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 Never Miss A Cake
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!

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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!
4.91 from 198 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
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


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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%)
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77 comments on “Strawberry Cake Mix Recipe

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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)

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

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

  8. Hello! I am so excited to try this cake! The recipe says to use three 8″ cake pans, but the notes say three 6″ and three 6″ boards. Will this recipe fill 8″ pans or do I need to make more batter? Best! -Sara

  9. 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.

  10. This looks great and I plan on making it for my grandsons birthday. He has asked for strawberry and it is the middle of winter. One question before I start is it really 3 cups of butter for the frosting? Thanks for your help.

  11. Made this cake. It was totally delicious. Thank you for sharing

  12. I disagree that you used too much yellow food coloring in buttercream. It was beautiful and bright and that’s what caught my attention! I’m going to make for Galentines brunch I’m having. Thanks!

  13. 5 stars
    I didn’t have strawberry purée or time to make it but I had strawberry jam so I blended it with some fresh lemon juice to thin a bit and make less sweet and came out perfect

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