This strawberry lemonade cake is sweet, tart and absolutely beautiful. It has layers of moist and tender lemon cake. Then it’s frosted with creamy strawberry frosting that has a beautiful pink color and real strawberry flavor. This cake looks absolutely beautiful and is perfect for spring and summer.
Let Me Tell You About This Strawberry Lemonade Cake
The combination of sweet strawberries and tart lemon make this layer cake irresistible. The lemon cake is perfectly soft with a buttery lemon flavor that’s not too sweet or too tart. Then the cake is frosted with the creamiest strawberry buttercream. It’s made with real berries so that it doesn’t taste artificial. The sweetness of the frosting complements the lemon flavor perfectly and will remind you of a glass of strawberry lemonade on a sunny day.
Lemon Cake Baking Tips & Tricks
- Always measure the flour properly – otherwise the cake can become dry. If you have a kitchen scale, 2 ¾ cups flour weighs 345 grams. Otherwise, whisk the flour first. Then spoon it into dry measuring cups and level off the top with a flat edge.
- The butter should be softened to room temperature, but not starting to melt.
- The eggs and milk must be room temperature before getting started. This ensures that everything mixes together without overmixing. Overmixing creates air tunnels in the batter and can make the cake tough.
- Always use fresh lemons, and not lemon juice from a bottle. Bottled lemon juice tends to be way to sour for baking. For this recipe, you’ll need about 3 large lemons or 4 small lemons.
- Always bake cake layers on the same oven rack, otherwise they’ll bake unevenly.
- Cool the cake layers fully before frosting. Otherwise, the frosting will melt.
Strawberry Frosting Tips
- The strawberry frosting is made with real berries (fresh or frozen works). You’ll puree them first in a food processor or blender, then pour the mixture through a metal sifter to remove the seeds. You’ll likely need to push the puree through the sifter using the back of a spoon or rubber spatula as it’s quite thick.
- Then the puree is boiled down until it’s thick like jam. Gently stir the mixture as it boils and reduces. This step is key to remove the excess liquid. If the puree is too watery, the frosting will separate or it will be too thin. You can see the difference below between the puree before and after it’s been boiled down.
- Cool the puree fully before adding it to the frosting. If it’s still warm, it will melt the butter.
- If you need to save time, you can skip the berries and boiling down the puree entirely. Instead, add 3-4 tablespoons of strawberry preserves to the butter mixture when you’re making the frosting.
This cake can be made in:
- two 8-inch (20 cm) round pans with high sides (at least 2 inches or 5 cm) – about 30 minutes at 350F/180C
- three 8-inch round pans – 25-27 minutes at 350F/180C
- two 9-inch (23 cm) round pans – about 25 minutes at 350F/180C
- one 9×13 inch pan – 35-40 minutes at 350F/180C, divide the frosting recipe in half
Pro Tip: With layer cakes, allow the layers to cool fully. Then gently saw off the rounded top of each layer. This ensures that the cake layers sit properly on top of each other.
This strawberry lemonade cake is absolutely beautiful and everyone loves the moist cake crumb, hint of lemon and sweet strawberry frosting. It’s also delicious with lemon curd or strawberry jam in the middle!
For more strawberry and lemon treats, be sure to try:
- Lemon Cupcakes
- Strawberry Cupcakes
- Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes
- Strawberry Layer Cake
- Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Strawberry Lemonade Cake
- 2 8-inch round cake pans with high sides see recipe notes for alternative pan sizes
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (345 grams)
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (168 grams) softened
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar (300 grams)
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest you'll need about 2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (30 ml) canola oil works too
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs whisked
- 1 cup whole milk (240 ml) 2% works too, do not use skim
- ⅓ cup lemon juice (80 ml) freshly squeezed
- 12 ounces strawberries (340 grams) fresh or frozen
- 1 ¼ cup unsalted butter (283 grams) softened, but still slightly firm
- 4-5 cups powdered sugar (440-550 grams) sifted
- 1-2 tablespoons whipping cream (15-30 ml) if needed
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C fan forced). Line the bottome of two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment then grease and flour the sides. See recipe notes for pan size alternatives.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Mix in the oil.
- Add in the vanilla extract and beat in the whisked eggs a little at a time.
- Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Sift in about ⅓ of the dry ingredients. Beat on a low speed until incorporated.
- Whisk in about ½ of the milk. I do this by hand.
- Then sift in about ⅓ more of the dry ingredients. Beat on a low speed until incorporated. Then whisk in the rest of the milk.
- Sift in the rest of the dry ingredients (final ⅓) and beat on a low speed until incorporated. Stop mixing as soon as the dry ingredients are combined.
- Gently fold in the fresh lemon juice with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
- Pour the batter evenly between the 2 pans.
- Bake on the same rack in the middle of the oven for 28-32 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the cake layers in the pans for at least 20 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack and continue cooling.
- Add the strawberries to a food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth.
- Pour the puree through a metal sifter and push the puree through with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula to remove the seeds.
- Transfer the puree to a saucepan over low-medium heat. Gently stir the puree as it boils. Gently boil for about 15-20 while occassionally stirring until the mixture is thick like jam.
- Remove from the heat and cool fully. You can speed up the process by transferring it to a bowl or liquid measuring cup and placing in the fridge or freezer.
- In a large bowl beat the butter until creamy.
- Turn off the mixer and add in 3 tablespoons of the cooled, reduced strawberry puree. The puree must be fully cooled before adding to the frosting!
- Beat in the rest of the powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time, alternating with 1 tablespoon of strawberry reduced strawberry puree until the desired sweetness and thickness is reached. If the frosting seems too thin, do not add any more puree. If needed, beat in 1 tablespoon of cream.
Assembling & Frosting the Cake
- If the cake layers are domed at the top, gently saw off the rounded tops with a knife or cake leveler.
- Place 1 cake layer on the plate or cake stand that you plan to serve it on. Place the cake layer bottom side up.
- Frost the top with about ¼-1/3 of the frosting.
- Place the second cake layer on top, bottom side up.
- Frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting. If you notice that a lot of crumbs are getting into the frosting, frost the cake with a very thin layer of frosting (this is called a crumb coat and similar to priming when you paint a wall). Let the cake sit for at least 20 minutes for the frosting to firm up. Then frost the sides and top with swirls of frosting.
- Pan Sizes: This recipe can be made in
- two 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pans with high sides - bake for about 30 min
- three 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pans - bake for about 25 min
- two 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pans - bake for about 25 min
- one 9x13 inch (23x33 cm) cake pan - bake for about 35 min (divide frosting recipe in half)
- Room Temperature Ingredients: The butter, eggs and milk should all be at room temperature before getting started.
- Strawberries: Fresh or frozen work for this recipe. Frozen berries will take longer to boil down.
- To Save Time: Substitute the strawberries with strawberry compote. Skip steps 1-4 of the frosting recipe and add the strawberry compote to the butter mixture when you'd add the reduced and cooled strawberry puree. Add 3 tablespoons of compote, plus a few extra tablespoons as needed.
- Make Ahead Tips: Cake layers can be made 1 day in advanced. Cool fully then wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in an airtight container. Frosting steps 1-4 (making the strawberry puree and boiling it down) can be done 1-2 days in advance. Store puree in an airtight container in the fridge. Make the frosting (beginning with Step 5) the day you plan to serve the cake. Then assemble and frost the cake.
- Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the fridge for up to 4 days. Bring the leftovers out of the fridge and place on the counter about 30 minutes before enjoying. Cake layers can be wrapped tightly, placed in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge.
- Nutrition: Details provided are an estimate only and based on 1 slice assuming the cake is sliced into 12 equal pieces and all the frosting is used.
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