Let me start by saying, I’m a boxed cake kind of gal!  Actually when it comes to cakes and brownies, I rarely make ’em from scratch. A boxed mix is just too easy! After seeing this Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Cream Frosting from Bon Appetit (May 2009), I thought I would venture outside of my comfortable cake mix box and go for it. I am so glad that I did because this is the best cake I have ever made!  Seriously, when I served it to my family, they all thought it tasted better than what you buy at a bakery. Plus, even though it requires quite a few ingredients, it really isn’t all that hard to make!

The cake was moist and perfect and the frosting was deeee-licious!  I’m not normally good at making homemade frosting either. I almost always use a can because normally most frosting recipes turn out like pure sugar and just don’t taste good. Not this one!  Seriously… BEST. CAKE. and FROSTING. EVER. It’s like strawberry shortcake but better. I just can’t say enough about this recipe.

Plus, it is the perfect Spring event or Easter cake! I made it for a family event this past weekend and it was a hit with everyone! If you like strawberries, you will LOVE this cake!

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Cream Frosting

Ingredients:

Frosting –

  • 2 8-oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature (I used low-fat)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup seedless strawberry jam
  • 3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

Cake –

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 7 large eggs
  • 2 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
  • 6 TBSP plus 1/3 cup seedless strawberry jam
  • 2 1/4 lbs strawberries, hulled, sliced (about 6 cups), divided

MAKE THE FROSTING

1) Put a small/medium bowl in the freezer to chill.  In a separate large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in sugar, then jam. Remove that chilled bowl from the freezer and beat cream in that chilled bowl until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into frosting. Cover; chill for a couple of hours until it’s firm enough to spread. (If you are in a hurry, you could put the frosting in the freezer to chill quickly.)

MAKE THE CAKE

2) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans with 2-inch high sides. (I used 10″ cheesecake pans – aka springform pans – because they were the only round pans I had with high enough sides and they worked great!)  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add sour cream, and beat for 30 seconds. Add flour mixture in three additions, beating to blend after each addition. Divide batter into prepared pans.

2) Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the pans, then turn cakes out onto a rack to cool completely. I threw the two cake layers in the freezer for about an hour to make the cake assembly easier.

3) Using a serrated knife, divide each layer in half horizontally. Place one half, cake side down, on a cake plate.

4) Spread 3 TBSP of strawberry jam over the cake, then spread 3/4 c of the frosting over the jam. Arrange 3/4 c of the sliced strawberries on top of the frosting in a single layer. Repeat two more times with cake layer, jam, frosting, and strawberries.

5) Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down. Spread two cups of frosting over the top and sides of the cake in a thin layer, then frost with remaining frosting. Stir remaining jam to loosen, then spoon teaspoonfuls onto the top and sides of the cake. Use the back of a spoon to swirl jam decoratively into the frosting. This recipe makes a very big 4-layer cake that will feed a lot of people. It says it has 12 servings but I definitely think it feeds even more!

BEST. STRAWBERRY. CAKE. EVER.

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Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Cream Frosting Recipe
Ingredients
  • Frosting –
  • 2 8-oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature (I used low-fat)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup seedless strawberry jam
  • 3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • Cake –
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 7 large eggs
  • 2 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
  • 6 TBSP plus 1/3 cup seedless strawberry jam
  • 2 1/4 lbs strawberries, hulled, sliced (about 6 cups), divided
Instructions
  1. FROSTING: Put a small/medium bowl in the freezer to chill. In a separate large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in sugar, then jam. Remove that chilled bowl from the freezer and beat cream in that chilled bowl until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into frosting. Cover; chill for a couple of hours until it’s firm enough to spread. (If you are in a hurry, you could put the frosting in the freezer to chill quickly.)
  2. CAKE: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans with 2-inch high sides. (I used 10″ cheesecake pans – aka springform pans – because they were the only round pans I had with high enough sides and they worked great!) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add sour cream, and beat for 30 seconds. Add flour mixture in three additions, beating to blend after each addition. Divide batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the pans, then turn cakes out onto a rack to cool completely. I threw the two cake layers in the freezer for about an hour to make the cake assembly easier.
  4. Using a serrated knife, divide each layer in half horizontally. Place one half, cake side down, on a cake plate.
  5. Spread 3 TBSP of strawberry jam over the cake, then spread 3/4 c of the frosting over the jam. Arrange 3/4 c of the sliced strawberries on top of the frosting in a single layer. Repeat two more times with cake layer, jam, frosting, and strawberries.
  6. Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down. Spread two cups of frosting over the top and sides of the cake in a thin layer, then frost with remaining frosting. Stir remaining jam to loosen, then spoon teaspoonfuls onto the top and sides of the cake. Use the back of a spoon to swirl jam decoratively into the frosting. This recipe makes a very big 4-layer cake that will feed a lot of people. It says it has 12 servings but I definitely think it feeds even more!

72 COMMENTS

  1. how did you get your frosting to look like that mine kinda turned out pinkish purple and very very thin just kinda ran down the sides of the cake… any suggestions

    • Hi Penny! Regarding the color, I spread the jam on the outside frosting very lightly and carefully as not to mix it too much which would then turn it all pink or purple. Regarding the frosting being so thin, did you make sure to freeze that bowl for the whipping cream and then beat until the soft peaks form? My frosting was a bit thin when I was done making it at first so I threw it back in the freezer for a bit to harden it up a bit. It’s definitely a thinner frosting than a canned frosting which most people are used to. I would suggest chilling the frosting in the freezer to make it more manageable when icing the sides of the cake. -Hollie

    • Yes, you can make it the day before but I would suggest serving it within a day or two of making. It doesn’t last that long because of the fresh strawberries inside. I usually make it the night before I want to serve it. You could make all the ingredients the night before and do the assembling the morning of to have the best result! 🙂

    • I guess you could but it probably wouldn’t taste the same. The homemade icing on this recipe is really, really good!! I’m not sure how many cups of frosting the recipe makes. I’ll have to measure next time I make it. – Hollie

    • Absolutely, you can do it with just layers. The recipe calls to cut the layers in half so that it can include more frosting and strawberries but you certainly don’t have to do it. It’s really delicious and i plan to make it again for Easter next weekend! 🙂 – Hollie

    • Yes, I used Vanilla Extract. Depending how big you slice the pieces, it could easily serve 15 people I would think.

      Hollie

  2. Sounds delicious and I will have to make it soon…think the low fat things will be regular in my cake though…. After 7 cubes of butter and 7 cups of sugar not really concerned about a few less grams of fat 😉

    • I totally agree! This isn’t a cake to worry about calories. I just used the low fat versions because I had them on hand. 🙂 – Hollie

  3. Hi, this looks great! Making it , my question is after it is made do I need to store it in the refrigerator because the frosting is a whipped cream base or would it be ok to leave out on the counter?

  4. My granny always make me a birthday cake similar to this. You can use frozen strawberries and a portion of their juice instead of the jam. Then we put it into the freezer and eat it frozen. Mr favorite cake ever

  5. I loved making this cake. It was my first attempt at a homemade cake and it turned out perfectly. I substituted (2) vanilla beans for the extract to give it a stronger vanilla flavoring, plus I like the little black speckles the beans add. As for the liquid missing from not using extract. After removing the seeds I boiled the the beans in a 1/4C of water then used 2 tablespoons of that vanilla water to make sure the lack of liquid wouldn’t affect the cake. The cake was well received to say the least 🙂

  6. how do i print a copy of this, it sounds wonderful, think i might try it for our july 4th get together… so please e-mail me a copy pretty please!!!

    • There is a “print friendly” button at the top of the post. Hit that button and it will open up a screen to help you print it. You can even delete things you don’t want to print such as the photos by clicking on the portion of the post.

  7. Hi! I saw this and had to try it—it’s phenomenal!! My husband works at a college and so we always have students over and they are always hungry! So, I attempted this and it was loved by everyone!!! We are not big cake eaters at all but this is one that I will be making again!! Thanks!

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  9. Thank you for posting this recipe!! I made it for my boyfriend’s birthday and everyone loved it, it’s a beautiful batter and presentation. In this age of cake mixes and cheap bakery cakes from big box stores (not the worst thing, but homemade makes a difference), it’s nice to make, and see, a homemade cake. I baked the cakes and made the frosting the day before and refrigerated, then assembled the next morning. This made the frosting firm enough to apply a crumb coat, back to the refrigerator for an hour then the rest of the frosting was applied. The leftovers are still good on the 3rd day, FYI, from what I hear. I’m vegan so I didn’t taste it while making it or afterwards, so it was risky for me to try this recipe–your description and all the feedback gave me the confidence to go for it. So from my perspective, the batter and frosting came together very nicely, beautiful and creamy smooth, and the cake smelled wonderful, was easy to cut and assemble.

  10. Hey! As I posted on fb, this is my “dream cake!” Thankfully, my 5 year old saw the picture and said he wanted me to make this for his birthday cake! Yesss! Now I have an excuse to make it! Two questions before I embark on this beauty: 1) soft peaks…How long is that to whip for? I’ve made homemade whipped cream a lot, but I am never sure of the difference b/n soft and stiff peaks. How do you know when to stop beating it? I am nervous to do it too little or too much… 🙂 2) Is your frosting enough? I always feel as if I could double the frosting (homemade) on recipes…it seems to never cover the middle and the outside adequately. Do you feel confident with this amount? Do I need to double or 1.5 it?

    • I think there is a perfect amount of frosting in the recipe. I like frosting and I definitely think there was just the right amount with this one. Regarding the soft peaks, I don’t think you could over beat it. If you get to stiff peaks, it will be totally fine. 🙂

  11. Ok, made the cake following every direction. But I have to say, the frosting was a bit disappointing. The cake, strawberries, etc., was insanely good. But the frosting was far too runny and the taste just didn’t match up to my expectations. I have made a cream cheese frosting, a buttercream frosting and a homemade whipped cream frosting for a cake. And this recipe had all three combined. It seemed a bit strange to me, but I gave it a shot. The taste was disappointing and the texture even moreso. Far too runny. I may have been doable in the first two steps (before adding the whipped cream which made it REALLY runny), but I am not even sure about the taste at that point. But I will probably keep this recipe, but just do a traditional buttercream frosting OR a cream cheese frosting…not both. The cake was great, but the frosting made the cake look like my 6 year old had made it. But it was an impressive presentation, that’s for sure! 🙂

  12. […] little three year old butt off. We just grilled hot dogs and had an incredible variation of this delicious cake. Pearl got tons of adorable clothes and a few fun toys. For being such a casual party, I still […]

  13. Hi,
    I saw your recipe and I m about to make it.My daughters birthdays are in a month!Although it looks great I want to try it before I serve it.For my oldest I ll make the vanilla-strawberries and for my youngest the ultimate death chocolate.Can I add strawberries to the chocolate cake?Thanks again.

    • You could totally add strawberries to the chocolate cake but strawberries never last that long. The strawberries may get mushy after a day. If you are going to eat the entire cake soon after making (about a day!) I say go for it.

  14. Hi Hollie – the cake looks amazing. That’s a lot of eggs, can you tell me if the taste and texture is more like a pound cake? I take it this is not a light and airy cake?

    Thanks!
    Ruby

    • It’s closer to a pound cake than an angel food cake. It doesn’t taste like pound cake but more a traditional yellow or vanilla cake. Very similar to a vanilla cake that you buy from a bakery if that makes sense.

  15. Wow this looks amazing Hollie! I am a total box cake kind of girl too, and I craved Strawberry Shortcake every single week that I was pregnant. I wish I had this last year 🙂

    I can’t wait to give it a try – we are getting a strawberry shortcake for the little man’s first bday in two weeks!

  16. I made this cake for a potluck at church today. It did take a lot of work, but it was totally worth it. I was overwhelmed by all the compliments i recieved. i wll be keeping this recipe! just a note…. i didn’t have pans with two inch sides, so instead of making two cakes and cutting them in half to make four layers, i just used regular 9-inch cake pans and divided the batter into four equal amounts. i made two layers then washed/dried the pans and made two more. it worked fine for me. thanks for the recipe!

  17. Hi,

    I just wanted to let you know that I made this cake for a Birthday party on Sunday and it was a HUGE hit! Everyone was raving on how great it looked and tasted! Thank you for posting!!!

  18. This cake is AMAZING! Thank you so much for the recipe! My husband is deploying and requested this cake before her leaves 🙂

  19. I made this cake, but with ghirardelli dark chocolate cake. It was awesomely delicious. Everyone loved it even my chocolate hating husband.

  20. I’ve made a lot of cream cheese frostings and this one is totally my new favorite. I think as long as you get your whipping cream whipped correctly it will turn out perfect. Mine wasn’t runny at all. To die for!

  21. Hi Hollie! I am a beginning baker so I don’t quite yet understand some baking terms 🙂 I was just wondering if you could explain to me this part of the frosting recipe?

    …beat cream in that chilled bowl until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into frosting.

    I have no idea what peaks are and what you mean by folding the whipping cream.
    Thanks!

  22. I have made this cake twice and it the best cake ever. I know have a cake that I can make for Birthdays!! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  23. I showed this recipe to my boyfriend and he immediately suggested that I make this. So I went to the store and got all the ingredients that I didn’t already have..This cake is a bit of work but it was so worth it in the end. It was very delicious. I didn’t cook this until late at night so I was I was running out of patients with waiting and I assembled before the cakes cooled, so the frosting didn’t stick to the sides but it still turned out very well. We thought it tasted better if its cold but everybodys preferences are different. I took the left overs to work and it turns out that I might need to make it again–Thanks for the recipe!

  24. Worse cake I ever made….it so much time to make,that part was fun. But it was such a disappointment when I took a bite. Sorry but the box cake I made last week so much better. This one will be thrown out!

  25. I tried to make this cake yesterday (not the frosting or the strawberries. I wanted to taste the bread first) and the crust came out super hard. The taste wasn’t that great. I feel so sad because I followed every step and it was a dissapointment. I was so embarrased with the final product.

  26. Hi!
    I just made this, and I was wondering if you know of any reason why my cakes would turn out to be very small. Compared to the picture of yours, mine are probably about half that height. I’m concerned about cutting them in half because I think they may be way to thin in layers. This is my first time baking so any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!

  27. HELP!!!!! I just baked this Cale and it didn’t raise to top of pan, and was to brown in 45min. I need it for GSons B/D tomorrow, what could I have done??? Had urns utter and rm. temp.,but it didn’t want to cream,any suggestions???

  28. HELP!!!!! I just baked this Cale and it didn’t raise to top of pan, and was to brown in 45min. I need it for GSons B/D tomorrow, what could I have done??? Had unsalt butter at rm. temp.,but it didn’t want to cream,any suggestions???I used 9″ x2″ layer pans didn’t raise any where near top.

  29. i suggest for the icing that you whip the whipping cream by itself in a bowl over ice until peaks form to where it looks like big fluffy clouds. for faster results use an electric beater. then fold into the other mixtures. this way it stays sturdy and it doesn’t melt.

  30. My Pop-pop was a baker from the late 20’s on. this was his specialty. the last one he made was for a side cake at my wedding in 2002. He was in his early 90’s. This brought a happy tear to my eye and i look forward to trying to replicate it. Thanks,

  31. Finally made this last night and boy is it sweet! But Good!! LOL. I am definitely going to make this again soon, but this time I’m gonna try to lighten the frosting a little (maybe fold some whipped cream into it, and instead of the jam I’m gonna try to puree fresh strawberries into the frosting to add a little “fresher” taste to it.
    Don’t get me wrong though…The whole thing is delicious just as it is!! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  32. Sponge cakes are thought to be the first of the non-yeast-based cakes and rely primarily on trapped air in a protein matrix (generally of beaten eggs) to provide leavening, sometimes with a bit of baking powder or other chemical leaven added as insurance. Such cakes include the Italian/Jewish pan di Spagna and the French Génoise. Highly decorated sponge cakes with lavish toppings are sometimes called gateau; the French word for cake.:

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  33. Made this for a baby shower yesterday since the mom to be wanted strawberry shortcake. Though I saw that she had pinned this recipe, so I thought I’d surprise her with it.

    I followed the recipe exactly, which were very clear and easy. I had no problems with the frosting being runny as others commented. I think the key is really to keep the bowl, wisk cold and to stop if it starts to feel too soft and put it back into the freezer a few minutes to firm it up to spread.

    Mine did not come out near as pretty as the pictures but BOY was it a hit! I smiled to myself as I heard the positive comments…the exact comments I’d read on here that other “eaters” had stated! Very rich, sweet and a nice balance, like a strawberry shortcake cheesecake vanilla cake. I thought maybe the vanilla, which was pure and not imitation was a tad strong, and I could have used a little less, but it was VERY good and not a crumb left. Two thumbs up from the crowd, and I will put this in my recipe box. THANK YOU for a new, fun and delicious experience!

  34. Oh and one more thing, I baked it in a bundt pan and cut three layers and it worked perfectly! Making sure that the cake has completely cooled, or even chilled makes spreading the frosting even easier.

  35. I made this cake for my mom’s birthday this weekend – it was my first made from scratch cake as well as my first layer cake (I had to start out by buying cake pans.) It was time consuming but not difficult, didn’t come out looking a all like the pictures but was enjoyed by all.

    It looked great when I put it together Friday evening. Not too bad when 12 of us ate it Saturday afternoon, leaving half of it left for Sunday morning. However by that point it wasn’t looking too appetizing, the strawberries made the frosting extra runny and everything kind of slid off the cake, taking crumbs with it – it was a bit of a sludgy mess.

    The answer to that is a layered dessert. I found some red sugar cookies in the freezer and crumbled them up for color, added a layer of lemon pudding, cut the cake into bite sized pieces, stirred the frosting / crumbs up and spooned it on top. Then repeated the layers. I then used up the remaining heavy cream to make a whipped topping, added a few more fresh strawberries to the top and poof – had a very appealing looking dessert that is now completely gone.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  36. I’ve been waiting for fresh strawberry season to make this. And tonight I did! Just some suggestions. I spent 3 hours finishing up to step #2. I would divide step #2 into several steps. Also, I needed the BIGGEST bowls in my kitchen so “large” and “medium” bowls didn’t really work. It’s in the oven now. As long as it took, it BETTER BE GOOD! LOL!!!!

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