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+ servings

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Filling

This vanilla cake with strawberry filling and whipped cream is light, fresh, and perfect for spring or summer!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 22 mins
Total Time 1 hr 22 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 people
Calories 398 kcal


  • 3 - 8 or 9" round cake pans


Vanilla Cake

  • 2 and ½ cups cake flour*
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 10 tbsp. (1 stick + 2 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 and ½ cups whole milk, room temperature

Strawberry Filling:

  • 3 cups sliced strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • ½ tbsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp. cornstarch

Stabilized Whipped Cream:

  • 1 and ½ tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 2 tbsp. cold water, for blooming the gelatin
  • 1 and ½ cups heavy whipping cream, cold
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract, optional


  • Line 3 (8 or 9") round cake pans with parchment paper and spray the inside with non-stick spray.
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Make the Vanilla Cake:

  • Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Add the softened butter to a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Use an electric mixer or the paddle attachment to beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar and mix on low speed until all of it is added in. Then, mix on medium speed until the sugar and butter are combined, light, and fluffy. Add the vegetable oil and mix until combined.
  • Add the room temperature eggs, one at a time, and mix on low speed until just combined after each. Add the vanilla extract and whole milk and mix until smooth. Wipe the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  • In 3-4 additions, add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix on low speed until just incorporated after each, then mix until smooth once all of the dry ingredients are added. Don't overmix.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans. Gently tap the pans on the counter to spread the batter out evenly and get rid of any trapped air bubbles. For the best results, try wrapping the pans with cake strips*, which help the cakes bake evenly so they don't have a domed top.
  • Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan before removing, then cool completely in the fridge or freezer before assembling.

Make the Strawberry Filling:

  • Add the sliced strawberries and granulated sugar to a medium saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries start to release their juices.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the water, fresh lemon juice, and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add it to the pan and continue to cook and stir, mashing the berries as you do, until most of the liquid is released and the filling is starting to thicken. Remove from heat and strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and into a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. As it cools it will thicken slightly.

Make the Stabilized Whipped Cream:

  • In a small bowl, whisk the unflavored gelatin and cold water. Set aside for 5 minutes to bloom the gelatin.
  • Dissolve the gelatin by microwaving for 5-7 seconds.
  • Add the cold heavy whipping cream to a clean bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Use an electric mixer or the whisk attachment in the stand mixer to mix until starting to thicken, about 30 seconds. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract (if using) and continue to mix until very soft peaks form, about 30-45 seconds.
  • With the mixer running on low speed, pour the gelatin into the bowl, then increase the speed to medium and continue to mix until thick and fluffy. About 1 minute. Be careful not to over-whip the cream or it can curdle, you can also switch to a whisk and mix by hand towards the end until it's the right consistency.


  • Place one cake layer on a plate, cake stand, or cake board. Spread about ⅓ of the strawberry filling evenly over the top, then pipe or spread whipped cream on top. Top with a second cake layer, add more strawberry filling and more whipped cream. Add the final cake layer, with the bottom of the cake facing up. Spread the rest of the strawberry filling over the top, cover with more whipped cream, and add fresh sliced strawberries to decorate, if desired.


*Cake flour substitute: Combine 2 and ¼ cups all-purpose flour + ¼ cup cornstarch. Sift them together a few times and then proceed with the recipe as normal. 
*Cake strips: For cakes with flat, even layers that don't need to be leveled off, wrap your cake pans with bake-even cake strips. You can buy a reusable set or make your own by wrapping some wet paper towels in aluminum foil and then securing it around the cake pans. 
For the best results, only bake the cakes 1 or 2 at a time. If you bake all 3 at once, make sure to rotate the pans about halfway through so they bake evenly. 
Stabilized whipped cream: Whipped cream stabilized with gelatin tastes exactly like regular whipped cream, but it holds its shape and doesn't melt at room temperature. If you'd rather not deal with gelatin, you can also stabilize the whipped cream by adding a little mascarpone or softened cream cheese to it. It will hold its shape well but it won't taste exactly like real whipped cream. 


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 398kcalCarbohydrates: 83gProtein: 5gFat: 16.8gSaturated Fat: 8.5gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 86mgPotassium: 200mgFiber: 1.1gSugar: 42.6gCalcium: 92mgIron: 1mg
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