This easy strawberry cake filling recipe is made from fresh or frozen strawberries. It's thick, sweet, and full of real strawberry flavor.
It is the perfect addition to sweet baking. You can spread it between cake layers, add it to strawberry turnovers, fill the center of each cupcake with it, or use it in strawberry cinnamon rolls or strawberry meringue pie to name a few ideas.
You can even add this filling to buttercream to make a strawberry buttercream frosting!
Cake filling, compote, and jam
The taste of this homemade strawberry cake filling is that of pure strawberry. The flavor of the cooked filling is enhanced with just a little lemon juice, sugar, and a pinch of salt.
This fruit filling is super versatile and a great way to take your sweet treats to the next level.
This strawberry sauce is chunky like a fresh fruit compote, full of pieces of real strawberries. But unlike a traditional strawberry compote, this delicious strawberry filling is thickened with cornstarch. This ensures it's nice and thick to hold as cake fillings without seeping through the layers.
Strawberry jam on the other hand is thick but it uses a large amount of sugar to set. This strawberry cake filling only has a little sugar to enhance the strawberries' natural sweetness.
A strawberry coulis is another strawberry sauce, but a coulis has no chunks. It's made of strawberry puree and is a smooth and sometimes seedless sauce. It's either pushed through a sieve or made in a food processor.
The full list of ingredient for this fresh strawberry filling are written in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post, but here is a rundown of what you will need.
- Fresh strawberries or frozen - Roughly chopped strawberries if they're big, but they can be left as a whole strawberry if they're small. They can be fresh or frozen too. It is strawberry season in summer, and fresh berries are at their best. They are juicy and sweet. In the colder months, frozen strawberries are the way to go. Frozen strawberries are usually frozen at their peak ripeness and sweetness so that they will be extra flavorful!
- Sugar (or another sweetener) - Granulated sugar is used in this recipe, but the sweetness can come from other sources too. Maple syrup, honey, stevia, or brown rice syrup can all be used.
- Fresh lemon juice - Lemon juice enhances the flavor of the strawberries.
- Salt - Just a pinch to balance the sweetness.
- Cornstarch or arrowroot - To thicken the strawberry cake filling.
- Water - to mix up the cornstarch.
Use a paring knife to remove the top green leafy part of the strawberries and roughly chop them into pieces.
In a small saucepan, combine cold water and cornstarch into a slurry. Add the diced strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt to this.
Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and stir regularly as the mixture begins to warm up.
You can use a wooden spoon to mash the strawberries up as they heat but not too much. You want a few chunks of strawberries in the sauce.
As it gets hotter, start stirring continually to stop the cornstarch from cooking at the bottom of the saucepan.
As the strawberry mixture boils, it will thicken, become jelly-like, and lose its cloudy appearance. Let it boil for a full minute before taking it off the heat. It's important the cornstarch is cooked through properly, or else the filling can lose its thickness.
You can if you want to, cover the mixture with plastic wrap as it is cooling, gently pressing it on it. This stops a skin from forming.
Once cooled to room temperature, store in the fridge in an airtight container until needed.
This homemade strawberry filling can be stored in an airtight container or jar for up to three days.
Freezing strawberry cake filling
Strawberry cake filling made with cornstarch can become spongy or split when defrosted. You can rectify this by reheating the cake filling once it has been defrosted and whisking until it thickens again.
If it's not thickening, add ½ tablespoons cornstarch mixed with ¾ Tablespoon water.
You can also substitute the cornstarch in the recipe for arrowroot. This freezes a little better. The exact amount of arrowroot powder can be used in place of cornstarch.
Uses for strawberry cake and cupcake filling
This strawberry cake filling is perfect for -
- Sandwiching in between layers of vanilla cake to turn it into a strawberry layer cake recipe. You can use it instead of the raspberry compote in this raspberry mascarpone cake.
- Strawberry cupcake filling - Use it as the center of vanilla cupcakes to make the best strawberry cupcakes! Use a cupcake corer or small knife to scoop out the middle of the cupcake, then fill the middle of each cupcake with strawberry filling. Then top with your favorite frosting (or add whipped cream to the top of the cupcakes to make strawberries and cream cupcakes, strawberry shortcake cupcakes.)
- Rolled up in sweet dough to make sweet strawberry rolls!
- Use it as a pie filling
- On angel food cake
- In between flaky puff pastry turnovers, hand pies or pop tarts.
More cake fillings
Here are some more delicious homemade filling ideas!
- Strawberry or raspberry compote
- Cherry cake filling
- Lemon curd
- Blueberry cake filling
- Homemade caramel sauce
- 450g (1lb) fresh or frozen strawberries
- 2 ½ Tablespoons cold water
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot*
- 65g (⅓ cup) granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Remove the top green leafy part of the strawberries and roughly chop them into pieces.
- Combine cold water and cornstarch into a slurry in a small saucepan. Add the chopped strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Place the saucepan over low-medium heat and stir regularly as the mixture begins to warm up.
- You can use a wooden spoon to mash the strawberries as they heat but not too much. You want a few chunks of strawberries in the sauce. As it gets hotter, start stirring continually to stop the cornstarch from prematurely cooking at the bottom of the saucepan.
- As the mixture boils, it will thicken quickly, become jelly-like, and lose its cloudy appearance. Let it boil for a full minute before taking it off the heat. It's important the cornstarch is cooked through properly, or else the filling can lose its thickness.
- Take it off the heat, pour it into a clean bowl, and let it cool.
- Once cooled, store in the fridge in an airtight container, until needed, for up to three days.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 52Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 34mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 0g
This is an informational estimate only. I am not a certified Dietitian or Nutritionist