One Layer Strawberry Shortcake Cake

This one layer strawberry shortcake cake is a stunning (yet totally manageable!) ending to your meal. This single layer vanilla cake uses the reverse creaming method, which guarantees a uniquely moist and soft crumb. Top the small cake with vanilla whipped cream and plenty of juicy strawberries. It’s summery, refreshing, and wonderfully light!

Strawberry shortcake cake on white cake stand

I love a good dessert mash up.

Today we’re combining the delicious force of vanilla cake with the undeniable lure of strawberry shortcake. Though I’m sad to see the beloved biscuit go, we’re swapping it for something… dare I say… even better. This strawberry shortcake cake totally looks like a masterpiece, but it couldn’t be easier. It’s a nice manageable size for a small gathering and tastes light and refreshing during these warmer months. I’m officially obsessed.

slice of one layer vanilla cake with whipped cream and strawberries on white plate

3 Parts to Strawberry Shortcake Cake

  1. Vanilla Cake: This small vanilla cake comes together with 9 ingredients. If you occasionally bake, you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. Bake the vanilla cake first, then let it cool completely before topping with whipped cream and strawberries.
  2. Whipped Cream: Homemade whipped cream is always better (and creamier!) than the store-bought variety. And crazy easy to whip up at home. 😉
  3. Juicy Strawberries: The epitome of sweet springtime and summer freshness!

2 images of reverse creaming method for vanilla cake in a glass mixing bowl

Reverse Creaming Method

Do you remember when I shared Tessa’s Blackberry Lavender Cake recipe? Prior to that cake, I had only used the reverse creaming method a few times. But I just loved her cake’s texture and wanted to replicate it here. Instead of starting with creaming butter and sugar together, the reverse creaming method begins with the dry ingredients and ends with the eggs. This method produces a lighter crumb with more spring. The cake is tight like pound cake, but not dense. It’s velvet soft and practically creamy.

You only need 1 mixing bowl. Sift the dry ingredients, including the sugar, into the bowl. Sifting with a fine mesh strainer is imperative because it aerates the dry ingredients and leaves behind larger sugar crystals. Remember, we aren’t creaming sugar and butter together where larger sugar crystals are usually broken down. Next, mix in cubed room temperature butter, a little milk, and the vanilla extract. There isn’t too much butter in this cake, so some milk and the vanilla allows the combination to blend. (Pictured above, right.) The butter coats the flour and this is where all the texture magic takes place. The coating of fat minimizes the flour’s formation of gluten, which helps result in a finer cake crumb. It’s uniquely good!

After that, we’ll add the rest of the liquids including the remaining milk, 1 egg, and a little oil. Avoid over-mixing the batter and don’t worry if there’s a few tiny lumps.

2 images of one layer vanilla cake batter in a glass bowl and in a cake pan

The Perfect One Layer Vanilla Cake

Isn’t it nice to have a recipe for a simple 1 layer vanilla cake? Not a layer cake or a sheet cake, but a simple 8-inch or 9-inch vanilla cake that’s baked in a basic cake pan. How convenient, right? Keep this cake recipe in your back pocket because even if you don’t dig the whipped cream and strawberries, you can top this with vanilla buttercream, chocolate buttercream, strawberry frosting, and more.

By the way, if you need a layer cake with these same flavors, you’ll enjoy my fresh berry cream cake. I also have a 1 layer chocolate cake and it’s actually gluten free! See my flourless chocolate cake.

Small one layer cakes have eluded me for years. They’re always too tall, dense, and/or spongey. I desperately wanted this recipe to work and I’m thrilled with the results. In addition to using the reverse creaming method, I encourage you to follow the ingredients and ratios closely. This includes using cake flour for an ultra light crumb, bringing cold ingredients to room temperature, and adding a little oil for extra moisture.

One layer vanilla cake in 8 inch cake pan

Strawberries & Whipped Cream

Strawberries: Don’t you just love the glistening strawberries? Grab some fresh strawberries, slice them up, then toss with a little sugar and strawberry jam. The jam is optional, but it gives the strawberries extra sparkle and shine. I recommend mixing the strawberries, sugar, and jam together as the cake cools. This gives the strawberries time to release their natural juices which will seep down into the whipped cream and vanilla cake beneath. This is a VERY GOOD thing!

Whipped Cream: Did you know that you only need 3 ingredients to make real homemade whipped cream? Well technically, you only need 2, but vanilla extract is always a must. Whip cold heavy cream, a little sugar, and vanilla extract together in a large mixing bowl until medium peaks form. When you lift the beater out from the bowl, a slightly sturdy peak should form on it. The peak will slightly droop down, but not lose its shape entirely. Don’t be afraid to stop the mixer and check the consistency of the whipped cream as you go.

2 images of strawberry shortcake toppings including strawberries in a glass bowl and whipped cream in a glass bowl

Room temperature or warm heavy cream won’t whip, so make sure the cream is extra cold. Pile it high on the cooled cake, then top with a mountain of strawberries. You may be thinking that all the whipped cream and strawberries won’t fit but I assure you… they do!!

One layer vanilla cake topped with whipped cream and juicy strawberries on white cake stand

Strawberry Shortcake Cake Video Tutorial

I wasn’t going to film a video for this recipe because it’s on the easier side, but the cake’s reverse creaming method is different from what I usually publish. I knew a quick video seeing the cake come together would be helpful!

One layer vanilla cake topped with whipped cream and juicy strawberries

More Simple Summer Desserts

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Strawberry shortcake cake on white cake stand

One Layer Strawberry Shortcake Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
  • Yield: serves 8
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This one layer strawberry shortcake cake combines vanilla cake, fresh juicy strawberries, and homemade whipped cream. It’s a refreshing, light, and totally manageable summertime dessert that’s perfect for a smaller crowd. This single layer vanilla cake uses the reverse creaming method, which guarantees a uniquely moist and soft crumb.


Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/4 cups (148g) cake flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons; 60g) unsalted butter, cubed and softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk, at room temperature and divided
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) canola oil or vegetable oil

Strawberries

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (240g) sliced strawberries
  • 1 Tablespoon (20g) strawberry jam
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup (240ml) cold heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoonconfectioners’ sugar or granulated sugar*
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease an 8-inch cake pan or 9-inch cake pan, line with a parchment paper round (cut an 8 or 9 inch circle of parchment), then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cake seamlessly release from the pan.
  2. Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. (Or if using a handheld mixer, any large mixing bowl.) Add the butter, vanilla, and 1/4 cup milk. Mix on medium speed until the dry ingredients are moistened, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Whisk the remaining milk, the egg, and oil together. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the egg mixture in 2 additions, mixing for about 15 seconds between. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl if needed, then mix for about 15 more seconds or until batter is completely combined. Avoid over-mixing. Some small lumps are OK.
  4. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake for around 20-22 minutes or until the cake is baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done. Cool cake completely in the pan set on a wire rack.
  5. Mix the strawberries: When the cake is just about cooled, mix the sliced strawberries, jam, and sugar together. Let it sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator so the strawberries release some of their juices.
  6. Make the whipped cream when the cake is cooled: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Medium peaks are between loose peaks and stiff peaks and are the perfect consistency for topping on cakes.
  7. Place the cooled cake on your serving plate or cake stand. Pile whipped cream on top, then gently spread it out to the edges. Top with strawberries.
  8. Slice and serve cake immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours before serving. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes

  1. Freezing & Make Ahead Instructions: The cake layers can be baked, cooled, and covered tightly at room temperature overnight. For best taste, make the whipped cream and strawberries the day of serving. For freezing, bake and cool the cake, then wrap tightly in 2 layers of plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter, then continue with the recipe.
  2. Cake Flour: For the lightest, softest crumb, I recommend using cake flour. The same amount of all-purpose flour works too and the cake will be soft, just not as fluffy. If you can’t get your hands on cake flour, use this cake flour substitute instead.
  3. Sugar in Whipped Cream: Some bakers swear by granulated sugar in whipped cream; others swear by confectioners’ sugar. If you’re only working with a couple Tablespoons of sugar, it doesn’t really make a difference. Use either.

Keywords: strawberries, whipped cream, vanilla cake, summer

284 Comments

  1. We’ve made this recipe 3x in the last two weeks to use our fresh-picked strawberries (before they go bad!) and then we gobble it up within a day. It is so delicious and not too sweet.

  2. I made it and all my family and friends went nuts for it. Easy, fast , and very very delicious. I’m addicted to your blog now

  3. I made this today and it is delicious!! Super easy to make and the jam is totally worth using. Half of it was eaten immediately by my family. Will definitely make this again!!

  4. do you know how to make heavy whipping cream or we should buy the heavy whipping cream
    Thanks,
    Sherlyn

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sherlyn, we purchase heavy whipping cream at the store (usually by the milks). You’ll then use the heavy whipping cream to make your own homemade whipped cream. Hope this is helpful!

      1. Diana Jeffery Soard says:

        This was super easy and tasted great! I’m wheel chair bound and with the exception of plugging in the mixer I made this completely on my own! It’s that easy & looked like the pic!

      2. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Diana!

  5. Made this today for the 4th of July and it was a huge hit. Light, fluffy… the perfect crumb and taste for a strawberry shortcake. I will definitely make this again. Thank you!

    1. Diana Jeffery Soard says:

      I made mine in a heart shaped spring form pan. It was as deep as a regular single layer cake. It’s very good and I’ll be baking this all summer. We are growing strawberries, YUMMY!

  6. Deb Hoffman says:

    How high is just the cake supposed to be? Roughly—thanks!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Deb! I would guess about an inch and a half to two inches – a little shorter on the sides. Hope you love it!

  7. Hi Sally, I assume a 8 or 9″ square baking pan would be fine for this too… don’t you think? I would say no change to the cooking time really, just make sure the toothpick comes out clean. It would make it very easy for taking to a picnic! Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Heather, and 8″ square pan should be just about the correct size. Let us know if you give it a try!

  8. This is the next recipe on my list to try!! Instead of strawberry jam I’ll be trying out chokecherry jelly and adding a splash of passionfruit liquor for added flavor. 🙂 I’m also thinking of doing a white chocolate whipped cream instead of plain. Will update my comment after trying it out with my alterations. 🙂

  9. uh, cake ingredients say “1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk, at room temperature and divided” haha. should the milk be room temp?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rachael! That’s correct. The milk is added in 1/4 cup at a time (in step 2 and step 3). You also want the milk at room temperature. We recommend taking it out about an hour before you’ll make the cake.

  10. I made this cake last night for a dinner with friends and it was INCREDIBLE! I couldn’t believe how easy the recipe was, especially the whipped cream. Will definitely be making this again and adding it to my favorites. Thank you, Sally, for another homerun!

  11. Love this cake! I was wondering if it would be possible to make this as cupcakes instead of a 8 or 9 inch cake? If so, how long would you recommend baking the cupcakes for? Thanks so much.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elizabeth! Absolutely. All standard size cupcakes, including these, usually take around 20 minutes. Should yield around 12 cupcakes.

  12. Sheila Calnan says:

    Have a question about the whipped cream.
    I have a friend coming from the UK in a few weeks, and she requested strawberry shortcake. Biggest problem is, I have to transport it, somewhere….still working on the location and the time. Already planning on doing it “deconstructed “. Read a post where someone did it in cupcake form – which might be an idea. I know I can bake the cake layer and freeze it and get the strawberries ready to go(probably the day before). But the cream topping….What’s going to be best? Will it last a trip that could be anywhere between 10 miles or 40 miles, in the heat/humidity of GA in Aug?
    Thanks in advance for your advice.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sheila, whipped cream can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but it starts to lose its shape after that. If you make the whipped cream right before your trip and are able to transport it in a cooler, it should still be fine if consuming once you arrive (within 24 hours). Hope this is helpful!

  13. Nikitress Cleveland says:

    Hi Sally

    I was wondering could this cake be made into a sheet cake? 9×13 pan. If so do you have a recipe?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nikitress, doubling this recipe and using a 9×13 pan should be fine as the original recipe is so small. It should take about 40-45 minutes at 350F, but use a toothpick to test for doneness. Let us know how it goes!

      1. I doubled the recipe for a 9×13 pan and baked it for 30 minutes at 350° and it seemed done. It probably varies oven-to-oven, but I’d recommend testing it sooner than 40 minutes. This recipe tastes amazing!

  14. Sally, if you don’t have cake flour in the house, can you use all purpose or will this make the cake too dense?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mary Ann! If you can’t get your hands on cake flour, use this cake flour substitute instead. Enjoy!

  15. Hi Sally,
    Can this be baked in an 6” round tin?
    Thank you!

    Kind regards,
    Francine

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Francine! This will be too much batter for a 6 inch cake pan. Our handy Cake Pan Sizes and Conversions guide can help you scale this recipe for your needs.

  16. Loved it! Quick and easy to make. I even used much less sugar than the recipe called for and it was deeelish!!

    Thank you for the great recipe

  17. Sheila Calnan says:

    Can this be made into cupcakes? If so, how many and the baking time?
    Thanks as always.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sheila, absolutely. All standard size cupcakes, including these, usually take around 20 minutes. Should yield around 12 cupcakes.

      1. Sheila Calnan says:

        Thank you so much.

  18. Can I add chopped strawberries in the batter as well before baking the cake?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mahija, since strawberries add so much moisture to the batter, it would take some recipe testing in order to guarantee results. Let us know if you do give anything a try.

  19. This was so easy even for a novice baker and was delicious! My only problem was that it was pretty thin and not very thick and fluffy and I was hoping. What could I have done wrong/can do next time to make sure it’s even better!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jamie! This is a thinner cake, did you use a 9 inch pan? You can try baking in an 8 inch pan instead for a slightly thicker cake next time! How was the texture? If it seemed dense at all, make sure to use proper room temperature ingredients and be careful not to over-mix the cake batter.

      1. Thank you for getting back to me! I did use a 9” pan but it was a little dense. I’ll make sure to leave the ingredients out longer next time, I’m sure that was it.
        Thanks!

  20. Hi Sally! Can this recipe be doubled to make a two layer cake? Or would it be better to slice one layer in half horizontally? Would the whipped cream stay in place between two layers? thank you !

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Meryum, rather than doubling, it would be best to make two separate batches and then yes, you can layer the cakes with whipped cream in between. You could try halving one layer, but they’ll be pretty thin. Let us know what you try!

  21. This is a quick & delicious recipe that I can whip up & serve in little time. I like that it’s low sugar too. I’ve made it several times already this summer.

  22. My daughter loves this cake and is requesting that I make it for her birthday party. Is it possible to double the recipe? I need enough for 15 little girls!
    Thank you Sally! We LOVE your recipes!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mary, rather than doubling, it’s best to make two separate batches. Hope it’s a hit at the birthday party!

  23. Yummy recipe; I made double layer of this cake with oreo cake cream in center: (1 stick butter melted in small pan, stir in 4 tbsp flour, add 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. Cook Med-low till thickened and let cool completely then blend to fluff). Then whipped heaving cream with vanilla and sugar for top and the strawberry mixture on top of that. Delicious!

    1. Oops; Heavy cream, not heaving cream

  24. Hi Sally! I made two batches back to back for my brother-in-law’s birthday party. I did my first batch with a 9 in pan and it took 21 minutes. For my second batch I wanted to test out my new 8 in pan and it took 30 minutes to bake. Is this normal? I love your recipes!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lindsay, that’s fine — the cake will take a bit longer to bake in the 8 inch pan since there is more batter for a thicker layer. Hope the cake was a hit at the party!

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