Strawberry and Cream Layer Cake

Sometimes a recipe is just worth a few slightly more involved steps, and this is one of those times. There’s nothing quite like spending a spring morning baking in the sunshine as delicious smells of sugar, vanilla, and strawberry fill your kitchen, and then sitting down to a freshly made slice of cake with your afternoon coffee. That was my experience with this recipe, and I’m already planning the next time I’m going to make it. 

What makes this cake different from any other layer cake I’ve either made or eaten is the included vanilla milk soak. Brushing the exposed sponge of the already rich cake layer with sweet milk makes this version more moist and soft than any I’ve tried. It ties the flavors of the mascarpone frosting and sweet strawberry sauce together perfectly, so while each component of the cake is separately delicious, they are together taken to a whole new level. 

The presentation of the cake is beautiful as well—not over-complicated but simple and fresh, just like a spring day. I used two 7-inch pans to create the pictured effect, but you could also use two 6 inch pans as well for an overall taller result. If you feel ambitious and increase the sponge ingredient amounts to make even more or wider layers, just remember to also increase the filling requirements as well because they are what really gives this cake its signature flavor. 

I imagined this recipe making the perfect birthday cake for a sweet spring birthday party, but I also enjoyed eating it after lunch on the porch with my husband during our first warm day of the year. Wherever and whenever you choose to try it, enjoy both the process of the creation and the delicious melding of seasonal flavor, and let us know what you think! 


Strawberry and Cream Layer Cake

Time: 2 hours  (30  minutes active)

Makes one nine-inch tart

  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes



Sponge Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3.5 oz Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder


  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Milk Soak
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  • 3/4 cup strawberry preserves or compote
  • Sliced strawberries as desired for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and place a rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. To make the sponge: In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth, pour in the oil and whisk again.
  3. Lastly, pour in the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Whisk once more until combined and smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is thoroughly mixed.
  4. Spray two seven or six inch cake pans with your baking spray and then pour in the vanilla batter. Smooth out the cake with a rubber spatula if necessary.
  5. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, rotate the cake 180 degrees and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Check to make sure an inserted toothpick comes out clean, then remove from the oven. After a few minutes, remove the layers from their pans and allow to cool completely before proceeding.
  6. To make the frosting: While waiting for the cake to cool, add the mascarpone cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract to a bowl and mix until combined with an electric beater. Add in the heavy cream and mix on low/medium speed until soft peaks are just beginning to form. If you overmix, you run the risk of separating the cheese. If this happens, simply put in a few tablespoons of cream and gently fold together with a spatula by hand until the texture is smooth again.
  7. To make the milk soak: combine the milk, sugar, and vanilla in a small sauce pan and heat gently over low heat until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  8. To assemble: If your cake layers domed in the oven, carefully use a knife to cut the tops of the cakes flat. You may want to do these even if the dome is slight to allow the milk soak to better reach the sponge. Brush the milk mixture over each layer with a brush, allowing the crumb to get nice and saturated. You might not need all the milk mixture, but you should use most of it.
  9. Put down your first cake layer and spread 1/2 of the frosting around the outer rim, leaving space in the middle. Add the strawberry preserves or compote to this middle space, and use a spatula to even everything out. Add sliced strawberries as desired to complete the layer.
  10. Add the second cake layer and pile the rest of the frosting on top. Spread out with a clean spatula, and garnish as desired with strawberries. Serve and enjoy! This cake keeps in the fridge for up to five days, and may even taste better as the layers have longer to mix and soak.

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