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Strawberry Pie Filling Cake (doctored white cake mix)

strawberry pie filling cake

If you’re looking for a rich strawberry cake that starts with a simple white cake mix you’ve come to the right place. This one is different from the rest because it starts with something you’ve probably never used in a cake before. . .pie filling. Add to this, the tartness of the lemon cream cheese frosting and you’re definitely going to swoon!

This recipe is just in time for the summer! Whether you’re looking for something to take to a Memorial Day picnic or another summertime event, this is a perfect option!

Can I Use Pie Filling in a Cake?

That was the question on my mind when I decided I was in the mood to bake. I’ve been on a roll with doctored white cake mixes lately and went through my stash to see what I had on hand.

  • I found a white cake mix. Check.
  • I found eggs, milk, butter. Check.

But, what would set this cake apart from the rest?

  • I found a can of strawberry pie filling. Check.

Only, who puts pie filling inside of a cake mix? The last time I tried to add fruit inside of a recipe I failed. Miserably.

Thinking Outside the Box…

So, I did what every baker does when she’s unsure of herself. I asked google. And google told me that other people had dumped a can of pie filling into their white cake mixes and lived to tell about it.

So, that’s what I decided to do. With much fear and trepidation I decided I’d make a rich strawberry cake. And if I had to throw it in the trash when it came out of the oven, so be it. But, at least I would know, one way or the other, if this idea of mine was really going to work.

Is This the Same Thing as a Dump Cake?

Nope! I made a dump cake recently, a Pineapple Upside Down Dump Cake, to be precise. I knew that process well.

With a dump cake you put the fruit into the pan and then add dry cake mix on top of it, along with some pats of butter. The cake mix forms a cobbler-like crust.

That wasn’t what I was going for this time around.

This time, I wanted cake. Like, real strawberry cake. So, I got brave. I did it! And I’m pretty happy with the results. I think you will be, too.

Ingredients for this Strawberry Pie Filling Cake

This is simpler than you might think. If you have a can of pie filling and a box of cake mix, you’re most of the way there with the ingredients. Here’s what I used:

FOR THE CAKE:

cake ingredients
  • white cake mix
  • room temperature eggs
  • room temperature butter
  • vanilla
  • pie filling

That’s it, just five simple ingredients. You’ll notice I didn’t use any liquid in the mix. Most cake mixes call for water and I usually substitute milk, but in this case I knew the fruit had a lot of liquid in it, so I opted out.

FOR THE LEMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

frosting ingredients

The glaze makes this cake. It’s truly divine.

  • room temperature cream cheese
  • butter
  • the zest of one lemon
  • the juice of one lemon
  • powdered sugar

How to Make this Decadent Strawberry Cake

I’m almost embarrassed to share this recipe because it’s so simple the kiddos could make it. But that’s not a bad thing, right?

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prep your pan. I used a bundt pan but next time I plan to use a 9 x 13″ pan. This cake was pretty small for a bundt. (The fruit causes it to “withdraw” a bit as it cools, if that makes sense.)

bundt pan

Soften your butter in the microwave. I took mine to the “almost melted” stage.

melted butter

Now it’s time to merge all of your cake ingredients. No kidding. Just dump everything into one large mixing bowl.

cake ingredients in bowl

I used the bowl of my stand mixer (with the paddle attachment) but you can use a large mixing bowl and electric mixer if you like. You might even get away with using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.

Mix it all together.

very pink batter

You’re going to end up with a pink cake. Like, really pink. Mine was so pink that I wondered if I should have used less of the pie filling. I might play around with the ratios next time, but I ended up being happy about the flavor this way.

When your batter is done, pour it into the pan.

pink batter in bundt pan

Place your pan in a preheated oven (350 degrees) and bake until the cake springs back to the touch. In the bundt pan mine took about 40 minutes. Times will vary, depending on your oven.

When your cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a wire rack to cool.

baked cake

As soon as the pan can be handled, turn it upside-down and let gravity release the cake for you.

baked cake

Make Your Cream Cheese Frosting

While the cake is cooling, make your glaze.

Start by zesting the lemon and squeezing out the juice into a small bowl.

Whip up the softened cream cheese until light and fluffy. You can use an electric mixer or stand mixer but don’t try to do this by hand. It needs to be really light.

Add the powdered sugar and lemon juice, mixing at medium speed until the frosting is smooth and manageable.

Fold in about half of the zest and place in a piping bag.

lemon cream cheese frosting

Frosting the Cake

Put your icing in a piping bag and have the zest ready.

When the cake has cooled, place wire rack over a cookie sheet.

cream cheese frosting and zest

Take your glaze and squeeze it back and forth in a zig-zag pattern over the cake until you’ve got adequate coverage.

bake with frosting

Sprinkle the rest of the zest on the frosting.

frosted cake with zest

Transfer your cake to a cake plate. I used a couple of bench scrapers to lift my cake because the moisture make it pretty heavy. I was afraid it might break.

finished cake on stand

Allow the cake to chill for an hour or more in the refrigerator. This is one cake that’s really yummy chilled.

Slice and serve!

finished cake

How to Store this Pie Filling Cake:

Because of the cream cheese, you’ll want to store this one in the refrigerator. The strawberry filling is so moist, it does better in the refrigerator, too. And, like I said, this one’s pretty tasty straight out of the fridge.

My Take on How this Experiment Turned Out:

This is one of those amazing recipes that start with a white cake mix and I’m so glad I tried it!

At first I was a little put off by the color. It was very. . .pink.

cake

But then I tasted it, and all concerns about the color faded away (pun intended). It was rich, decadent, and so, so moist. The berries in the filling made this cake dense and delicious.

And can we just talk for a moment about that tart lemon cream cheese frosting? I can’t tell you the last time I fell in love with a frosting the way I fell for this one. I’ve been busy making my Dreamy Buttercream for so long that I almost forgot how simple it is to just add powdered sugar and a bit of flavoring to cream cheese. (Divine!)

I’ve always been a sucker for lemon and strawberry together. If you saw my Strawberry Lemonade Cake Recipe or my Lemon Berry Muffins, you’ve already figured this out about me. My Strawberry Lemon Creme Scones are also pretty yummy. The combination is perfect!

And it works this time around, too. Whew!

Other Pie Filling Cakes:

If you want to doctor a white cake mix but don’t know what to add, here are some options:

  • pumpkin pie filling
  • cherry pie filling
  • lemon pie filling
  • apple pie filling
  • peach pie filling
  • blueberry pie filling
  • blackberry pie filling
  • bananas foster (see my bananas foster cinnamon rolls for the filling recipe)

There are other ways to add fruit flavor to a white cake mix, of course. If you read my How to Doctor a Boxed Cake Mix post you know that I love to use Instant pudding in my recipes. That’s an easy way to get flavor into your cake mix.

Another way to add fruit flavor is to add, well, fruit! You can add fresh strawberries, blackberries, or anything you like. You’ll have to adjust the liquids in the recipe to accommodate for the liquid in the fruit. (Note: If you’re adding fresh or frozen fruit, don’t also add pie filling. It’s one or the other!)

Another option for getting in the fruit flavor is Jello. I haven’t tried this method but many swear by it.

So, there you have it, friends. A new recipe that came from a simple experiment. Sometimes it really is as simple as just throwing things together. And when you start out to doctor a boxed cake mix, the possibilities are truly endless!

See this recipe at:


About the Author

Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.

Strawberry Pie Filling Cake (doctored cake mix)

Strawberry Pie Filling Cake (doctored cake mix)

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

If you're looking for a rich strawberry cake that starts with a simple white cake mix you've come to the right place. This one is different from the rest because it starts with something you've probably never used in a cake before. . .pie filling. Add to this, the tartness of the lemon cream cheese frosting and you're definitely going to swoon!

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • * 1 white cake mix
  • * 2 room temperature eggs
  • * 1/2 cup room temperature butter
  • * 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • * 1 can pie filling
  • That's it, just five simple ingredients. You'll notice I didn't use any liquid in the mix. Most cake mixes call for water and I usually substitute milk, but in this case I knew the fruit had a lot of liquid in it, so I opted out.
  • FOR THE LEMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
  • The glaze makes this cake. It's truly divine.
  • * 1 cup (1 block) room temperature cream cheese
  • * 1/2 cup butter
  • * the zest of one lemon
  • * the juice of one lemon
  • * 3 cups powdered sugar (more or less)

Instructions

    Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Prep your pan. I used a bundt pan but next time I plan to use a 9 x 13" pan. This cake was pretty small for a bundt. (The fruit causes it to "withdraw" a bit as it cools, if that makes sense.)
    Soften your butter in the microwave. I took mine to the "almost melted" stage.
    Now it's time to merge all of your ingredients. No kidding. Just dump everything into one large mixing bowl.
    I used the bowl of my stand mixer (with the paddle attachment) but you can use a large mixing bowl and electric mixer if you like. You might even get away with using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
    Mix it all together.
    You're going to end up with a pink cake. Like, really pink. Mine was so pink that I wondered if I should have used less of the pie filling. I might play around with the ratios next time, but I ended up being happy about the flavor this way.
    When your batter is done, pour it into the pan.
    Place your pan in a preheated oven (350 degrees) and bake until the cake springs back to the touch. In the bundt pan mine took about 40 minutes. Times will vary, depending on your oven.
    When your cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a wire rack to cool.
    As soon as the pan can be handled, turn it upside-down and let gravity release the cake for you.
    Make Your Cream Cheese Frosting
    While the cake is cooling, make your glaze.
    Start by zesting the lemon and squeezing out the juice into a small bowl.
    Whip up the softened cream cheese until light and fluffy. You can use an electric mixer or stand mixer but don't try to do this by hand. It needs to be really light.
    Add the powdered sugar and lemon juice, mixing at medium speed until the frosting is smooth and manageable.
    Fold in about half of the zest and place in a piping bag.
    Glazing the Cake
    When the cake has cooled, place wire rack over a cookie sheet.
    Take your glaze and squeeze it back and forth in a zig-zag pattern over the cake until you've got adequate coverage.
    Sprinkle the rest of the zest on the glaze.
    Transfer your cake to a cake plate. I used a couple of bench scrapers to lift my cake because the moisture make it pretty heavy. I was afraid it might break.
    Allow the cake to chill for an hour or more in the refrigerator. This is one cake that's really yummy chilled.
    Slice and serve!

Notes

How to Store this Pie Filling Cake:
Because of the cream cheese, you'll want to store this one in the refrigerator. The strawberry filling is so moist, it does better in the refrigerator, too. And, like I said, this one's pretty tasty straight out of the fridge.

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