This recipe is an OLDIE! The first time I made it was back in 2013, and I’ve definitely tweaked it over the years to truly make it the best vanilla strawberry cake recipe.
The updated recipe below is actually based on my white chocolate raspberry cake.
It has the same tender white cake layers but is frosted with my strawberry buttercream and filled with strawberry jam.
I love this frosting recipe because it uses both strawberry powder and strawberry jam to give this buttercream an amazing, real strawberry flavor without throwing off its consistency.
This strawberry vanilla cake is also filled with my favorite strawberry jam, which really packs this cake with strawberry flavor.
*Please note that the flowers used on this cake are solely decorative and not intended to be eaten!!*
Substitutions and Swaps – Vanilla Cake Layers
This strawberry vanilla cake recipe use quite a few ingredients and I know you might not have all of them on hand. Or if you have food allergies or restrictions, I’ve got you covered.
Below are some swaps and substitutions that you can make.
- Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. Just be sure to omit the salt! You can also use vegan butter in its place.
- Granulated Sugar – I do not recommend reducing the amount of sugar or changing the type of sugar, as it will change the texture of the cake layers.
- Egg Whites – If you can’t find egg whites in a carton or want to use whole eggs, use 4 whole eggs in place of the cup of egg whites this recipe calls for. Or if you have an egg allergy you can use 4 flaxseed eggs or 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce + 1 extra Tbsp baking powder
- Self-Rising Cake Flour – To make your own self-rising cake flour, measure out 3 cups of cake flour, then add 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1 Tbsp baking powder. You can also use all-purpose flour in this formula if that’s what you have in your pantry.
- Sour Cream – You can use full fat yogurt, buttermilk, whole milk, or an alternative yogurt or milk (almond, soy, oat) if you’re dairy free.
- Vegetable Oil – Any flavorless oil would work great in this recipe, like canola or sunflower.
Substitutions and Swaps – Strawberry Frosting
- Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. Just be sure to omit adding in the additional salt this recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter.
- Heavy Cream – Whole milk or alternative milk (soy, almond, oat) will work fine in this frosting recipe if that’s what you have on hand.
- Freeze Dried Strawberry Powder – If you can’t get a hold of freeze dried strawberry powder (I order mine online), you can make your own by grinding up freeze dried strawberries in a food processor.
- Lemon Juice – I highly recommend using fresh lemon juice if possible! However, you can use bottled lemon juice if you can’t find real lemons.
Making a Different Sized Vanilla Strawberry Cake
One batch of batter can be also be used to make one 9×13 inch strawberry vanilla sheet cake. Bake it at 325 F for 40-50 minutes, and make a quarter batch of the strawberry frosting recipe.
This recipe can also be used to make four, 6 inch cake layers! They will need to bake slightly longer, and I recommend baking them at 325F for 34-37 minutes.
Tips for Making the Best Vanilla Strawberry Cake:
- Take a few minutes to properly cream together your butter and sugar with a whisk attachment or hand mixer. It will allow you to incorporate a bunch of air into the mixture, which gives these cake layers their fluffy texture
- Properly measure your flour! Either spoon it into the cup measure, then level with a knife or use a kitchen scale.
- Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature to help them mix together better.
- Don’t level your cake layers until they are completely cooled.
- Use strawberry powder to really pack your strawberry buttercream with flavor!
- Spread a layer of strawberry jam on top of each cake layer before adding the frosting. It makes the cake layers even more moist!
- Make this strawberry vanilla cake vegan or dairy free! Use your favorite type of dairy free milk to replace the buttermilk and heavy cream, vegan butter sticks in place of the butter, and flax seed eggs.
Making This Vanilla Strawberry Cake in Advance and Storage Tips:
Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and makes it more approachable.
Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
Let Me Know What You Think
If you try this vanilla strawberry cake recipe, I’d love to hear what you think! Please leave a rating below, and a comment to let me know your thoughts.
Other Recipes You Might Like:
Vanilla Cake Recipe
- 1 cup or 2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature (226g)
- 3 cups granulated sugar (600g)
- 1 cup pasteurized egg whites from a carton or 7 egg whites (235g)
- 3 cups self-rising cake flour (360g)
- 1 1/2 cups full-fat sour cream, room temperature (360g)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (56g)
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
- 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (452g; 1 lb box)
- 1/2 cup freeze dried strawberry powder (55g)
- 1/2 tsp salt (3g)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice; about 1/2 small lemon (12g)
- 7 cups powdered sugar (907g; 2 lb bag)
- 2/3 cup heavy cream or heavy whipping cream (160g)
- 1/4 cup strawberry jam (80g)
Optional Cake Filling
- 1/2 cup strawberry jam (160g)
Tools and Equipment Needed
Fluffy Vanilla Cake Layers:
- Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Line and grease three 8-inch cake pans with parchment rounds.
- Add 1 cup of unsalted butter and 3 cups of granulated sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on a high speed with a whisk attachment for a couple minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as need with a rubber spatula. The mixture will become lighter in color as air is whipped into it.
- Add 1 cup egg whites and mix at a medium-high speed until the mixture looks fluffy and increases in volume.
- Slowly mix in 1 1/2 cups of self-rising cake flour on a low speed until just incorporated.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of sour cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Mix at a medium speed until combined, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Mix in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of self-rising cake flour on a low speed.
- Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. I like to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh my pans, to make sure my layers will be the same height.
- Bake for 34-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Rotate pans halfway through to help them bake evenly.
- Allow the pans to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.
- Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers from the pans.
- Use a serrated knife to level the tops and trim the sides to remove any caramelization.
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting:
- While the cake layers bake and cool, make the strawberry buttercream frosting.
- Beat 2 cups of unsalted butter on a medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes with a paddle attachment until the butter becomes lighter in color.
- Mix in 1/2 cup freeze dried strawberry powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 Tbsp lemon juice on a low speed.
- Slowly add in 7 cups of powdered sugar. Halfway through add in 2/3 cup of heavy cream to make the frosting easier to mix.
- Add 1/4 cup strawberry jam, then beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached.
- If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tbsp at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time).
Assembling This Vanilla Strawberry Cake:
- If possible, chill your cake layers in the freezer for 20 minutes before assembling the cake. It makes them cold to the touch, which minimizes crumbing and makes them so much easier to frost and stack them.
- Spread about 1 Tbsp of strawberry frosting onto a greaseproof cake board or plate, then place your first cake layer on top of frosting smear. This helps the layer stay in place as you assemble the cake.
- Spread 1/4 cup of strawberry jam directly onto the cake layer, leaving 1 inch around the edge of the cake layer uncovered.
- Pipe a ring of strawberry buttercream in a ring around the jam circle and then pipe additional frosting on top of the jam to fully cover it.
- Repeat with the remaining cake layers, being sure to flip the top cake layer upside down (cut side down). This makes it easier to frost your cake!
- Chill the cake in the fridge (30 minutes) or freezer (15 minutes) until the frosting between the cake layers is firm to the touch and the cake layers aren't able to slide around.
- Add a thick layer of strawberry frosting around the cake, then use a large offset spatula to give the frosting a textured look.
- Decorate as desired with fresh strawberries and buttercream dollops and enjoy!
To make these vanilla cake layers strawberry cake layers, substitute 1/2 cup of granulated sugar for 1/2 cup of freeze-dried strawberry powder.
Tips for Making the Best Vanilla and Strawberry Cake:
- Ingredients at room temp mix together better! Set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
- Properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level). Or better yet, use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
- Mix the cake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. This will ensure your cake layers are tender and fluffy.
- Use a scale to weigh your cake pans as you fill them. It will make your cake layers bake to the same height and bake more evenly.
- Bang your cake pans on the counter before putting it in the oven. This brings any big air bubbles that are trapped in the batter to the surface.
- Level your room temperature or thawed cake layers with a serrated knife to make them easier to stack.
- Chill your cake layers in the freezer for about 20 minutes before assembling the cake. It makes it so much easier to stack and frost them!
Making This Cake in Advance and Storage Tips:
- Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and makes it more approachable.
- Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
- A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
- If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.
Amount Per Serving Calories 616Total Fat 32gSaturated Fat 18gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 81mgSodium 94mgCarbohydrates 82gFiber 1gSugar 65gProtein 4g
If you want to take a trip down memory lane, here are some photos from my first strawberry cake in 2013.