This Strawberry Shortcake Cake is an easy twist on the classic with layers of moist vanilla cake, juicy strawberries, and fluffy whipped cream. The perfect way to enjoy fresh summer strawberries!
This post is sponsored by Challenge Butter, but all opinions are my own.
The Best Strawberry Shortcake Cake
There’s nothing quite like summer strawberries. They are so juicy and flavorful. I don’t know about you, but for me, biting into a sweet, ripe strawberry never fails to put a smile on my face. Putting this delightful fruit center stage in a delicious dessert just makes sense. This shortcake cake does it right.
This strawberry shortcake cake takes the classic dessert made of biscuits, strawberries, and whipped cream and turns it into a beautiful layered cake that’s perfect for summer gatherings. It’s even better, though, because you don’t have to worry about making individual biscuits. It’s made up of three main elements:
- Vanilla cake – This vanilla cake is light and moist with a great vanilla flavor. It uses equal amounts of butter and vegetable oil to give you a cake with a great buttery flavor and moisture that lasts for several days.
- Strawberries – Combined with a little sugar, they make up the “sauce” that is drizzled over the cake layers.
- Homemade whipped cream – You’re going to want to use a stabilized whipped cream, so that you’re cake doesn’t fall apart. I use powdered sugar to stabilize it and it will stay in place for weeks on end. Your cake won’t last long enough to see that, but with the powdered sugar added to your whipped cream, it will definitely make it stay put.
Why You’ll Love This Strawberry Cake Recipe
I love this simple, elegant cake for many reasons but here come some of my favorite things about it.
- Beautifully simple. This recipe is made up of 3 delicious, simple components none of which overwhelm each other. The vanilla cake, the whipped cream, and the sweet strawberries all shine in their own right
- Easier than the original. This layered dessert is just as good as classic strawberry shortcake but much easier to throw together. Instead of baking and filling a multitude of individual biscuits, you only have to bake 3 cake layers and stack them with macerated strawberries and whipped cream.
- It won’t weigh you down. This cake is anything but heavy. The vanilla cake and the whipped cream are both fluffy and light and the strawberries are so fresh and bright. It’s the perfect dessert for warmer summer months.
What You’ll Need
Here’s a list of ingredients you’ll need. Have a look at the recipe card below for exact measurements.
- All-purpose flour – You can use a 1:1 gluten-free flour instead if you’d like.
- Baking powder – For the perfect rise and texture.
- Salt – Salt brings out the flavor of the cake. Don’t leave it out.
- Unsalted butter – The butter should be at room temperature otherwise it will not cream properly with the oil, sugar, and vanilla, giving you a dense cake. Challenge butter is my favorite. It’s so creamy and made from the freshest milk. It goes from farm to fridge in just two days. Plus, there aren’t any growth hormones, artificial preservatives, fillers, or dyes. Give it a try.
- Vegetable oil – The addition of vegetable oil here makes the cake perfectly moist.
- Sugar – For moisture and great texture.
- Vanilla extract – For flavor.
- Eggs – Eggs have many functions in a cake, including adding structure and moisture.
- Milk – I like using whole milk or 2%.
- Fresh strawberries – The strawberries play the starring role in this dessert, so choose wisely. Pick small, bright red berries that smell sweet.
- Sugar – The sugar will draw moisture out of the berries, creating the “sauce”.
- Heavy whipping cream – The heavy whipping cream should be cold. Otherwise, it will not whip up or hold volume as effectively. No one wants a flat whipped cream.
- Powdered sugar – The powdered sugar helps not only to sweeten the whipped cream but also to stabilize it, keeping your dessert from collapsing.
- Vanilla extract – For flavor.
How to Make a Strawberry Shortcake Cake
This cake is simple to put together with just 3 components. Here’s how to do it. Please refer to the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.
To make the cakes
- Prep. Line the bottom of three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Cream. Beat the butter, oil, sugar, and vanilla extract until light in color and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
- Put it all together. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter. Mix to combine. Slowly add the milk. Mix to combine. Add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix to combine.
- Bake. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
- Cool. Cool the cakes in their pans for 2-3 minutes before turning them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
For the strawberries
- Prepare the strawberries. Wash, stem, and slice the strawberries.
- Toss the strawberries together with the sugar.
- Chill the sugar-coated strawberries in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours.
Whipped cream and assembly
- Whip the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract on high speed until medium to stiff peaks form.
- Assemble. Place the first cake layer on a cake plate. Add a layer of whipped cream. Add half of the strawberries on top. Repeat with the second cake layer and top the strawberries with the final cake layer.
- Decorate the top of the cake with whipped cream swirls and fresh strawberries. Drizzle any leftover juices from the strawberries on top of the cake or over individual slices.
- Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.
Tips for Success
This cake is simple to make, but there are still a few things to keep in mind. Just follow these tips and tricks and you’ll be on your way.
- Room temperature butter. Be sure to start with room-temperature butter. It will not cream properly with the oil, sugar, and vanilla if it is too cold or melted.
- Don’t skimp on the cream time. Be sure to cream the butter, oil, and sugar together for the full amount of time prescribed in the recipe. This will add air to the cake which will help it rise.
- Don’t over-mix. When combining the wet and dry ingredients for the cake batter, it is important not to over-mix. Over-mixing will cause the glutens in the flour to over-develop, leaving you with a dense, tough cake.
- Pick good strawberries and plenty of them. This is strawberry shortcake after all. You wouldn’t want to use mediocre fruits as the star ingredient, now would you? Aim for small, bright red strawberries that smell sweet. And grab a few more than you think you need. It’s always good to have some extras to garnish.
- Don’t skip the chill. After coating the strawberries in sugar, let them sit in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours. The sugar will draw the juices out of the strawberries, making a sweet, flavorful syrup that really takes this cake to the next level. The longer they sit, the more juice they release.
- Use the powdered sugar. The powdered sugar stabilizes the whipped cream, so that it doesn’t wilt. It will stay put for days and days.
- Enjoy fresh. Feel free to make the cakes ahead of time but I would wait to make the strawberries and whipped cream and assemble the cake until you are ready to slice and serve.
How to Store Leftovers
While this dessert is by far best served fresh, you can store leftovers to enjoy later. Just note that the strawberries will get mushy over time. The best way to store it is to seal the cake in an airtight cake carrier. If you don’t have a cake carrier, wrap the cake in a double layer of plastic wrap. Use toothpicks to prop the plastic away from the whipped cream. Store the cake in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
How To Make This Cake Ahead
One great way to preserve the freshness of this cake (if you don’t plan on eating it right away) is to make the cake layers beforehand and wait to assemble the cake until you are ready to serve. Store the cooled, baked cakes in an air-tight cake carrier or wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 1 day or in the freezer for up to 3 months. The strawberries need an hour or two in the fridge, but I wouldn’t let them sit much longer than that, as they release more juices as they sit and can start to get mushy. When you are ready to serve, make the whipped cream and assemble the cake. Thaw the cakes in the refrigerator first, if applicable.
More Easy Strawberry Dessert Recipes
- Classic Strawberry Shortcake
- Strawberry Shortcake Trifle
- Strawberry Shortcake Popsicles
- Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake
- Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes
- Strawberry Whipped Cream
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This Strawberry Shortcake Cake is an easy twist on the classic dessert with layers of moist vanilla cake, juicy strawberries and fluffy whipped cream!
- 2 1/2 cups (325g) all-purpose flour (measured properly)
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (112g) unsalted Challenge butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups (300ml) milk
- 1 pound fresh strawberries
- 3 tbsp (39g) sugar
- 2 1/2 cups (600ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
- 1 1/4 cups (144g) powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
To make the cakes
- Prepare three 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
- Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
- Add the butter, oil, sugar and vanilla extract to and large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time. You should visibly see a change in color and texture.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
- Slowly add the milk and mix until well combined.
- Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
- Divide the batter evenly between the cakes pans and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
For the strawberries
- Wash the strawberries, cut the stems off, and slice them.
- Add the sliced strawberries and sugar to a large bowl and toss together. Set in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours to let the sugar bring out the juices from the berries. The longer it sits, the more juices you’ll have.
Whipped cream and assembly
- Add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until medium to stiff peaks form.
- Place the first cake layer on a cake plate or other serving platter. Add a layer of whipped cream. I used Ateco tip 808 to pipe dallops around the outer edge of the cake, then filled it in. You could also just spread a layer of whipped cream.
- Add about half of the strawberries on top of the whipped cream.
- Add the second layer of cake, another layer of whipped cream and another layer of strawberries.
- Add the final layer of cake, then finish it off with some whipped cream swirls and fresh strawberries. If you have any leftover juices from the sliced strawberries, you could also drizzle that on top or serve it with the cake slices.
- Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. The cake layers and strawberries can be made up to a day ahead, but the cake is best if layered together the day it’ll be served.
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 529
- Sugar: 37 g
- Sodium: 45 mg
- Fat: 32.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 55.9 g
- Protein: 6.3 g
- Cholesterol: 120.8 mg
Keywords: strawberry shortcake cake, shortcake cake, strawberry shortcake cake recipe