Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Moist and fluffy vanilla cake layers filled with fresh strawberries and stabilized whipped cream. This cake comes together so easily and is such a crowd pleaser. The perfect cake for summer BBQs and family get togethers.
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 55 mins
Serves: 24
closeup of strawberry shortcake slice on a white plate

Nothing says summer like this strawberry shortcake cake! Super moist and fluffy layers of vanilla cake layered with freshly picked strawberries and stabilized whipped cream. If you love traditional strawberry shortcake then you will LOVE this layer cake version.

closeup of strawberry shortcake slice on a white plate

Typically, “shortcake” refers to a tender flaky biscuit but I wanted to transform the traditional strawberry shortcake into an actual layer cake while still staying true to those very distinct flavors. I had TWO slices of this cake after the photographs were done because it’s SO good! Super light, summery, and the perfect cake to bring to a birthday party, BBQ, or picnic.

Strawberry shortcake cake ingredients

The great thing about making this strawberry shortcake cake is that you don’t need any special ingredients unless you call fresh, in-season strawberries special (which they totally are). That’s why this cake is an absolute MUST-MAKE for strawberry season (May-June) here in the PNW and then again in the late summer (August-September). Late summer strawberries are actually the tastiest because they get the most warmth and sunshine, aka flavor!

I absolutely LOVE the taste and texture of my moist vanilla cake made with cake flour but if you don’t have any on hand, you can use my white cake recipe instead and it will still be just as delicious! I don’t recommend doing the homemade cake flour hack (replacing some flour with cornstarch) for this recipe because of the reverse creaming method. The texture of the cake will be more like cornbread because of the extended mixing.

If you’re located in another country, you can find cake flour but it might need to be ordered online. In the UK, look for Shipton mills cake and pastry flour

PRO TIP – Cake flour has a protein level of 9% or less so look for a flour that specifies protein content or ask your local flour supply. If you’re in the UK, search for Shipton Mills soft cake and pastry flour.

How to make strawberry shortcake vanilla cake

  1. Bring all your ingredients to room temperature, meaning the milk, eggs, and butter should not be even a tiny bit cold. This will ensure that the cake batter mixes together correctly and you’ll get a better rise and texture in your final cake.
  2. Preheat your oven to 335ºF and prepare two 8″x2″ round cake pans with cake goop or another preferred kind of pan release.
  3. I like to pre-measure all my ingredients and have them ready to go so that mixing goes very easily and I don’t forget anything. To measure we are using a scale. If you haven’t used a scale before, don’t be intimidated. It’s actually easier than using cups and way fewer dishes (yay!). You can get a great scale online or in any local store that sells kitchen equipment.
  4. Divide your milk in half. Add your oil to one half and add the eggs and vanilla to the second half. Set them aside. pouring oil into milk in a measuring cup
  5. Place your cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment attached. I’m using my Bosch universal plus mixer but you can use whatever mixer you have. dry ingredients going into a mixing bowl
  6. Add in your softened butter and mix at low speed until the flour mixture resembles a coarse sand texture. hand holding butter over dry ingredients in a mixing bowl vanilla cake ingredients in a mixing bowl
  7. Add your milk/oil mixture and increase the speed to medium. Let your cake batter mix for 2 full minutes. Scrape after 1 minute if you need to. The texture should be light, white, and fluffy after 2 minutes. Don’t worry you won’t overmix it. vanilla cake ingredients close up on a blue spatula
  8. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add in the milk/egg mixture in a steady stream until it’s all added in. This takes me about 1 minute. Once the egg mixture is all mixed in, your cake batter is ready to bake! closeup of vanilla cake batter on a blue spatula
  9. Divide your cake batter into your cake pans evenly and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the center bounces back when you lightly touch it. vanilla cake on a cooling rack
  10. Let your cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes or until the pan is just barely warm to the touch.
  11. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way or do what I do and pop them into the freezer to cool them down faster. For me it takes about an hour and then they are chilled and ready to go. You can also fully freeze your cakes (wrapped in plastic wrap) and that will help seal in the moisture and keep them moist until you’re ready to frost your cakes. Let them defrost for about an hour before you try to tort them.

How to make strawberries last longer

Have you ever picked up a new pack of strawberries at the grocery store to enjoy for dessert only to discover they’ve gone moldy in a matter of hours? I know I have and it’s super frustrating! Now I always use a simple strawberry wash made from a little vinegar and water. The vinegar kills all the mold spores and keeps your berries super fresh for up to a week!

strawberries rinsed in water in white colander

Washing your berries will also stop them from going moldy inside your cake which can happen even if they are sliced and inside your cake EEK! Definitely don’t want to take that chance!

  1. Combine 1 gallon of water with 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Add your fresh berries and let them soak for 10 minutes
  2. Rinse your berries and dry them on a paper towel (don’t rub them).
  3. Store the berries in the fridge uncovered for up to a week.

Making stabilized whipped cream

Making stabilized whipped cream is my favorite way to keep whipped cream from melting even in super high temperatures (just make sure you keep it in the shade because even cake will melt if it gets hot enough!

  1. Add your powdered gelatin to the cold water and let it bloom for 5 minutes. blooming gelatin in water
  2. Start mixing your heavy cream in the stand mixer with the whisk attachment until it begins to look thick and foamy. Add the powdered sugar and the vanilla. adding vanilla to whipped cream mixture
  3. Continue mixing until you start to see lines forming in the surface of the whipped cream (soft peaks)
  4. Microwave the gelatin for 30 seconds and stir. The gelatin granules should look transparent. If they aren’t fully melted then go for another 5 seconds.
  5. Add the 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream to the melted gelatin and stir.
  6. Drizzle the gelatin mixture into the heavy cream mixture and continue mixing on medium until firm peaks form. Don’t over mix or the heavy cream will start to separate and curdle and then you’ll have butter (oops). adding gelatin mixture to thickened whipped cream close up of stabilized whipped cream

Strawberry shortcake cake assembly

Now that we’ve baked our cakes, washed our berries and made our stabilized whipped cream, it’s time to stack and assemble our cake! This process is super simple because we are going for a rustic, unfinished look so we can show off those gorgeous layers of whipped cream and berries. If you want to learn more about the process of decorating your first cake check out my free tutorial.

how to make a cake tutorial
  1. Start by slicing your cakes length-wise (tort) with a serrated knife so the layers are thinner. torting a vanilla cake layer
  2. Slice 1 lb of strawberries but keep 4-5 whole for decorating the top. slicing strawberries
  3. Place the first layer of cake onto your cake board or cake platter and apply a thin layer of your stabilized whipped cream.
  4. Arrange a single layer of your sliced berries on top of the whipped cream.
  5. Cover the sliced berries in another layer of whipped cream so the top is nice and flat. adding whipped cream to strawberries on a slice of cake
  6. Stack your next layer of cake on top of the berries and whipped cream and repeat the process. adding cake layer on top of whipped cream and strawberries
  7. Finish with a few dollops of whipped cream and whole berries!adding strawberries to the top of strawberry shortcake
  8. I highly recommend refrigerating the cake until you need to eat it because it will make it much easier to slice. If you plan on refrigerating the cake overnight, then wrap the cake in plastic wrap first to keep it from drying out.
closeup of strawberry shortcake on a blue plate
closeup of sliced strawberry shortcake cake on a blue plate

Strawberry shortcake FAQ

Can you make this recipe into cupcakes?

It’s better to use my vanilla cupcake recipe so the cupcakes don’t shrink. Put strawberries into the center of the cupcake by cutting a small piece of the cupcake out and then frost with stabilized whipped cream. Here’s my recipe for vanilla cupcakes https://sugargeekshow.com/recipe/vanilla-cupcake-recipe/

Does this cake need to be refrigerated?

Yes because of the fresh berries and the whipped cream, this cake needs to be refrigerated. However, cold cake can taste dry so it’s best to bring the cake out of the fridge a few hours before you are going to eat it so it has a chance to come to room temperature.

How far in advance can you make this strawberry shortcake

You can make this cake a day in advance but it can dry out in the fridge so you should brush the layers of vanilla cake with simple syrup and then wrap the cake in plastic wrap to help it stay moist in the fridge.

More recipes you’ll love to bake

Moist Vanilla Cake Recipe

Stabilized Whipped Cream That Doesn’t Melt!

Fresh Strawberry Cake

Strawberry Macarons

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
closeup of strawberry shortcake slice on a white plate

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Moist and fluffy vanilla cake layers filled with fresh strawberries and stabilized whipped cream. This cake comes together so easily and is such a crowd pleaser. The perfect cake for summer BBQs and family get togethers.
5 from 6 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Serves: 24
Calories: 353kcal

Ingredients

Vanilla Shortcake

  • 10 ounces (283 g) milk room temperature, divided evenly into two measuring cups
  • 3 ounces (85 g) canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Large eggs room temperature
  • 13 ounces (368 g) cake flour
  • 13 ounces (368 g) sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (227 g) unsalted butter room temperature

Stabilized Whipped Cream

  • 24 ounces (680 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 4 ounces (113 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons gelatin I use KNOX brand
  • 3 Tablespoons cold water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy whipping cream for the gelatin
  • 16 ounces (454 g) fresh strawberries washed and sliced for the filling

Equipment

  • Two 8"x2" round cake pans
  • Stand mixer with paddle and whisk attachments

Instructions

Vanilla Shortcake Layers

  • Bring all your ingredients to room temperature, meaning the milk, eggs, and butter should not be even a tiny bit cold. This will ensure that the cake batter mixes together correctly and you'll get a better rise and texture in your final cake.
  • Preheat your oven to 335ºF and prepare two 8"x2" round cake pans with cake goop or another preferred kind of pan release.
  • I like to pre-measure all my ingredients and have them ready to go so that mixing goes very easily and I don't forget anything. To measure we are using a scale. If you haven't used a scale before, don't be intimidated. It's actually easier than using cups and way fewer dishes (yay!). You can get a great scale online or in any local store that sells kitchen equipment.
  • Divide your milk in half. Add your oil to one half and add the eggs and vanilla to the second half. Set them aside.
  • Place your cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment attached. I'm using my Bosch universal plus mixer but you can use whatever mixer you have.
  • Add in your softened butter and mix at low speed until the flour mixture resembles a coarse sand texture.
  • Add your milk/oil mixture and increase the speed to medium. Let your cake batter mix for 2 full minutes. Scrape after 1 minute if you need to. The texture should be light, white, and fluffy after 2 minutes. Don't worry you won't overmix it.
  • Reduce the speed to low and slowly add in the milk/egg mixture in a steady stream until it's all added in. This takes me about 1 minute. Once the egg mixture is all mixed in, your cake batter is ready to bake!
  • Divide your cake batter into your cake pans evenly and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the center bounces back when you lightly touch it.
  • Let your cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes or until the pan is just barely warm to the touch.
  • Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way or do what I do and pop them into the freezer to cool them down faster. For me it takes about an hour and then they are chilled and ready to go. You can also fully freeze your cakes (wrapped in plastic wrap) and that will help seal in the moisture and keep them moist until you're ready to frost your cakes. Let them defrost for about an hour before you try to tort them.

Stabilized Whipped Cream

  • Add your powdered gelatin to the cold water and let it bloom for 5 minutes.
  • Start mixing your heavy cream in the stand mixer with the whisk attachment until it begins to look thick and foamy. Add the powdered sugar and the vanilla.
  • Continue mixing until you start to see lines forming in the surface of the whipped cream (soft peaks)
  • Microwave the gelatin for 30 seconds and stir. The gelatin granules should look transparent. If they aren't fully melted then go for another 5 seconds.
  • Add the 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream to the melted gelatin and stir.
  • Drizzle the gelatin mixture into the heavy cream mixture and continue mixing on medium until firm peaks form. Don't over mix or the heavy cream will start to separate and curdle and then you'll have butter (oops).

Cake Assembly

  • Slice your strawberries into 1/4" slices (see blog post for the strawberry wash instructions)
  • After your cakes are cooled, slice them horizontally into thinner layers and place the first layer onto a cake plate or cake board.
  • Spread a thin layer of your whipped cream onto the cake layer and spread an even layer of your sliced strawberries on top.
  • Spread another thin layer of whipped cream on top of the strawberries and place the second layer of cake on top. Repeat with the final layers of cake.
  • Finish the cake with some dollops of whipped cream and whole strawberries on top.
  • I recommend chilling the cake a few hours before serving it so that it's easier to slice.

Notes

1. Using cake flour will make these vanilla shortcake layers SUPER moist and tender. If you don’t have cake flour you can use my white cake recipe instead. 
2. Keep your berries fresh for up to a week by using my natural berry wash
3. Don’t want to use gelatin? Check out my blog post for more ways to stabilize your whipped cream. 
4. Cake flour has a protein level of 9% or less so look for a flour that specifies protein content or ask your local flour supply. If you’re in the UK, search for Shipton Mills soft cake and pastry flour.
5. I don’t recommend doing the homemade cake flour hack (replacing some AP flour with cornstarch) for this recipe because of the reverse creaming method. The texture of the cake will be more like cornbread because of the extended mixing.
6. Make your own pan release (cake goop!) The best pan release ever! 
7. Need more help with making your first cake? Check out my how to decorate your first cake blog post. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 353kcal (18%) | Carbohydrates: 33g (11%) | Protein: 4g (8%) | Fat: 23g (35%) | Saturated Fat: 12g (60%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 84mg (28%) | Sodium: 88mg (4%) | Potassium: 116mg (3%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 21g (23%) | Vitamin A: 715IU (14%) | Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) | Calcium: 62mg (6%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)

2 comments on “Strawberry Shortcake Layer Cake

  1. 5 stars
    To say this came out perfect is an understatement

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is AMAZING!! I made it for my mom’s birthday and we couldn’t stop eating it. Thank you so much!

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