Strawberry Lemonade Cake. Layer cake made with fresh strawberries, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Frosted with a sweet strawberry buttercream frosting.

Last summer, I shared my favorite Lemon Blueberry Cake. It was a massive hit in our home and quickly became readers’ favorite. Many of you gave it a shot and shared your feedback. We are grateful for your feedback. One of the most frequently asked questions about this recipe is how to substitute strawberries for blueberries. While I understand that you want a combination of lemon and strawberries, swapping these berries can be more complex than a simple substitution. After our strawberry picking trip (read more), I made a strawberry lemon blueberry cake.

This cake is summer’s best. It is tart and sweet, tangy, and fresh. The lemon cake is moist with a hint of lemon but not tart. There are visible flecks and extracts to add extra lemon flavor. The strawberry frosting is the star of the show. The strawberries are simmered in lemon juice and sugar to extract all the liquid. This creates the best strawberry reduction. It’s easy to add fresh strawberries to buttercream without compromising the flavor. Although I love using frozen berries to make a rich frosting ( see this recipe), today’s frosting is all about the summer berry bounty. The tartness of fresh strawberries balances out the sweetness of classic buttercream crusting. This creates a perfect balance that is neither too sweet nor too tart. Its natural color is easy on the eyes.

Sandwiched in the middle between the cake layers is an additional layer of sliced strawberries. These strawberries enhance the fresh taste and add a pop of color that visually reminds us that this cake is all about fresh berries. Adding strawberry slices without liquid seeping out or ruining the cake texture and presentation takes very little planning.

The strawberries can be cut a day ahead and placed on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Place the strawberries on a baking tray lined with paper towels. Cover it with another layer of newspaper towels and cool in the refrigerator overnight. You’ll be able to enjoy fresh strawberries when you assemble the cake. Spread a thin layer with frosting and top it with the strawberry slices. Cover with another layer of frosting. Buttercream will surround the strawberries, not touching them. This makes it look beautiful and delicious. I recommend skipping the strawberries if you need more time to dry them overnight.


Lemon Cake:

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • Two teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • One tablespoon organic lemon zest
  • 8 ounces unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • Four eggs
  • Two teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Strawberry Reduction

  • 32 ounces fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Strawberry Buttercream

  • 16 ounces room temperature unsalted butter
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 cup strawberry reduction, cooled

For the Assembly:

  • 8 ounces fresh strawberries, cut and dried overnight on paper towels
  • 6 small strawberries, whole
  • Six lemon slices
  • 6 straws , cut to 3″ in length


Make the Lemon Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Three 8-inch round pans should be butter and lightly floured. Line the pans with circles of parchment paper.

Mix together 3 cups of cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Combine milk and lemon juice in a small bowl. Mix well and let cool. This process is very similar to making buttermilk at home.

Use the paddle attachment to beat butter and sugar in a bowl with a stand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed for approximately 4 minutes.

Mix on low and add eggs one by one. After each egg, mix well.

Mix in lemon extract and vanilla extract. Mix well.

Mix the flour mixture with the milk in three batches. Start and end with the flour mixture. Don’t overmix. Stop the mixer, and clean the bowl and the mixing blade.

Divide the batter equally between the three 8-inch round pans.

Bake for 28-30 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pans for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then, transfer to a wire rack to complete cooling.

Strawberry Reduction:

Mix strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in medium-high heat saute pan.

Boil for 25 minutes or until juices are clear and berries are soft enough that you can smash them with a spoon.

To remove seeds, strain the mixture using a fine mesh strainer. Use the back of a wooden spoon to get as much pulp as possible. To remove all strawberry pulp, scrape the strainer’s underside. Remove seeds and return the strained puree to the saucepan.

Stirring with a wooden spoon until 1/4 cup is left, approximately 5-10 minutes.

Place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Push the plastic down to get the strawberry reduction. Let cool.

Strawberry Buttercream

Use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to beat butter and salt until smooth.

Mix in vanilla extract and cool strawberry reduction. Mix thoroughly.

Gradually add 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar at a time. Mix and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

For several minutes, whip on medium-high until smooth and fluffy.

Reserve 1/2 cup frosting in the bowl.

Assemble the cake:

Layer one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with 1/2 cup strawberry frosting. Place a layer of strawberry slices over the frosting. Make sure there is enough space between the slices so they don’t touch. Spread 1/2 cup strawberry frosting over the top. Use your spatula or a spoon to press the frosting down around strawberry slices.

Continue with the second layer of cake, adding more frosting, strawberries, and frosting. Finish by topping with the final layer of cake. Frost the cake with any remaining frosting.

Use a French star tip to pipe 6 swirls of frosting onto your cake. Allow the frosting to set for five minutes in the refrigerator. If desired, decorate with lemon slices, whole strawberries, and paper straws.

Keep in the refrigerator Keep at room temperature

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