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This is my all-time favorite cake recipe — I have been making it for years!
My first memory of making this cake was in high school, and it was the first time I ever made a cake from scratch by myself. The instructions were so comprehensive that I nailed it on the first shot. It consistently comes out perfect each time I’ve made it (it’s been dozens of times over the years). I’m in my late 20’s now, and it’s still my go-to cake recipe in the summertime.
Thank you for this wonderful recipe and the great recipes I have attached it it! Sorry it took me this long to leave the well-deserved 5 star review!
This recipe is a reputation-maker! It was delicious and a lot of fun to make. Whenever I bake something from a blog I try to come back and leave comments for others so here are mine.
First, the cake layers were delicious, tender, fine-textured and fun to make. Folding is definitely key. If you’re new to baking, do yourself a huge favor and learn to fold properly – it will make you a much better baker. Slicing the cake into 3 even layers was tricky but I didn’t freeze them before attempting it. I got out my ruler and marked the layers before slicing through them then slid a thin piece of metal, the bottom of a removable bottom tart pan, under each layer to move them.
A lot of people had trouble with the strawberries. I squeezed as much of the juice out of the macerated berries as I could and cooked it to a thick consistency, stirring frequently. The smell in the house drove everyone crazy it was so delicious. I kept going until it was a pretty thick syrup. Also, while reducing the juice, I continued pressing liquid out of the berries.
In the cream filling I used mascarpone which tasted great and added a nice mild tang but when the sugar was added, the mixture became gritty and felt like it had separated slightly. I went ahead and added the (cold) cream and beat it well which helped quite a bit but not completely. Luckily no one but me seemed to notice so I ran with it.
When I put the cake together I spread the macerated berries over the full cake layer, not just in the center, and covered them and the sliced fresh berries with whipped cream. After putting each cake layer in place, I used a small, thin cookie sheet to carefully press the layers into place being careful to not push the cream out the sides. Since the side of the cake isn’t covered with anything I wanted the layers to be level and flat.
This cake was delicious after sitting 5 or 6 hours in the fridge. Thank you so much for posting it! I can’t wait to make it again – this weekend.
Great tips Nancy, thanks so much for sharing!
Hi, I am Anani, I am 10. I made this cake for my brother’s 4th birthday. We loved it. Even my Dad who is a harsh cake critic loved it. It was even better the second day. Thanks for a great recipe!
I’m so glad you and your family liked it Anani!
The cake part gets soggy like crazy, especially because it’s cut into thin layers. I had to make this with Genoise since that’s dryer and can absorb all the moisture from the berries and cream without falling apart.
This cake was laborious, but well worth the effort. I’ve never baked a cake from scratch before but your detailed instructions were fool-proof. Thank you so much!
I’ve made this cake many times and it’s seriously good! I think it tastes better the day after it’s been made. Also, I have a question; would the cake still be good if I used chocolate cake instead of the white cake?
Your guess is as good as mine. ~Elise
This cake is fool proof! Everyone loves this cake. A couple of things, It is very important to use cake flour in this recipe. And I found that mascarpone cheese is a great alternative for the cream cheese in the whipped cream. Its lighter and just works better! Sometihng I’ve learned from Giada on food network. Other than that the cake is perfect!
Thank you Elise for posting this recipe! Ever since I found this post a few years back I have made sure to make this cake at least once every summer, and here I am making it again! Just a tip; if your cake smells like egg when you take it out of the oven, you won’t be able to taste it once you’ve actually assembled the cake. Good luck!
I have made this cake twice following the directions exactly (with the exception of using all purpose flour rather than cake flour, which is hard to find where I live) and it turned out perfectly. I found that the first time making it felt very labor-intensive, while the second time was much easier since I knew what needed to be done and how much I could cheat by making stuff in advance. The second time I also made extra strawberry filling to spoon onto the slices when serving–highly recommended! I can pictures many possible variations using whatever berries are in season. This cake is really impressive-looking and got oohs and aahs from everybody who ate it. Thank you, Elise!
I made this cake for my mom’s birthday, and it was great. I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out perfectly, looking just like the picture, and tasting delicious. I was surprised that the cake was not hard to cut into three. It did take some time to make, but that’s expected for a cake of this quality, and I managed fine despite juggling three children under 3.
Thank you for your blog! I find it both practical and inspirational for myself as a young (mid-20s), busy wife and mother. Your site is a big help with building my cooking skills.
I normally just use whipping cream and confectioner’s sugar to make the cream filling and topping. I like it being light and not too filling. I am just thinking if adding cream cheese will make the cream more stable and easier to spread. Instead of heavy cream and cream cheese, do you think marscapone and whipping cream will work too (if I prefer a lighter version)?
I think that would be delightful. ~Elise
An awesome recipe, made this cake few times now, last one with a small twist of my own for my mom’s birthday. Made two cakes with huge 24′ by 9′ two layer cake with a layer of meringue and cream filling with strawberries, blueberries and raspberry, covered by fondant. And the top was a heart shaped Strawberry cream cake, was delicious. Thanks Elise. And big thanks for your father.
Made this cake yesterday for a 4th of July barbecue and it was really delicious. I used Frangelico instead of kirsch as it was what I had on hand. My only criticism is that the strawberry filling seemed a bit too thin. I chilled it before using and that helped, but I still had to press with spoon to further drain before using. Maybe I didn’t drain them well enough the first time around. Next time I may try not mashing all the strawberries for the flling. Loved the whipped cream topping, the cream cheese gave it more stability than regular whipped cream, which was a good thing for yesterday’s near-100 degree temperatures! I used a packaged white cake mix, using the richer variation using milk, melted butter and whole eggs rather than white and baked it in 3 layer pans, which worked out fine.
okay, my cake did not come out looking like the photo on here. i was soooo sad cause i tried so hard. i tried to double the cream by putting 16 insteat of 8 but i did not double the cream, i only bought the two cup one. my cream came out all waterey, and the cake started falling to one side, it was horrible, my dad even tried to help me, but im still going to take it to my boyfriend family!
I love your website! Thank you for all the wonderful recipes.
Since now it is strawberry season I was wondering if one could make the strawberry filling and keep it in the fridge or freazer.
Hi Anna Maria, I suspect chilling in the refrigerator would be okay, but freezing would not. Not sure though, so if you try it, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise
Fantastic cake with a beautiful presentation. Did not take too long to put together. If slicing the cake into 3 layers is difficult..pour 1/3 of batter into one cake pan and 2/3 into the other. Take smaller one out around 20 minutes, about 30 mintues for the other… works perfectly.
Would it be okay if I chilled it over night and serve it for Thanksgiving dessert? It will be impossible to make it on Thanksgiving day! Want to make as surprise for mother..
I would recommend that if you plan to make ahead you make ahead all of the parts, chilling them separately, and assemble them right before serving. ~Elise
This is one darned good looking cake! I dipped the strawberries for the top in bittersweet chocolate (still halves) and drizzled the whole thing with chocolate. It’s gorgeous and delicious! Thank you so much for posting this recipe!!
Loved this cake. Made it for my out-laws and they just couldnt get enough! Couple of points. Dont be afraid to use all of the strawberry filling. It balances the whipped cream perfectly. On the note of quantity, I also found that I probably used just a bit too much whipped cream. Even though I whipped the cream cheese to death, it still makes the whipped cream a bit heavier than normal and can make the cake incredibly rich. (Not necessarily a bad thing!)
Thanks for your blog, Elise, I always start here when I am looking for a new recipe to try, then use your links to surf. Made this yesterday and to my surprise it turned out as lovely as the pic. I think it would be less labor intensive the second time around. It is not complicated. I had the cake and strawberries ready to go and made the frosting at the end of dinner -finished the cake while everyone ewed and awed. It was my grandson’s birthday cake (requested strawberries), but I think for the adult version I might sprinkle the warm cake with the kirsch before assembly. Sliced beautifully!