cakes spring and summer recipes

sumac roasted strawberry layer cake

a simple two layer cake made with sumac roasted strawberries. a sweet, tart roasted strawberry buttercream completes this decadent and delicious cake.

today my baby girl, my first, turns 6. SIX! how does it feel like the blink of an eye and eternity at the same time? this birthday is such a strange one. this birthday just happened to come in the middle of a pandemic. no friends or family will be at this birthday party. there will be homemade decorations, zoom calls and cake. oh there will be so. much. cake. this sumac roasted strawberry layer cake. created just for her. and you.

this cake is made from her favorite fruit and my penchant for tweaking classics into something modern. her two requests: make it pink and have lots of strawberries! to make cake and buttercream frosting you’ll need :

  • all purpose flour
  • cake flour
  • sugar
  • eggs
  • butter
  • oil
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar
  • ground sumac
  • 2 glorious pounds of strawberries
sumac roasted strawberry layer cake on a stand

how to roast strawberries

roasting strawberries is an easy and simple way to add lots of flavor. by roasting the strawberries, the sugars caramelize. this adds a depth of flavor you can’t get with fresh. it also tames the natural tartness of the berries. adding sumac brings an earthy, punchy tartness back to the strawberries. now you have the best of all the flavor worlds.

to roast strawberries you need a baking pan and parchment paper.

  • wash, hull and halve berries (or quarter if large)
  • place berries on the parchment lined baking sheet
  • sprinkle sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract and ground sumac
  • throughly coat berries in the sugar mix
  • roast at 375F for about 30 minutes
  • transfer to a glass measuring cup (for ease)
  • cool to room temperature
sumac roasted strawberries on a baking sheet

what is sumac?

sumac is a spice typically utilized in middle eastern cooking. its rarely found in desserts. this ruby hued spice packs a tart, citrusy punch. one that’s unique to this spice. sumac is derived from the sumac flower. the berries are dried and ground. most often, this spice is used in savory dishes. it is a common ingredient in za’atar and is used to dust everything from pita bread, to lamb, to desserts.

the most common flavor counterpart would be lemon zest. although, sumac is less pungent than lemon juice, it lends a similar punch of citrusy flavor. along those lines, sumac pairs well with:

  • fresh fruits and veggies
  • as a rub for meats (think lamb, chicken and fish)
  • topping for dips such as hummus
  • desserts featuring berries, lemon or chocolate

add some sumac friendly recipes to your weekly cooking rotation with these from bon appetite. you will love it!

partially frosted roasted strawberry cake

tips for making a layer cake

making a layer cake can be intimidating at first. in reality, it’s a lot of fun. the reward is a cake that can’t help but impress. to make this easier, here are a few tips:

  • weigh the batter on a food scale. this ensures each cake pan has the same amount of batter
  • fill 6-8″ pans 2/3 way full. 9″ + only 1/2 way full
  • if possible, use the same type of pan (metal, color, brand). this helps make sure each layer bakes at the same time and the same doneness
  • use cake strips. these are a recent revelation of mine. they help regulate the temperature of the batter in the pan, ensuring an even bake and no caving
  • cool cakes in the pan for 10-15 minutes. remove and cool on the cooling rack until room temperature
  • chill for minimum 2-3 hours before frosting
  • place a dollop of frosting on the cake stand/plate
  • spread an even layer (about 3/4 c per layer) across to slightly over the edge
  • place next layer on top
  • smooth 1 1/2 c on the top
  • use the remaining frosting to coat the exposed edges
  • chill another hour before frosting again (if doing more than the crumb coat)

final tips for the perfect sumac roasted strawberry layer cake

  • all cold ingredients should be room temperature
  • preheat the oven for at least 20-25 minutes before baking
  • line cake pans with parchment along the bottom
  • cool roasted strawberries to room temperature before using in the batter
  • use the zest of two lemons in place of sumac (if you don’t have any)
  • mash strawberries well. the smaller the pieces, the better it mixes
  • cakes edges will pull slightly away from the pan and tops will be golden. hopefully this happens at the same time. if not, remove the one that is done and bake the other longer. check for doneness every 1-2 minutes after
  • cool cakes to room temperature
  • chill layers in the fridge or freezer before frosting
  • wrap layers in plastic wrap if chilling for longer than a few hours
  • chill frosting cake after applying the crumb layer if frosting again
  • 4 cups frosting is perfect for a 8-9″ two layer cake. 5 cups for a 8-9″ three layer cake

looking for more berry desserts?

side angle of a sumac roasted strawberry cake
slices of sumac roasted strawberry cake
sumac roasted strawberry cake sliced into many pieces
slice of sumac roasted strawberry cake
slices of sumac roasted strawberry cake on plates
fork in a piece of  strawberry cake
empty cake stand with cake crumbs, fork and pie server

sumac roasted strawberry layer cake

a simple two layer cake made with sumac roasted strawberries. a sweet, tart roasted strawberry buttercream completes this decadent and delicious cake.
4.19 from 11 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Cooling + Chill Time 3 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins
Course Celebrations, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 9″ layer cake


  • baking sheet
  • parchment paper
  • food processor
  • stand or hand mixer
  • 2- 9" cake pans
  • food scale, recommended
  • cake strips, optional


sumac roasted strawberries

  • 2 lbs strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground sumac
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

sumac roasted strawberry cake

  • 2 c cake flour (240g) sub with 1:1 all purpose flour
  • 1 c all pupose
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened (113g)
  • 1/2 c vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 3/4 c granulated sugar (385g)
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c whole milk greek yogurt sub with 1:1 milk
  • 1 1/2 c sumac roasted strabwerries, well mashed

sumac roasted strawberry buttercream

  • 1/4-1/3 c sumac roasted strawberries (use leftover berries)
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened (113g)
  • 4 c confectioners sugar, sifted (500g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tbsp heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c freezed dried strawberries, crushed (optional topping)


suamc roasted strawberries

  • Preheat oven to 375F. line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place strawberries, sugar, sumac and sugar on lined baking sheet. Mix well to coat all the berries in the sugar ans sumac. Roast berries in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. pour berries into a large measuring cup (at least 2 cup capacity) to cool to room temperature, an additional 15-20 minutes. mash well to a chunky "puree."

sumac roasted strawberry cake

  • Reduce oven temperature to 350F. Line two 9" cake pans with parchment paper along the bottom. If needed, spray with non stick cooking spray. Set aside.
    In a bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
    In a medium bowl, combine yogurt with 1 1/2 c roasted strawberries. Incorporate and set aside.
  • Beat togther the butter and oil until smooth and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. With mixer on medium high speed, slowly stream in the sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes after all the sugar has been added. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
    Reduce speed to low. Add eggs, one at a time. Wait about 30 seocnds bewteen adding each additional egg. Add vanilla extract and beat 30 seconds, until fully combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Using a large spatula or wooden spoon, mix dry ingredients, strawberry/yogurt mixture and wet ingredients together. Start with dry ingredients, alternating with the strawberry/yogurt mixture. Mix each time until just combined. Finish with the dry ingredients.
  • Using a food scale: Pour an equal amount of cake batter into each prepared cake pan. Using a measuring cup: Scoop out one cup of batter per pan, alternating until no batter remains.
    Wet cake strips. Ring out an excess water. Fit and secure around the cake pans. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes. Cake will be lightly golden brown, with edges pull slighly away from the edges of the pan.
    Cool cakes in the pans for 15-20 minutes. Carefully remove from the pans and cool to room temperature. If frosting the same day, place cakes in the fridge to chill for 2-3 hours. If frosting one day (or more) later, wrap cakes in plastic wrap. Chill in the freezer until ready to frost.

sumac roasted strawberry buttercream

  • In a clean mixing bowl, place butter, 2 c powedered sugar, 2 tbsp heavy cream and vanilla extract. Beat together until smooth. Add remaining pureed roasted strawberries. Beat on low, adding 1/2 c remaining powdered sugar. When all the powdered sugar has been added, beat frosting on medius-high until well combined. If needed, add 1-2 tbsp more heavy cream. Beat until desired consistency has been reached.
    Frost cake with room temperature frosting. If using within 1-3 days, frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before frositng a cake.
    Makes about 4 c of frosting.
Keyword celebrations, roasted fruit desserts, roasted strawberry cake, sumac desserts
did you make this recipe?tag @olivesnthyme on Instagram

did you make this recipe?

tag @olivesnthyme on instagram

love this recipe?!

let others know by leaving a rating in the recipe + comment below

love this recipe?!

let others know by leaving a rating in the recipe + comment below


  1. This recipe was so fun to make and very very delicious. The cake was both moist and fluffy which is not always an easy task to accomplish.
    Roasting the strawberries made the house smell incredible. I think I will be roasting more to use on ice cream or pancakes 😍.

    Also if anyone is interested I did substitute the yogurt with buttermilk and it worked beautifully.

    Thank you for this lovely and easy to follow recipe.

    1. Hi Rebecca! Im glad to read this cake worked for you! I think the buttermilk sub was an excellent choice. 🙂 Thank you for trying the recipe and leaving a review!

  2. Thanks for posting this recipe. The sumac adds such a delicate layer of flavor that elevates this above other strawberry cakes I’ve had. The cakes came out so moist, but not too dense. The only substitution I made to the recipe was using rose water in the frosting instead of vanilla extract. The subtle floral tones worked quite well with the sumac/berry combo already in place.

  3. Hey there!
    So excited to try making this.
    Just wondering with subbing the whole Greek yogurt to milk. Do you mean regular whole milk at the same quantity.?

    1. Hi Jessica! I would sub with 1:1 buttermilk (or regular milk with 2 tsp lemon juice added about 10 minutes before using. This curdles the regular milk to mimic buttermilk)

  4. I made this cake for my sisters 30th birthday and it was AMAZING! The roasted strawberries added such a beautiful color and flavor. Definitely will be making this again!

  5. This cake was such a hit with our household. We tend to favor fruit flavored desserts and this was so moist and delicious!

    1. Hi Estefi,
      Those red flakes are crushed up freeze dried strawberries. Its more a decorative touch than anything else. Think of them as sprinkles!

  6. Hi! This looks incredible. Is all purpose flour ok here? I have a hard time finding cake flour but I don’t want it to get too dense..

    1. Hi Julia, no problem. You can make a DIY cake flour: 2 cups all purpose flour (240-250g). Remove 4 tbsp or 1/4 c (30g). Replace the flour that was removed with 1/4 c cornstarch. Sift the new mixture together 4-5 times. This makes an approximate 2 cups cake flour.

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