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Strawberry Crunch Cake

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Prep Time: 25 minutes     Cook Time: 35 minutes

5 from 7 votes

Are you feeling creative? This strawberry crunch cake is simple to make, but it’s really unusual if you’re bored with regular everyday dessert recipes. It’s fun to make - you’ll love it!

A strawberry crunch cake on a stand.
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Strawberries and vanilla pair up to make this wonderful dessert. Freeze-dried strawberries and Nilla wafers offer a yummy and delicious twist on the classic cake by adding an unexpected crunch.

With its cute pink and yellow strips inside and crunchy coating, everyone will think you got this cake from a top bakery! However, boxed mixes make light work of preparing it and it’s a super-easy recipe that is definitely going to impress.

I also have a cupcake version here. Or try out my lemon crunch cake if you're more of a lemon fan. And if you really love these types of perfectly crunchy desserts, then I have a lemon crunch pie too!

Main Ingredients

The ingredients for strawberry crunch cake laid out on a table.

This strawberry crunch cake recipe is made with cake mixes, just to keep things simple. You also need to make a crunchy coating, which we are doing with freeze-dried strawberries and Nilla wafers. Let’s take a look at the main ingredients:

  • Cake mixes: The main part of the recipe. Use boxed white mix and boxed strawberry mix. Remember you will need the other ingredients listed on the box so make sure you have everything on hand before you start. Substitute the yellow mix for white if you want.
  • Freeze-dried strawberries: The first part of the crunch! Combined with Nilla wafers, this creates the wonderfully surprising crunch layer. Freeze-dried strawberries have all the flavor of fresh ones but they offer a great crispy texture in this recipe.
  • Nilla wafer cookies: The second half of the crunch. These vanilla-flavored cookies are so good in the recipe, but you can swap them for shortbread cookies, graham cracker crumbs, or your favorite cookie crumbs if you prefer. Take your pick because this strawberry crunch cake is sure to come out amazing with whatever type of cookie crumbs you use.
  • Heavy whipping cream: For a rich frosting flavor. There isn’t a substitute for this ingredient really. It adds a luxurious, creamy taste to the frosting.
  • Fresh strawberries: To make a pretty garnish. Add a touch of freshness by adding fresh berries before serving. If you want a contrast, try raspberries or cherries.

Instructions Overview

This beautiful strawberry crunch cake is well worth making. It’s definitely different from your average recipe with its pretty pink and yellow layers as well as the surprise crunch!

You will need both strawberry and white cake mixes along with the other necessary ingredients listed on the boxes. While they are baking in the oven you can get on with the frosting, which is made by combining butter, confectioners' sugar, cream, and vanilla.

Crush the freeze-dried strawberries with the Nilla wafers to make the crunchy coating and mix in some melted butter too. Layer the cooled layers with the frosting and then coat the cake with the crunch mixture. And voila - it’s all ready to enjoy!

Showing the layers inside a strawberry cake.

Common Questions

Are freeze-dried strawberries the same as frozen?

Freeze drying is, as the name would suggest, partly freezing and partly drying. Fresh strawberries are frozen and then put in a vacuum to remove the water. This keeps the fiber content intact. So, while a frozen strawberry still has all its water contact a freeze-dried one does not, making it dry and crunchy, which is perfect for this cake!

How do you put a crunch element in a cake?

There are various ways to add texture to homemade cake recipes. In this strawberry crunch cake, the crunch comes from cookie crumbs paired with freeze-dried strawberries. There are other methods too such as adding chopped nuts or a different type of freeze-dried berry.

How Do You Crush Cookies for Baking?

The simplest way is probably to put the Nilla wafers in a Ziploc bag and then use a rolling pin to smash them. The flat end of a meat mallet would also work. Alternatively, you could pulse them in a blender or food processor. There are a couple of potential issues with that though. The cookies can get stuck under the blade and need to be dislodged with a utensil. Also, it's easy to over-blend and then you'll end up with a fine sand texture instead of the slightly coarser crumb which offers a good crunch.

How far ahead can I make this strawberry crunch cake?

It is better when served freshly made, but you could make it a day ahead if you need to.

What should I serve with it?

It can be served for dessert with coffee or you can enjoy a piece as a little snack when your sweet tooth reminds you it’s sitting there looking tempting in the refrigerator!

How do I store it?

Keep it refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Can I freeze it?

Wrap the cake in 2 layers of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. It will keep for a few months that way. Thaw it overnight before serving. If you prefer, you can freeze it in portions in Ziploc bags.

Do I need to use food coloring?

It’s up to you. The strawberries will make the strawberry layers pale pink while the white cake will be pale yellow. If you want a more vivid look, add a few drops of red food coloring to the strawberry layer before baking.

A slice of cake on a plate with fresh strawberries.

Chopnotch Tips

  • Don’t frost it until it’s completely cool or else the frosting might melt and that won’t look good.
  • Leave the butter at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes to soften. This makes it easier to blend with the other frosting ingredients.
  • If you prefer to use square cake pans, use 7-inch square pans instead of the 8-inch round ones.
Overhead shot of a slice of cake.

This strawberry crunch cake is so good! The combination of vanilla and strawberry is always great, the frosting is rich, and the crunchy Nilla wafer and freeze-dried strawberry coating add plenty of pizzazz to this deliciously different recipe.

Let us know what you think! Give this recipe a rating in the comments section below.


How to Make

Strawberry Crunch Cake

Box mixes make this tasty cake super simple. It’s an elegant-looking cake with an unusual flavor which is sure to impress everyone.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 12 slices


  • 1 box white cake mix, plus ingredients listed on the box
  • 1 box strawberry cake mix, plus ingredients listed on the box
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup freeze dried strawberries
  • ½ box Nilla wafer cookies, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • fresh strawberries, for garnish
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  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare four 8-inch round cake pans by lining them with parchment paper and then grease.
  • Prepare the white and strawberry cake mixes in accordance with the instructions on the box. Use the prepared pans to bake two white cakes and two strawberry cakes. Once finished baking, remove from pans after 10 minutes and then cool completely on a cooling rack.
  • Take a large mixing bowl and beat the softened butter and 3 cups of the confectioners' sugar. Once smooth, add the remaining 3 cups of confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract, and the heavy cream, and then beat until fluffy. Add more heavy cream a little at a time if the frosting is too stiff.
  • Now take the freeze-dried strawberries and Nilla wafers and crush them in a Ziploc bag using a rolling pin. Once crushed, add the melted butter to the bag and toss until well combined.
  • Next, place one of the cooled white cakes on a plate and frost the top of it. Then place one of the strawberry cakes on top of that one and frost it. Repeat with the remaining two cakes, frost the sides, and then press the crunch mixture all over the top and sides. Finally, garnish with fresh strawberries and enjoy!
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  • Don’t frost it until it’s completely cool or else the frosting might melt and that won’t look good.
  • Leave the butter at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes to soften. This makes it easier to blend with the other frosting ingredients.
  • If you prefer to use square cake pans, use 7-inch square pans instead of the 8-inch round ones.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 869kcal (43%), Carbohydrates: 142g (47%), Protein: 3g (6%), Fat: 32g (49%), Saturated Fat: 20g (125%), Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 75mg (25%), Sodium: 772mg (34%), Potassium: 303mg (9%), Fiber: 3g (13%), Sugar: 108g (120%), Vitamin A: 870IU (17%), Vitamin C: 241mg (292%), Calcium: 177mg (18%), Iron: 6mg (33%)
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