Light and fluffy, strawberry cake is a delicious dessert generously filled with one of our favorite summertime berries and fresh whipped cream! It's cool and creamy with a cloud-like texture that melts in the mouth!
Strawberry Cake, Summer's Berry-licious Sweet Treat
The warm summer season provides some richly colored and juicy options for our tastebuds to explore and take wonderful pleasure in.
Ruby-red strawberries, bursting with a refreshing tart-sweetness, sit proudly in their containers just waiting to be sliced and liberally added to anything that can benefit from their presence, and this light and fluffy strawberry cake is just the perfect dessert to showcase them in!
With a cloud-like texture, a creamy filling, and loads of fresh berries, this strawberry cake is summer's perfect dessert in my book. It's a cool and creamy treat, one that beautifully and deliciously showcases the fresh flavor of strawberries!
The Layers of Flavor in Strawberry Cake
While the stunningly colorful and juicy stars of this delicious strawberry cake recipe are fresh strawberries, there are several other components that create the layers of flavor in this homemade cake and make it a scrumptious indulgence.
One of my little secrets is the addition of some finely chopped, freeze-dried strawberries into the cake batter. These are great because they do not add additional liquid to the batter, rather lots of extra berry flavor!
I also like to use a simple syrup to help provide extra moisture and a hint of extra sweetness to the baked cake. For my strawberry cake, I prepare a syrup infused with Chambord, a raspberry flavored liqueur—it's a nice compliment to the strawberries!
What I choose to frost my strawberry cake with provides yet another layer of flavor. And for this light summery dessert, I love a sweetened, vanilla bean-infused whipped cream.
The delightful combination of all the ingredients reminds me a bit of a bowl of fresh strawberries dipped into cool cream!
Here's a peak at my strawberry cake recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- I begin by preparing my simple syrup in order to have it cooled and handy for assembly—it takes only a couple of minutes!
- While the cake bakes I prepare my cake batter, and also prepare my simple vanilla bean whipped cream to frost the cake with, and keep that cold.
- Once the cake is baked, I allow it cool completely before slicing each layer of it into two thinner layers to create a total of 4 layers, reserving the prettier flat bottoms to use as a bottom layer and a top layer.
- Next, I add the simple syrup to the layers, fill with whipped cream and slices of fresh strawberries, then frost generously with the rest of the whipped cream, and decorate with finely diced fresh strawberries, and keep chilled.
- Finally, I slice and serve cold!
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 12
Nutrition Info: 770 calories
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Strawberry Cake Ingredients:
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup cake flour
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened at room temp
• 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
• 5 eggs, room temp
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, room temp
• 1.2 ounce bag freeze-dried strawberries, roughly chopped (optional—I bought mine at Trader Joes)
• 3-4 cups hulled and sliced, fresh strawberries (about 1 -1 ¼ lbs), plus a couple of diced strawberries for garnish
Chambord Simple Syrup Ingredients:
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• ½ cup water
• 2 tablespoons Chambord liqueur
Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream Ingredients:
• 1 vanilla bean, split in half length-wise and the inside “paste” scraped out with a paring knife and reserved
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 quart whipping cream, very cold (4 cups)
• 1 cup powdered sugar
- Begin by preparing the Chambord simple syrup: in a small sauce pan, combine the sugar and the water, and bring to a simmer over medium heat; once it has simmered, turn the heat off and stir to completely dissolve the sugar; cool the simple syrup completely (you can place it into the fridge to expedite the process), and once cooled, add in the Chambord liqueur, stir to combine; keep covered in fridge until you're ready to soak the cake layers with it.
- Preheat the oven to 350°, and prepare two, 9” cake pans by lightly buttering them and lining them with parchment rounds; then, lightly sprinkling in some flour on the bottom and on the sides, and tap the excess out.
- To prepare the cake batter, begin by sifting together the all-purpose flour, the cake flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium-large bowl; set aside these “dry” ingredients for a moment.
- Next, add the softened butter and the sugar to the bowl of a electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and thoroughly cream the two together on medium-low speed until very pale and light and fluffy (for about 5-8 minutes), scraping down the sides about half-way through.
- Once the butter/sugar is thoroughly combined, begin adding the eggs in one at a time, allowing each to be fully incorporated into the butter/sugar before adding in the next one; next, add in the vanilla extract and allow it mix in.
- Reduce the mixer to low speed, and begin adding the “dry” ingredients and the buttermilk, alternating the two, beginning and ending with the flour; mix only until all ingredients are blended in, being careful not to over-mix the batter.
- Gently fold the chopped, freeze-dried strawberries (if using) into the batter.
- Pour the batter in equal amounts into the buttered/lined cake pans, gently tapping the pans several times on your counter to allow air bubbles to come up; place the pans into the oven on the middle rack and bake for about 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean.
- While the cake bakes, prepare the vanilla bean whipped cream: combine the vanilla bean “paste” and the vanilla extract in a small ramekin, and set aside for a moment.
- Add the cold whipping cream to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whip attachment, and whip the cream until it begins to thicken; next, add in vanilla extract/paste and the powdered sugar, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form; cover and place into the fridge to keep very cold until you're ready to frost the cake with it.
- Once baked, allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out and allow them to cool completely on wire racks before filling and frosting.
- To assemble the cake, cut any unevenness off of the tops of each cooled cake (a “dome” for example, or the bubbly “skin”), and cut each cake in half horizontally through the center to create 4 thinner layers, reserving a flat bottom layer as the final, top layer.
- Place one of the layers in front of you on a cake stand or large plate, and with a pastry brush or spoon, add a generous amount of the Chambord simple syrup to the cake layer to moisten it well.
- Next, add a generous amount of the vanilla bean whipped cream and smooth it out with a off-set spatula or knife, and then arrange about 1 - 1 ¼ cup worth of sliced strawberries over the whipped cream; repeat the process with two more layers.
- For the final top layer, use a “flat-bottomed” layer with its flat side up, and finish off by adding only the simple syrup and then just frosting the outside of the entire cake generously with the remaining vanilla bean whipped cream.
- Garnish the cake with some of the diced strawberries, and store in fridge to keep very cold until ready to serve.
Tips & Tidbits for my Strawberry Cake:
- Freeze-dried strawberries for added flavor: While this is optional, adding chopped, freeze-dried strawberries into the batter provides more berry flavor. Most markets carry freeze-dried fruits these days, and I buy mine at Trader Joe's.
- Raspberry liqueur in the simple syrup: The recipe for this only calls for 2 tablespoons of Chambord. But if you prefer to go the non-alcoholic route, you can leave it out and prepare just the simple syrup plain. It will add additional moisture to the cake layers!
- Cold cream: When preparing your vanilla bean whipped cream for frosting the cake, make sure to keep your heavy cream as cold as possible. This helps with the whipping process, and keeps it nice and thick.
- Save a “flat bottom” layer as the last layer: When you cut the two larger cake layers into four thinner ones, save one of the flat-bottom layers to use as the last, top layer of the cake. Since it is smooth, it will make for easier frosting and a pretty, even look on top!
- Save your used vanilla bean: If you save your used/scraped vanilla bean and place it into your sugar container, it will make a wonderfully fragrant vanilla sugar! I love to do this with all of my leftover vanilla bean pods, and I use the sugar for baking, etc.—so delicious!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2013, and has been updated with even more love!