This delicious and easy to make strawberry layer cake recipe is the ultimate summer dessert. It’s refreshing, full of strawberry deliciousness, and has the perfect balance of sweetness. This tall layer cake is made with layers of vanilla sponge cake, honey whipped cream, and fresh ripe strawberries. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a fan a super sweet desserts, and usually prefer fruity desserts. This strawberries and cream cake is my ideal type of dessert, the cake layers are very light and airy, and not overly sweet. I added a bit of lemon zest to both the cake and the whipped cream, to give them a subtle hint of citrus flavor. I used honey to sweeten the whipped cream and just enough so that it wouldn’t overpower the natural sweetness of the strawberries.
This strawberries and cream layer cake is great for summertime, but you can make it anytime of the year. We are lucky that we can get delicious California strawberries year-round. Due to the climate in California, strawberries have a 12-month growing season, and 90% of the strawberries in the US are grown by family farmers in CA. I probably said this before, but it seems that every time I plan to prepare a recipe using strawberries, I end up going back to the store to get more because my kids eat them so quickly; however, the truth is that I don’t mind at all because strawberries are so nutritious and healthy for them, so they can eat as many as they want. Plus, while I was making this cake I realized that I probably ate about half of the strawberries that I had set aside for the strawberry layers, luckily I had bought extra strawberries so I had enough to finish the cake without an emergency strawberry grocery run.
One of the things that I love about this strawberry layer cake is that it doesn’t require a perfect finish; it has a rustic naked look and is very forgiving when it comes to assembling it. The sponge cakes can be baked ahead of time and refrigerated (wrapped in plastic wrap) until ready to assemble. To cut each cake into layers, use a long serrated (bread-style) knife. Don’t worry if the layers aren’t perfectly even, it’s barely noticeable once you add the strawberry and whipped cream layers. If you want to keep it very simple, you don’t need to slice each cake in half, you can just make a quick two-layer cake. The additional work to slice the layers though isn’t that hard, and it definitely makes for an impressive dessert if you have the four layers. I also find that the flavor and texture of cake is better with several thin layers of cake, cream and strawberries.
When assembling the layers of the cake, it helps if the strawberry prep work (ie slicing) is done ahead of time and if the whipped cream is chilled. If during any part of the assembly process you feel like the cream is starting to become too soft or melting, just put both the cake and the cream back in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes. You can also re-whip the cream for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until it gets the consistency back, if needed. This is also one of those cakes that will taste better, and will be easier to slice, if it rests in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
Delicious and easy strawberry layer cake recipe made with layers of vanilla sponge cake, honey whipped cream, and fresh ripe strawberries.
- 6 eggs, at room temperature (or sitting in warm water for about 10 minutes)
- ¾ cup of caster sugar (can use regular sugar if needed)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons of lemon zest
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) of unsalted butter, melted
- 2 ½ to 3 cups of chilled heavy whipping cream, adjust based on how thick you want the cream layers
- 5-6 tablespoons of honey, add more or less to taste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons of lemon zest
- 2 lbs of ripe strawberries, washed and sliced, reserve about 5-10 of the smallest and nicest ones (with leaves on) to decorate the top of the cake
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
- Lightly grease and flour 2 8-inch round cake pans, then line the base of each pan with parchment or baking paper.
- Combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat until you have a thick creamy pale mix that has tripled in volume, about 10 minutes.
- Sift the flour, use a wood or metal spoon to gently fold in the sifted flour to the creamy egg mix; it works best to add the flour in small batches.
- Add the melted butter and gently fold it in to the cake batter mix.
- Pour the batter, in equal amounts, into the cake pans and then gently tap/drop the pans on the counter to remove any large air bubbles.
- Bake the cakes in the pre-heated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the cakes are golden and springy – the edges of the cake will also start to separate from the pan.
- Unmold the cakes and let them cool down completely. Right before assembling the layer cake, place each sponge cake on a flat surface and use a long serrated knife to cut through the middle (horizontally).
- Place the heavy whipping cream in large mixing bowl, stir in the honey, vanilla and lemon zest. Use an electric mixer to whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate the whipped cream for about 30 minutes before using.
- To assemble the strawberry layer cake, you can either assemble it directly on the cake platter or use a round cardboard cake base – this will make it easier to move around and transfer it to a serving platter.
- Place sliced strawberries on top of the first cake layer, add whipped cream and use a small narrow spatula to evenly distribute the cream over the strawberries, and then add another layer of sliced strawberries.
- Add the second cake layer and repeat the same process until you have added the final cake layer.
- Spread the remaining whipped cream on the top layer and add the reserved strawberries to decorate the top of cake. You can use a mix of whole strawberries and halved/quarter strawberries. Chill the cake for at least an hour before serving.
*Disclosure: This strawberry layer cake recipe was created for California Strawberries and I received compensation for this post. All photos, recipes, opinions and ideas are 100% my own.