This homemade Strawberry Upside Down Cake is made with fresh strawberries. Sliced strawberries are baked underneath a tender vanilla cake until it’s golden brown and the strawberries are caramelized. The whole cake is flipped over and served warm with whipped cream.
Strawberry Upside Down Cake
The classic pineapple upside down cake is one of those classic desserts that is a bit old fashioned, but it also has this nostaglic flair to it. It’s one of those cakes that has the perfect balance of sweetness, caramelized fruit, and simplicity.
I’ve experimented with upside down cakes in the past, namely with this Triple Layer Pineapple Upside Cake and this Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake, and I really wanted to try my hand a berry version, like this Strawberry Upside Down Cake.
Made from scratch with fresh strawberries, this Strawberry Upside Down Cake is perfectly sweet with a moist vanilla cake underneath and is so easy to make.
It’s not your average spring dessert, but it’s not complicated either. That is why I love this delish Strawberry Upside Down Cake with my whole heart!
A warm and fluffy vanilla cake with sweet, fresh strawberries that have been caramelized into a strawberry syrup. Absolutely perfect.
What Is An Upside Down Cake?
An upside down cake is generally a fruit based cake that is baked with the fruit topping at the bottom of the pan with the cake batter on top of it.
Usually an upside down cake is a single layer cake (though I do buck that trend here) and once it’s baked, the cake pan is flipped over so that the fruit topped cake is now right side up.
By baking the fruit at the bottom of the pan, the fruit and sugar turn into this gorgeous caramelized topping that adds an extra richness to the cake.
Because of the fruit, upside down cakes are generally very moist and slightly dense. With this upside down strawberry cake, the vanilla cake is moist and a bit dense, but it still has a tender crumb with a soft fluffiness.
Strawberry Upside Cake Ingredients:
- Unsalted Butter: I prefer unsalted butter for baking because I have more control over the overall salt content.
- Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar is key because it adds sweetness without adding moisture (brown sugar, often used in pineapple upside down cake, adds too much moisture and takes away from the strawberry flavor).
- Strawberries: Fresh strawberries are key to this cake. Frozen strawberries are too moist and will not work.
- All Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder
- Milk: You can use whole, 2%, or skim
- Vanilla Extract
- Almond Extract: Optional, but the almond adds a little of richness to the overall cake.
- Lemon Zest: The lemon brightens the strawberry flavor.
How To Make This Upside Down Strawberry Cake From Scratch:
- Dry Ingredients: Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together.
- Butter: Using a hand mixer or standing mixer, mix the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is combined (it will look sandy in texture).
- Wet Ingredients: Whisk eggs, milk, vanilla extract, almond extract, and lemon zest together. Add the wet ingredients into the butter mixture, and beat with your mixer until combined.
- Strawberry Topping: Melt butter in a 9” circluar cake pan, and sprinkle with sugar. Then, place the sliced strawberries all over the surface of the cake pan (it’s okay for the strawberries to overlap a bit—you really want to make sure the bottom is completely covered so that when it’s flipped over, you see all of the strawberries and not a lot of cake on top).
- Cake Batter: Pour the cake batter on top of the strawberries and spread in an even layer.
- Bake: Bake the cake for 40 minutes or until the sides of the cake are bubbling a bit with strawberry juice and the top is golden brown. Insert a cake tester in the center to make sure the cake is done.
- Serve: Serve the cake warm by itself, or top it with whipped cream or ice cream.
- Because of the fresh strawberries in this cake, any leftovers need to be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. Additionally due to the strawberries, this cake is best when eaten fresh, or within 1-2 days. Otherwise, the cake gets very soggy.
- You cannot freeze this cake because the berries will release too much moisture, resulting in a soggy cake when thawed.
- The cake can sit at room temperature for a few hours before being served.
Can I Make Strawberry Upside Down Cake Using Cake Mix?
- With this recipe in particular, no you cannot use cake mix in place of the homemade vanilla cake.
Can I Make It With Pie Filling Or With Frozen Strawberries?
- Making this strawberry upside down cake with pie filling or frozen strawberries will not work in this cake recipe. Both the premade strawberry pie filling and the frozen strawberries are too moist and they will make the cake wet.
How To Serve Strawberry Upside Down Cake
- Upside down cakes, in my opinion, should be served warm. The cake is soft and fluffy and the fruit topping is warm with a nice caramelized syrup.
- Upside down cakes are kind of like a cobbler. You want the fruit to be warm with the biscuits on top soft and warm as well.
- Once the cake is baked, let it cool 25-30 minutes or so before serving. It can sit at room temperature for a few hours. If desired, you can warm it up again before serving. If you need to chill the cake in the fridge, I suggest warming it up in the microwave before serving (or when serving leftovers).
- Homemade Whipped Cream
- Cinnamon Whipped Cream
- Caramel Whipped Cream
- Strawberry Ice Cream
- Vanilla Ice Cream
Quick and Easy Tips and Tricks For Making Upside Down Strawberry Cake From Scratch:
Fresh Strawberries: As mentioned earlier, this recipe requires fresh strawberries. Frozen berries or premade pie filling will make the cake too moist.
Serve Warm: This cake is best when served warm! Let it cool about 25-30 minutes before serving, and top it with ice cream or whipped cream.
Refrigerate Leftovers: While the cake is best when served warm, leftovers will need to be stored in the fridge. Warm the cake in the microwave a bit before serving leftovers.
One of my current favs! If you make this recipe (or any of my recipes), tag me on instagram so I can see your bakes! ❤️
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk, whole, 2%, or skim works
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract, optional
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set out a 9” circular cake pan.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer (or in a large bowl if you’re using a hand mixer), sift in flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in sugar, and gently mix together.
- Next, add in the butter, mixing until the mixture is combined and sandy in texture.
- Whisk eggs, milk, vanilla extract, almond extract, and lemon zest together. On med-low speed, add the wet ingredients to the butter mixture. Beat the mixture until combined and smooth.
Pour the melted butter into the cake pan and tilt the cake pan until the butter has evenly coated the pan. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top of the melted butter.
- Arrange the strawberries around the bottom of the pan, overlapping as needed to make sure the entire bottom of the pan is covered in strawberries.
- Pour cake batter over the top of the strawberries and smooth into an even layer.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is lightly golden brown, the strawberries are bubbling (you will probably see juice bubbling on the sides), and a cake tester comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool about 5-10 minutes. Next, gently run a knife around the sides of the cake.
- Then, cover the top of the cake pan with a large plate or serving dish. Carefully holding the two together, flip them over. Gently tap the cake pan until the cake releases from the pan and onto the plate.
- Allow the cake to cool 20-30 minutes more before serving.
- Serve warm, and top with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.
- Store leftovers in the fridge and warm before serving leftovers.