sugar and cream, then added a tiny bit of strawberry emulsion for color, and squeezed a lemon into it. It was delicious. This is my second favorite cake, because my favorite will always be chocolate cake (especially the preppy kitchen version)

  16. 5 stars
    Due to epidemic and quarantine I made some changes..didnt have flour so substituted aunt jemima original pancake mix…didnt have lemon so used lime..didnt have strawberry extract but just rolled without for icing..I used rest of strawberry reduction, 2 egg whites, 1 c UK p of powdered sugar, pinch of salt, 2 sticks of blue bonnet margarine and get this 1 container of duncan Hines strawberries and cream creamy homestyle frosting..OMG best cake EVER..did conventional oven 3 layers 25 min ..perfection!!

  17. Hi Liz! Would you make any changes for high altitude? Thank You

  18. Hi Liz, is the strawberry extract necessary? I can’t find it anywhere around where I live.

  19. It’s been a few years since I used a doctored mix… I recall them changing the amount of cake mix and it throwing some recipes off. Is this for 15.25 oz cake mix? 🙂

    Also, I’m going to be making a barbie doll cake, the bottom will be rounded. I plan on using my circle cake molds, should this do well in this molds?

  20. Hello!

    I was wondering if the oz measurements in your recipe are weight oz or fluid oz. I’m Canadian and don’t typically use this type of measurement. Thanks for your time!

  21. Hi Liz, can I reduce the sugar in this recipe? I have another doctored cake mix recipe that calls for one cup of additional sugar, and in my opinion it made it too Sweet. Maybe the strawberry purée in this counteracts that?

    1. I don’t think it would be a problem to reduce it a little but keep in mind that sugar is also what keeps a cake moist so your texture of your cake might be a bit more bread-like when you reduce the sugar.

  22. 5 stars
    My mother-in-law’s favorite dessert is strawberry cake; she LOVES this stuff. For Mother’s Day, I tried my hand at baking with this recipe! I doubled it to have 4 layers and piped roses all over it and added flower shaped candies!!

    It was such a hit!! Not a single piece was left!

    Thank you, Liz! ❤️❤️

    – the new favorite daughter-in-law

  23. 5 stars
    Made this for a friend’s birthday and she raved about it. I iced it in stabilized whipped cream and filled it with strawberry preserves mixed with whipped cream. Am now making it right now for my daughter’s birthday.

  24. Hello.

    I want to try making this cake but I’ve got a question or two. Duncan Hines vs Pillsbury for the strawberry cake mix? Would this recipe work for a 9 x 13 pan? Do you have an easy strawberry frosting recipe?
    I will be testing this recipe out for my niece, she wants a pink unicorn cake with pink frosting and pink sprinkles. She also loves strawberry so that’s what has sent me on the hunt for a good and easy strawberry sheet cake recipe. Your channel is amazing and I will admit, I have never seen a mix like yours before now!

    Thank you!

    1. Yes you can pour this recipe into a 9″x13″ pan. It will take longer to bake so just keep an eye on it. For strawberry buttercream I would just add some of the puree to the buttercream (make sure the puree is warm)

  25. I love your blog! Question, can this cake be covered in fondant? Will it resist the weight Or do you recommend using another one of your strawberry cake recipes? TIA

    1. Yes you can cover the cake in fondant but I would only use strawberry buttercream as a filling because the moisture from the strawberries might cause the fondant to sweat

  26. I cannot find any strawberry extract or emulsion, can I skip it this time? If so, should I still add the lemon extract?
    I already already the emulsion but it won’t get here on time.

  27. 5 stars
    I have used this recipe many times and it never lets me down. Everyone LOVES it!!

    can I do the same thing with a chocolate cake mix? Would I add chocolate syrup or melted chocolate to replace the strawberry puree?

  28. Since this filled three 8” pans, can I use this same recipe for two 10” round pans or do I have to increase it?

  29. I can’t find strawberry puree in my grocery stores and strawberries are not in season right now. Can I use 1. strawberry preserves or 2. strawberry puree drink mix (like for daiquiri)? Also same amount of time for cupcakes? Thanks!

    1. Hi, I recommend using my strawberry puree recipe. Preserves or daiquiri mix would add too much sugar. And I’m not sure about cupcakes, I haven’t tried it yet. But I would say about 15-20 minutes. Start with about 15 minutes and keep an eye on them after that.

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