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Best Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake

This Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake is the perfect rendition of traditional strawberry shortcake with a twist!

Best Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake

This Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake is the best celebratory sweet treat for such a special day and is actually my second year baking myself a cake for my Birthday. Not only is it completely soft + fluffy, but it’s rich in flavor from the vanilla cake layers and comes loaded with a velvety cream cheese buttercream that when paired with this sweet strawberry jam filling, it’s absolutely irresistible and is sure to become the newest celebratory tradition for the entire family. Vegan + Gluten-Free options.

Best Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake

It's my Birthday and I'm the big 31!

Prior to last year's cake, I usually made Cheesecake Bites to ring in another year. I know. So untraditional, but cheesecake is one of my faves so it was perfect every time.

My Previous Birthday Dessert Recipe

There’s nothing like a bite of this velvety and creamy Mango Cheesecake + Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust. Unlike the traditional cheesecake, these bites are the perfect spin on flavor meets bite-sized goodness! Oh how delicious these are! Bursting with tropical flavor and topped with a mango glaze and fresh strawberries for a nice balance of fruitiness and tartness; and made atop a sweet and crisp chocolate-y crust. 

Now that I'm officially settling into my 30s, I must say that my journey to this point has carried some very valuable lessons.

Relationships have been my biggest lesson for the past few years, which often times felt pretty uncomfortable and painful in most retrospects. However, I can say that this year has birthed some pretty amazing relationships that I am excited to continue to cultivate, despite the many people that I've lost along the way.

I am a big believer that God's hand has been in it all and it has allowed me to grow in ways that I didn't know that I could.

Another lesson for me has been in business and my own self worth.

If you've been an avid follower of Orchids + Sweet Tea, then you're already aware of the fact that I'm pretty transparent about my journey, both in Food + personally.

When it came to business, I can honestly say that I didn't push myself as much as I could've in the beginning because I wasn't as confident in my own capabilities.

Best Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake

How to Make Best Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake

This cake as I’ve mentioned before is super easy to whip together and doesn’t require anything special when it comes to ingredients. All you need to whip up this simple Best Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake batter is:

  • All-purpose flour. I use organic flour from Bob’s Red Mill.
  • Baking powder for leavening.
  • Cane sugar. I use organic sugar.
  • Butter. I recommend unsalted butter for baking.
  • Vegetable oil. Choose a nice high-quality oil because you will be able to taste it in the cake! You can also use canola oil which has healthier ingredients.
  • Eggs. These should be at room temperature so they mix evenly into the batter.
  • Buttermilk. You can use dairy-free or regular!
  • Vanilla. Gives it that rich vanilla flavor.

Best Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake

The 3 Main Parts to this Cake. Ready, Set, Go!

Vanilla Cake: This part of the cake is the soft, fluffy component that just melts in your mouth. Personally, I chose to substitute a few ingredients to limit the amount of dairy, however, you can feel free to create a full vegan version if that's your thing. See the Notes for how to do so!

Cream Cheese Buttercream: Normally with shortcake, you would have whipped cream instead, however, because I love to create a beautiful twist to most things, I chose to make a cream cheese frosting because who doesn't go crazy for a creamy cheese frosting, right? Haha. Plus, this buttercream is so velvety and pieces everything together so beautifully that you couldn't make this without out, to be honest.

Fresh Strawberries + Preserves: OK, so this is my other favorite part----the strawberries. It's Summer, therefore, you can't NOT have strawberries, right? Exactly. Point proven. Haha. That's why I chose to add fresh sliced strawberries atop this cake and spoonfuls of strawberry preserves in between the layers and a top frosting.

Best Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake

Tips For Making The Perfect Cake

Tip #1:

Another thing that I’ve learned about baking a cake is having the right tools. As a basic—-you should have a cake stand (preferably one that has a turnstile table), spatulas (big + small), piping bags + tips, correct baking pans and parchment paper.

Tip #2:

One of the essential ingredient combos for a light, silky cake texture is baking soda/baking powder and acid ingredient (usually apple cider vinegar + plant-based milk for vegan cakes). When acid and baking soda/baking powder reacts, it creates bubbles and helps to create a nice rise for your baked goods, leaving an airy texture.

Tip #3:

One of my latest tricks to a perfect cake has been to ensure that ALL of my dry ingredients are sifted. Trust me, ya’ll—-this works! Making all the dry ingredients fully sifted makes things airy, as you’ve guessed it and allows everything to combine faster.

Tip #4:

Never Over-mix! When creating a cake, it’s so important to add the dry ingredients and wet ingredients alternately and as soon as everything is combined very well, THAT’S IT! Over-mixing creates a more dense cake.

Best Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake

WHAT YOU’LL LOVE MOST ABOUT THIS CAKE?

It’s super fluffy and moist.

Bold strawberry, cream cheese, + vanilla flavors.

Delicious and comforting in every bite.

Melt in your mouth goodness!

Can be made as a traditional 2 or 3-layer cakesheet cake, or cupcakes. Your choice!

Not too sweet, but perfectly sweet at the same time.

That Whipped Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting is EVERYTHING. Literally!

Absolutely delicious!

The perfect Birthday Cake!

Best Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake

Cake Flour vs. All-Purpose Flour.

When it comes to the main ingredient of this entire recipe—-the flour, I enjoy using Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour, which is ideal for all kinds of baking, including this one.

However, I do occasionally use Super-Fine Cake Flour which adds a nice airiness and fluffiness to your cakes as well.

Can I Make this Cake Gluten-Free?

If you would love to make this cake gluten-free, then substituting all-purpose flour with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour is the easiest option. It’s a special blend of gluten-free flours, starches, and xanthan gum, which makes this cake just as soft, fluffy, and airy as the original! They also have a great All-purpose GF flour that works great as well.

Can I Make this Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake Vegan?

Yes! To make this cake dairy-free and egg-free, substitute the butter for vegan butter. Omit the eggs and use apple cider vinegar or ‘flax eggs’ as an alternative. To decorate your vegan Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake, use the vanilla buttercream recipe here instead of the cream cheese. 

Can I Make Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake Cupcakes?

Sure! To turn this cake recipe into individual cupcakes, simply divide the batter between about 30 cupcake wells. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the centers are set. 

Best Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake

Best Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake

Best Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake

5 from 16 votes
This Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake is the best celebratory sweet treat for such a special day and is actually my second year baking myself a cake for my Birthday. Not only is it completely soft + fluffy, but it’s rich in flavor from the vanilla cake layers and comes loaded with a velvety cream cheese buttercream that when paired with this sweet strawberry jam filling, it’s absolutely irresistible and is sure to become the newest celebratory tradition for the entire family. Vegan + Gluten-Free options.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Serves: 8 servings

Ingredients

CAKE:

  • 4 cups organic all purpose flour
  • 2 ½ tsps baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups organic cane sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temp.
  • 4 large eggs, at room temp.
  • 1 ½ cups "Buttermilk" (Almond milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice; See Notes!)
  • cup vegetable oil (See Notes!)
  • 2 Tbsps vanilla extract

FILLING:

  • 1 cup strawberry preserves or jam
  • 1 ½ Tbsps freshly-squeezed lemon juice

CREAM CHEESE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:

  • 5 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
  • 8 oz. organic cream cheese, softened at room temp.
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened at room temp.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tbsps Almond milk (You can also use whole milk or heavy cream)

TOPPINGS:

  • Fresh strawberries, sliced
  • Strawberry preserves/jam

Instructions

MAKE THE CAKE:

  • Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease (with butter) AND line with parchment paper the bottoms of TWO 9-inch or THREE 8-inch cake pans.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the milk and lemon juice and set aside for 5-10 minutes until everything "activates" to create the dairy-free "buttermilk".
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt until combined.
  • In a bowl, add the butter and sugar, beating them together using a hand-mixer (on high-speed), until pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the eggs (one at a time) followed by the vanilla and oil, mixing until combined. On low-speed, add in the dry ingredients followed by the buttermilk and continue to mix until combined and the batter is smooth, about 3-4 minutes. NOTE: The batter should be thick, yet slowly run off the whisk once lifted.
  • Divide the batter evenly into each of the cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick or butter knife comes out clean when tested in the centers.
  • Remove cakes from the oven and let them rest in the pan for 10 minutes or so before removing the cakes and placing them onto a cooling rack to fully cool. NOTE: Let them cool for at least 1-2 hours in a cool place.

MAKE THE STRAWBERRY FILLING:

  • In a bowl, add the strawberry preserves/jam and lemon juice, mixing until combined and easily mixable. Set aside.

TO MAKE THE CREAM CHEESE BUTTERCREAM:

  • Simply beat the softened cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer (or using a hand-mixer) on medium-high speed, until smooth and pale. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk, continuing to mix on medium-speed until you reach the desired consistency----smooth and fluffy. NOTE: Add more milk (1 tablespoon at a time if too thick) or powdered sugar (for more thickness).

ASSEMBLY:

  • Place the first cake layer on your cake stand and evenly cover the top with buttercream and a few spoonfuls of strawberry filling. Now, top with 2nd layer and add more buttercream atop that layer, spreading it over the tops and sides of cake, evenly and thinly. NOTE: If making a 3-layer, be sure to repeat step 1 of assembly once again before getting to the final layer.
  • Once fully frosted, add small little designs of the buttercream using a piping bag + tip around the sides and top of cake. Feel free to add a spoonful of strawberry preserves/jam to the tops and side of cake and using a spatula, glide it across the cake for a nice "infuse" in buttercream and top with freshly sliced strawberries. Chill for 5 minutes to ensure that buttercream sets. NOTE: For a fancy moment or occasion, add florals atop cake for a Spring vibe!
  • When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator. Slice and enjoy!
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Keep cake leftovers stored for up to 4-5 days in the fridge. Keep it in an airtight container to keep the cake from drying out. You can also freeze the cake tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost the cake on the counter.
  • FLOUR: You can also use cake flour in place of all-purpose flour for a fluffier texture. 
  • OIL: For a healthier option, you can use canola oil. I like La Tourangelle's Organic Canola Oil.
  • STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE CUPCAKES: This recipe yields about 30 cupcakes. Simply bake for 18-20 minutes instead, until centers come out clean.
  • DAIRY BUTTERMILK: Add 1 cup of organic heavy cream + 1 tablespoon lemon juice and let sit for 10 minutes, until it thickens.
  • VEGAN OPTION: To make this cake entirely dairy-free + vegan, simply omit the cream cheese (in the frosting), unsalted butter and eggs and use vegan butter instead and add 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar to milk instead of lemon juice. Ensure that all ingredients are vegan-friendly, including strawberry preserves/jam.
  • GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: If you would love to make this cake gluten-free, then substituting all-purpose flour with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour is the easiest option. It’s a special blend of gluten-free flours, starches, and xanthan gum, which makes these donuts just as soft, fluffy, and airy as the original! They also have a great All-purpose GF flour that works great as well.

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Best Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake.

ORCHIDS + SWEET TEA

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  1. Well, this is just the perfect cake for a summer birthday! It combines cake and one of the best summer desserts of all time. It looks incredible!

  2. Yum! Perfect summer cake! It turned out amazingly well. Very moist and airy texture - couldn't ask for anything more! Great recipe - thanks!

  3. This was absolutely wonderful. So moist and with so much strawberry flavor. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  4. Hi Shanika, thank you so much for sharing your recipe. I am planning on making it for my mom for her birthday! I was wondering, do you think I would be alright using whole milk rather then almond milk?

    • Hi Kristen! Awww, of course! That sounds like such an amazing idea---I really do hope that your mom enjoys! Happiest of birthdays to her---by the way! And yes, you definitely can use whole milk for this! I just use Almond milk to reduce the dairy! 🙂

    • Hi Heather! Absolutely! Just tightly seal the frosting when refrigerated and remove it to room temp the day of for about 15-20 minutes until soft enough to pipe. 🙂

  5. I made this for my daughter's 3rd birthday. I did a 3 tier - 8 inch cake, so tripled the ingredients. In place of vegetable oil i used avocado oil, but everything else I followed exactly. It came out so sooooo yummy! Everyone loved it!! Thanks for an amazing cake recipe! 🙂

    • OMG! I'm honestly so thrilled that this cake was such a hit with everyone! Thanks so much for choosing my recipe for such a special moment! 🙂

  6. This cake looks delicious! If making a three layer (8 inches) cake, do I need to also triple the icing ingredients?

    • Hi Michelle! Thanks so much! That's absolutely correct-----you can triple the ingredients! 🙂

  7. Happy Birthday! This cake looks delicious! I think my kids and I will make this for a special treat this weekend.

  8. This cake looks so delicious and so pretty! I can't wait to make this! My daughter loves anything strawberry!

  9. Omg! Happy Birthday! You deserve all of the deliciousness today and everyday. Such a beautiful soul and beautiful recipe creations to match! I can’t wait to make this with the kids. They will be happy to know I know the person who created it!

    • Awww, thanks so much babe! I truly appreciate that! And I can't wait to hear what the kids thought----it's SO GOOD! 🙂