This Strawberry Shortcake Cake gives a new twist to an old classic. Vanilla cake layers, fresh strawberries, and mascarpone cream!
How do you know if you’re allergic to something?
I feel like I might be mildly allergic to strawberries, but not in the typical way. Occasionally (but not always) when I eat some I get a bit of a weird feeling in my throat, kind of a scratchiness, or tightness, or something. But when I was making this Strawberry Shortcake Cake it was different — I hadn’t eaten any of the strawberries yet.
I was quartering about 4 cups of them for the filling and I started to find it hard to breathe. Not like call an ambulance hard to breathe, but I felt like my throat was closing up a bit, just from the SMELL. Is that possible?
They were crazy fragrant. Some borderline overripe and very potent. It took about an hour for the feeling to subside once I was away from them. Maybe it’s all psychosomatic or maybe I’m just allergic to strong smells of any kind. *Shrug*. I’m still alive today but let it be known I may have risked my life making this Strawberry Shortcake Cake for you!
What is Strawberry Shortcake?
Traditionally, strawberry shortcake is a dessert consisting of a shortcrust biscuit that’s cut in half and sandwiched with whipped cream and macerated strawberries.
My interpretation of the traditional strawberry shortcake consists of buttermilk vanilla cake layers, fresh macerated strawberries, strawberry syrup, and mascarpone whipped cream. The latter which is really the star of the show here.
How do you make Mascarpone Cream?
There are many variations on how to make this, but I’m going to tell you how I did it. Not that this is the only or right way to do it, it’s just what worked for me.
Mascarpone has a very high fat content and can split very easily if overwhipped. It’s not the easiest to work with, but it’s SO delicious, so I’m going to tell you my method for keeping it smooth and silky.
- Chill your mixer bowl and whisk until cold — a few hours in the fridge or 15mins in the freezer will do.
- Whip your (cold) heavy cream until still peaks form. Be careful not to overwhip or it will turn to butter (for real).
- Transfer whipped cream to a separate bowl — no need to clean the mixer bowl or whisk.
- Place the chilled (but slightly softened) mascarpone in the mixer bowl and beat with a paddle until smooth. Add sugar and beat until smooth.
- Fold mascarpone into whipped cream.
- Transfer back into mixer bowl and whip until stiff. Be careful not to overwhip!
It’s a few extra steps, but I think it helps ensure a smooth frosting. My mascarpone was actually too cold still and I didn’t smooth it before adding the sugar, so it had some small clumps of cheese that wouldn’t smooth out. Slightly softened mascarpone would work best. Don’t use room temperature though as it’s more easy to split.
I also took a few extra steps when assembling this cake. Optional, but overall I think it made for a cleaner finished look so I’m recommending you do it this way too. Basically I decorated each layer separately, then chilled them, then stacked. This helps the mascarpone cream set a bit and gives more structure to the cake.
- Place each layer of cake on a cake board or similar — something you can easily move them off of after to stack.
- Drain strawberries, but reserve the syrup (optional).
- Drizzle 2-3 Tbsp of strawberry syrup on each cake layer (optional). I did this with my bottom layer but forgot to do it with the rest (oops), just do them all at the same time so you don’t forget like me!
- Top each cake layer with 1/3 of the mascarpone cream. Spread roughly with the back of a large spoon.
- Carefully spoon 1 1/2 cups of strawberries evenly onto two of the layers. The third layer (the top) is strawberry-free. The recipe makes enough strawberries to cover all 3 layers (rather than the decorative layer I have on top). You can do it either way.
- Chill each cake layer for 15-30 mins.
- Carefully remove cakes from cake boards and stack them onto each other.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Serve within a day or two. Must be refrigerated.
Can I make this cake in advance?
Not really. The mascarpone cream does not keep well especially once stacked with the berries. The juices from those will start to break the cream down a bit. It’s best to serve it same day if possible.
You can make the cake layers in advance though. Once cooled, wrap them in plastic and freeze until ready to use.
This cake is really very easy to make, but if you’d like to make it even easier you can use my favorite modified box mix recipe for the cake layers instead!
If you’re looking for a light, summer dessert to make the very best use of those fresh berries, this Strawberry Shortcake Cake is calling your name!
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I convert this recipe?
- The recipe as-is will also work in two 8″ pans as long as they are 3″ tall, or two 9″ pans. Baking time may need to be adjusted.
- For a three layer 6″ cake, change the Servings to 12 and use those amounts. Or, if your pans are 3″ tall you can leave the recipe as is. The layers will be thicker so baking time will need to be adjusted.
- To make cupcakes, all you need to do is reduce the baking time — start checking at 15mins or so. The recipe will make at least 24 cupcakes depending on size.
- For other conversions go here.
Can I make it in advance?
- The cooled cake layers can be baked ahead of time, double wrapped in plastic wrap, and frozen for up to 3 months. Take out 2-3 hours before assembly.
- The mascarpone cream will not keep. It should be made right before putting the cake together.
- This cake will not keep long and does not freeze well. Ideally serve same day, but can be refrigerated for 1-2 days.
Can I get the measurements by weight/grams?
- There is a Metric option in the recipe card. If you click it it will convert everything to grams.
- This conversion is done automatically and I cannot guarantee the accuracy but many readers have had success using the metric option for this recipe.
Tips for making this Strawberry Shortcake Cake
- To make it even easier, you can use my favorite modified box mix recipe for the cake layers instead.
- For best results, make sure your cream, whisk, and bowl are chilled. This gives the whipped cream the most volume.
- I found it best to decorate each layer separately, chill, then stack.
- I used a large spoon to spread the mascarpone cream on each layer. I found this gives the best rustic look.
- You can substitute any berry you like, or try it with a blueberry sauce.
- I like to prepare my cake pans using Homemade Cake Release then line with parchment.
- Learn how to keep your cakes moist using Simple Syrup.
- To help ensure your cake layers bake up nice and flat, check out my Flat Top Cakes post!
Strawberry Shortcake Cake with Mascarpone Cream
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/3 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 4 cups hulled & quartered strawberries 1 pint, 675g
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
Mascarpone Whipped Cream:
- 8 oz mascarpone slightly softened
- 1 cup whipping cream cold
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour three 8″ cake rounds and line with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on med-high until pale and fluffy (approx 3mins).
- Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla.
- Alternate adding flour mixture with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Fully incorporating after each addition.
- Spread batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops.
- Bake for about 30 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
- Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.
- Place quartered strawberries and sugar into a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Place in fridge and let sit for 15mins (up to overnight).
- Drain strawberries before using in cake. Reserve syrup to drizzle on cake layers during assembly if desired.
Mascarpone Whipped Cream:
- Place mixer bowl and whisk into the fridge or freezer to chill.
- Pour cold cream into the bowl and whip on high until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat mascarpone until smooth. Add sugar and beat until combined*
- Combine whipped cream and mascarpone mixture until smooth and stiff.*
- Divide mascarpone cream into 3 equal portions.
- Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Drizzle with reserved strawberry syrup if desired.
- Roughly spread 1/3 of the mascarpone cream over the top of the layer. I used the back of a large spoon to do this.
- Place 1 1/2 cups of quartered strawberries on top. Repeat with remaining layers leaving the top layer just with the mascarpone cream.**
- Refrigerate until serving. Serve same day.
This post was originally published on 06/28/19 and was updated with new content on 06/25/21.
I made this with my sister! We’re beginners so it wasn’t too pretty but it tasted absolutely scrumptious! I have had many requests to make it again : )
Hi Abigail! So happy everyone loved it. I hope you guys try more of my cakes 🙂
Does 1x, 2x & 3x indicate if you are making a 1 layer, 2layer or 3 layer cake in an 8inch pan?
Hi Melissa! No, 1x is the recipe as is with the cake as shown. So 1x makes a three layer 8″ cake. 2x and 3x are increasing the recipe for larger cakes/pans.
I’m new to baking and you are my go-to website! Is there a way to make the mascarpone dairy free? Thank you! Zenie
Hi Zenie! I’m afraid not. You could use some sort of vegan cream recipe I suppose but it would not taste like mascarpone :\
Hi! Really enjoying browsing through your recipes. I’m interested in making this cake and was wondering if it would be okay to use cake flour instead of all-purpose? Thanks!
Hi Claire! Yes, cake flour should work fine. Let me know how you like it! 🙂
Hi Liv! I just wanted to say how amazingly tasty this recipe is (and all of your recipes tbh)!
Made this for family this past weekend… first post-lockdown gathering since last year. It was absolutely perfect.
I love your site! You deserve all of the gold stars for it. I don’t know if it’s because we are both in Canada, but only your recipes work for me – tastes are on point (nothing crazy sweet) and bakes perfect every time. Thanks for making me look like I know what I’m doing in the kitchen 😉
Hi Lauren! Thanks so much, I’m thrilled that you loved it! And thanks for the wonderful comment. You totally made my day <3
Beautiful cake. I hope to try making the mascarpone cream sometime.
However, I’m mainly replying to say that your strawberry reaction sounds like oral allergy syndrome. It can get worse, and it can start to involve other fruits and vegetables (mainly raw), so you might want to read up on it. My husband has it to melons, although he’s never reacted to airborne fruit particles. (My father, who has an anaphylactic reaction to bacon, has actually reacted to the smell of bacon cooking before.)
Hi Leah! Oh wow! Not bacon! That is crazy. Thanks for letting me know, I’ll read up on it for sure. I had an allergy test done and strawberries didn’t seem to cause much of a reaction. Still though, I’d like to avoid any potential issues down the road. I hope you try the mascarpone cream! It’s so delicious with so many things. Just in a bowl with some fresh fruit even.
Made this for my daughters 24th birthday & it was a big hit. Looks beautiful and tastes wonderful! Praises all around.
Hi Tracy! So happy everyone loved it 🙂
This cake is wonderful! I made it for my sons birthday last year and he has requested it again this year. Thanks for much for the recipe, it’s become a favorite in our house!
Hi Nikole! So happy you both love it. Thanks for the feedback 🙂
Hi! I have a question: could I divide this mixture in to small individual cake tins, and roughly how many cakes would this recipe make if I make it into smaller individual cakes?
Hi Amina! It depends on the size of your cake tins. Converting pan sizes is always tricky. Here are some sites I use as a guideline:
Divya Ganeshan says
what flowers have you used for decoration on the cake.. are they edible
Hi Divya! Those are flowers from the strawberry plant in my garden.
First of all I love all of your recipes!!
Wondering if you think it might be possible to stack a 6” version of this cake on top of the 8” version. I will use dowels for support and keep the cake refrigerated.
Hi Lexie! The frosting is very soft so if you were to do that I’d recommend not frosting the top of the 8″ layer. Even with support I feel like it could be messy. Stability of the overall tiered cake could be an issue too, since the mascarpone cream has has a similar consistency to whipped cream. I think you could try it but I would definitely stack the tiers after transport (if you plan to transport).
Gina LeBlanc says
Absolutely one of our favorites. I use cream cheese a lot of the time instead ..usually what i have on hand and its still delicious. I recommend this cake for summertime. Making it right now as a amtter of fact. Little buntlets for desert … currently chilling my bowl and whisk for the cream.
Hi Gina!! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, I appreciate it! 🙂 I’m so happy you love this one. Thanks for your tips and feedback! xo
I tried this recipe using two 9 inch by almost 3 inch pans. I also used cake strips for the first time. Batter was beautiful, although a tiny bit thick. Cake smelled divine while baking.
I baked for 30 minutes. It was definitely done, but still pretty pale in color.
Unfortunately it tasted rather dense, and a bit dry.
What did I do wrong?
I would really like to bake this again. 🙁
Hi Elaine! The dryness would be due to overbaking. Did you adjust the recipe at all for 9″ pans? If not there would be less batter in the pans and they wouldn’t take as long to bake. Dense cakes can be from overmixing the cake batter once the flour is added — it develops too much gluten. I hope that helps! Let me know if you try it again 🙂
Marilyn Mandel says
Loved the recipe,Strawberry Shortcake…amazing!Two questions if making the cake the day before the best way to store it?My flour this time is very lumpy,even though I lifted it to lighten before spooning into my measuring cup…what would you recommend me to do ,it was large bag of Robin Hood ,never saw this before.Love your recipes!
Hi Marilyn! The cake is best served same day due to the fresh berries and mascarpone cream. It should be “ok” in the fridge for a day or so though. Strange that your flour was lumpy — you could try sifting it first before adding it to the rest of the dry ingredients. So happy you loved this one. Thanks for the feedback! xo
How do you ensure that strawberries dont go off by the next day…is there any techniques for that ?
Hi Sdnan! The strawberries won’t go off in one day, but they and the cream won’t look as nice/good. It’s best to serve this cake same day.
Elaine Coughlan says
Hi, can i make the mascarpone whipped cream the evening before and assemble the cake the next morning? Cant wait to try this cake.
Hi Elaine! Ideally I’d recommend making it day of serving. It doesn’t last very long. Overnight might be ok but you may need to rewhip it in the morning.
Philippe Legare says
Third time I am making it, excellent and beautiful!
Yay! So happy you love it Philippe 🙂
Brittany Smeltzer says
Is it normal for the batter to be very thick ?
Hi Brittany! The batter is on the thicker side, but you should be able to pour and spread it easily. If it’s thicker than that then something may have been off in the measurements. When measuring your flour, be sure to spoon the flour into the cup and level it off vs. using the cup as a scoop.
Do you think if I cut this recipe in half it will fit into 3 6-inch pans?
Hi Nicole! For three 6″ pans, change the Servings to 12 and use those amounts. Baking time should be fairly similar.
Did you mean to write 6″ in your reply (not 8″)? I have the same question as Nicole.
Hi Jacquie! Yes! Oops. I fixed the comment. Thanks for catching that.
Made this all the way here in Singapore!! Absolutely amazing. Reduced the sugar to the same mass as the butter to reduce the sweetness. Pity that it can’t be kept for Long 🙁
Hi Rae! I’m so happy you loved it 🙂