Berry season may technically be ending soon, but we are a household of strawberry lovers year round.  Nothing beats a juicy strawberry when it comes to a naturally sweet treat.  My family is always up for a bowl of strawberries as a snack, side item or dessert.  They are such a staple in our kitchen that one of my daughter’s first words was strawberry.  Not that I understood or recognized her pronunciation of strawberry at first…. it sounded more like “shy-ee”.  She would say “shy-ee, shy-ee” in this sweet little singsong voice for months before I put two and two together.  And when I finally clued in to what she was saying — we both celebrated — with some strawberries!  Fast forward a few years and we’re certainly all on the same strawberry loving page when it comes to this cake!


Today’s cake builds upon the flavors of a classic dessert, strawberry pie.  We start with a heavenly pound cake recipe that’s baked with graham cracker crumbs inside, giving us that delicious taste of a graham cracker crust.  It’s filled with layers of a sweetened Swiss meringue buttercream and just a light slight smear of strawberry jam.  Then comes the frosting!  This fresh strawberry buttercream not only tastes like summer on a plate, but gives us a perfectly pink cake with tiny flecks of visible strawberry.  You’ve gotta love it when the icing itself looks this beautiful.  The only thing missing is a mound of strawberries on top…. and the forks!

Strawberry Pie Cake | Graham Cracker Cake with Strawberry Buttercream and fresh berries | by Carrie Sellman for

Strawberry Pie Cake | Graham Cracker Cake with Strawberry Buttercream and fresh berries | by Carrie Sellman for

a recipe by Carrie Sellman

For the Graham Cracker Cake:

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 cups cake flour
1 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs (about 9 sheets)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 325.  Prepare four 8″ round pans with butter, flour and parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  3. Whisk together milk, cream, eggs and vanilla.  Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium-high using the paddle attachment.  Cream until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl.
  5. With the mixer on low, add one third of the dry ingredients.  Pour in one half of the milk mixture.
  6. Add another third of the dry ingredients.  Pour in the remaining milk mixture followed by the end of the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.
  7. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake for about 25 – 28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.
  8. Let cool for about 15 minutes and then invert onto a rack to cool completely.

For the Sweetened Buttercream Filling and Strawberry Buttercream Frosting:

10 egg whites
3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons finely chopped strawberry puree

  1. In bowl of stand mixer combine egg whites, sugar and salt.  Place over a pan of simmering water and whisk continuously until temperature reaches 160 on a candy thermometer and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. (The mixture should feel smooth when rubbed between your fingers).
  2. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Starting on low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high, whisk until stiff peaks form and mixture is fluffy and glossy, about 10 minutes.  Your bowl should no longer feel warm to the touch.
  3. Switch to the paddle attachment.  With mixer on medium-low, add butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Continue mixing until icing is smooth and silky, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
  5. Divide buttercream in two, reserving one half to use for the filling.
  6. Mix strawberry puree to the other half of buttercream, creating the strawberry frosting.

To Assemble:

  1. Spread a thin layer of strawberry jam onto the bottom layer of cake.
  2. Add a layer of plain buttercream onto the jam.
  3. Top with the second layer of cake and repeat until all four layers are stacked.
  4. Frost outside of cake with the strawberry buttercream.
  5. Top with a swirl of plain buttercream and mound of strawberries.
  6. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Strawberry Pie Cake | Graham Cracker Cake with Strawberry Buttercream and fresh berries | by Carrie Sellman for


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