Strawberry Crunch Cake (Lightened Up and SO GOOD)

Strawberry Crunch Cake features creamy vanilla frosting nestled between layers of sweet strawberry cake, all covered in an irresistible strawberry shortcake crumb coating! Lightened up but you wouldn’t know it for a second – it’s just heavenly!!

This Strawberry Crunch Cake was inspired by my childhood favorite ice cream bar! I could not get enough of that sweet strawberry crunch as a kid. It was my favorite dessert ever, and I am so happy to have made it into this DELICIOUS cake!

What truly makes this cake is the buttery shortbread strawberry crunch. It actually consists of two different flavors: strawberry and vanilla. It’s absolutely addicting and pairs insanely well with the sweet, fluffy strawberry cake and creamy vanilla frosting.

Even cooler is that this Strawberry Crunch Cake tastes so incredibly delicious despite being lightened up. I promise, no one will know for a second. It’s so delicious!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS STRAWBERRY CRUNCH CAKE

  • It’s perfectly sweet without being too indulgent
  • HELLO childhood throwback!
  • STRAWBERRY CAKE + VANILLA FROSTING + STRAWBERRY SHORTBREAD CRUNCH 😍
  • Less than 200 calories a slice!
  • Packs a little bit of protein
  • 10/10! Seriously, everyone will love this!

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE STRAWBERRY CRUNCH

For the strawberry shortbread crunch, we’ll make two different flavors: strawberry and vanilla.

  • Flour – Use all purpose flour. You could also substitute Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour.
  • Butter – Use normal butter for this recipe. Light butter won’t bring the same crunch.
  • Strawberry gelatin mix – Make sure to use gelatin, not pudding mix.
  • Sweetener – I used Swerve. You can use any granular sweetener.
  • Vanilla extract

FOR THE STRAWBERRY CAKE

  • Vanilla protein powder – I used PEScience Vanilla. Use my code Laurenfitfoodie to save 10% on your purchase. If you need to sub, please make sure it is a protein powder you know bakes well (ideally a whey + casein blend).
  • Flour – Use all purpose flour. You could also substitute Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour.
  • Coconut flour – I recommend Bob’s Red Mill, Anthony’s, or Viva Naturals.
  • Sweetener – I used Swerve. You can use any sweetener.
  • Baking essentials – Grab some salt, baking powder, and vanilla extract.
  • Strawberry gelatin mix – Make sure to use gelatin, not pudding mix.
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Egg whites

FOR THE FROSTING

I used a jar of whipped vanilla frosting to keep it easy here. The whipped is a little lighter compared to normal frosting. You could also use another frosting of your choice or my Vanilla Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.

HOW TO MAKE STRAWBERRY CRUNCH CAKE

First, let’s make the strawberry crunch topping.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Add the strawberry gelatin mix, 1/4 cup of the flour and 2 tbsp of butter to a small bowl. Then, using a fork, mix together, mashing the mixture down until it is fine and crumbly.
  3. Add the remaining 1/4 cup flour and 2 tbsp butter, along with the sweetener and vanilla to separate bowl. Using a fork, mix together, mashing the mixture down until it is fine and crumbly.
  4. Add the strawberry crumbles to the baking sheet and spread out evenly. Then, sprinkle on the vanilla crumbles, ever so slightly mixing them by hand.
  5. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes. Do not stir. Remove from the oven and let cool completely, at least 1 hour. If they feel warm, place the baking sheet in the fridge or wait another 30 minutes.
  6. Store in an airtight container.

Next, we’ll make the strawberry cake.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two 8-inch cake pans with cooking spray.
  2. Add all dry ingredients (protein powder through gelatin mix) to a mixing bowl and mix until combined. 
  3. To the same bowl, add the wet ingredients and mix until all the ingredients are incorporated. I used a hand mixer for this. 
  4. Next, pour batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. 
  5. Then, bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
  6. Let the cakes cool completely before adding frosting.

Lastly, we will assemble the cake.

  1. Set one of the cakes on a flat plate. Add about 3/4 cup of the frosting and spread out evenly. Then, add the other cake on top. 
  2. Add remaining frosting to the cake and spread out along the top and the sides. 
  3. Sprinkle the strawberry crunch on the top of the cake. Use your hands to add crunch to the sides of the cake. 

HOW TO STORE

To maximize the shelf life of the Strawberry Crunch Cake, place it in a covered airtight container or Cake Keeper, or cover with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.

  • Your cake will keep at room temperature for 1-2 days.
  • Your cake will keep in the fridge for 1 week.
  • Your cake will keep in the freezer for 4 months.

STRAWBERRY CRUNCH CAKE FAQ

Can I use something instead of the all-purpose flour?

I would recommend normal all-purpose flour. However, you can substitute Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour if you need to make this gluten-free. You could also use oat flour if you must, but I really think it would bring a strong flavor and take away from the sweet bakery style.

Can I use something instead of the coconut flour?

Coconut flour is much more absorbent than other flours. It allows us to use less to keep calories a little lower. But since it is more absorbent, you would have to 3-4x the amount if you wanted to replace with another flour.

Can I make this without protein powder?

Yes, if you wish to leave out, just replace with more all-purpose flour gram for gram.

MORE DESSERTS TO ENJOY

WANT TO MAKE THIS RECIPE?

If you try this strawberry crunch cake and love it, please rate this recipe!

You can also tag me on Instagram, @LaurenFitFoodie. It makes my day seeing your yummy recreations!

Yield: 12

Strawberry Crunch Cake

Strawberry Crunch Cake

Strawberry Crunch Cake features creamy vanilla frosting nestled between layers of sweet strawberry cake, all covered in an irresistible strawberry shortcake crumb coating! Lightened up but you wouldn't know it for a second - it's just heavenly!!

Ingredients

For the Strawberry Crunch:

  • 1 tsp sugar-free strawberry flavored gelatin mix (3g)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour, divided (60g)
  • 1/4 cup butter, cold, divided (56g)
  • 1/4 cup sweetener (48g) – I used Swerve
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

For the Cake:

  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (62g)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (60g)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (28g)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sweetener (92g) - I used Swerve
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp sugar free strawberry jello gelatin mix* (4g)
  • 1.5 cup unsweetened applesauce (360g)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup egg whites (180g)

For the Frosting:

  • 1 cup whipped vanilla frosting (192g)

Instructions

For the Strawberry Crunch:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. To a small bowl, add the strawberry gelatin mix, 1/4 cup of the flour and 2 Tbsp of the butter. Using a fork, mix together, mashing the mixture down until it is fine and crumbly.
  3. To a separate small bowl, add the remaining 1/4 cup flour and 2 Tbsp butter, along with the sweetener and vanilla. Using a fork, mix together, mashing the mixture down until it is fine and crumbly.
  4. Add the strawberry crumbles to the baking sheet and spread out evenly.  Then sprinkle on the vanilla crumbles, ever so slightly mixing them by hand.
  5. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes. Do not stir at all. Remove from the oven and let cool completely (at least 1 hour). If they feel warm, place the baking sheet in the fridge or wait another 30 minutes.
  6. Crumble into an airtight container to store.

For the Strawberry Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch cake pans with cooking spray.
  2. To a medium-sized bowl, add all the dry ingredients (protein powder through gelatin mix) and mix until combined. 
  3. To the same bowl, add the wet ingredients and mix until all the ingredients are incorporated. I used a hand mixer for this. 
  4. Pour batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. 
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
  6. Let the cakes cool completely before adding frosting. 

To Assemble:

  1. Set one of the cakes on a flat plate. Add about 3/4 cup of the frosting and spread out evenly. Add the other cake on top. 
  2. Add remaining frosting to the cake and spread out along the top and the sides. 
  3. Sprinkle the strawberry crunch on the top of the cake. Use your hands to add crunch to the sides of the cake. 

I prefer this cake best chilled for a true strawberry crunch bar vibe, but it's still great if you prefer to eat it at room temperature. I would recommend 2-3 hours of chilling before slicing.

Notes

*this amount of gelatin will make a light pink cake. For a deeper, brighter pink, use 1 to 1.5 tsp.

MFP entry: LFF Strawberry Crunch Cake

HOW TO STORE

To maximize the shelf life of the Strawberry Crunch Cake, place it in a covered airtight container or Cake Keeper, or cover with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.

  • Your cake will keep at room temperature for 1-2 days.
  • Your cake will keep in the fridge for 1 week.
  • Your cake will keep in the freezer for 4 months.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1/12 of cake (89g)

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 189Total Fat: 7.9gSaturated Fat: 3.7gCarbohydrates: 22.4gFiber: 1.7gSugar: 11.2gProtein: 7.1g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram and tag me @LaurenFitFoodie! 

6 Comments

    • You can use more all-purpose flour in its place, but since coconut flour is more absorbent, you will need to use 2-3x the amount to keep the same wet/dry ratio. I haven’t experienced subbing it, so I can’t say how much. If you give it a go, we would love to hear how it goes!

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