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Strawberry Lemonade Cake with Sweet and Tart Lemon Curd Filling
Strawberry Lemonade Cake – strawberry lemon cake layers, filled with homemade lemon curd and topped with a strawberry cream cheese buttercream – the perfect spring or summer cake.
Making Lemonade Out of Lemons
My mom just moved into a new home in Los Angeles. One of the best things about her new place are the lemon trees in her backyard. She also has a herb garden and a few other fruit trees. (I’m so jealous! It’s making me want to get started on my garden boxes stat!). Well, being the fabulous mom that she is, she didn’t just bring me fresh lemons during her recent visit to Utah, she also brought me homemade lemon curd! There’s not a lot of things better in this life than homemade fruit curd. You can literally put it on or in anything – toast, croissants, tarts, cupcakes, and of course, cake! I love the punch of flavor it provides without being overwhelming. I also love a curd because once you have the basic recipe down, switching between flavors is so easy.
Strawberry Lemonade Cake
For this cake, I decided to pair the lemon curd with my strawberry cake. I had heard from a couple readers that my original strawberry cake recipe sank a little during baking. Though I haven’t had the problem, I didn’t want this to be an issue for anyone else! So, I made a few tweaks to the strawberrycake layers and am now confident they’ll rise perfectly for anyone.
There’s also some lemon zest in the cake layers, accentuating the flavor of the curd just a tad. The frosting is a strawberry cream cheese frosting, made with only a small amount of cream cheese and strawberry emulsion, neither of which are too strong but pair beautifully together.
I think one bite of this cake will get your taste buds dancing and make you think of summer!
More Summer-Inspired Cakes You’ll Love
- Strawberry Pretzel Delight Cake
- Coconut Lemon Raspberry Cake
- Orange Almond Poppy Seed Cake
- Pina Colada Cake
- Lemon Blueberry Cake
Strawberry Lemonade Cake
Strawberry lemon cake layers, filled with lemon curd and topped with strawberry cream cheese buttercream.
FOR THE CAKE
- 3 cups (339g) cake flour
- 4 1/2 teaspoons (18g) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
- 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups (266g) granulated sugar
- 1 3 oz. package of strawberry flavored Jell-O
- 3 teaspoons lemon zest
- 5 large or extra large egg whites at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon (13g) pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (240g) buttermilk at room temperature
FOR THE CURD
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 1/2 cup (115g) lemon juice about 3 large lemons
- 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
- Pinch of salt
- 3 large eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 4 tbsp (56.5g) cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- 2 cups (452g) unsalted butter slightly cold
- 6 oz. (170g) cream cheese slightly cold
- 6 cups (750g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
- 1 teaspoon strawberry emulsion
- 3 tablespoons (42g) heavy whipping cream
- Pinch of salt
- *If you want to pipe swirls around the cake like I did, add an extra half batch of buttercream.
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch cake pans with nonstick spray, line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, Jell-O and zest. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the egg whites, in a few additions, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.
- With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on low, just until flour is combined.
- 5. Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake for 25-30 minutes.
- 6. Let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes and then invert onto wire cooling wraps to cool completely. Cakes can be individually wrapped in plastic wrapped and frozen for a week. If you’d like to freeze them longer than one week, wrap each cake layer in tin foil as well.
FOR THE CURD
- 1. Whisk the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the whole eggs and yolks in a small bowl and then whisk them into the lemon mixture.
- 2. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it’s thick like pudding, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter a few pieces at a time until incorporated.
- 3. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, pushing it through with a rubber spatula. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely set, at least 4 hours and up to 5 days.
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
- 2. Turn the mixer to low speed and gradually add the powdered sugar, followed by the strawberry emulsion, cream and salt.
- 3. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat the frosting for about 5 minutes.
- 4. Before frosting your cake, mix the frosting by hand with a wooden spoon to push out any air pockets. If the frosting feels too soft to frost or pipe, cover it and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes.
- 1. Spread a dollop of frosting on a cake board or cake plate to hold the first cake layer in place.
- 2. Place the first cake layer, top side up, on the cake board and pipe a rim of strawberry frosting around the edges to act as a barrier to the lemon curd. Spread half of the lemon curd (about ¾ cup) on the cake layer.
- 3. Top with the next cake layer and repeat step 2.
- 4. Place the third cake layer, top side down, on the second layer of filling. Apply a thin layer of frosting around the entire cake to lock in the crumbs. Freeze the cake for about 10-15 minutes to set the crumb coat.
- 5. If your frosting feels soft at this point, refrigerate it while the crumb coat sets.
- 6. Continue frosting your cake, making sure to stir the frosting with a wooden spoon to push out any air pockets.
- 7. If you’re not serving within the day, you can freeze the cake in a cake box or container for up to a week – just make sure to remove the cake from the freezer about 6 hours before you plan to serve it.
Just made this tonight for my husband for Father’s Day and WOWZA it was a hit!
Oh good! Glad you loved it!!!
Hey Courtney… I just have a question. In the description you said you use cake flour and all purpose flour but the recipe doesn’t have all purpose listed as an ingredient. My cake tasted delicious, but I was a little disappointed in the layers of cake, as they were only about 1 inch thick after dividing between 3 pans. Any suggestions for a little bit thicker flufflier layers? I followed the recipe exact. Thanks for sharing your gifts and talents. My daughter and I have hoped to attend one of your classes at Gygi’s!
I’m sorry about that typo. It’s just cake flour, and I took out a bit of sugar. The cake flour is what should make it taste light in texture. I would say my layers came out to be about 1.5 inches thick. Be careful not to over mix the batter and use room temp ingredients. You could also leave the batter out covered with plastic wrap for a few hours. This helps the dry ingredients better absorb the wet ingredients and will help the cake rise nicely.
Hi Courtney! Can you clarify how many eggs and how many yolks to use please. The ingredient list makes it sound like just the yolks, but in the instructions it states to wisk the whole eggs and yolks. Thank you! I am excited to make this!
Yes, sorry about that typo. It’s just the yolks
Is this the typo for the curd? eggs and yolk or just yolk?
Not a typo. You’ll use both whole eggs and egg yolks.
What is strawberry emulsion? Or strawberry oil? Can it be left out if I can not find it at the store?
Thanks so much!
Strawberry emulsion and strawberry oil are flavorings. They give the frosting the strawberry flavor without compromising the consistency like adding too much strawberry preserves might do. You could leave it out and do a lemon cream cheese frosting with lemon extract.
I didn’t have strawberry emulsion or oil, so I just added a little of the strawberry Jell-o powder and it turned out delish!!
Oh good to know!!!
Would this cake work with substituting a gluten free flour for the cake flour??? Or perhaps would it be better to add lemon zest and the strawberry jello to one of your gf cake options? Thanks for any tips!
If you use Cup4Cup GF Flour it’s a 1 to 1 substitute and should work great. The batter will be a little sticky but it should work great.
I want to convert this recipe to two 10-inch cake pans. Can you tell me how I can convert the ingredients of this cake recipe to my cake pans?
You need to increase all the ingredients by 50% or in other words you’ll have one and a half of the recipe.
Shoot my cake sank in the middle! But the smell is amazing. I just started and am going thru your cakes makin they one by one. This is my second one and am loving sharing them with family and friends! (That way I do t eat it all myself🙄)
Sorry to hear that. Be careful with your mixing. Overmixing the batter will cause it to sink. Also make sure your baking powder and baking soda are fresh (not over 6 months old).
What is strawberry emulsion and strawberry oil?
Where would I find either one?
They are flavorings. I have seen them at Michaels, but I get mine at Orson Gygi or Amazon.
Can this recipe be used for cupcakes? Have you ever tried them?
I haven’t tried it as cupcakes but I hear from other people it can be.
What tip did you use to pipe on the flower swirls?
It’s the Wilton 1m
Hi, Courtney – Which frosting tip did you use to decorate the sides of this cake? It looks so beautiful and I want to try to replicate it on my next cake! Thank you so much!
It’s the Wilton 1m tip
I would like to bake is cake for my son’s birthday next week, can I substitute the strawberry Jello with powdered freeze dried strawberries we don’t eat gelatin.
About to make this recipe so hopefully I here back soon. I’m confused about the amount of jello. Is it thirteen ounces of strawberry jello OR one three ounce package of strawberry jello? Thanks!
One 3oz package
This looks beautiful! I wanted to try it with a Bundt pan and drizzle the lemon curd over the top.
1. Any suggestions for baking it in a full-size (15 cup) Bundt pan?
2. Do you think the curd Will set on top (like a frosting) or soak in?
Thank you for your help!
I wouldn’t add the curd on top. I would set it aside in a bowl and serve a scoop of it alongside each slice of cake! It won’t sit well on top.
Sorry, I just want to confirm that I am to use egg whites ONLY for this cake.
Why do you leave the yolks out?
It makes for a lighter cake.
I made the cake portion of this yesterday and it didn’t come out pink. The only thing I could think of that affected it was that I used a store brand Jell-O packet. So, I ran and grabbed a name brand strawberry Jell-O packet today (it’s for my soon to be 4 year old’s birthday and she is pretty adamant her cake must be PINK) and I CANNOT believe the difference in color. The store brand powder was barely pink, produced a light pink batter, and baked up looking like a vanilla cake. The real Jell-O powder was practically red, produced an almost hot pink batter and baked into a gorgeous bright pink like your pictures. I have a much happier birthday girl on my hands!
I’m so glad you got the color you wanted!
Have you tried using freeze dried strawberry powder in your cake, instead of the Jell-o? I like to stay away from artificial flavors & know the fruit powder can pack a punch! I’m just not sure how it would affect the rest of the cake.
It should work if its the same amount!
Just a follow-up question to a comment by another user about the eggs. I see here you said it’s just the yolks in the lemon curd but both the instructions and ingredients list are both showing whole eggs + the yolks. I’m not sure if this is an update but I just want to make sure I am using the right amount of eggs for the curd when I make the cake. Thanks for your help!
Love this new version of strawberry cake. I did cheat a wee bit and used Trader Joe’s lemon curd but this whole cake overall was sooo good and screams summer. Thanks for another great creation.
Is this 13 oz of jello? Or 1.3oz?
So I was making this for a party celebrating my brother Jason during the winter for him getting a raise and there was a shortage of strawberry emulation and extract. What should I have done to substitute it?
You can use a little strawberry jam but the flavor won’t be as strong. You also can’t use too much to increase the flavor because it will seperate the buttercream.
This had good flavor, but the cake turned out dry. What do you think could have been the issue?
I did love this cake and i wanna make it again. I do have a question about the lemon curd. When I made the curd, I followed every step to the “t”. At the end, my curd ended up tasting “eggy”. Do you have any suggestions on what might have caused that? I hope to hear back from you soon thank you!😊
Another winner! Made this for a colleague’s birthday and it was a huge hit. Perfect tangy fruity combination.
For the jello, is it one 3oz packet or a 13oz packet??
About to try this
Is it possible to substitute the jell-o with custard powder or instant jell-o which is without gelatine?
How much batter would a need to make half a sheet of cake or one sheet of cake with this recipe?
One sheet works for this recipe.
Where does the lemon curd go?
In between the layers