Introduction: 3-Layer Strawberry Vanilla Cake

When I got married, we ordered the most incredible cake that tasted amazing from my favorite local dessert spot. It’s not easy to go buy an entire wedding cake again, so I decided to create my own version. This instructable demonstrates the process of baking, assembling, and frosting a 3-layer strawberry vanilla cake. I don’t think that this is an exact match to my wedding cake but this recipe gets very close. This recipe is labor intensive and it takes time. But it is worth the work, worth the wait, and it tastes heavenly when complete. Anyone who attempts to bake this beauty, will not be disappointed. Good luck!

Step 1: Assemble the Ingredients and Supplies Needed

Ingredients Needed:


2 French Vanilla Cake Mixes (I used the Betty Crocker Brand, shown above. Easily found at Wal-Mart.)

2 C. Milk

1 C. Melted Butter

8 Eggs, Cracked and mixed together in a bowl.

Strawberry Filling

1 Pound Carton of Strawberries

1 T. White Granulated Sugar

Buttercream Frosting

3/4 C. Butter, room temperature

5 C. Powdered Sugar

2 t. Vanilla Extract

1/4 t. Salt

5 T. Milk

Supplies Needed:

Large Mixing Bowls

Measuring Cups

Measuring Spoons

Electric Hand Mixer

Metal Straight Edge Spatula

3 Nine-inch Round Cake Pans

Wire Cooling Rack

Parchment Paper or Parchment Paper Sheets

Note: Using the same type of cake pan for each of your cake layers will ensure that the different layers bake consistently. Using different pans is okay, but you may have to bake some layers more or less than others. Some cake layers may bake darker or lighter than others. This should not be a problem as long as the inside is completely baked.

Step 2: Preheat the Oven

Begin by adjusting the oven racks so that one rack is in the middle of the oven. Then, preheat your oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit.

Step 3: Prepare the Cake Pans

As shown above, lay out a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface and place your cake pan on top of the parchment. Using a pencil, trace around the edge of the pan. Cut out the circle you just created. With the excess parchment, cut out a 1-2 inch wide strip that is 15-16 inches long or however long the parchment is.

Repeat this process two more times to create three circles and three strips of parchment paper.

Take the strip of parchment and place it across the bottom and then up the sides of the pan. Then place a parchment circle on top of that. Using a stick of cold butter, grease the sides of the pan and top of the parchment circle. Repeat until all the pans have been lined and greased.

Warning: This process ensures that your cake will easily come out of the pans when cooked. The strips will act as handles that can be used to pull your cake out of the pan. Parchment paper is not required, but it is highly recommended. The chances of your cake getting stuck in the pan are very high without the use of parchment paper. If you do not use parchment, you still need to grease the sides and bottom of your cake pan.

This step is now complete.

Step 4: Mix the Cake Batter

As shown above, add the two cake mixes to a large mixing bowl. Then pour in the milk, melted butter, and eggs. Mix the batter with an electric hand mixer on medium-low for two minutes. You want the dry ingredients and wet ingredients to be thoroughly combined.

Note: Avoid beating the batter at a high speed. Doing so will over-mix the batter and incorporate too much air into it. If there is too much air, your cake will not be strong enough to be stacked and will fall apart.

This step is now complete.

Step 5: Add the Batter to the Pans

Split the batter among the three cake pans evenly. This can be done by weighing the amount of batter you put in each pan with a food scale or by measuring out the batter into each pan with a measuring cup.

This step is now complete.

Step 6: Bake the Cake

Make sure that your oven is fully preheated, and then place your cake pans into the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 25-29 minutes. The top of the cake should be a golden yellow when finished, similar to the cakes in the photo above. To check the inside of your cake, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake and the pull it out. If the the toothpick comes out clean without any cake on it, then your cake is cooked on the inside. Remove the cakes from the oven, and set them on a hot pad.

This step is now complete.

Step 7: Cool the Cake and Remove From the Pans

Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15-20 minutes. Then remove your cakes from the pan and place them on wire racks. This can be done in two ways.

First, run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to make sure that the sides of the cake will not stick. Then using two hands, pull up on each side of the parchment strip and pull your cake up out of the pan. Place it on a wire rack to continue cooling. This should be done as fast as possible so that the cake does not fall apart.

Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to make sure that the sides of the cake will not stick. Place a cutting board on top of the cake. Holding the bottom of the cake pan with one hand and the top cutting board with the other hand, flip the cake pan upside down so that the cake will fall out of the pan onto the board. Then repeat the process, flipping the cake from the board onto a wire cooling rack.

Continue to cool the cakes on wire racks for another 30 minutes or until they are completely cool. Once cool, place the cakes in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill. If you want, you can cover the cakes with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel.

This step is now complete.

Step 8: Prepare the Strawberry Filling

While your cakes cool in the fridge, prepare the filling and frosting. Wash the strawberries and shake off any excess water. Cut the strawberries into very small pieces.This can be done by quartering the strawberry, then slicing each quarter in half. Then cut each piece into 4-6 more small pieces. Place the strawberries into a bowl and mix one tablespoon of white sugar into the bowl of strawberries. Set aside until needed.

This step is now complete.

Step 9: Prepare the Frosting

Place the room temperature butter into a large mixing bowl and cream the butter with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add all of the powdered sugar. Mix on low to avoid a sugar dust cloud, then increase the speed of the mixer as the sugar and butter combine. Mix for 5 minutes or so until the butter and sugar combine. At this point, it may be a thick mess, don’t worry about it. Continue to mix while adding in the salt, vanilla, and milk. Keep mixing until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined and your frosting is fluffy, as shown in the picture above.

Note: You will want your frosting to be spreadable. It should not be so thin that it will not stay put on the sides of the cake. It should not be too thick that it will not be spreadable across the surface of the cake. If the frosting is too thin, mix more sugar into it a cup at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If the frosting is too thick, then mix more milk a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

This step is now complete.

Step 10: Assemble the Cake

Remove and uncover your cakes from the fridge. Make sure that each layer of the cake is level. Using a sharp serrated knife, trim the top of the cake so that the top is even all around. Peel the parchment paper off the bottom of the cakes.

Place one layer of cake on a large plate. Using a metal straight edged spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting across the entire top of that first layer. Fill a small piping bag or plastic sandwich bag with frosting and cut off the tip. Pipe a border around the entire edge of the cake. This will act as a fence and hold in the strawberry filling, as shown in the third picture above. Split the strawberry filling into two and spoon one half onto the cake. Spread the strawberries out so that they are even across the entire surface of the cake. Then place the second cake layer on top of the strawberries. Frost the second layer and spoon the remainder of the strawberry filling onto the top. Then place the third layer of cake on top of the other two layers.

This step is now complete.

Step 11: Crumb Coat the Cake

Crumb coat the cake by spreading a thin layer of icing on the entire cake. Begin by placing a dollop of frosting on the center of cake and then spreading it to the edges with the spatula. Then work the frosting down and around the sides of the cake, adding more dollops of frosting to the cake as you go. It is okay if your cake shows through the frosting, this layer of frosting is meant to be thin. When finished with the crumb coat, place your cake in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Note: A crumb coat is a very thin layer of frosting applied to a cake before the final layer of frosting is applied. This will ensure that any loose crumbs on the surface of the cake are trapped in the frosting and do not end up on the final layer of frosting.

Your cake should look like the one pictured above. This step is now complete.

Step 12: Add the Final Layer of Frosting

Remove your cake from the fridge and frost the cake with the remaining icing. You want to apply the frosting evenly across the entire surface of the cake. Try to get it all covered first then go back and make it look better. You can give the cake a smooth finish or create swirls in the frosting to add texture. Garnish the top of the cake with whole strawberries if wanted. Your cake should look similar to the one pictured above. This step is now complete and your cake is complete as well!

Step 13: Eat the Cake

Now that you have created this amazing cake, slice it up with a long knife and enjoy it. You can share it with friends and family or keep it all to yourself. Cover any leftovers and store in the fridge for 3-4 days, if they last that long. If you followed this instructable, then you have successfully created a very delicious 3-layer cake. Enjoy!