You’ll love this homemade strawberry shortcake cheesecake with layers of strawberry cake, rich and creamy cheesecake, homemade cream cheese frosting, and a crunchy strawberry cookie crumble topping.
Hey Cousins! So many of you have requested strawberry desserts. Well, let me remind y’all why you don’t often see strawberries on my blog. Why? Because Cousin Rosie is allergic to strawberries! Yes, indeed, I am allergic to them, so I will not be baking with them anytime soon. However, there are a few strawberry desserts I can make for you without risking my life. This semi-homemade strawberry shortcake cheesecake is one of them!
Now you may be wondering, how in the world did I manage to make a strawberry shortcake cheesecake without using actual strawberries? My secret is strawberry gelatin! It gives just enough strawberry flavor for me. If you are one of the lucky ones that can eat strawberries, you can definitely add strawberries to the cake batter.
What Is Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake?
A classic strawberry shortcake is one of the most deliciously simple desserts. It’s macerated strawberries and a simple whipped cream piled onto a flaky dessert biscuit. It’s a recipe perfect for summertime, with sweet, fresh strawberries. Unfortunately, however, it’s a recipe I cannot indulge in!
This strawberry shortcake cheesecake is much more reminiscent of those nostalgic Good Humor ice cream bars we enjoyed as kids. It’s the best of both worlds—cake and cheesecake, topped with frosting and a cookie crumble. You really can’t get any more decadent!
Now, before we jump into how to make this strawberry shortcake cheesecake recipe, I must warn you that the recipe is a bit time-consuming. We’re actually using a boxed cake mix, so it’s semi-homemade. There are a lot of steps to follow, but I promise it’s worth it! I have a step-by-step video tutorial on my YouTube channel to make it easier to follow along.
Ingredients Needed for a Semi-Homemade Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake
I’ll be honest—this recipe calls for a lot of ingredients. But the good news is that they’re all simple ingredients that are easy to find and your local grocery store (you could probably even find most of these ingredients at the Dollar Store if you’re a budget mama like me!).
For this list of recipe ingredients, I’m going to break it down by cake layers. There are a total of four layers to this cake: the strawberry cake layers, the cheesecake layers, the cream cheese frosting layer, and finally, the strawberry cookie crunch layer. So here’s what you need:
Ingredients for the Strawberry Cake Layers:
- Boxed cake mix: I prefer white cake. You could also use strawberry cake mix for this recipe if you choose.
- Strawberry gelatin: you can use the Jell-o brand or a generic brand. It is artificially flavored, so there are no real strawberries for anyone who, like me, cannot have strawberries!
- Eggs, oil, and milk/water: these ingredients are listed on the back of the cake mix box. That’s all you need!
- Mashed strawberries (optional): If you still want that authentic strawberry flavor, feel free to add mashed strawberries to the cake batter! I recommend adding 1/2 to 1 cup. You could also use diced-up fresh strawberries.
Ingredients for the Creamy Cheesecake Layers:
- Cream cheese: I use two packages of cream cheese in this recipe. Make sure you allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature before making the cheesecake. It will mix SO much easier!
- Sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract: these three ingredients are staples for homemade cheesecakes. Y’all know I always recommend REAL vanilla extract if you can find it.
- Heavy whipping cream and cornstarch: these final two ingredients help make the cheesecake batter extra creamy.
Ingredients for the Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Cream cheese: Again—room-temperature cream cheese is essential!
- Butter, heavy whipping cream, and confectioner’s sugar (aka powdered sugar)
Ingredients for the Strawberry Crunch Layer:
- Cookies: I use butter cookies, which are essentially the same as shortbread cookies. You can use any variation of butter/shortbread cookies you’d like if you have a favorite kind. You can also use golden Oreos.
- Strawberry gelatin: you’ll only need this for half the mixture to give the crumble the strawberry flavor.
- Butter and ice water: these ingredients help form the cookie crumble into a dough-like texture that is baked for extra crunch.
- Red food coloring: just a few drops give the cookie crumble that perfectly pink color!
This is the equipment I use and recommend for this recipe. If you don’t have some of these things, that’s okay! I’ll recommend what you can use instead.
- 9-inch cake pans: you’ll need at least two for this recipe.
- 9-inch springform pan: a springform pan is the easiest pan to use for a cheesecake. If you don’t have one, you can use cake pans and parchment paper (but be warned—removing the cheesecake might be a little tricky!).
- I use a Food processor to easily crush the cookies for the crumble topping and make the cheesecake crust. (If you don’t have one, crush the cookies in a Ziploc bag and make the cheesecake crust in a bowl.)
- A baking sheet that is deep enough to hold ½ cup of water when you bake the cheesecake layer.
- An electric hand mixer to make the cream cheese frosting. You CAN beat it by hand with a whisk or spoon, but it is MUCH easier to use a hand mixer.
How to Make Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake
We’ve made it to the directions, y’all! Now, as always, the recipe card below gives full recipe ingredients, measurements, and detailed instructions. Of course, I always recommend you follow the recipe as written for the best results.
First Step: Make the Strawberry Cake
- Prepare the boxed cake mix in a large mixing bowl as detailed on the packaging.
- Add the strawberry gelatin to the cake mix. You can also add fresh strawberries at this time if you’d like.
- Grease two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray. Pour half of the cake mix into each pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the pans for a few minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
Second Step: Make the Cheesecakes
While the strawberry cakes are baking, begin making the cheesecake layers. You will need TWO layers of cheesecake—one will be a crustless center cheesecake layer, and one is a crusted bottom layer.
- Start by adding the room-temperature cream cheese into a large mixing bowl along with the cornstarch and heavy whipping cream. Mix with your electric mixer.
- Add the eggs (one at a time), vanilla extract, and sugar. Mix until the cream cheese mixture is completely smooth and creamy.
- To make the crustless cheesecake layer, line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper (it’s best if the parchment paper is slightly over the edges of the cake pan, making it easier to remove after baking). Pour three cups of the cream cheese mixture into the cake pan. Place the cake pan on a baking sheet and fill the baking sheet with ½ cup of water (DO NOT put the water on the cheesecake! Only on the baking sheet!)
- Next, make the crusted cheesecake. Start by making the crust (butter cookies, butter, and ice water) in the food processor. Line the base of a springform pan with the crust dough and bake for about 15 minutes.
- Once the crust is done and cooled, pour the rest of the cheesecake batter into the springform pan.
- Bake the cheesecakes in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Both cheesecake layers should be cooked thoroughly before assembling the cake.
Third Step: Make the Cookie Crumbles
- Add the rest of the cookies to your food processor, along with butter and ice water. Pulse until it turns into large crumbs.
- Remove half of the cookie mixture. Then add the strawberry gelatin and red food coloring to the remaining cookies in the food processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture turns a medium-tone pink color.
- Spread the pink and white cookie crumbles into a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for about ten minutes at 350 degrees.
- Once done, allow them to cool completely, then crumble them up and set them aside until it’s time to assemble the cake.
Step Four: Make the Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting
- Add cream cheese, butter, heavy whipping cream, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Mix with the electric mixer until well combined.
- Slowly add in the powdered sugar and continue to mix until the frosting is smooth and lump free.
Final Step: Assemble the Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake
Once all the cake and cheesecake layers are completely cooled, it’s time to assemble! Note that I do not add frosting in between each layer of cake. I don’t feel it’s necessary. If you want to, make sure it’s a thin layer, so it doesn’t squish out of the sides of the cake.
- Remove the crusted cheesecake from the springform pan—this is the bottom layer of the cake.
- The second layer is a strawberry cake layer.
- The third layer is the crustless cheesecake layer. Carefully remove the cheesecake from the cake pan and transfer it to the cake. You can do this with spatulas or carefully flip the layer over and remove the parchment paper.
- The fourth top layer is the last layer of strawberry cheesecake.
- Next, frost the sides and top of the cake with the cream cheese frosting. You don’t need a thick layer of frosting on the cake.
- Finally, generously apply the strawberry cookie crumbles to the top and sides of the cake, gently pressing the crumbles into the frosting.
- Let the cake sit (preferably in the fridge) for about 20 minutes before cutting and serving.
FAQs and Pro-Tips for Making a Layered Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake
Now y’all know why I said this cake was time-consuming! It’s definitely a labor of love, but my friends, it is sooooo worth it! This strawberry shortcake cheesecake is such a delicious dessert. Granted, you might want to save it for special occasions like holidays and birthdays. Here are some frequently asked questions, as well as some pro tips on how to perfect this recipe.
What kind of cake should I use for a strawberry shortcake cheesecake?
Like I said in the ingredient list, I use white cake cause it’s kind of neutral in flavor—it’s vanilla, but not as much as a yellow cake. You can also use strawberry cake mix. Even chocolate cake or lemon cake would be delicious in this recipe!
Can I add flavoring to the cheesecake layer?
Yes, you certainly could flavor the cheesecake layer in this recipe. Add freeze-dried strawberry powder or strawberry preserves to make a strawberry cheesecake.
What are some shortcuts I can take to make this recipe less time-consuming?
While I always encourage you to try the recipe as it’s written, I know sometimes y’all don’t have hours to dedicate to makin’ a cake! So, in that case, yes, there are a few hacks to cut down on time.
- If you don’t want to make from-scratch cheesecakes, try the Philadelphia No-Bake Cheesecake Filling instead. Note that this filling will likely NOT be as firm as a baked cheesecake, so use caution when layering it.
- For the crusted cheesecake layer, make a no-bake graham cracker crust instead. This will cut down on baking time.
- Instead of making a homemade cream cheese frosting, a store-bought frosting is totally fine. I recommend whipping it up in a bowl to give it some extra fluff!
More pro tips to make this recipe easier:
- Using a stand mixer to make the cake batter, cream cheese batter, and cream cheese frosting will reduce the number of bowls you have to use.
- Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl when making all the cake layers. This ensures you completely incorporate all the ingredients and won’t get any lumpy batters.
- Serve each cake slice with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream as an extra topping.
Do you have any other strawberry recipes?
Heck yes, I do! Even though I cannot enjoy fresh strawberries, I could never deprive y’all of the pleasure. So, here are some more strawberry recipes—including some yummy desserts—that you can make and enjoy!
- Strawberry Pink Moscato Cake (goes along with my pink Moscato cupcakes perfectly!)
- Strawberry Banana Pudding
- Strawberry Jello Poke Cake
- Strawberries and Cream Cake Truffles
Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake Recipe Card + Video Tutorial
Below you will find the complete recipe card and video tutorial for this strawberry cake recipe! I’m so excited for y’all to try it! Everyone requests this cake for birthdays and it’s always a hit! Don’t forget to tag and follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, subscribe to I Heart Recipes on YouTube, and check out all my cookbooks! I just released a brand new cookbook, Super Soul Food with Cousin Rosie, with many recipes you can’t find anywhere else.
Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake
Strawberry Cake Ingredients:
Shortcake Cookie Crumbles:
- 2 11.5 oz packages of butter cookies
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp ice water
- 6 oz box of Strawberry Gelatin Mix
- 3 drops of red food coloring
Make the Strawberry Cake Layers:
- Sprinkle the cake mix into a large bowl, then whisk to get rid of the lumps.
- Next, sprinkle a 6 oz package of strawberry gelatin into the mixing bowl, then whisk in with the cake mix.
- Add in 3 large egg whites, 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, and 1 cup of milk.
- Mix the cake batter at a low speed until the cake batter is smooth and lump free.
- Spray two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray.
- Pour the cake batter into each cake pan, filling them each about 3/4 full.
- Bake the cakes on 350 F for about 20 minutes or until done.
- Remove the cakes from the oven, let sit for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan, and cool on a cooling rack.
Make the Cheesecake Layers:
- Place 16 ounces of cream cheese, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup of whipping cream into a mixing bowl and mix.
- Start adding in the eggs, but one at a time.
- Next, add the vanilla extract, followed by the sugar. Mix until the cheesecake filling is nice and smooth.
- Grab a 9-inch cake pan and spray it with baking spray. Place some parchment paper at the bottom of the cake pan.
- Pour 3 cups of cheesecake filling into the pan.
- Place the cake pan on top of a cookie sheet, the pour about1 1/2 cups of water into the cookie sheet, NOT THE CHEESECAKE.
- Bake the cheesecake for about 30 minutes on 350 F.
- Remove the cheesecake out of the oven, and let cool completely.
- Next, add about 15 butter cookies into a food processor along with 4 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of ice water.
- Pulse until it resembles cookie dough.
- Spray a 9-inch springform pan with baking spray, then add the cookie mixture to the pan.
- Press the cookie mixture into the bottom of the pan and about 1/4 inch up around the sides to create a crust.
- Bake in the oven on 350 F for about 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Pour the remaining cheesecake filling into the springform and smooth it out.
- Bake on 350 F for about 30-35 minutes.
Make the Shortcake Crumbles:
- Add the remaining cookies into the food processor along with 1 tbsp ice water and 4 tbsp of butter. Pulse until it resembles large crumbs.
- Remove half of the cookie mixture and set it to the side.
- Add a 6 oz package of strawberry gelatin into the food processor and a couple of drops of red food coloring. Pulse about 5 times.
- Line a cookie sheet with foil, then sprinkle the red and white cookie crumb on the sheet,
- Bake on 350 F for 10 minutes.
- Remove, and let cook, then stir the crumbles until they break apart.
Make the Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Add 1/2 cup of softened butter and 8 oz of cream cheese into a mixing bowl. Mix until well incorporated.
- Add in 1/2 cup of whipping cream and 1 tbsp of vanilla. Mix until well combined.
- Sprinkle in 2 1/4 cups of confectioners sugar, and mix until the frosting is smooth and lump free.
How to Assemble the Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake:
- First Layer: Cheesecake with Crust
- Second Layer: Strawberry Cake
- Third Layer: Crustless Cheesecake
- Fourth Layer: Strawberry Cake
- Frost the sides and top of the cake.
- Sprinkle the shortcake crumbs on top of the cake and pat onto the sides as well.
- Let the cake sit for about 20 minutes before cutting into it.