This best ever strawberry vanilla cake is the perfect strawberry dessert!
It has two layers of soft moist vanilla sponge with a homemade strawberry cake filling and a creamy strawberry frosting.
It’s like a fresh strawberry Victoria sponge cake, but fully frosted with strawberry buttercream!
It makes an amazing strawberry vanilla birthday cake. It’s also a sweet Valentine’s Day dessert idea, summer picnic cake and elegant afternoon tea party cake.
✏️ Recipe creation
For this recipe, I really wanted to create a super simple vanilla cake with homemade strawberry filling and frosting. It’s nice and easy, but still uses real strawberries (fresh or frozen) to give it that strong strawberry flavour.
The strawberry buttercream is made using spare strawberry filling for a super easy recipe and even has a hint of vanilla for a strawberry vanilla frosting.
It’s a pretty baby pink colour frosting, making it great for a girl themed baby shower too!
I wanted to create a 2-layer sponge cake that could be served up for small family gatherings and occasions.
Being an 8-inch cake, it’s still a big enough dessert to feed lots of people though!
This strawberry vanilla sponge cake recipe calls for the following ingredients:
- Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
- White sugar (caster or granulated)
- Cornstarch (cornflour in the UK)
- Lemons juice (optional)
- Unsalted butter
- Caster sugar (white finely granulated sugar)
- Vegetable oil (or other neutral-flavoured oil)
- Vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
- Plain flour (all-purpose flour)
- Baking powder
- Unsalted butter
- Icing sugar (powdered confectioners’ sugar)
- Vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
- Strawberry cake filling (made above)
- Salt (optional)
- Strawberries (fresh, chopped or whole)
See the recipe card for quantities.
This recipe is for a homemade vanilla cake with strawberry filling and strawberry frosting from scratch.
However, you can instead swap either the cake, filling or frosting for a store-bought version. You can also use a yellow cake or white cake boxed mix for the cake sponges.
You can make your own strawberry filling or instead buy a premade jar of strawberry jam preserves / compote.
I like to use white granulated sugar (caster sugar) for this cake recipe, but you can instead swap this for golden caster sugar instead. This will give it a delicious caramel hint.
You can use any neutral flavoured oil for the cake sponge, such as vegetable, canola or sunflower oil.
Swap the plain all-purpose flour for self-raising flour and reduce the baking powder to only 1 tsp.
For the cake filling recipe, I like to use fresh strawberries. Instead, you can use frozen strawberries. It’s easiest to defrost and chop the strawberries before use.
Alternatively, heat the frozen strawberries before adding the other filling ingredients and just mash them really well!
- It’s easier to mix room temperature ingredients, so be sure to take your butter and eggs out of the fridge before use.
- Using unsalted butter lets you control the amount of salt in your cake and buttercream. I like mine to be fairly low salt, but you can add an optional ⅛ teaspoon or a pinch of salt to taste in the cake batter and/or frosting.
- I recommend sieving your flour, baking powder and powdered sugar (icing sugar / confectioners’ sugar) for a smooth sponge batter and frosting.
- For accuracy, it’s best to weigh your ingredients rather than using cups.
- I prefer using vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste to vanilla essence. They’re less processed, and have a purer vanilla taste.
- The cornstarch in the filling is the fine white powder kind, also called cornflour in the UK and other places. Don’t use the yellow grainy stuff. It’s easy to get confused!
I use the following equipment for this recipe:
- Small-medium saucepan
- 8inch / 20cm round cake pans (x2)
- Parchment paper (greaseproof paper)
- Electric hand mixer or stand mixer
- Large and medium mixing bowls
- Silicone spatula or wooden spoon
- Whisk or fork
- Weighing scales (or measuring cups)
- Measuring spoons
- Wire cooling rack
I usually use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer for the cake and frosting in this recipe – makes it super easy!
However, you can also use a whisk, spatula or fork. It might take some elbow grease, though…
I usually make this quite as a simple cake, and I don’t level the layers, just fill strawberry sauce and slap on the frosting.
Use baking belts to get level layers anyway without any cutting.
Next, use a cake turntable, offset spatula and cake scraper to decorate your cake. Cover your cake in a crumb coat of frosting first, refrigerate for 15mins, then add another layer of frosting, scraping to smooth it.
- Before you start baking, prepare your cake tins first. Grease them with butter or cooking oil spray, then line them with greaseproof paper (baking parchment).
- For extra non-stick power, grease your paper once it’s in the tin and you can also sprinkle in all-purpose plain flour too.
- I use greaseproof paper circles, already pre-cut for the cake tin size, to line my cake tins. You can also use a strip for the sides, but for simple cakes I usually skip this - I’m a lazy baker!
- I like using digital scales for weighing my ingredients as it's easy and accurate.
- It’s best to use actual measuring spoons. Cutlery teaspoons and tablespoons aren’t actually the correct volume, which I never knew before.
- I’d also recommend levelling off any heaped scoops for a more accurate measurement.
- When using a stand mixer, I like to use the paddle attachment with a low speed for the cake batter and a medium speed for the buttercream.
- It’s a good idea to scrape down the sides and bottom of the stand mixer bowl every so often so you get an even mixture.
- Leave your vanilla sponges to cool in the tins for at least 20mins before transferring them to a wire rack to finish. If they’re too warm, the sponges might break when you remove them from the tin.
Strawberry cake filling
Step 1: Add all of the cake filling ingredients to a small-medium saucepan.
Step 2: Heat on medium, simmering for 5-10mins until the sugar has melted and the mixture is glossy.
Step 3: For smaller chunks, mash your strawberry mixture
Step 4: Pour your strawberry filling into a container to cool uncovered while you make the cake.
First, preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C (fan) / Gas Mark 4 / 350°F.
Steps 1 - 2: For the sponges, cream together the butter, sugar and oil using a spatula, electric hand mixer or stand mixer, until light and pale.
Steps 3 - 4: In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, milk and vanilla until combined.
Step 5: Beat half of the wet ingredients mix into the butter mix.
Step 6: Sieve in half of the flour and beat in until smooth.
Steps 7 - 8: Stir in the remaining wet mix.
Steps 9 - 10: Sieve in the remaining flour and the baking powder, folding in until only just combined.
Step 11: Divide the batter evenly between two greased and lined 8-inch cake tins and bake in the oven for 25-30mins until risen and a skewer comes out clean from the middle of the cakes.
Step 12: Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 20mins before removing and transferring them to a wire rack while you make the frosting.
Step 1: Beat the butter (either by hand, using an electric mixer or stand mixer) until pale, light and fluffy. This could take several minutes.
Steps 2 - 3: Sieve half of the icing sugar into the butter and beat until combined, then repeat this with the remaining half of icing sugar.
Step 4: Add in the vanilla extract, strawberry filling (4-5 tablespoon to taste) and salt (if using).
Steps 5 - 6: Beat your frosting until only just smooth.
Step 1: Once the cake sponges have cooled, place one onto a flat plate or cake board and pipe a circle of your buttercream around the cake’s edge in a ring to make a wall.
Step 2: Spread the remaining strawberry filling (roughly 200g / ⅔ cups) inside the frosting ring, then place the second sponge on top.
Step 3: Cover the cake (top and sides) with the rest of the frosting, smoothing lightly with a spatula or knife.
Step 4: Decorate your cake with fresh strawberries and enjoy!
🎥 Recipe video
Check out the short recipe video below for how to make the best strawberry vanilla cake!
Your moist vanilla strawberry cake with strawberry buttercream icing and strawberry filling should last up to 4 days at room temperature, stored in an airtight container.
If it’s quite warm where you live, you might want to store your cake in the fridge. It should last up to 5 days in the fridge (but might start to dry out towards the end!).
You can also freeze your cake for up to 3 months before defrosting and eating it.
It’s easiest to cut your cake into wedges for freezing. Wrap your cake pieces in cling film (plastic wrap) and a layer of foil before placing them in the freezer.
Label your frozen treats with what they are and when they were frozen so you don’t forget about them!
💭 Top tips
- You’ll know your cake filling is cooked when it thickens up and coats a layer on the back of your spoon/spatula. It should also turn shiny and glossy.
- If you want a super smooth cake filling, you can puree your strawberries before you start and then sieve your cooked compote mixture before pouring it into your jars. This will remove any chunks of fruit.
- Recipes with raising agents don’t like being over-mixed. You’ll end up with a dense sponge if you over-mix your cake batter. Try to mix sparingly once you add the baking powder!
- Position your cake pans in the centre of the oven on the middle shelf when possible. This gives a more even bake.
- Don’t open the oven mid-bake. You may have heard this before, but it’s an important tip. We’ve all been there and nobody likes their cake with a sinkhole!
- You’ll know your sponges are cooked once they’re risen and springy to touch. An inserted toothpick or skewer should also come out clean from the centre of the cake.
- For creamy frosting, beat your butter until it’s pale, light and fluffy first. This could take several minutes with an electric mixer.
- If you’re using an electric mixer, you can sometimes get a cloud of powdered sugar kicked up into the air. To stop this, stir your sieved powdered sugar into the butter with a wooden spoon or spatula briefly before using the electric mixer again. Though if you want to breathe tasty sugar air, I won’t judge you!
- If your strawberry sauce frosting is too thick to spread easily, then you can stir some more milk or cream (½ tablespoon at a time) to thin the consistency.
- If your frosting is too thin, you can try chilling it in the fridge for 10-20mins before use. Alternatively, you can beat in a few more tablespoons of butter to thicken it.
Your strawberry vanilla cake should last for up to 4 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature or up to 5 days in the fridge.
Yes! You can freeze your strawberry vanilla cake wrapped in a layer of cling film and layer of foil for up to 3 months.
Yes, you can make your vanilla sponges ahead of time and freeze them.
Alternatively, you can make the cake layers and/or strawberry filling and strawberry buttercream a few days in advance. Your cake layers should be stored wrapped in cling film at room temperature. Your strawberry frosting should be in an airtight container in the fridge.
This could be caused by a few things. You might have scooped in too much baking powder, e.g. instead of using a levelled scoop from a measuring teaspoon.
Another reason could be that you opened the oven partway through baking which caused your oven temp to drop rapidly and sinkhole your cake.
No, cake flour is actually different to both plain flour and self-raising flour. It has a different composition and your cake will have a different consistency if you use cake flour.
If you’ve got any specific questions on making your homemade vanilla cake with strawberry frosting and strawberry compote filling, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to help out!
You can swap the strawberry icing in this recipe for another.
If you’d like a more vanilla-flavoured strawberry vanilla layer cake, then you can swap the frosting for a creamy vanilla buttercream. Simply omit the strawberry filling from the recipe and replace it with milk or cream and an extra ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.
Alternatively, you can have a double berry cake by changing the strawberry frosting for a raspberry buttercream.
I use a homemade strawberry cake filling from scratch using real strawberries. You can swap this for strawberry preserves from the grocery store for ease though!
You can also leave out the sauce filling altogether and fill your cake with more strawberry buttercream between the cake layers. If doing this, scale up your buttercream by ¼ of the recipe.
You can also swap the strawberry filling for lemon curd for a lemon twist to your strawberry cake!
Decorations and toppings
I love making this strawberry vanilla sponge cake with fresh strawberries on top. You can use them whole or chopped, they’ll look super cute!
Alternatively, you can pipe any spare strawberry frosting on top in swirls and top with freeze-dried strawberries.
You can also top with dollops or piped blobs and swirls of whipped cream on your cake and then add the strawberries.
To make a gluten-free strawberry vanilla cake, swap the plain flour for gluten-free flour. I recommend using a gluten-free plain flour blend, such as King Arthur's measure for measure flour or Freee from Doves Farm.
You should also add ½ teaspoon of xantham gum to the vanilla cake batter if your flour blend doesn’t already include this in the ingredients.
For best results, add an extra 2 tablespoon milk to the batter. Beat your batter really well and let it stand for 30mins before pouring it into your cake tins and baking.
You might also need to bake your cakes for an extra 5-10mins.
🧁 Other goodies
Looking for some other goodies to make?
If you love strawberry desserts then why not check out these strawberry heart melting moments cookies.
If you’re after some more easy layer cake ideas, check out my tasty chocolate orange cake, which uses fresh orange juice and zest.
Or this delicious white chocolate cake with a fresh raspberry buttercream – a simple summer showstopper!
If you love zesty lemon goodness, why not try this delicious lemon cake with lemon curd cake filling and lemon buttercream frosting.
Or if you’d like to hear about our latest recipes, why not subscribe to our newsletter?
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Strawberry Vanilla Cake
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Strawberry cake filling
- 200 g (7 oz) strawberries chopped with stalks removed, fresh or frozen
- 40 g (3 ½ tablespoon) white sugar caster or granulated
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch called cornflour in the UK
- 40 ml (2 ½ tablespoon) water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice optional
- 270 g (1 ¼ cups) unsalted butter softened
- 285 g (1 ½ cups) white caster sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
- 5 eggs
- 5 tablespoon milk
- 2 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 285 g (2 ⅓ cups) plain all-purpose flour
- 3 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Strawberries fresh, chopped
Strawberry cake filling
- Add all of the cake filling ingredients to a small saucepan and heat on medium, simmering for 5-10mins until the sugar has melted and the mixture is glossy.
- For smaller chunks, mash your strawberry mixture. Pour it into a container to cool uncovered while you make the cake.
- Preheat oven: 180°C / 160°C (fan) / Gas Mark 4 / 350°F
- For the sponges, cream together the butter, sugar and oil using a spatula, electric hand mixer or stand mixer, until light and pale.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, milk and vanilla until combined.
- Beat half of the wet ingredients mix into the butter mix.
- Sieve in half of flour and beat in until smooth, then stir in the remaining wet mix.
- Sieve in the remaining flour and the baking powder, folding in until only just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between two greased and lined 8-inch cake tins and bake in the oven for 25-30mins until risen and skewer comes out clean from the middle of the cakes.
- Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 20mins before removing and transferring to a wire rack while you make the frosting.
- Beat the butter (either by hand, using an electric mixer or stand mixer) until pale, light and fluffy. This could take several minutes.
- Sieve half of the icing sugar into the butter and beat until combined, then repeat this with the remaining half of icing sugar.
- Add in the vanilla extract, strawberry filling (4-5 tablespoon to taste) and salt, mixing until only just smooth.
- Once the cake sponges have cooled, place one onto a flat plate or cake board and pipe a circle of your buttercream around the edge in a ring to make a wall.
- Spread the remaining strawberry filling (roughly 200g / ⅔ cups) inside the frosting ring, then place the second sponge on top.
- Cover the cake (top and sides) with the rest of the frosting, smoothing lightly with a spatula.
- Decorate your cake with fresh strawberries and enjoy!
- Weigh your strawberries after removing the stalks and chopping them for better accuracy.
- You can swap the plain flour for self-raising flour of the same quantity and reduce the baking powder in the recipe down to 1 tsp.
- The cornstarch used in this recipe (called cornflour in the UK and other places) is a fine white flour, not a yellow grainy flour.
Nutritional information is an estimate based on an online nutritional calculator, actual values may vary.
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