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Challenge: Savoring Spring

Strawberry Cake with Fresh Strawberry Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting

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This flavorful and moist strawberry cake is the perfect summer treat. The cake itself gets a punch of flavor from strawberry purée and a little flavored gelatin, while the filling is made with the season's freshest strawberries. And to balance the sweetness and tartness of the strawberries, I've paired it with a light, whipped cream cheese buttercream. It's what summers should be made of!

Strawberry Cake with Fresh Strawberry Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Servings: 1 slice
  • Yield: 8" 3-layer cake
  • Prep Time: 25 min
  • Cooking Time: 25 min


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 (3 oz.) package of strawberry flavored gelatin, such as Jell-o brand
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 eggs, yolks and whites divided
  • 3 cups cake flour, sifted before measuring
  • 2 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup strawberry puree, made from frozen sweetened strawberries
  • 3 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch, sifted
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  1. FOR THE CAKE: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray three 8-inch round cake pans, then place parchment rounds on the bottom of the pans, and spray or butter again, followed by a flour dusting.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat the four egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar and dry strawberry gelatin on medium speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
  5. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk and the strawberry puree, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until just combined.
  7. Gently fold in the egg whites until no streaks are visible.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Don't open the oven to check on cakes before 20 minutes. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs.
  9. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before inverting them onto cooling racks to cool completely.
  10. FOR THE FILLING: Combine ½ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons corn starch in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until combined. Add the chopped strawberries and stir until the mixture starts to dissolve and the strawberries start to juice.
  11. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and start to thicken, about three minutes. Then, turn the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  12. Pour the mixture into a heat-proof bowl and let cool to room temperature or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to a week.
  13. FOR THE FROSTING: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and cream cheese and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
  14. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until incorporated.
  15. Keeping the mixer on low, add the cream, vanilla and salt.
  16. Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat the frosting until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
  17. To remove air bubbles, use a wooden spoon to stir and push out any air pockets.
  18. TO ASSEMBLE CAKE: Level each cake layer to ensure an even surface for stacking. Place the first cake layer on a cake plate or board.
  19. Pipe a rim of the cream cheese frosting around the edge of the cake layer to create a barrier for the filling. Fill the center of the cake layer with strawberry filling. Repeat this step with the second cake layer.
  20. Place the final cake layer, bottom-side up, on top of the second layer. Crumb coat the cake with frosting and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Continue to frost the cake with the remaining frosting.

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