This vanilla cake with strawberry filling is the ultimate showstopper! Made with a soft and fluffy vanilla cake, it is filled with a homemade strawberry filling and covered in the creamiest strawberry buttercream This is the cake for strawberry lovers!
Now, this might be the best vanilla cake recipe I've ever made. I've already got a few vanilla cakes on the blog, like my white forest cake, but I find this one to be even softer and fluffier. It really reminds me of boxed cake mix (in a good way!). The difference? I'm using a combination of oil and butter! The butter will give us that delicious buttery flavor but the oil makes the cake super soft.
I'm then using my fresh strawberry filling recipe, made with just a couple of ingredients this sweet strawberry filling is perfect in layer cakes. Finally, the whole cake is covered in my strawberry buttercream recipe! I've already used this strawberry frosting in my strawberry filled cupcakes so I knew I had to use it again for this vanilla cake with strawberry filling!
I think this is the perfect birthday cake or a cake for any special occasion!
Why you'll love this recipe!
- Fresh strawberry flavor! You're getting all the strawberry flavor from the juicy strawberries in the filling as well as the freeze dried strawberries in the frosting. I recommend making this when it's strawberry season so you can get the best fresh strawberries for the filling!
- Can be made ahead - You can make the strawberry filling a week in advance and the cake up to 2 days in advance. This will make your life a whole lot easier when it comes to assembling the cake.
- Fluffy vanilla cake - thanks to the combination of oil and sugar, this vanilla cake is super soft and fluffy!
- Flour: I'm using all purpose flour here.
- Buttermilk: this is going to make the vanilla cake extra moist.
- Oil: make sure you use a neutral oil, like vegetable oil, sunflower oil or canola oil. You don't want to use an oil that has a flavor like olive oil.
- Almond Extract: this is optional but it really enhances the flavor of the cake. I recommend adding it alongside the vanilla extract.
- Freeze Dried Strawberries: you can find these at Target, your local grocery store, Amazon or Trader Joe's! Make sure you are using freeze dried strawberries and not frozen strawberries. Once you've measured out a cup and a half, you'll need to blend them in a food processor or blender until you have a fine powder.
- Strawberry Jam: I'm using the strawberry jam that I made from my strawberry filling recipe!
Substitutions & Variations
- You can swap out buttermilk for sour cream. I don't recommend using just milk!
- Leave out the almond extract if you prefer.
- You can use the fiori di sicilia extract if you want a hint of lemon!
- If you don't have time to make the strawberry filling, use store bought strawberry jam instead.
- Swap out the strawberry jam and freeze dried strawberries for a different fruit like blueberries or raspberries.
- Want to make a chocolate version? Make my chocolate cake with strawberry filling!
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the room temperature butter with the sugar and neutral oil. Mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, it is going to look creamy but not as smooth as it would look if you were mixing just butter and sugar together!
Step 2: Mix in the two extracts, then add the eggs one at a time. Make sure you scrape the bowl after each addition so the cake batter is getting evenly mixed!
Step 3: In a medium or small bowl, combine the flour with the baking powder and salt.
Step 4: Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk. You want to make sure you start and end with dry ingredients.
Step 5: Pour the cake batter into 2 greased and lined 8-inch cake pans. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with no crumbs. Let them cool in the pan for 15 minutes before taking them out and cooling completely on a wire cooling rack.
Step 6: While the cakes cool, you can make the frosting! In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the confectioners' sugar on low speed. Once combined, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy.
Step 7: Add the freeze dried strawberry powder along with the salt and extracts. Once combined and fluffy, slowly pour in the heavy cream until it is super creamy and spreadable.
Step 8: Time to assemble! Place one cake down on your serving plate or cake stand. Cover with a thin layer of frosting and then using a piping bag to pipe a ring of frosting around the outer edge. Fill in the space with the strawberry jam. Then top with the other cake layer and frost the top and outside of the cake. Place strawberries on top of the cake to decorate!
Expert Tips & Tricks
- I recommend making your life easier by making some of the components of the cake ahead of time. Make the strawberry filling up to a week in advance and store in the fridge, and make the cake up to 2 days in advance. That way the day that you want to serve it you just need to make frosting and assemble it!
- To make sure the strawberry filling doesn't leak out, you'll want to spread a thin layer of frosting on the bottom cake layer. Then fill a piping bag with strawberry buttercream and pipe a border on the outer edge of the cake. This will help the filling not leak out.
- If you want extra strawberry flavor, add some thinly sliced strawberries on top of the strawberry filling!
- Make sure the cakes are completely cool before you start assembling, or the frosting will melt off.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can use a store bought jam instead of making the strawberry filling. Just make sure it is quite a thick jam!
I haven't tested this recipe as cupcakes yet, but you can check out my strawberry filled cupcakes!
No, fresh or frozen will have too much moisture in them for the buttercream. You want freeze dried strawberries to make this frosting.
Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Filling
- 2 8-inch cake pans
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 ⅔ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup neutral oil
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 2 cups strawberries diced
- 4 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- zest lemon
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 ¼ cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups freeze dried strawberries
- Preheat the oven to 350℉/175℃. Grease and line two 8-inch baking pans with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the room temperature butter with the oil and sugar until creamy on medium speed. This will take about 2-3 minutes, and it'll look a bit grainy and fluffy.⅓ cup unsalted butter, ¼ cup neutral oil, 1 ⅔ cup white sugar
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl after each addition.4 large eggs
- Mix in the almond and vanilla extract.3 teaspoons vanilla extract, ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour with the baking powder and salt.2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- Add ⅓ of the flour mixture, then mix on low. Add ½ the buttermilk. Repeat once more, then end with the flour mixture.1 cup buttermilk
- Pour the smooth cake batter into the prepared pans.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10-15 minutes before removing and letting them cool completely on wire cooling racks.
Make Strawberry Filling
- I recommend making this the night before if possible, or start making it before you bake the cakes! This will give it time to really thicken up.
- In a medium sized saucepan, combine the diced strawberries with the lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar. Cook over medium-low heat until it begins to simmer, stir frequently.2 cups strawberries, 4 tablespoons white sugar, 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice, zest lemon
- Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes, it should become very thick. Coat the back of a spoon and if you're able to do that and run a line through it with your finger, then it is ready.
- Take off the heat and let cool completely. Store in a large mason jar or airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Blend the freeze dried strawberry pieces with a food processor or blender until you have fine crumbs. Set aside.1 ½ cups freeze dried strawberries
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat the butter and confectioners' sugar on low speed.1 ½ cups unsalted butter, 4 ¼ cups confectioner's sugar
- Once combined, turn the speed to medium-high and beat until it becomes very thick.
- Stop the mixer and add the vanilla extract, almond extract, salt and strawberry powder. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon almond extract, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Turn the mixer on your lowest speed and slowly pour in the cream until the frosting becomes creamy and spreadable - you might not need all the cream!¼ cup heavy cream
- Place one cooled cake layer down on a plate or cake stand. Spread a small amount of strawberry frosting on top, then pipe a ring of strawberry frosting on the outer edges of the cake - this will create a barrier so the strawberry filling doesn't leak out!
- Take the cooled and set strawberry filling out of the fridge. Place ½ cup (or more if you like, ½ cup is what I used in the images above!) of the filling in the middle and use a small offset spatula to evenly spread it over the cake. Spread it up to the ring of frosting.
- Place the second layer on top, then frost the whole cake with the remaining frosting. Enjoy!