This bright & summery dessert has three layers of moist lemonade cake, strawberry buttercream and fresh strawberry slices! It's like a sip of strawberry lemonade, but in cake form!Jump to Recipe
One of my favorite things about summer is all of the fresh berries in season! Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries.....I love them all! And as much as I love enjoying the fruit on its own, I can't help but get in the kitchen and bake with them, too!!
This cake uses a full pound of fresh strawberries and is a summery, vibrant show-stopping dessert! It starts with a cake mix (I love simple, too!) and is doctored up to become this gorgeous, moist and flavorful layer cake. Don't have three round cake pans? No worries - keep reading to see what you can use instead!
- Lemon Cake Mix - I used the Duncan Hines "Lemon Supreme"; if you can't find a lemon cake mix, you can use white cake mix (simply add 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and ¼ cup of lemon juice and reduce milk to ¾ cup)
- Lemonade Mix - Like this one
- Sour Cream - I recommend using full-fat, rather than a low-fat or "light" version
- Salted Butter
- Powdered Sugar
- Fresh Strawberries - You'll use some strawberries in between the layers and also make a strawberry puree for the frosting
What size cake pan should I use for the Strawberry Lemonade Cake?
This recipe calls for three 8-9″ round cake pans. I realize that most of you don’t have three of these pans (neither do I). The good news is there's lots of options!!
If you have one or two round pans – Bake one to two layers at a time. Once the first batch is done and the pan is empty, quickly wash the pan, line it with parchment and give it a spray before cooking the next layer(s).
If you don’t have any round pans – You can make this in a 9×13 pan, too. It will make a pretty thick cake and will take longer to bake. I’d start with 30 minutes and go from there. You probably won’t need all of the frosting for a 9×13 pan. (If you don’t want it super thick, you could do 8 cupcakes + a 9×13 pan with the rest of the batter)
If you want cupcakes – That works too! Just fill the cupcake liners ⅔ full of batter and bake. It won’t take as long as a large pan, so start with 12-15 minutes and go from there. This recipe will make at least 36 cupcakes.
How do you make a Layer Cake?
If you've never made a layer cake, don't fret! It's not as difficult as you may think and doesn’t require any fancy decorating tools….unless you call a butter knife “fancy.” 😉
The first thing to do is make the cake layers as they'll need to cool completely on wire racks before the cake is assembled. You can get the full recipe below, but the most important step for success? Lining the pans with parchment paper. This will allow the cake to easily be removed from the pan. (Cake stuck in the pan is not a good way to start, my friends!) 🙂
When the cake layers are cool, it's time to make the strawberry buttercream. Then, choose the platter you want to use and place one cake layer in the center. Scoop some frosting over that layer and spread it out to an even layer. Add a few strawberry slices and repeat twice until you have all three layers stacked up.
Next, frost the sides of the cake and the top with a thin layer of buttercream. It’s fine if you have some crumbs mixed into the frosting at this point….that’s why it’s called the “crumb coat!” Place the cake in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up the crumb coat.
Finally, frost the cake with the remainder of the strawberry frosting, doing your best to create a smooth outside layer. You can do this with a piping bag, a butter knife or offset spatula. Top with additional strawberries, sprinkles, slices of fresh lemons, candied lemon peel....whatever your heart desires!
How to Store this Layer Cake
I like to store the cake in the fridge until about 30 minute before serving. Then bring it to room temperature and enjoy!
- Serve this beautiful cake for any special occasion in the spring and summer including Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, bridal showers and everything in between!
- Store the cake in an airtight container in a cooler if enjoying outdoors on a hot summer day
- Use a food processor, blender or immersion blender to quickly puree the strawberries
- Press a wooden toothpick into the top of the cake (around the outer edge) before covering the cake with plastic wrap to keep it from messing up the frosting
Other Recipes with Fresh Summer Berries
Berry Trifle - With layers and layers of angel food cake, berries, pudding and whipped topping, it's a pretty, simple and irresistible dessert!
Easy Lemon Fruit Dip - Just four ingredients come together to make this creamy & easy fruit dip, perfect for dipping those fresh berries!
Strawberry Sherbet - If there's anything more refreshing than a fresh summer berry, it's a bowl of fruity sherbet!!
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Recipe originally published in June 2021. Added more detail in 2023.