Strawberry Shortcake Cake
This Strawberry Shortcake Cake is everything you love about strawberry shortcake – but with more layers to love! Soft, light, buttery chiffon cake is layered with bright, juicy strawberries and luscious cream cheese whipped cream, then layered again and again for an irresistible dessert all spring and summer long. This from scratch Strawberry Shortcake Cake recipe is fresh yet decadent at the same time and guaranteed to become a new family, neighbor, friend, mailman favorite. I’ve included step by step photos, tips and tricks and everything (and more!) you need to know about how to make this Strawberry Shortcake Cake recipe a runaway, sweet, tender, succulent success! I’ve also included how to prep ahead and how to freeze – now there is no reason not to make this Strawberry Shortcake Cake and every delicious reason to make it!
Servings Prep Time
12-16 servings 45minutes
Cook Time
40minutes
Servings Prep Time
12-16 servings 45minutes
Cook Time
40minutes
Strawberry Shortcake Cake
Ingredients
CAKE
  • 2cups cake flour
  • 1/2cup cornmeal
  • 2 1/3cups granulated sugarseparated
  • 1tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 10 large eggsat room temperature
  • 12tablespoons unsalted buttermelted and cooled slightly
  • 1/4cup water
  • 1tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8teaspoon cream of tartar
STRAWBERRY FILLING
  • 3pounds fresh strawberrieswashed, dried, stemmed (see note)*
  • 8tablespoons sugar
  • pinch salt
CREAM CHEESE WHIPPED CREAM
  • 12ounces Cream Cheeseroom temperature
  • 3/4cup granulated sugar
  • 2tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2cups heavy cream
Instructions
CAKE
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two 9-inch round by at least 2-inch deep cake pans with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray with FLOUR, or grease and flour pans. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoons of granulated sugar (per pan)– starting with the top edges of the pan so it trickles down the pan and tap and turn the pan to evenly coat the pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, TWO cups sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Add 4 whole eggs. Separate remaining 6 eggs, and add egg YOLKS to flour mixture and egg whites to a mixing bowl. Add butter, water, and vanilla to the flour mixture and whisk just until combined.
  3. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with a handheld mixer at medium-high speed to soft frothy mounds (see photos). With the beaters running, gradually add remaining 1/3 cup sugar, and beat until soft peaks form, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Stir half of egg whites into the batter to lighten, then gently fold remaining whites into batter until no white streaks remain.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pans and drop a few times on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake at 325 degrees F until toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes (mine took 38 minutes).
  6. Cool cakes in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert cakes onto greased wire rack; peel off parchment and allow to cool completely, about 2 hours.
STRAWBERRY FILLING
  1. While cake is baking/cooling, make Strawberry Filling.
  2. Halve 32 of the most uniform/best-looking strawberries and reserve.
  3. Quarter remaining berries (they can be rough; we are processing later). Add chopped berries to a bowl and stir in 8 tablespoons sugar. Let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add berries to a fine mesh strainer placed over a bowl and let berries drain for 10-30 minutes up to overnight in the refrigerator, pressing down with a spatula to get rid of excess moisture. Add drained berries to your food processor and pulse 4-5 times to roughly chop (or chop by hand). Set aside.
  5. Transfer berry juices to a small saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat until thick and syrupy, about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add a pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Refrigerate until cake is cooled or until ready to use.
WHIPPED CREAM
  1. Once the cake has cooled, add cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt to a large bowl. Beat with a handheld mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down sides as needed.
  2. Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream in slow stream, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 -3 minutes more.
ASSEMBLE
  1. Cut cakes in half horizontally using a long-serrated knife to create 4 even layers (I score them first then cut along score lines). Add a dab of frosting to the center of a cake stand or platter “to glue” bottom layer down. Add bottom layer of cake, cut side down, and arrange a ring of 18-20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer.
  2. Pour one third of processed berry mixture (about 3/4 cup) in center, then spread up to strawberries. Add 1 1/2 cups whipped cream over berry layer and spread to within ¼” of the edge. Place second layer of cake on top, cut side down and press down gently so the whipped cream layer comes flush with cake edge. Repeat layers until you place the final cake layer, cut side down. Spread remaining whipped cream over top and decorate with remaining strawberries.
  3. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. You can chill up to 8 hours, but it is best within the first 4.
Recipe Notes

*You technically only need 3 pounds of strawberries for the recipe, but I always pile the top with extra (even more than pictured) – so for truly spectacular, go with 4 pounds strawberries. 

Helpful Tips and Tricks 

  • Use correct pan size. It is important that your pans are deep otherwise the cake will overflow when it rises and not bake properly. The cake batter should reach about half way up the sides of the cake pan.
  • Use parchment paper: You MUST line your cake pans with parchment paper as this is a chiffon cake and more likely to stick. It will definitely fall apart if you don’t use parchment paper because it is more tender.
  • Use room temperature eggs. As in all my cake recipes, you will need room temperature eggs for this Strawberry Shortcake Cake. Room temperature eggs mix much easier – you can literally feel the difference. This makes it hard to overmix your batter which results in a softer, fluffier, more tender cake. Cold eggs result in a dry, denser cake.
  • To quickly bring eggs to room temperature: add warm (not hot) tap water to a bowl then add eggs (still in their shells) for at least 20 minutes. 
    Don’t overmix. Once you fold the egg whites into the flour mixture, take care not to overmix. You never want to overbeat eggs as this will cause the batter to be runny and may cause the batter to overflow when baking.
    Don’t overmix. Once you fold the egg whites into the flour mixture, take care not to overmix. You never want to overbeat eggs as this will cause the batter to be runny and may cause the batter to overflow when baking.
  • Don’t open oven door early. It is important to not even crack the oven door until it’s time to check your cakes for doneness. Opening the doors can cause your cake to cook unevenly and to fall in the center. 
  • Drain strawberries well. After the berries have sat in sugar for 1 hour, drain them well. It is important that the berries not be wet because this can make the cake soggy. Instead, we want to use their moisture to transform into a sticky syrup.
  • Chop, don’t puree berries. When you chop the berries, make sure you don’t over process. We want to be able to taste their texture. Pureed berries will loose their texture and be too moist when combined with the strawberry syrup.
  • Thicken syrup. Make sure the strawberry syrup is thick and not be runny at all, otherwise your filling will be runny.
  • Don’t microwave cream cheese. NEVER MICROWAVE cream cheese for frosting, or in this case, whipped cream.  This will ensure your cream cheese whipped cream is the perfect consistency and not runny.
  • Whip to stiff peaks. It is important that you whip the cream cheese whipped cream to stiff peaks because we want it to be thick and firm enough to hold its shape in between the layers.
  • Don’t over-beat whipped cream. That being said, stop beating as soon as stiff peaks form because over-beating can cause the cream to separate.
  • Extra strawberries. This recipe calls for 3 pounds strawberries which will leave you with a few berries to garnish the cake on top. I like to use a full 4 pounds of berries and use all the extra berries on the top layer so every bite is bursting with berries!

MAKE-AHEAD INSTRUCTIONS: 

You can make the different components of the Strawberry Shortcake Cake ahead of time but do not assemble the cake until the day of serving – preferable just 4 hours ahead of time. If you assemble too early, the cake will become soggy as the strawberry juices permeate the cake.

  • Sliced Strawberries; You can slice the strawberries in half and store on paper towel lined plate with paper towels in between the layers of strawberries 24 hours ahead of time.
  • Strawberry Filling: You can completely make the strawberry filling and store in an airtight container 24 hours ahead of time.
  • Whipped Cream: You can beat the cream cheese with all of the ingredients EXCEPT The whipped cream and cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate. When ready to assemble, proceed to beat in the whipped cream per recipe instructions.
  • Cake: Once cakes have cooled, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 24 hours.