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.
I made it and it turned out beautifully! My dad, who is a picky dessert person voluntarily told me he gave it a 11 out of 10😊 I had no issues making the frosting,
I’m so happy to hear it was a hit!
The cake was a flop. The frosting is too runny and can’t support the cake of this density. The recipe if for two 8” cakes, each with two cake layers, one middle filling layer, and one top layer. I would look for another recipe. I won’t make this again.
I’m sorry to hear this recipe didn’t work out for you, Emina! The cake should be light and fluffy, not dense. Did you use cake flour? If so, you may have overmixed it! As for a runny frosting, I would recommend adding more powdered sugar until it comes together, as it sounds like there may have been too much liquid!
I made the cake and filling as directed. It was delicious! I was afraid to try the frosting because of some comments so I did my own whipped buttercream. Will make again!
I’m so happy to hear you loved this cake, Shannon! I do hope you’ll give the frosting a try!
I’m so disappointed in this frosting. It is runny and has not firmed up after a long time of beating. I’ve added a lot of extra powdered sugar to try and thicken it but it’s a point where it’s ridiculously sweet because of how much powdered sugar has gone into it. Many comments say not to beat too much because the whipping cream will curdle. I have reread the recipe probably 10+ times at this point to figure out where I went wrong and I have not found any discrepancies.. I followed this exactly. I’m so disappointed because this frosting is quite literally the “icing on the cake” and the cake looks awful.
I’m so sorry this recipe didn’t work out for you, Anora! Try adding a tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken next time!
Hi! This cake looks so yummy. I’m planning on making it for my daughter’s flamingo themed birthday. I plan to make feathers out of melted white chocolate, spread thinly on wax paper, and then attach them on the sides of the cake, using the frosting like glue. I’m wondering if this whipped cream frosting will work as glue, and be able to hold on something like that? Or if I’d be better off doing a buttercream frosting? Thanks!
I think you would need a thicker frosting!
Hello. I am making this for my sons birthday tomorrow. I’ve made the strawberry filling and the cake. Tomorrow I will make the frosting and put it all together. But I noticed the strawberry filling has cooled and has gotten so thick that it is not spreadable and I am wondering how I can thin it out tomorrow before layering it into the cake.
You should be able to stir in some water or fruit juice to thin it back out!
I’ve just made it and had the same issue. It also tastes… gelatinous… I think I’ll halve or even leave out the cornstarch next time.
I can’t wait to try this recipe! What can I substitute the coconut oil for since I have a coconut allergy? Would you just recommend using another vanilla cake recipe? Do you have another good one on hand? Thank you!!!!
You can use more butter or try vegetable oil instead!
I’m reading comments about the icing recipe having a chunky, watery texture. I’ve read where you said it takes a long time to come together or the cream cheese wasn’t softened enough. The simple truth of the matter is that the heavy cream has curdled. You can only whip heavy cream to a point, & if you continue whipping, the cream curdles & you get a chunky, watery consistency that will not come back – no matter what you do. As an experienced baker who has worked with frostings containing heavy cream, I am very leery about trying this because your recipe calls for whipping it not just once, or even twice, but 3 times! Please inform your readers that they must be careful when using heavy cream as over whipping will cause the cream to curdle.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Vickie!
not to sound ignorant.. 😬… but instead of whipping cream for the frosting, could pre whipped cream such as cool whip be used? Also, can the strawberries be less cooked for the center filling, for a more fresh strawberry filled center? Thanks for the tips y’all!
Unfortunately, pre-whipped whipped cream will not work here, as it will overwhip in the mixer when you add the cream cheese.
just blend cool whip and a can of cream cheese frosting from favorite brand together until smooth! so yummy and quick :)
Can this recipe be made with 1-1 Gluten free flour?
I made this cake for my granddaughter’s 7th birthday. Making the cake and strawberry filling in advance helps, there is lot to do. The cake seemed dense and heavy, and the strawberries runny. The frosting came out okay, but started breaking down once no longer refrigerated. I wasn’t thrilling with the cake the day of, but the next day leftovers were absolutely delicious with the strawberry seeping into the cake.
I’m sorry this didn’t quite work out for you, Rebecca! For the cake, I definitely recommend using the spoon and level method for the dry ingredients in order to prevent using too much flour, etc. I would also encourage you to double-check that your baking soda and baking powder are not expired, as that’s another common issue. For the strawberries, definitely don’t be afraid to cook them down for longer if they seem too runny! Unfortunately, whipped cream frostings don’t usually last very long outside of refrigeration, but they sure are delicious!