With its zesty citrus flavor balanced out by the sweetness of fresh strawberries, this delectable strawberry lemon cake is perfect for any gathering. Not only will it look beautiful on your table, but its delicate flavor profile will be sure to keep everyone asking for seconds.
Strawberries and lemon is one of my favorite flavor combinations.
So it’s not much of a surprise that this strawberry lemon cake is one of my favorite desserts.
From birthday parties to holiday dinners to summer barbecues, it’s perfect for all kinds of events.
A homemade lemon cake is filled with fresh strawberry sauce and covered with strawberry frosting.
It looks stunning. And tastes absolutely delicious.
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- dairy: 1 cup (or 2 sticks) butter, 1¼ cups milk
- eggs: 4 large eggs
- fresh fruit: 2 lemons, 16-ounce container fresh strawberries
- sugar: 2 cups granulated sugar, 4 cups powdered sugar
- baking supplies: 2⅓ cup all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder
- thickener: 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- flavoring: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- oil: ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- seasoning: ½ teaspoon salt
How to make strawberry lemon cake
Remove the butter from the refrigerator a couple of hours in advance so it has time to warm to room temperature.
Grease and flour 2 or 3 8-inch round cake pans, or line the bottom with parchment paper.
I usually do a combination by cutting a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and then greasing the sides. The parchment makes sure that it doesn’t stick when you go to remove the baked cake.
Remove the hulls from the strawberries and chop enough to make 1½ cups of chopped strawberries.
Zest the lemon to get 1 Tablespoon lemon zest.
Juice the lemons to get ¼ cup plus 1 Tablespoon lemon juice.
Make the cake batter
In a large mixing bowl, beat ½ cup (or 1 stick) softened butter, 1 Tablespoon lemon zest and 1½ cups granulated sugar together until fluffy and light in color, 2 to 3 minutes.
Beat in 4 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, ⅓ cup vegetable oil, ¼ cup lemon juice, and ½ cup milk.
Add 1 cup flour, along with 2 teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. Beat just until combined.
You don’t want to beat it too much or the cake will turn out tough.
Add another ½ cup milk, and beat until smooth.
Then add the remaining 1⅓ cups flour.
Beat until it is incorporated and smooth.
Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans.
If you want to make a 3-layer cake and only have 2 cake pans, you can pour ⅓ of the batter into the first one and ⅔ of the batter into the second one.
Then cut the thicker layer in half after it has baked.
You will likely need to bake the pan with more batter for a few minutes longer.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool ten minutes in the pans on a wire cooling rack.
Then run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the edges and turn onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Make strawberry filling
While the cake is baking, add 1 cup chopped strawberries, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, ½ cup granulated sugar and 2 Tablespoons cornstarch in a saucepan.
Stir to combine.
Heat over low-medium heat, mashing strawberries with a fork or potato masher.
You can speed this up by using an immersion blender if desired.
Continue heating, and stirring until strawberries are thickened into a sauce.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Make strawberry icing
Next we need to make the icing.
Mix ½ cup chopped strawberries and ½ cup (or 1 stick) softened butter in a large mixing bowl.
Add in ¼ cup milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Beat in 4 cups powdered sugar.
Start the mixer on low speed until the sugar has been combined.
Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until it is light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Frost the cake
After the cake has cooled completely, it’s time to put it together.
Place the bottom cake layer on a cake board or plate.
Use a piping bag to pipe a ribbon of icing around the edge of the layer.
If you don’t have a piping bag, use an offset spatula or knife to build a dam of icing around the sides of the cake. The main thing is, you don’t want the strawberry filling squeezing out of the cake edges when you’re trying to ice the outside.
Fill the center with half the strawberry filling.
Repeat the same process for the second layer.
Place the third layer on top.
Then frost the top and sides of the cake.
Garnish with sliced strawberries and lemon if desired.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
The cake can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Other cakes you might like
- Original Waldorf Astoria red velvet cake
- Classic carrot cake
- Frozen lemon mousse cake with raspberry sauce
Strawberry Lemon Cake
- 2 or 3 8-inch cake pans
- measuring cups and spoons
- mixer with mixing bowl
- wire cooling rack
- Sauce pan
- piping bag and large tip
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 4 large eggs
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 cup milk
- 2⅓ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ cup chopped fresh strawberries
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Grease and flour 3 8 inch round cake pans, or line with parchment paper.
Make the cake
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light
- Beat in eggs, vanilla, oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and half the milk.
- Add half the flour, along with baking powder and salt, and beat just until combined.
- Add remaining milk, and beat until smooth.
- Then beat in remaining flour, until everything is fully incorporated and smooth.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven, and let cakes cool ten minutes on a wire cooling rack.
- Then loosen the edges of the cakes from pans, and turn onto the wire rack to finish cooling.
- Add strawberries, lemon juice, granulated sugar and cornstarch to a saucepan.
- Heat over low-medium heat, mashing strawberries with a fork or potato masher. You can speed this up by using an immersion blender if desired.
- Continue heating, and stirring until the strawberries are thickened into a sauce.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Beat the softened butter and chopped strawberries until light and fluffy.
- Mix in the milk.
- Add the powdered sugar. Beat on low speed until the sugar is incorporated. Then increase speed to medium-high and mix until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Put the cake together
- After the cake layers have completely cooled, level them if necessary.
- Place bottom cake layer on cake board or plate.
- Pipe a ribbon of icing around the edge of the layer, and fill center with half the strawberry filling.
- Repeat with second layer.
- Top with third layer.
- Frost the top and sides of cake.
- Top with sliced strawberries and lemon if desired.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and greasing the sides makes sure that the cakes will come out of the pan easily.
- If you only have 2 8-inch pans, fill one with ⅓ of the batter, and the other one with ⅔ of the batter. Then cut the thicker layer in half after it is baked. You will likely need to add a few minutes of baking time for the thicker layer.
- If you don’t have a piping bag, use an offset spatula or knife to build a dam of icing around the sides of the cake. The main thing is, you don’t want the filling squeezing out of the cake edges when you’re trying to ice the outside.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.