This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
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

Scale
  • 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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Love this recipe. Can you use individual Bundt pans? Could you add some dehydrated strawberries to the batter? Thanks, Joan

    1. Hi Joan! Here’s our recipe for mini vanilla bundt cakes you could use instead, we haven’t tested this batter in mini Bundts, but let us know if you do. We don’t recommend adding dehydrated strawberries to the batter. Here’s our strawberry cake reicpe if you’re interested!

  2. This is such a great shortcake recipe! I make it every year for Easter and everyone loves it!

  3. This looks wonderful. Would it work to double the recipe and bake in a 9×13 pan?

    1. Hi Kate, 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. Hi Little Ronnie, absolutely. All standard size cupcakes, including these, usually take around 20 minutes. Should yield around 12 cupcakes.

  4. Any suggestions regarding the reverse creaming method. I am in Denver and usually make 0 changes except BTSOOI for the butter/eggs.

      1. I just followed the recipe and it came out perfect. I tried to insert a picture but I couldn’t figure out how.

  5. Great recipe! My hubby brought 2 QTS of VERY ripe strawberries home last night and wanted shortcake. Of course, I didn’t have cakes on hand so I found this recipe on line. I had to cheat with the room temp ingredients by doing it carefully in microwave. I had the cake in the oven before he had the berries capped!! I used a 9″ spring form pan so ours was a little shorter than your picture but we thought the height was perfect for how we like them. We both thought it was the best shortcake we have ever had. Will stick with this simple but so delicious recipe. Thanks for it!

  6. This cake is wonderful! I made it today for an early Mother’s Day celebration for my daughter’s first Mother’s Day and there wasn’t a crumb left!
    I will definitely make this cake again..maybe even tomorrow!
    Thanks Sally for this easy, beautiful and delicious cake!

  7. WOW!!!! This was absolutely amazing! The cake was so light, fluffy and airy. It wasn’t overly sweet, just the perfect amount! I drizzled melted chocolate over the top right before serving as well!

  8. This cake is absolutely delicious. Made it for Mother’s Day!

  9. 5 stars! I made this with my 4 y/o son on yet ANOTHER day of quarantine… Even with accidentally putting in the oil in when we meant to put in the vanilla the cake turned out super moist and delicious. I find cakes pretty challenging. They are just so easy to overbake and this was really perfection. The perfect way to kick off spring! Thank you Sally! I just love these simple 1-layer cakes. Totally my speed. Especially with baking with kids.

    1. Hi Ashley, there’s too much batter for 3 6-inch cake pans. Use this recipe for a 6-inch vanilla cake and then you can follow the rest of the directions for the strawberry shortcake topping. Enjoy!

  10. This is the vanilla cake recipe I have been searching for (literally for years)! First of all this is truly fool proof and I know because I can botch almost any cake recipe. I love this reverse creaming – and did use cupcakes and that was perfect too! I also appreciate the mix of butter and oil so you get the best of both worlds. I am saving this for all future vanilla cake’s. thanks so much!

  11. Tastes delicious but it always turns out about half the height of yours!
    Made no changes but did use a 9 inch pan so I wonder if that 1 inch would really make a difference and if an 8 inch pan would be better.
    Nevertheless it is a lovely recipe and so easy!

    1. Hi Sasha, make sure your baking powder is fresh (we find it starts to lose its strength after about 3 months, even if not technically expired) and be careful not to over mix, which can result in a dense, squat cake. You can certainly use an 8 inch pan instead. We’re so glad you enjoy this recipe!

  12. Sally, I just love your recipes (on this site and in your cookbooks) but I don’t care for oil in cakes. Can I substitute butter for the oil? And, if yes, should I add it when I add the other softened butter, or melt it and add it when the instructions say to add oil?

    1. Hi DES, we’re so glad you love our recipes! We found this one to be just a bit dry using all butter. We do recommend sticking with the recipe as written for best results, but you can try adding more butter in its place – add it softened with the other butter.

  13. My husband bought a store made Angel Food Cake. He couldn’t find any frozen strawberries in sugar. I had fresh strawberries so I made the strawberries from this recipe. So delish! Next time, I’ll do the whole thing!

  14. Can I double this recipe to make two cakes, or do I have to make two separate batters? Thanks!

    1. Hi Ellen, yes, you can double it to make two cakes. Some readers have also commented that they’ve successfully doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9×13-inch pan. Let us know how it goes!

  15. LOVED this recipe! It was easy to make, and tasted delicious. I had some doubters…no biscuits?…but they all loved it. Very little was left over, and looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow! Thanks again for another great recipe. Will definitely be making this agai!

  16. Just baked this cake for the second time. We both *love* it with fresh strawberries. Perfect for two people, though I may double the recipe for a potluck picnic next month.

  17. Just made this cake —which is now the family favorite. So easy to make and perfect for strawberry season !

  18. Hi Sally, can I double this recipe and make two cakes to stack? I only want a two layer cake but am not sure if this cake will hold under the weight.

    1. Hi Maria, you can absolutely make this cake into two layers (best to make two separate batches) and it would be amazing with whipped cream and strawberries between them. Enjoy!

  19. Could I substitute extra virgin olive oil for the vegetable oil?

    1. Hi Katherine! We recommend sticking with a neutral-tasing oil like vegetable or canola, though olive oil could work in a pinch since it’s only a couple tablespoons.

  20. Hi Sally, could I divide the recipe between 6 in pans to make a layered cake?

    1. Hi Tricia! This should be just about the right amount of batter for two 6 inch cake pans. We’re unsure of the exact bake time but let us know if you give it a try!

  21. Hi. Going to try this! I only have half and half. Think that will work instead of milk? Maybe dilute it a little

    1. Hi Lisa, we fear half and half will be much too heavy for this cake. Best to stick with milk if possible.

  22. Baked this tonight and everyone loved it. I am going to make it for a large birthday party in a couple of weeks. What do you think about poking some holes in the cake and pouring some of the liquid from the strawberries over the top of the cake before adding the whipped cream and macerated strawberries? I felt like I had a lot of yummy liquid left over and some of the liquid that I put on top ran off the sides.

Leave a Review!

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.