Strawberry Cake Filling

With just five ingredients, you can make this strawberry cake filling that doubles as an instant fruity topping for your favorite desserts.
Strawberry Cake Filling Recipe photo by Taste of Home

After working hard on baking cake layers and whipping up a frosting from scratch, your cake deserves a better filling than just a store-bought jar of too-sweet jelly. Lucky for all of us, this from-scratch strawberry cake filling is easy to make and incomparably delicious. Prepare this filling the day before assembling your cake, and enjoy stress-free cake building that beats anything from a jar.

Ingredients for Strawberry Cake Filling

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  • Strawberries: Grab a bag of frozen strawberries, and let it thaw. No need to drain the excess liquid before using in this recipe. Simply pour everything right into the saucepan.
  • Sugar: Strawberries are naturally sweet, and we coax out that sweetness even more with a bit of granulated sugar. Don’t sub in brown sugar, or it will discolor the pretty red hue.
  • Cornstarch: A bit of cornstarch thickens the filling. Feel free to sub in tapioca starch if that’s all you have on hand. Use 6 tablespoons tapioca starch in place of the 3 tablespoons cornstarch called for in this recipe.
  • Lemon juice: A squeeze of lemon juice brightens the sugary-sweet flavor of this strawberry filling for cake and cupcakes.

Step 1: Combine the ingredients

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Take out a small saucepan, and toss in the thawed strawberries, sugar, cornstarch and water. Stir until everything is combined.

Step 2: Boil the filling

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Place the saucepan over a medium-high heat, and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook and stir the mixture until it’s thickened, about two minutes.

Step 3: Add in the lemon juice

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Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice. Transfer the strawberry filling to a small bowl, and let it cool completely to room temperature. Cover with storage wrap, and refrigerate until the filling is chilled. You can now use your strawberry filling for cakes, cupcakes or other treats like layered parfaits!

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Recipe Variations

  • Use a different fruit: Make a whole new cake filling by swapping the strawberries out for a different frozen fruit. Try blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or cherries instead.
  • Swap a different citrus: Replace the lemon with freshly squeezed lime or orange juice.
  • Add in herbs: Toss finely minced fresh, bright herbs like mint or thyme into the filling. Or infuse the whole herbs into the filling during the cooking process, and fish them out once the saucepan is off the heat and the filling has cooled for about 10 minutes.
  • Make it adult-only: Sub the lemon juice out for vodka, brandy, Champagne or bourbon. Since it’s just 1 tablespoon alcohol, it won’t turn the filling outrageously boozy. However, make sure to let adults know the filling is spiked, in case anyone is abstaining from alcohol.
  • Create texture: We love how chia seeds can power up a jam recipe while adding a slightly crunchy and jell-like texture. Omit the cornstarch, and stir in 2 tablespoons chia seeds.

How to Store Strawberry Cake Filling

To store, allow the strawberry cake filling to cool to room temperature. Place the filling in an airtight container, and keep it in the fridge for up to three days. It’s actually best to make this filling the day before assembling the cake so the filling has time to chill and thicken.

Strawberry Cake Filling Tips

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How else can I use this strawberry cake filling?

Besides as a cake and cupcake filling, you can use this strawberry filling as a topping for cheesecake, brownies, ice cream, pancakes and waffles. It also makes an excellent filling for layering into trifles, or assembling with sweetened whipped cream and 2-ingredient biscuits for an easy strawberry shortcake.

What cakes go well with strawberry filling?

Strawberry cake filling can be spooned into most layer cakes but works especially well with vanilla cake, lemon ricotta cake, unicorn cake, peanut butter and jelly cake, coconut chiffon cake and, of course, decadent chocolate cake. You could also roll it up into the cake of a cake roll recipe.

How do you keep the strawberry cake filling from bleeding in and out of the cake?

Applying frosting to your cake will create a barrier to keep the strawberry filling from bleeding. When building the cake, spread a thin layer of frosting on the tops of each cake that will hold the filling, then pipe a ring of frosting on the perimeter. Spoon in your strawberry cake filling, then repeat with the next cake layer if desired.

Strawberry Cake Filling

Use this sweet strawberry cake filling for a cake roll or layer cake. It also tastes fantastic served over ice cream or shortcake. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Strawberry Cake Filling Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time

Prep: 10 min. + chilling


1-1/2 cups


  • 1 package (14 ounces) frozen unsweetened sliced strawberries, thawed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the first 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir in lemon juice. Transfer to a small bowl. Refrigerate until chilled.

Nutrition Facts

2 tablespoons: 68 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 0 sodium, 18g carbohydrate (14g sugars, 1g fiber), 0 protein.