Strawberry-Lemonade Layer Cake
Desserts,  Our Favorites,  Recipes,  Vegetarian

Strawberry-Lemonade Layer Cake

Summer is calling! Fresh strawberries and lemon make an appearance in each component of this refreshingly decadent 4 layer cake.

You guys.

This cake.

It needs to be in your life, STAT.

Strawberry-Lemonade Layer Cake

Layer cakes are a bit intimidating to make, but the results are drop-dead gorgeous!

I wanted to make a fancy dessert for Father’s Day this year, and after a few weeks with minimal kitchen time due to a sprained ankle I was ready to go big or go home.

This is the tallest layer cake I’ve made to date. The first real layer cake I made was only 2 layers, and I left it a bit “rustic” in terms of frosting. It was beautiful, but I wanted to try a taller cake.

Strawberry-Lemonade Layer Cake

I only have 2 cake pans, so I baked 2 of the layers, cleaned out the pans and re-prepped them and baked the last 2. I let the batter sit in the fridge while the first 2 layers were baking.

I also cut a parchment round for each cake pan, so when it came to greasing and flouring, I greased the pan, placed the parchment round in the bottom, greased that and then floured it all. It was a little tricky to do, but the cakes turned out of the pans beautifully.

One other thing that I ran into was that I didn’t have cake flour, and I didn’t really want to have another giant bag of something in my pantry. So I turned to this tutorial over on Joy the Baker‘s blog about how to make cake flour out of AP flour and cornstarch. Basically you’re taking out 2 tablespoons per cup of flour and replacing that with cornstarch and sifting 5 (!!) times. She gives a lot of good information in her post, so I encourage you go go check it out.

Strawberry-Lemonade Layer Cake

Back to the cake. Holy moly did this turn out beautifully! The cake was moist and held together beautifully during assembly. The jam added the perfect pop of sticky sweetness between each layer. The frosting was light and fluffy (aaaaaalmost too much so) and just so, SO pretty.

My son was so excited to see me in the kitchen baking cake all day, and I kept telling him he had to wait until after dinner to try it. One bite and he proclaimed, “MOMMY!! This cake is DEEEEE-licious!”. High praise from a 3-year-old ;).

It was a big hit with the adults, too. It’s the best cake I’ve ever made, and was well worth the time investment for a special occasion.

Strawberry-Lemonade Layer Cake

The leftovers from this cake held up beautifully in the refrigerator for several days. I had a bit of extra frosting in a separate container in the fridge, so every time we had another slice, I’d just touch it up with more of the frosting.

I know the recipe says it’s OK at room temp for 2 days, but I wouldn’t risk it. I would, however, like to try out the suggestion for freezing baked layers for use later. That would make day-of assembly much easier!

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Strawberry lemonade layer cake with slices served on plates.

Strawberry-Lemonade Layer Cake

  • Author: Southern Living
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


Summer is calling! Fresh strawberries and lemon make an appearance in each component of this refreshingly decadent 4 layer cake.



For cake:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Shortening

For Strawberry-Lemonade Jam:

  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh strawberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

For Strawberry Frosting:

  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh strawberries
  • 1 drop pink food coloring gel (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. For cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
  2. Stir together flour and next 2 ingredients; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended. Stir in zest and juice.
  3. Beat egg whites in a large bowl at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-third of egg whites into batter; fold in remaining egg whites. Spoon batter into 4 greased (with shortening) and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
  4. Bake at 350° for 16 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely.
  5. Place 1 cake layer on a serving platter, and spread with about 1/2 cup Strawberry-Lemonade Jam, leaving a 1/2-inch border around edges. Spoon 1 cup Strawberry Frosting into a zip-top plastic freezer bag. Snip 1 corner of bag to make a small hole. Pipe a ring of frosting around cake layer just inside the top edge. Top with second and third cake layers, repeating procedure with filling and frosting between each layer. Top with last cake layer, and spread remaining Strawberry Frosting on top and sides of cake.
  6. For Strawberry-Lemonade Jam: Process strawberries in a blender until smooth; press through a wire-mesh strainer into a 3-qt. saucepan, using back of a spoon to squeeze out juice; discard pulp. Stir in sugar.
  7. Whisk together lemon juice and cornstarch; gradually whisk into strawberry mixture. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat. Place plastic wrap directly on warm jam; chill 2 hours or until cold. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 week.
  8. For Strawberry Frosting: Beat cream cheese and 1/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer until smooth; add strawberries and food coloring (if desired); beat until blended.
  9. Beat cream and juice at medium speed until foamy; increase speed to medium-high, and slowly add remaining 1/3 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold half of cream mixture into cheese mixture; fold in remaining cream mixture. Use immediately.


Recipe from Southern Living April 2014

Jam recipe makes about 1 2/3 cups. Frosting recipe makes about 5 cups.

Southern Living’s notes: You can assemble this glorious cake up to two days ahead; store at room temp. Also, you can freeze cooled layers up to a month in plastic wrap and aluminum foil.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 702
  • Sugar: 61.9 g
  • Sodium: 129 mg
  • Fat: 34.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 20.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 92.9 g
  • Fiber: 1.5 g
  • Protein: 8.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 155.8 mg

Keywords: strawberry lemonade cake, homemade jam, strawberry jam

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Ashley Covelli is a food photographer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor based in Ossining, New York. She loves helping people become enthusiastic and adventurous in the kitchen so that they can build skills and confidence to cook for themselves and their loved ones. She can almost always be found with at least 3 different beverages within arm's reach.


  • June Burns

    That looks like a delightful cake! Love the fluffy frosting, those kinds of frostings that aren’t too heavy or dense are the best 🙂

  • Joanne (eats well with others)

    The biggest bummer when you’re making a cake like this is for it not to turn out…so I’m so glad this is so beautiful! Perfect layer cake.

  • Lori H

    I foresee you making this during my next visit (hint, hint)! I don’t even require all those layers….it just sounds DEEEEE-licious, to quote my grandson!

  • J Trogstad

    Strawberries and lemonade have always been one of my favorite combinations, so I can only imagine how good this cake must taste! Yum!

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