This super moist gluten-free sheet cake is filled with fresh strawberries in the batter and swirled through the cake. The easy recipe can be made dairy-free too.
Be sure to check out more of my gluten-free cakes including my dreamy good gluten-free vanilla snack cake, gluten-free carrot layer cake and my ever popular gluten-free coconut cake.
The Best Gluten-Free Flour for Baking
There are so many gluten-free flour blend options but they are not all created equal. Unlike regular wheat flour, the different brands of gluten-free flours vary widely. They all use different combinations of rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, tapioca starch and other ingredients.
My go-to flour for gluten-free baking is King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour. It’s the most affordable of the ones I’ve tested and works extremely well in almost all of my recipes.
Cup4Cup is another popular brand but I don’t test with it because it contains milk powder and is quite pricey. Many of my readers have said that they use Cup4Cup in my recipes and it works well.
Fresh strawberries that are in-season (spring/summer) are best for this cake. They are more likely to be sweet, ripe and flavorful. If your strawberries need a little help in the flavor department, some powdered sugar will help to bring out the taste of a ripe strawberry.
I tested several ways of incorporating the strawberries including chopping them, which was very time consuming. Or pureeing them with some powdered sugar and corn starch to thicken them. But my favorite way is the easiest. Simply cut the strawberries in quarters and pulse them in the food processor until they’re finely chopped-kind of like chunky salsa.
I do not recommend using frozen strawberries. Once thawed they get more mushy and turn more liquidy when processed.
Some of the chopped strawberries will be mixed directly into the batter to give the cake strawberry flavor. The rest will be layered in the pan with the batter to create a pretty swirl.
Gluten-Free flour blend – see above for details.
Vanilla is an amazing pairing with strawberries and and gives just about any cake wonderful flavor.
You can use vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste or vanilla powder. Or make my homemade gluten-free vanilla extract. It can be a great cost saver and is incredibly easy.
This recipe calls for just a little bit of milk. I’m mostly dairy-free so I use a dairy-free substitute like almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk etc.
The moisture in this cake is oil. Although I love the flavor of butter, oil does a much better job of making gluten-free cakes moist and fluffy.
The rest of the ingredients are just the basics – sugar, eggs, salt and baking powder.
The Best Pan for a Sheet Cake
This sheet cake is taller than most sheet cakes because I like a high ratio of cake to frosting. Many sheet cake recipes use a cookie sheet type pan which creates a very thin cake.
Most 9×13 inch pans are 2 inches high but a taller pan helps gluten-free cakes to rise better. I prefer a 3 inch tall pan that makes a tall cake. My favorite pan for this recipe is this Fat Daddio’s 9x13x3 inch pan. A 9x13x2 inch (2 inches tall) pan will work also – just expect the cake to rise a little bit above the edge of the pan.
This strawberry cake has a few great options for frosting.
- My favorite is the classic vanilla buttercream frosting. I think it’s the best flavor pairing with strawberries.
- Cream cheese frosting is also great on this strawberry cake.
- Add another layer of strawberry with my pink strawberry buttercream frosting.
- You could also go with the classic chocolate-strawberry pairing but I feel like the chocolate overpowers this cake a bit.
Gluten-Free Fresh Strawberry Sheet Cake
- 1½ lbs fresh strawberries
- 2 Tbsp powdered sugar optional – use if strawberries are not sweet
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 1½ c oil – avocado, canola, sunflower or other neutral flavored vegetable oil
- 2½ c sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract, powder or bean paste homemade gluten-free vanilla extract
- ¾ tsp salt
- ⅓ c milk
- 3½ c gluten-free flour blend King Arthur Measure for Measure recommended
- 4 tsp baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and grease a 9×13 inch pan. The pan should be at least 2" high but a 3" high pan is best. (3" tall pan linked above). A parchment paper lining on the bottom will make removing the cake more easy.
- This recipe can be mixed with an electric mixer or by hand with a wire whisk.
- Set aside 4 ounces of strawberries (about 6) to use for garnish on the frosted cake. Trim the stems from the remaining strawberries and cut them in quarters.
- Taste a piece. If it is not very sweet and flavorful add the powdered sugar with the strawberries in the next step.
- Place the quartered strawberries in the food processor and pulse about 10 times or until the mixture is like the consistency of slightly chunky salsa – do not liquefy them.
- You should have about 2-2¼ cups. One cup will be mixed directly into the batter and the rest will be layered in with the batter in the pan.
- To a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup of the processed strawberries, milk, eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla and salt.
- Beat well with an electric mixer or whisk until it is smooth and the oil is completely incorporated.
- Add 2 cups of the flour and mix until most of it is incorporated.
- Add the remaining 1½ cups flour and the baking powder.
- Mix until smooth. If using an electric mixer, be careful to not overmix. About 20-25 seconds should be enough.
- Pour about 2½ cups batter into the greased pan and spread it evenly to cover the bottom.
- Spoon half of the strawberry mixture in dollops over the batter.
- Use a spatula to gently spread it.
- Pour 2½ cups more batter and spread evenly.
- Spoon the remaining strawberry mixture in dollops and spread.
- Add the remaining batter and spread evenly. It's okay if some of the strawberry is peeking through the top.
- Bake 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes or until the top is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes.
- Loosen the outside with a knife or small metal spatula. Then turn the cake onto a wire rack and cool before frosting with my vanilla buttercream frosting.
- Top with sliced strawberries immediately before serving.
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