The most perfect cake for summertime celebrations! If you love lemonade, you’ll love this strawberry lemonade cake with sour lemon buttercream, creamy and zesty lemon curd filling, and loads of strawberries in every bite! I love how the buttercream and filling balance out the sweetness of the cake, making it just right! Garnish the top with strawberries and lemon wedges right before serving for a stunning presentation!
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Watch my YouTube video recipe for step-by-step instructions and see how I put together this lemon cake! Want to receive new recipe emails in your inbox? Make sure to subscribe to my website and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!
Strawberry Lemon Cake Layers
This summery lemonade cake starts with easy and fruit strawberry lemon cake layers! I use my basic buttermilk cake batter with eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar, vanilla and add a bit of lemon extract. I also love to add some lemon zest for even more lemon flavor. For the strawberries, I add a bit of diced strawberries directly into the cake batter, then sprinkle the rest on top once I have the batter measured out in the pans.
- Always make sure to cool the cake layers completely before assembling the cake! Try placing them into the refrigerator on a wire rack for faster cooling.
How to Make Your Own Buttermilk!
I love to use buttermilk for baking recipes since the acid in the milk makes for a lighter and fluffier cake. You can make your own buttermilk, too! Just measure out 1 cup whole milk and add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Stir and wait for 1 minute, then add to the recipe.
Sour Lemon Buttercream
For my Strawberry Lemonade Cake, I wanted to use one of my favorite frostings – a sour and zesty Lemon Buttercream. I have a separate video recipe for this frosting so make sure to check it out! I made 1 ½ portions of the original recipe for this lemon cake to cover it completely. This buttercream is made with lemon zest, lemon extract and citric acid, the same ingredient that’s used in sour candies! You can buy it online on Amazon; see my link below in the ‘Supplies/Tools’ section!
Homemade Lemon Curd
For this lemon cake, I did alternate fillings – diced strawberries and my creamy homemade lemon curd. I love this recipe so much and it’s super easy to prepare! I have a separate video recipe for the lemon curd so make sure to check it out! I use some of the curd for the inside and for topping the cake.
Can I Make It Ahead of Time?
Yes, you can make most of this cake ahead of time, such as the buttercream, the lemon curd and even the cake layers.
- For the buttercream, keep it well covered and refrigerated. Take it out a few hours before you need to use it to allow the frosting to soften again.
- The lemon curd can be made even a week ahead of time and stored in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator. You won’t need the entire recipe, but the extras are great on toast in the morning!
- For the cake layers, first let them cool completely, then wrap them well in plastic wrap and place into a ziplock bag. Cake layers are actually best frozen since they lose less moisture in the freezer. Take them out and let them thaw for about an hour, then assemble.
Assembling the Cake
Assembling this strawberry lemonade cake is a breeze! Here’s how I do it:
- First, make sure the cake layers are completely cooled, then take a long-serrated knife and level the top of each layer before splitting it in half. You’ll have 4 cake layers total to work with.
- Transfer about 1 cup of the lemon buttercream into a pastry bag tipped with a star or round tip; I used Ateco tip #823. Pipe a barrier ring of frosting around the edge of the cake before adding the filling. This will keep the filling from going out the sides! I do alternate fillings of diced strawberry and lemon curd.
- To keep the fillings in place, I recommend frosting the bottom of the next layer, the inverting the frosted side onto the filling. It’s a bakery trick that will make assembling cakes with fillings so much easier!
- Frost the top and sides of the cake with a crumb coat of frosting, then chill the lemon cake for about 15 to 20 minutes. Apply the last coat of frosting, add dollops of frosting and the lemon curd on top, then chill the cake again.
- Add some sliced strawberries and lemon wedges onto the cake once you’re ready to serve, as these can dry out in the refrigerator.
Enjoyed this lemony and fruity cake? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Blueberry Lemon Cake – the best blueberry cake with lemon cream cheese frosting and lemon curd filling!
- Raspberry Lemon Cake – made with delicate vanilla cake layers, lemon curd and raspberry filling! Topped with raspberry macarons!
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cake – a popular choice on my site, made with lemon curd, lemon poppy seed cake and poppy seed lemon cream cheese frosting!
- Lemon Meringue Cake – the ultimate lemon dessert! This decadent cake is frosted with fluffy meringue and filled with lemon curd!
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Need some supplies or tools to make this strawberry cake? Here are some of the items I use in my kitchen (Amazon Affiliate links):
- Fat Daddios 8-inch Cake Pans – I love these aluminum cake pans because they bake very evenly!
- Ateco Turn Table – this cake decorating table is a must for every baker!
- Lemon Extract – my favorite lemon extract!
- Citric Acid – this is the same ingredient used in sour candies, perfect for making a sour buttercream.
- Disposable Pastry Bags – these bags come in a bulk roll and will last you for a while!
Strawberry Lemonade Cake
For Strawberry Lemon Cake Layers:
- 4 eggs, large
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup light cooking oil
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups strawberries, diced
- zest, from 1 lemon
For Lemon Curd:
- 2/3 cup lemon juice, freshly-squeezed
- 2 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, unsalted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For Lemon Buttercream (1 1/2 original recipe):
- 3 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temp
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon extract
- 3 tsp citric acid
- yellow food coloring
- zest from 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 cups strawberries, diced or crushed
Strawberry Lemon Cake Layers:
- Preheat the oven to 350F/177C and line two, 8-inch (20-cm) cake pans with parchment paper and spray the sides with a baking spray. Set aside.
- Prepare the cake batter first. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, oil, buttermilk, extracts and sugar. Beat on medium speed for a few minutes until the eggs are well beaten. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the batter, then mix on low speed for about 1 minute, just until incorporated.
- Next, fold in just half of the diced strawberries into the cake batter, along with the zest of 1 lemon. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two pans and sprinkle the remaining diced strawberries over the top.
- Bake the layers in the preheated oven at 350F/177C for about 38 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the pans and onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Next, prepare the lemon curd. It needs to be completely chilled before being used in the recipe! In a medium sized saucepan, combine the sugar, eggs and egg yolks. Whisk vigorously for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is thick, pale and ribbons off the whisk. Stir in the lemon juice. Cook the curd over medium heat, stirring constantly with a spatula, for about 4 to 5 minutes, until the curd thickens to pudding-like consistency.
- Remove the curd from the heat, whisk again to remove any clumps and add the butter in chunks. Allow the butter to melt completely, then add the vanilla and whisk until the butter is well incorporated. Transfer the curd into a bowl, cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Soften the butter at room temperature. It should be slightly soft to touch but not melted! Place the butter into a mixing bowl and beat on high speed for 6 to 8 minutes, until the butter is fluffy and pale white in color. Add the confectioner's sugar and mix for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the extract, lemon zest, citric acid and food coloring last. Mix again for about a minute, until the frosting is smooth and uniform.
Assembling the Cake:
- Make sure the cake layers are completely cooled before assembling the cake! Using a long, serrated knife, level the tops of each cake layer, then split each layer in half. You will have 4 cake layers. Transfer about 1 cup of the lemon buttercream into a pastry bag tipped with a round or star tip; I used Ateco tip #823.
- Pipe a barrier ring of frosting around the edge of the cake layer before adding the filling. Watch my YouTube video to see how it's done. Fill the first layer with half of the crushed strawberries, the second layer with 1/4 to 1/3 cup lemon curd, and the third layer with the remaining berries.
- Frost the top and sides of the cake with a thin crumb coat of buttercream, then chill the cake for about 20 minutes. Add the final layer of frosting, smoothing it with cake spatulas. Garnish the top of the cake with dollops of frosting and more lemon curd. Keep the cake refrigerated until ready to serve.
- Garnish the top of the cake with strawberries and lemon wedges when ready to serve. Don't add them too early as they will dry out.