Strawberry cake filling is the perfect way to add a fresh and fruity twist to your favorite baked goods. With its sweet and tangy flavor, this versatile ingredient can be used in a variety of desserts. From layer cakes to trifles, there are countless ways to incorporate this delicious filling into your next baking project.
Few things say "Spring" quite like fresh, juicy strawberries. And what better way to showcase this seasonal fruit than with a sweet and tangy strawberry cake filling?
Whether you're looking to add a fruity twist to your favorite vanilla layer cake or cupcakes, jazz up your morning toast, stuff your brownies, or make a delicious topping for cheesecake or ice cream, this tart, creamy strawberry filling will do the trick.
Making your own filling is surprisingly easy. It's done in less than 20 minutes and requires just 4 simple ingredients. You likely already have them in your freezer and pantry!
You can add this filling to so many desserts, like vanilla strawberry cake, matcha cupcakes, and chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. It's also used in my strawberry crumb cake and strawberry icebox cake!
Here are some notes about the ingredients used. For the quantities and the full instructions, see the recipe card below.
- Frozen strawberries- Make sure to use frozen strawberries in this recipe. Frozen berries release more juice than fresh strawberries, which is perfect for cake fillings. They're also way cheaper and available year round!
- Granulated sugar- White sugar enhances the sweetness of the strawberries and helps retain the moisture released by them. Cane sugar and caster sugar can also be used in this recipe. This filling is more similar to a strawberry compote than a sticky jam since the sugar isn't cooked down as long.
- Water- Use room temperature or hot water to dissolve the potato starch. It can be filtered or from the tap.
- Potato starch- This is a light white powder extracted from crushed potatoes. It's mixed with water and used to thicken the strawberry filling so it won't be runny or bleed out of your cakes. It's gluten free, flavorless, and has the ability to thicken at low cooking temperatures. Make sure to use potato starch, not potato flour, since they aren't the same!
- Frozen strawberries: Use different frozen fruit to make different flavored cake fillings! Experiment with frozen blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries.
- Granulated sugar: Substitute brown sugar or coconut sugar for a more caramel-like flavor.
- Potato starch: You can substitute another thickener, like corn starch, arrowroot powder, fine milled rice flour, or tapioca flour. I don't recommend using all purpose flour because it'll make your filling too thick.
Helpful Equipment & Tools
- A small saucepan is the main piece of equipment you need. Every kitchen should have one! If possible, I recommend splurging a bit for a high quality pan with a heavy bottom. It’ll last longer than cheap versions and prevent your filling from getting scorched.
- You'll need a metal whisk (or a silicone whisk) for combining the ingredients as they cook.
- A mason jar or other airtight container is needed to store the cake filling when it's done.
Step by Step Instructions
Here's how to make strawberry filling for cakes! Before you start, gather your ingredients and place a saucepan over medium heat.
STEP 1: First, add the strawberries and sugar to the pot over medium heat. Let the strawberries cook for 15 minutes, stirring often and breaking them down as they soften. Make sure the mixture simmers and doesn't come to a boil.
STEP 2: As the strawberries cook, mix the water and potato starch together with a fork or small whisk. The mixture should be evenly mixed with no potato starch in the bottom of the bowl and look cloudy.
STEP 3: Once 15 minutes have passed and the strawberries are soft and broken up, turn the heat down to low.
STEP 4: Next, pour in the potato starch mixture. Let the filling cook on low for 5 minutes or until it has thickened, stirring constantly.
STEP 5: Once the mixture has thicken, take it off the heat. Let it cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Make sure it reaches room temperature before using in your baked goods or storing in the refrigerator
- Cook the filling low and slow. To ensure that your filling has a thick, jam-like consistency, cook it over low heat for a longer period of time. This allows the strawberries to break down and release their juices.
- Mix the potato starch with water. Whisking the potato starch with water before adding it prevents clumping and ensures that the starch is evenly distributed throughout. This results in a smoother texture.
- Stir often. Make sure to stir the strawberry mixture often as it cooks to prevent it from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Additions and Variations
There are so many different ingredients you can add to the strawberry cake filling to make it your own!
- Lemon: Mix in a little lemon zest for a bright, tangy twist.
- Vanilla: A touch of vanilla extract can add a subtle sweetness and depth of flavor to the filling.
- Almond: Use almond extract instead of vanilla to give the filling a nutty, slightly floral flavor.
- Orange: Add some fresh orange juice for a bright and citrusy taste.
- Honey: Substitute the sugar for a drizzle of honey for a more floral flavor.
- Balsamic vinegar: A splash of balsamic vinegar can add a tangy and slightly sweet note to the filling.
- Spices: Add a pinch of ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, or cloves while the filling is cooking for a warm flavor.
- Champagne: Replace some of the water with a little champagne or prosecco. This would be really similar to the filling of my strawberry prosecco cupcakes.
How to Use Strawberry Filling
My favorite part about this recipe is it's versatility. It's not just for layered cakes! Here are some ideas:
- Cupcakes: Cut out the center of your cupcakes and fill them with the strawberry jam using a piping bag. Then you can top them with buttercream frosting or whipped cream.
- Tarts: Spread the strawberry filling into a pre-baked tart shell and top it with fresh strawberries or whipped cream.
- Trifles: Layer cake cubes, whipped cream, and the strawberry compote in a trifle dish. Top with fresh strawberries and more whipped cream.
- Cheesecake Topping: Spoon the filling on top of your cheesecake, spreading it out evenly to add a colorful and delicious touch.
- Pastry Filling: Spread the strawberry filling over puff pastry or pie dough, roll it up, and bake. You can also use it to fill other pastries like donuts and croissants.
- Ice Cream Topping: Spoon the compote over vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.
Storage and Freezing
To keep your strawberry cake filling fresh, make sure it's cooled to room temperature first. Once it's cool, store it in a mason jar or other sealed container in the refrigerator. I like adding a layer of plastic wrap on the surface of the filling to keep it from forming a skin.
Cake filling typically lasts up to a week when stored properly in the. However, make sure to check it for any signs of spoilage, such as mold or weird smells, before using it.
You can freeze the filling for up to three months. Just make sure to use a freezer-safe container and label it with the date. When you're ready to use it, let it thaw in the fridge overnight.
The texture may change slightly after it's frozen and thawed, so you may need to give it a good mix before using. It's also important to note that freezing can affect the flavor and freshness of the filling, so it's best to use it as soon as possible after thawing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! You can use frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and more. Make sure to choose a fruit that has the same water content as frozen strawberries. If they don't, you may have to add more or less water.
This recipe makes about 3 cups of filling, which is enough for one 8-inch 3 layer cake or 12-20 cupcakes. The jammy layers will be thin, so make a 2 layer cake for thicker strawberry layers. It's more than enough to spread over a cake in a square pan.
Nope! This is a thick filling that won't soak into the cake and make it soggy. Make sure the cake has cooled completely before you start assembling it. You can also add thin layer of buttercream to the cake layer before adding the filling to be totally sure it won't be soggy.
More Frostings and Fillings to Try
Strawberry Cake Filling
- 2 cups frozen strawberries
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup water room temperature
- 3 tablespoon potato starch
- Add the strawberries and sugar to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring often and breaking down the strawberries as they soften.2 cups frozen strawberries, ½ cup granulated sugar
- As the strawberries cook, whisk together the water and potato starch in a bowl until well combined and cloudy.¾ cup water, 3 tablespoon potato starch
- Turn the heat down to low and pour the potato starch mixture into the cooked strawberries.
- Cook the mixture for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Let the filling cool to room temperature before using.