Shivani’s Strawberry Lemonade Cake

Slice of Strawberry Lemonade Cake

March 8, 2024

We have a tradition of baking something with my friend’s daughter when we visit them in California. It started when she was young – cupcakes for a Mother’s Day brunch or a batch (or three) of her mother’s favorite cookies. During my last visit, Shivani wanted to make a lemon cake. Given the short length of my visit (less than 48 hours) and my lesser experience with cake baking (my friend Nancy is a much more accomplished baker), I searched for a recipe that started with a box mix and found this one.

Over the course of our shopping trip and raiding the refrigerator, the lemon cake morphed into a strawberry cake. To save time we also used canned frosting. With Shivani’s creativity, the cake became more than the sum of its parts. We all enjoyed the cake but we also had ideas for improvement. This is the next generation of our original cake.

Original Strawberry Cake
The original strawberry cake

Some modifications

Just like the original recipe, we started with a box mix and some instant pudding mix, augmented with additional all-purpose flour, sugar, and sour cream. Lemon juice, lemon extract, and lemon zest were all used to bump up the lemon flavor and help it stand up to the strawberry cake mix.

Slice of Strawberry Lemonade Cake 2

The original recipe did not include a recipe for frosting. While canned frosting is good for expediency, I decided to make a simple American buttercream flavored with some strawberry purée. It’s lighter and not as sugary as canned frosting plus it has the freshness from the strawberry purée. As pictured, the “naked cake” only uses half a recipe of frosting. The full recipe will cover the entire cake with enough for some piping.

Strawberry Lemonade Cake


Decorating can be as simple or as intricate as you like. I don’t have Shivani’s artistic eye or decorating flair so I chose to do a naked cake instead. I used a little whipped cream, fresh fruit, and lemon zest for decorations. If you are so inclined, you could use sprinkles or more elaborate piping – the cake is your palette.

For the middle layer, I chose to keep it simple and just use frosting but you could include finely diced strawberries to bring in more fresh strawberry flavor.

Strawberry Lemonade Cake - slice removed

All in all, I’m very happy with how this cake turned out. I’m looking forward to the next baking adventure with Shivani!

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Slice of Strawberry Lemonade Cake

Shivani’s Strawberry Lemonade Cake

  • Author: She’s Almost Always Hungry
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x


This refreshing strawberry lemonade cake is a zhushed up box mix topped with a strawberry American buttercream – perfect for a springtime party.



For the cake

1 15.25-ounce box strawberry cake mix

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

4 tablespoons dry lemon instant pudding mix

1 1/3 cups water

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

½ teaspoon lemon extract*

For the strawberry buttercream**

1 pound salted butter, slightly softened

¼ cup puréed strawberries***

½ teaspoon lemon juice

1 pound powdered sugar


For the cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8×2 inch round cake pans, lining the bottoms with parchment paper rounds.

Whisk together the cake mix, flour, sugar, and instant pudding mix to fully incorporate (at least 30 seconds).

In a separate bowl, mix together the water, eggs, sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix the batter together until fully incorporated. Do not overmix or the cake will be tough.

Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.

Cool in the pans 5 to 10 minutes then turn out to cool fully on a wire rack.

For the strawberry buttercream

Place the butter, strawberry purée, and lemon juice in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until the butter and purée are completely combined, scraping down the bowl to make sure everything is fully incorporated.

Add the powdered sugar to the mixing bowl. Mix on low until the sugar and butter are fully incorporated. If the frosting is too thick, add a little more strawberry puree. If it is too loose, add a little more powdered sugar (one tablespoon at a time).


*Substitute vanilla extract if you don’t have lemon extract

**Use half the buttercream recipe for a naked cake.

***In a food processor or blender, purée fresh, hulled strawberries until smooth. You may strain the mixture if desired.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Inactive Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Cakes
  • Cuisine: American


  • Calories: 7462
  • Sugar: 72.14 g.
  • Sodium: 537.17 mg.
  • Fat: 38.67 g.
  • Saturated Fat: 23.03 g.
  • Carbohydrates: 97.52 g.
  • Fiber: 0.4 g.
  • Protein: 4.32 g.
  • Cholesterol: 139.08 mg.

Keywords: strawberry cake mix, instant lemon pudding, sour cream

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1 Comment

  1. Jyothi A.

    Can’t wait to make this!


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