Indulge in the perfect combination of moist cake and juicy, sun-ripened strawberries with a zesty twist of lemon. With fresh strawberries in the batter and honey sweetened whipped cream on top, a strawberry lemon cake is similar to a strawberry shortcake but better.
If you’re trying to find something fabulous to do with the abundant strawberries that are showing up at the farmers market, a strawberry lemon cake is a nice twist on a traditional strawberry shortcake.
No buttermilk biscuits in this version, just a simple light lemon cake that’s super easy to make. No need to make layers and not quite as sweet as a frosted strawberry cake.
When your strawberries are sweet and fresh, you just want a little cake to compliment them and a lemony flavored cake is even better. The lemon flavor comes from both lemon zest and juice mixed into the batter.
Of course you can’t have strawberries without cream. For this strawberry cake add some honey to the whipped cream and create a perfect topping. The honey flavor compliments the fruit without making it overly sweet.
If you’ll be serving this outside and you want the whipped topping to keep its shape add a little cream cheese to it like I do for strawberry icebox pie.
Why make this strawberry and lemon cake
- You can make it in advance and freeze or refrigerate until ready to serve and it won’t break down like a traditional strawberry shortcake dessert will.
- The cake is light with fresh strawberries and lemon zest.
- It’s topped with a honey whipped cream and not a heavy frosting.
- It has all the things you love about strawberry shortcake but easier to transport and store.
- You can prep this in less than 20 minutes.
What to serve with a strawberry dessert
Cook-out – Trying serving this at your next cook-out with BBQ ribs, grilled chicken or hamburger sliders.
Dinner party -It’s elegant enough to serve at a dinner party with pork tenderloin or steak marsala.
Brunch – It’s light enough to enjoy following a brie and sausage casserole at your next holiday breakfast or brunch.
Double the recipe and freeze the second one to have on hand when you have friends over.
What you’ll need for lemon cake with strawberries
- Fresh strawberries – you just need a cup, so if it’s not strawberry season you won’t break the bank buying a small container.
- Lemon zest and juice – this really brightens the flavor. Learn some handy tricks for getting the most juice out of a lemon.
- Buttermilk – if you don’t have any on hand, learn how to make your own buttermilk with items in your pantry.
- Pantry staples – sugar, flour, baking soda and powder, an egg, butter and vanilla.
- For the topping you’ll need heavy cream, honey, powdered sugar and vanilla.
Step by step guidance
First mix the lemon zest with the sugar so that you get a uniform lemon flavor. Then add the dry ingredients.
Combine the liquid ingredients and slowly add it to the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.
Fold in the fresh strawberries.
Pour into a 9 inch round cake pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before flipping onto a cooling rack.
When ready to serve, beat heavy cream with honey, powdered sugar and vanilla.
If you choose to add whipped cream to the top, try adding to each serving rather than to the entire cake. That will prevent the cake from getting soggy.
Pro Tip: If you’re going to add extra strawberries to the top, add a little sugar to the cut strawberries before adding them. Otherwise they will taste a little sour when eaten with the sweeter cake.
You’ll find that this is a heavenly dessert that takes no time at all to put together.
This is one of my favorite desserts to serve when friends are coming over. You can make it in advance and it’s great after a rich meal. If you’re bringing dessert, it transports easily and can withstand the heat if you’re serving it outdoors.
How to store
Let this cool completely and wrap in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Wait to top with whipped cream until ready to serve.
Strawberry cake FAQs
Can you freeze strawberry shortcake?
If you’re making a traditional strawberry shortcake with biscuits, strawberries and whipped cream you cannot freeze it, but you can easily freeze this cake before adding the whipped cream topping.
How do you store fresh strawberries until you’re ready to make the cake?
If you can’t use fresh strawberries in a day or two, simply rinse them in a vinegar wash and refrigerate them in a paper towel lined container. They’ll last for up to two weeks.
How do you freeze a cake?
To freeze this lemon strawberry cake, let it cool completely and then wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag.
Can you use frozen strawberries?
Frozen strawberries will add too much liquid to this cake, you’ll need to use fresh.
What else can you make with fresh strawberries
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Strawberry Lemon Cake with Honey Whipped Cream
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 lemon lemon zest
- 1 ⅓ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- ⅔ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup butter melted
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup fresh strawberries sliced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- fresh strawberries sliced
- Preheat oven to 350º. Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan.
- Mix together the sugar and lemon zest, pinching it together with your fingers until combined. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, whisk to combine and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix together egg, buttermilk, butter, lemon juice and vanilla. Slowly add to flour mixture mixing just until moistened. Gently fold in strawberries.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack to cool completely.
- For topping: Whip the cream and add honey, sugar and vanilla. Spoon on to top of cake or dollop on individual slices. Top with strawberries. If strawberries are not very sweet, add a teaspoon or two of sugar. Drain juice before topping.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- You can freeze this until ready to serve. Just let it cool on a rack and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
- If you want a more substantial topping, add cream cheese to the whipped cream like I did for my strawberry pie.
- Add a little sugar to cut strawberries before adding them to the top, otherwise they will taste sour next to the cake.
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