A delicious strawberry cake with layers of fresh strawberries and luscious lemon curd. Nothing beats homemade strawberry cake with a decadent cream cheese frosting on a Summer party! Using a vanilla sponge cake as a base and you can customize your cake according to what fresh berries or other ingredients you may have on hand.
The Story of this Photoshoot
Everything that could go wrong in this photoshoot, did go wrong. For starters, I had huge issues with lighting. As this was the time I had to shoot, and this was also the time the sun decided to play hide and seek, giving me different lighting for each shot. Artificial lighting is not my thing, so I just had to work around it.
Secondly, my background fell onto my cake. YES, I was so furious, you should have seen me. I managed to somewhat fix it so it wasn't as apparent, but still. I also thought I had more strawberries than I did, so I didn't have the abundance of strawberries shot as I envisioned. Anyway, I am still sharing this strawberry cake because it is amazingly summery using fresh berries and citrusy lemon curd.
Fresh Strawberry Cake with Lemon Curd
Right, this isn't the pureed strawberries and gelatine kind of strawberry cake. I prefer the vanilla sponge cake with strawberry filling kind of strawberry cake. So that is also what I'm giving you today. Let's begin with making the sponge cake.
How to Make a Layer Cake
I cringe every time I see those box cake mixes in cakes. I almost can't even see the convenience of it. You've probably, or definitely should, already have the ingredients needed. I rarely make use of any ready made thing like that, the only exception (and only sometimes) is vanilla pastry cream, because of the amount of eggs needed in a pastry cream.
So, let's begin with gathering up our ingredients for the cake (1). Prepare two 8 inch (20-22 cm) cake pans with parchment paper at the bottom and grease with cooking spray or butter. Pre-heat oven to 300F (150C).
Mix the dry ingredients together: flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whip greek yoghurt, oil, lemon juice and vanilla for 2 minutes by hand, until creamy (2-3). You may need to whisk vigourously.
Whip sugar and eggs in a large bowl until pale and airy, using a hand or stand mixer (4). Also known as eggedosis in Norway. You should be able to spell OLE when drizzling the mixture and the O is still visible when you're done, then it is ready. About 5-7 minutes.
Add greek yoghurt mixture into egg mixture (5). Carefully mix.
How to Make Fluffy Sponge Cake
Ok, so to make the cake fluffy and not dense there's two things to consider:
Sift the dry ingredients into the eggs in smaller increments. When sifting you are making sure you will not get any flour lumps into the batter. Using smaller increments will make it easier to fold the batter without flour lumps hiding somewhere.
What I mean by folding is taking a spatula, and carefully lift batches of batter over the top, as to - you guessed it - fold a small batch of batter into the big batter. Fold each flour batch until you no longer see any unmixed flour. Run your spatula down to the bottom, as it often hides there. Do this several times (6-8).
Carefully folding and not whisking will help to retain the air you made in step (4). Whisking tend to beat the air out of the eggs and makes your cake denser.
So remember, after your eggs are airy - carefully sift and fold. And you will get perfectly airy cake each time. Sometimes you want a more dense cake, such as maybe a decadent carrot cake. So you'll have to consider what your desired end product will be. This strawberry cake should be airy because that is what Summer is about.
Bake The Sponge Cake
Now our strawberry cake batter is ready. Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans (9). Bake for about 75 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center of the cake comes out clean. If you think it browns too quickly, add aluminum foil loosely at the top. The cake will brown a little, but I don't think it matters!
Completely cool in the pans.
Fresh Strawberry Cake Filling
I like to separate the strawberries into two bowls. One with just fresh strawberries, and one with strawberries and sugar. Hull the strawberries and cut into quarters (smaller is also fine). Divide equally into two bowls.
Add 2 tablespoon sugar into one of the bowls and carefully whisk with a spoon. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes. This makes the juices of the strawberries come out, making a delicious strawberry syrup or more jam like.
I added a little rhubarb into my strawberries just because I had it. And if you have more strawberries, just pile it on, there's no right or wrong answer here. Doubling the amount of strawberry filling should be no problem!
If you have too many strawberries (is there such a thing?) use them in these healthy strawberry rhubarb oatmeal bars!
Assemble the cake
And now the fun part; assemble the strawberry cake! Once your cakes are cool (this could be the next day if you prefer), run a serrated knife in the middle of each cake. I like to carefully press the tip into the center, and then (again) carefully run it horizontally around the cake to form two equally sized shorter layers (10-11).
Add the bottom half of the cake onto a cake stand. Spread half of the sugar strawberries on top (12). Then pile half of the fresh strawberries over that. Add the top half of the sponge cake (13).
Lemon Curd Filling
Next, take your lemon curd, it could be this homemade lemon curd or even store bought (or even lime and mango curd for a fun twist!). Spread all of it in an even layer on top of the cake (14). Leave a little room at the edge of the cake so the lemon curd won't spread out and over the edge (note for photographic purposes I did make it run down the edge).
Add the bottom half of the next cake on top. Repeat step 12-13 and you will get a finished layered cake like in (16).
Cream Cheese Frosting
So of course where there's strawberries there's cream. They work so well together, it's like hot chocolate and marshmallows, or bacon and eggs. One gets slightly (or majorly) better with the other and vice versa.
In Norway we would probably categorize this cake as a bløtkake, which is a layered sponge cake involving whipped cream. I don't have whipped cream between the layers, but the on the outside is enough for me. Feel free to add more if you like, of course.
All you need is 4 ingredients: cream cheese, heavy cream, powdered sugar and salt. Add heavy cream, salt and powdered sugar to a medium bowl, whisk until almost stiff peaks. Add in cream cheese and mix until stiff.
I like to add a thin layer of frosting to the cake (17) and then refrigerate for a few hours. I do this to trap all the cake crumbs in place. So when you add all the rest of the cream cheese frosting, you won't get crumbs all over the cake.
I like to keep it pretty rustic, so I just pile on the rest of the frosting in a somewhat evenly layer to create nice waves and textures. You can of course smooth this any way you want. Garnish with more fresh strawberries and a few mint leaves for a pop of color!
How to Serve and Store
This strawberry cake is best served the next day, but I can rarely wait. The lemon curd soaks up into the two adjoining layers making half the layers super lemony and rich. The strawberries aren't overly sweet and adds a nice freshness to the cake.
Because the strawberries are fresh it also means that the cake doesn't last for very long. Keep it in a cool place for a maximum of 3 days.
The Best Summer Desserts
- Blackberry Lemon Curd Pavlova Nests
- Easy Rhubarb Crisp
- Summer Berry Pavlova with Pastry Cream
- Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese and Crumb Topping
- Lemon Ricotta Cake with Dreamy Vanilla Pastry Cream
- Red Currant and Lemon Curd Brûlée Tarts
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later!
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