If you are looking for a show-stopping cake, this Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Filling is perfect! With a delicious strawberry filling, the vanilla cake is topped with whipped cream frosting for a wonderful dessert centerpiece.
What’s in White Cake with Strawberries?
Let’s be honest, cake is never a bad idea, and this white layer cake is such a treat! Pretty straightforward to make, this vanilla cake is so light and fluffy and the fresh strawberry filling is, for want of a better phrase, the icing on the cake!
- Fresh Strawberries: Provide a rich, fresh strawberry flavor to the filling and make for a fresh and beautiful cake topping.
- Water: Hydrates the cornstarch to help thicken the filling.
- Cornstarch: Thickens the filling.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar sweetens the strawberry filling and the white cake, while powdered sugar sweetens the whipped cream frosting without making it grainy.
- Kosher Salt: Enhances the natural flavor of the strawberries and the cake.
- Lemon Juice: Cuts the sweetness of the strawberries. Use fresh lemon juice for the best results.
- Food Coloring: Red food coloring can help enhance the natural color of the strawberry filling, if desired.
- Heavy Whipping Cream: Forms the base of the frosting.
- Cream Cheese: Adds structure and tanginess to the frosting.
- Vanilla Extract: Enhances the flavor of the frosting and the cake.
- Almond Extract: Adds a hint of nuttiness to the frosting and cake.
- Bleached Cake Flour: Lower in protein than all-purpose flour, cake flour makes this cake ultra-light and tender. Using bleached cake flour helps the cake stay super white in color. I like Swan’s Down.
- Unsalted Butter: Adds richness, moisture, and flavor to the cake.
- Virgin Coconut Oil: Adds additional moisture to make the cake extra tender.
- Leavening: Baking powder and baking soda combine to make this cake extra light and fluffy.
- Egg Whites: Give the cake additional structure without changing the color.
- Buttermilk: Cultured low-fat buttermilk adds moisture and tanginess to the cake without making it too rich.
For the base White Layer Cake we used Stella Parks’ recipe for White Mountain Layer Cake, and in my humble opinion, it is the BEST white cake recipe – ever! I am not exaggerating or kidding. It is phenomenal. Thank you, Stella Parks! You can find her book HERE.
Variations on Strawberry Filled White Cake
You can easily change up the fruit in the filling of this cake. Simply swap in an equal amount (by weight) of the fruit of your choice. I like raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries!
You can also try using a different frosting. For a lighter version of this whipped cream frosting, try my stabilized whipped cream recipe. For a bit heartier of a frosting, try my vanilla frosting, cream cheese frosting, or strawberry cream cheese frosting!
We take a few steps to keep this cake super white. First, we use bleached cake flour. Yes, even the color of your regular flour can make this cake look dingy. Then, we use only egg whites (no egg yolks). Egg yolks are often responsible for the yellow color in yellow cake. Finally, if you can get a hold of clear vanilla extract, that will keep this cake the whitest!
Yes, you can use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour in white cake. Cake flour has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour, which results in a lighter and more tender cake. However, you may need to adjust the amount of flour in the recipe to achieve the desired texture.
To make a white cake moist, you can add sour cream, yogurt, or buttermilk to the batter. These ingredients add moisture and tanginess to the cake, making it more flavorful and tender. In this recipe, we chose buttermilk, but you can sub for sour cream or yogurt if you don’t have any on hand.
I made this a 2 layered cake, but you can easily turn it into 3 or even 4 layers. Use three 8×3-inch aluminum pans for a 3-layer cake and four for a 4 layered. You can use the same amount of ingredients.
How to Make Ahead
Although it may seem like a lot to make it in one go, you can either make it and serve it on the same day or make the different elements ahead of time and build it the day you want to serve it.
- Strawberry Filling: Can be made up to 5 days ahead.
- Frosting: Can be made 6 hours ahead.
- Cakes: Make these 24 hours ahead of time.
How to Store and Freeze
This white layer cake is best served within 6 hours of you constructing it. If you do have leftovers, keep them covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. It will dry out a little but it will still be pretty delicious!
To freeze this cake, wrap it whole (or individual slices) in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of aluminum foil. You can freeze it for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying.
Serve this cake with dollops of lemon curd or a drizzle of lemon sauce to really set off the strawberry flavor.
I love to enjoy this cake with a glass of oat milk, a Starbuck’s Pink Drink, or strawberry lemonade. For a boozier accompaniment, try strawberry margarita punch, strawberry frosé, or strawberry Palomas.
Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Filling
- Kitchen Scale (optional)
For the Strawberry Filling (Make ahead 2 hours to 5 days ahead)
- 2½ pounds fresh strawberries 1,134 grams, washed, stemmed, and divided
- 1 cup water 227 grams
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch 21 grams
- ½ cup granulated sugar 100 grams
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice 28 grams(from 1 lemon)
- Red food coloring if needed and/or desired
For the Whipped Cream Frosting (It may be made up to 6 hours ahead.)
- 4 cups heavy whipping cream 908 grams (1 quart)
- ¾ cup powdered sugar 85 grams, divided
- 16 ounces cream cheese 454 grams, room temperature (2 bricks)
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract 6 grams
- ¾ teaspoon almond extract 3 grams
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the White Layer Cake
- 4 cups bleached cake flour 454 grams (16 ounces), such as Swan's Down
- 8 ounces unsalted butter 226 grams (2 sticks), pliable but cool (about 65°F)
- ⅔ cup virgin coconut oil 113 grams (4 ounces), solid but room temperature
- 2¼ cups granulated sugar 454 grams (16 ounces)
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder 10 grams
- 1 teaspoon baking soda 6 grams
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt (half as much if using table salt)
- 1 cup egg whites 241 grams, room temperature (8½ ounces, from about 8 large eggs)
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract 8 grams
- 1 teaspoon almond extract 4 grams
- 2 cups cultured low-fat buttermilk 454 grams (16 ounces), room temperature
- 1 pound fresh strawberries 454 grams, washed, dried, hulled and halved
For the Strawberry Filling
Rough-chop 1½ pounds (about 3 cups) strawberries.2½ pounds fresh strawberries
- Halve the remaining 1 pound of strawberries and reserve for the topping.
In a large saucepan, whisk together the water and cornstarch until smooth.1 cup water, 3 tablespoons cornstarch
Add strawberries, sugar, and salt; stir well.½ cup granulated sugar, ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring often. After the strawberries cook about 3 minutes, mash about half of them.
- Continue cooking and stirring the mixture until thickened, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
Add lemon juice and stir well.2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
If desired, add red food coloring; stir well.Red food coloring
- Pour the mixture into a heat-resistant, airtight refrigerator container. Cool to room temperature, stir, cover and refrigerate until ready to use (at least 2 hours and up to 5 days).
For the Whipped Cream Frosting
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the whipping cream on medium-high speed until thickened. Add ½ cup powdered sugar and whisk until very stiff peaks form. Set aside.4 cups heavy whipping cream, ¾ cup powdered sugar
Place cream cheese, ¼ cup powdered sugar, vanilla, almond, and salt in another mixing bowl. Whisk on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, scraping downs the sides as needed, until creamy and fluffy.16 ounces cream cheese, 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract, ¾ teaspoon almond extract, ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Add the whipped cream and whisk, on low speed, until fully incorporated.
- Increase the speed to medium-high and whisk until light and fluffy and the mixture has firm peaks.
- Keep refrigerated in an airtight container up to 24 hours
For the White Layer Cake
- Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.
- Line 2 (if making a 4-layer cake) and 3 (if making a 3-layer cake) 8×3-inch aluminum cake pans with parchment and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl; set aside.4 cups bleached cake flour
Add butter, coconut oil, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. Set the mixer to low to moisten, then switch to medium speed and cream until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping as needed.8 ounces unsalted butter, ⅔ cup virgin coconut oil, 2¼ cups granulated sugar, 2½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
With the mixer running, add egg whites, one at a time.1 cup egg whites
Add vanilla and almond extracts and mix 30 seconds.2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Scrape down the bowl and paddle.
Set mixer to low speed and slowly add one-third of the flour, followed by one-third of the buttermilk. Mix just until each addition is roughly incorporated. Add the remaining flour and milk, alternately, one-third of each at a time. Mix just until smooth.2 cups cultured low-fat buttermilk
- Turn off the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape all dry ingredients from the bottom. Mix on low speed just until dry ingredients are incorporated.
- Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake about 40 minutes or until the cakes internal temperature registers 210°F. The cakes should be pale, brown around the edges and firm. A toothpick inserted in the middle of each cake should come out almost clean – with just a few crumbs attached.
- Transfer cakes to a wire rack and cool 15 minutes. Remove cakes from the pans and remove the parchment. Return them to the wire racks to cool completely.
- If not serving the cake within a couple of hours, wrap the cake layers tightly with plastic wrap up to 24 hours ahead. Keep the frosting and filling refrigerated until ready to frost.
- If the Whipped Cream Frosting is too stiff to spread, leave it on the counter for about 15 minutes, stir or beat it for a few seconds and it should be good as new.
- Place one cake layer on a plate or cake stand and spread about 1½ cups Whipped Cream Frosting on top. Spread it evenly while building a ½-inch “barricade” of frosting around the edge to keep the filling from leaking out.
- Add about ½ cup Fresh Strawberry Filling in the middle of the frosting and spread it out evenly to the frosting “barricade”.
- Add the next layer of cake and add the filling and frosting as before.
- After adding all the layers, frost the sides of the cake with Whipped Cream Frosting.
For the top of the cake, arrange halved strawberries as desired.1 pound fresh strawberries
- Refrigerate until ready to serve and serve within 6 hours.
- For the base White Layer Cake we used Stella Parks’ recipe for White Mountain Layer Cake, and in my humble opinion, it is the BEST white cake recipe – ever! I am not exaggerating or kidding. It is phenomenal. Thank you, Stella Parks! You can find her book HERE.
- Don’t over mix the cake batter, the dry ingredients should be just combined.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the tins so that the layers cook all the way through at the same time.
- Serve the cake within 6 hours of making it.
More Strawberry Cake Recipes We Love
- Fresh Strawberry Cake
- Strawberry Buttermilk Cake
- Strawberry Pound Cake
- Strawberry Lemonade Poke Cake
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