Strawberry puree is made by cooking strawberries with sugar. The heating dissolves and melts the sugar in the water contained in the strawberries. It also evaporates water, creating a thick red syrup containing strawberry solids. The resulting puree is concentrated in color, texture, and strawberry flavor.
Whether you have strawberries that need to be used up or a recipe that requires strawberry puree, this is the recipe for you. It comes together in minutes with no fancy equipment (blender or food processor) and uses only a few ingredients.
After making my strawberry puree recipe, if not using immediately, I will pour it into a glass container like a mason jar and store it in my fridge.
You can also make strawberry puree to save in the freezer for long term storage. For that you can use freezer-safe zip top bags or special containers made for long term freezer storage.
In an airtight container and stored in the fridge, strawberry puree should last at least a few weeks. Typically when you have heated a mixture, added lots of sugar, removed the water, and kept it chilled, it prevents microbial growth. (This is the process that home canners know very well, allowing them to store and preserve all kinds of things.)
Cakes are probably my favorite way to use strawberry puree, but I’m a bit biased since cakes are my focus right now :)
You can, but unless you know the cake recipe pretty well, it’s difficult to say whether or not it will negatively affect the texture and rise of the cake.
Strawberry puree adds extra sugar (sugar = moisture) and strawberry solids (adds to the starch content) to a cake batter.
It may mess up the ratios if the recipe hangs in a delicate balance where exact moisture and starch content are required for a specific texture.
Box cake mix is the one type of cake I’d say is ok to add the puree directly to the cake batter. Those mixes are insanely (and almost unbelievably) stable. They can withstand all substitutions and additions and still come out fantastic. (TIP: You may have to add some pink food coloring to achieve a pinkish rather than gray cake. Strawberries are sensitive to the pH of cake batters, which is a video I’m editing right now.
1. Use the strawberry puree as cake filling. Not only will it give a stronger punch of strawberry flavor, since you’re not adding it to the batter, it has no impact on the cake recipe itself so you can just bake it as you are use to.
For cupcakes, just cut out the centers and use a piping bag or small spoon to add a bit of the puree into the cupcake. Frost as you normally would.
For layer cakes, pipe a dam of buttercream around the perimeter of the cake layers, then pour in some of the puree. The dam is to ensure the puree doesn’t drip down the sides of the cake, but that’s a vibe in and of itself, so go for that if you want a naked style drip cake.
2. Swirl the strawberry puree in the batter. After pouring the batter into your cake or cupcake pans, drizzle some puree over the batter. Use a skewer or toothpick to swirl the puree around. The finished cakes with have these beautiful swirls of concentrated strawberry flavor intertwined within the crumbs.
The cool thing about these two suggestions is that it gives you the chance to easily combine flavors.
lemon cake + strawberry puree swirl + lemon buttercream = Strawberry Lemonade Cake
matcha cake + strawberry puree filling + vanilla whipped cream = Matcha Strawberry Cake
If you’d like to use any of my recipes, I have a web app called The Cakeculator. It lets you choose the pan size and flavor of a cake and build your own cake recipe. You can use the strawberry puree in any of my cake flavors that you like, located on my Cakeculator here.
Typically emulsion-type frostings are best, so those are your Italian, Swiss, and French buttercreams.
Emulsions are super stable mixtures of butter and other ingredients and can withstand a higher proportion of water-based ingredients (that would be your strawberry puree).
If you’re all about American buttercream, you can add strawberry puree to that, just not as much.
To swirl the puree in a classic New York-style cheesecake:
If you want to add the puree post-baking, allow the cheesecake to cool completely and remove it from springform as indicated in the recipe. Pour the puree atop the cheesecake to get a drippy effect.
If you’re looking for a good New York cheesecake recipe, I use this one here by Emojoie cuisine. You can also see how he uses raspberry puree after the cheesecake it baked.
I’m throwing this idea in here because my kids adore any and all drinks with strawberries. You can add it to milkshakes, but their favorite way is to make fresh strawberry milk.
This is their favorite boba shop drink, but I also love to make it at home for them.
Just pour some puree into the bottom of a tall glass (a few tablespoons) and fill it to the top with any milk of your choice. Stick a straw in there, and you’ll have one happy kid.
The gist of my strawberry puree recipe is that we’re using heat to melt and dissolve the sugar in the water inside strawberries.
Strawberries are relatively high in water content, so there’s no need to add extra water to your puree. In fact, we want to do the opposite - so much water that we want to evaporate some of it. In the cooking world, this is called a ‘reduction’ as we reduce the amount of water in a mixture.
You also don’t need extra equipment because the heat is excellent at breaking down most of the strawberries. I prefer this thicker, jammy puree, but if you need a super smooth puree, feel free to blend or process your strawberries before adding it to the saucepan in Step 1.
*Lemon juice adds additional acid to the strawberry puree, which aids in flavor as well as maintaining a red color.