I do too use cpanm from my linux commandline and I hope that I will have it available on the windows terminal too with Strawberry (I mean all that PATH hell).
This is what confuses me. Where have you gotten the impression that it's hard to set up the paths correctly for cpanm with Strawberry? Literally, if you install the full-installation strawberry, it sets the path correctly (adds three directories) one time, and it just works. If you use the portable strawberry, you either have to use its portableshell.bat to set up the environment each time you need it, or you can manually add those three directories into your permanent path, and it works. Since this is for a new-to-perl user, you're not going to be setting up multiple perls (in the end), so you don't have to worry about multiple strawberries, or strawberry-vs-active-state.
c:\strawberry\c\bin => this is where gcc and gmake (etc) live
c:\strawberry\perl\bin => this is where perl.exe and cpanm (aka
+cpanm.bat) (and other similar tools) live
c:\strawberry\perl\site\bin => this is where other module-installed t
+ools live (for example, in my setup, Devel::Cover's cover (aka cover.
+bat) goes here)
For my experience with Strawberry, cpanm just works. It's only if you are trying something unusual that things go awry. (More likely to cause a problem is having some other mingw gcc compiler in your path before strawberry's gcc. And that can be easily solved by giving the priority to the strawberry path. ;-) )