Pixelated Crumb

Strawberry Starburst Cake

There are so many wonderful things about spring and one of my favorites is the resurgence of luscious, ruby red strawberries. I can’t bring myself to buy strawberries in the winter because they are just so sad with their pinkish/reddish facade and bland white innards. But in the spring we start seeing bright red strawberries followed by bright red strawberries at affordable prices followed by awesome 2-for-1 deals. And now I’m eating strawberries like there’s no tomorrow, but I guess there are worse things I could be doing.

When I saw this strawberry cake on Smitten Kitchen, the question was when, not if, I was going to make it. We were throwing a shower for two of my coworkers who are getting married this summer (but not to each other) and I was initially planning on making this fancy strawberry cake from America’s Test Kitchen for the party. My official excuse for not making it is that there’s alcohol in it and the shower was being thrown at a pregnant woman’s home and that seemed rude. In reality, the alcohol would probably all be cooked out anyway, but it was just a lot of steps and it was a really, really hot weekend and my knee still isn’t back up to 100% after knee surgery a couple months ago. And then I suddenly remembered this cake and how very simple the recipe was. And laziness+excuses won out.

Oddly enough, the strawberries in the center of the cake all sank while the ones on the edge managed to stay on top of the batter (presumably because the edge cooked faster). That didn’t bother me in the least because it left a beautiful starburst of strawberries along the edge. I think the cake may have confused people a little bit because it was served in a pie dish and there was clearly fruit in it so everyone assumed it was pie. No biggie (a rose by any other name and all that).

The cake itself is moist and bursting with strawberries that making it the perfect summer cake. It’s super simple to make, meaning less time in the kitchen, meaning less time you feel like you’re the one cooking in the oven. And not only does it highlight this juicy star of summer, but the strawberries become the purest bits of jam in the oven, heightening the flavors to an even higher level.

Print Recipe

Strawberry Starburst Cake

Adapted from Martha Stewart via Smitten Kitchen

Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, loosely covered.



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 10-inch pie pan or 9-inch deep-dish pie pan.

  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat the butter and 1 cup sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the egg, milk, vanilla, and orange zest until just combined. Add the dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.

  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pie plate. Arrange the strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the berries.

  4. Bake the cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack. Cut into wedges and serve with lightly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.