This moist vanilla cake with strawberry filling and buttercream icing is the perfect celebration cake for birthdays and summer parties. Made with real, fresh strawberries, this cake is full of delicious flavor.
If you love strawberries, then you must try this cake! It is everything you would ever want out of a vanilla cake with strawberry filling.
Moist, tender cake? Check. Fresh strawberries for real strawberry flavor? Check. The easiest from-scratch cake recipe? Check.
The vanilla cake uses my fool-proof one bowl vanilla cake recipe. It is super easy to make, doesn't need a mixer, and comes out moist and fluffy every time.
The real strawberry butter is sweet and flavorful. I won't be surprised if you want to lick it off the spatula! Making the strawberry sauce for the buttercream means you can sneak a few dollops of strawberry sauce between the layers for added flavor.
I was inspired by my strawberry chiffon cake with sliced strawberries as well as my strawberry layer cake. This version is different because of the easy vanilla cake frosted and filled with strawberry buttercream.
This vanilla cake starts with basic pantry staples, eggs, milk, and melted butter.
- Granulated sugar
- All-purpose flour
- Kosher salt
- Baking powder
- Milk (whole milk is preferred but any percentage or non-diary milk is fine)
- Vanilla extract
- Large eggs
- Unsalted butter - for flavor and the buttercream
- Avocado or canola oil - for extra moisture
- Fresh strawberries
- Icing or powdered sugar
- Cornstarch - for thickening the buttercream
- Fresh lemon juice - balance the sweetness in the buttercream
See recipe card for quantities.
Tools and Equipment
This easy can recipe is stirred together by hand. But for the frosting, you will want an electric mixer and some basic cake decorating tools. Here's a list of everything used to bake it:
- Electric mixer - for the buttercream
- Small food processer
- Mesh sieve
- Various mixing bowls
- Rubber spatula
- Three 6-inch cake pans
- Offset spatula
- Rotating cake stand
- Piping bag and tips
- Serrated knife
Steps for Baking a Vanilla Strawberry Cake
Make the cake batter - this easy cake batter can be stirred together by hand in a large mixing bowl.
Bake the cake - as the cake bakes, get started on the strawberry sauce so both have time to cool.
Cook the strawberry sauce - puree and cook the strawberries until they thicken into a sauce.
Finished the buttercream - after the strawberry sauce cools, mix it into whipped buttercream frosting
Finally, Assemble the cake - use the strawberry buttercream for filling and frosting. Decorate as desired.
Assembling the Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Filling
Firstly, pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge of the cake layers to keep the strawberry filling from leaking.
Swirl on a couple spoonfuls of strawberry sauce between the layers for extra flavor.
Stack the layer as evenly as possible. Adjust them as needed before you start icing the cake.
Next, ice the cake in a thin layer of buttercream frosting first, chill, then add a smoother out layer to finish.
Always make sure to use a buttercream dam to hold in loose fillings like jam. Consequently, if the strawberry sauce begins to leak out as you stack the cakes, scrape it out and start again with a buttercream dam.
If the buttercream is too soft to pipe, add in a bit more powdered sugar - a ½ cup at a time. If it is too stiff, add a bit more strawberry sauce - a tablespoon at a time.
Non-Dairy - This recipe should be fine to using non-dairy milk and plant-based butter.
Cornstarch - It is not absolutely necessary to use if you are in a pinch, but the cornstarch will help thicken the strawberry sauce before being added to the buttercream. You can also use arrowroot flour or tapioca starch.
Vanilla Cake with Raspberry Filling - use the raspberry frosting from these raspberry cupcakes instead.
8-inch Cake - bake the batter in two 8-inch round cakes (make sure not to fill them more than ¾ of the way). Adjust bake time accordingly.
Strawberry Cream Filling for Cakes
The strawberry sauce for the strawberry buttercream begins the same way as this strawberry cream cheese frosting.
Firstly, puree fresh strawberries in a mini food processor or small blender.
Cook down the strawberry puree until slightly reduced then add cornstarch to thicken.
Whip together the butter and sugar for the frosting then add the cooled strawberry sauce.
Mix the strawberry cream filling until smooth and spreadable.
Serving and Storage
Serve this strawberry vanilla cake at room temperature. Keep at a cool room temperature over night.
Store leftovers covered in plastic in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
You can freeze unfrosted cake layers by wrapping them well in plastic or foil. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen cakes layers in the refrigerator overnight.
Likewise, wrap individual slices in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for 1 to 3 months. Thaw frozen cake sliced in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Vanilla Strawberry Cake Recipe FAQs
No, but it should not sit out a room temperature more than 24 hours. The assembled cake can sit in a cool temperature up to over night.
Broken buttercream happens when too much liquid is forced into the butter and sugar mixture.
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Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Filling and Buttercream
For the Vanilla Cake
- 2 ¼ cup (280g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup (300g) granulated sugar
- 2 ½ tea baking powder
- ½ tea kosher salt
- 1 cup (240ml) whole milk
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tea vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120ml) avocado or canola oil
- ¼ cup (60 ml) unsalted butter melted
For the Strawberry Filling
- 2 cups sliced strawberries lightly packed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- pinch salt
- 2 tea cornstarch
- ¼ lemon juice squeezed
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 4 whole strawberries sliced in half
To Make the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 6-inch cake pans and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the milk, eggs, and vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
- Add the melted butter and oil. Whisk the batter until the fats begin to emulsify into the batter, then switch to a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Continue to stir until smooth. It is okay if a few lumps remain.
- Tip the mixture into the prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Completely cool the cake before frosting.
To Make the Strawberry Filling and Buttercream
- Puree the diced strawberries in a mini food processor or blender. Pour into a saucepan along with the granulated sugar and salt. Cook to simmer then reduce the heat to low.
- Continue to cook to reduce the sauce and make the flavor more concentrated, about 15 minutes. Do not reduce to less than 1 cup of puree.
- Make a slurry by whisking the cornstarch with a couple teaspoons water until dissolved. Pour the slurry into the strawberry sauce. Add a squeeze of a ½ lemon and stir to combine. Keep stirring the sauce until it thickens then remove from the heat to cool completely.
- When ready, use an electric mixer to mix the butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until combined.
- Add about 4 tablespoons strawberry sauce. Mix to combine.
- Place one layer of cake on cake board or serving dish. Fill a piping bag with a plain tip with strawberry buttercream.
- Pipe a ring of buttercream around the outer edge of the cake, about ½-inch tall. Fill the center with buttercream and spread with the back of a spoon to create a shallow bowl.
- Dollop 2 to 3 tablespoons strawberry sauce and gently swirl to combine, making sure none of the sauce reaches the edges of the cake. Top with the next layer and repeat.
- Cover the cake with a thin layer of buttercream all over. Chill the cake for 15 minutes or until firm.
- Smoothly ice the cake with buttercream frosting. Use any remaining frosting to decorate. Add fresh strawberries, if desired.