This strawberry shortcake is a 9X9-inch lemon cake topped with whipped cream cheese and fresh strawberries. This is elevated strawberry shortcake. The lemon cake pairs perfectly with the whipped topping and strawberries.
This strawberry shortcake is the perfect dessert for strawberry season. The lemon, strawberry, and whipped cream cheese flavors all come together for a delicious summer dessert. It is a step up from classic strawberry shortcake and will be a new go-to recipe when I have fresh berries from the farmer's market.
Why This Recipe Works
- Moist cake- This is a tender and moist cake, like you expect with this classic dessert.
- Whipped cream cheese- The whipped cream cheese topping is DELICIOUS and brings such a nice texture to the cake.
- Lemon cake- This lemon cake tastes amazing all by itself, and complements the whipped cream cheese and strawberries. It is the best cake for strawberry shortcake.
Here are some notes on the ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Unsalted butter- Pull this out 2 hours before baking.
- Oil- Use canola oil, vegetable oil, or olive oil.
- Eggs- Pull the large eggs out 2 hours before baking to get room temperature eggs.
- Buttermilk- Use full fat or reduced fat buttermilk. Pull this out 2 hours before baking.
- Cream Cheese- Pull this out 2 hours before baking.
- Powdered sugar- Make sure this is sifted to ensure a smooth topping.
- Strawberries- This is best with fresh strawberries. Make sure to use juicy berries you would enjoy plain since they will be showcased on the top of the dessert.
Step By Step Instructions - Lemon Cake
Here is how to make and bake the lemon cake for this strawberry shortcake.
STEP 1: Prep. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Then, spray a 9X9 inch square pan with baking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray it again.
STEP 2: Dry ingredients. Sift together the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
STEP 3: Beat butter, oil, and sugar. Use your mixer to beat the butter, oil, and sugar together on high speed for 3 minutes. It will be pale in color when it is done.
STEP 4: Wet ingredients. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and eggs to the butter mixture and mix on medium speed until they combine.
It is okay if the batter appears a little bit separated due to the lemon juice.
STEP 5: Combine. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk to the batter. Mix them in on low speed until almost combined. Then, add another ⅓ flour mixture and the other half of the buttermilk and continue mixing on low until almost combined. Then, add the remaining flour mixture and mix until combined.
STEP 6: Bake. Spread an even layer of batter in the prepared pan and bake it for 28-32 minutes. It is done when a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
STEP 7: Cool. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack. Let it cool completely before decorating it.
Step By Step Instructions - Whipped Cream Cheese and Strawberries
Here is how to make and add the toppings for this cake. This recipe uses an electric mixer. You will need a hand mixer. The whipped cream gets best results with a stand mixer due to the extra power.
STEP 1: Chill bowl and whisk. Place a metal bowl and whisk attachment from your mixer in the freezer for 10 minutes.
STEP 2: Beat cream cheese. In a separate medium bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the cream cheese and vanilla extract on high speed until it is creamy. Then, add in the sifted powdered sugar and mix it until it is smooth.
STEP 3: Whip cream. Pour the heavy cream in the chilled metal bowl and attach the whisk attachment. Beat the cream on high speed until it forms stiff peaks.
STEP 4: Fold together. Place your whipped cream on top of the cream cheese mixture and use a rubber spatula to gently fold it in. Be sure to be very gentle to avoid knocking the air out of the whipped cream.
STEP 5: Sugar strawberries. Add the chopped strawberries and sugar together in a bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes to absorb.
STEP 6: Top the cake. Spread the whipped cream cheese over the top of the cake. Then place the strawberries on top. Use a sharp knife to cut it into equal squares for each guest.
Expert Baking Tips
- Properly measure the flour- Make sure the flour is spooned and leveled. If you stick the measuring cup directly into the flour, it will compact the flour. Compacted flour can cause the cake to be dry.
- To easily remove the cake from the pan, make sure to first spray the pan with baking nonstick spray. Then, line bottoms with parchment paper and spray it again to make sure that the paper does not stick to the bottom of the cake too much. If you miss any spots with the spray they can stick and tear the cake so be thorough.
- For high altitude baking add 2 tablespoon of flour to the cake batter.
- After whipping the cream cheese and the whipped cream be very gentle with them and any sudden impacts or handling them too much can knock the air out and deflate it.
Yes you can make the cake ahead of time! Once the cake layer is done cooling, wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Then, freeze up to 30 days. Pull it out 1 hour before decorating.
Yes you can. An 8X8 pan will make a thicker cake. A 9in round pan will also work, but will be slightly thicker than a 9 in square as well.
Yes it can! This recipe will make roughly 12 cupcakes.
Storing and Freezing
Store this strawberry shortcake in an airtight container like a cake carrier. Store in the fridge up to 5 days.
The whipped cream cheese and strawberry topping do not freeze well for this recipe. If you cannot make this cake at the time it will be eaten you can make the cake layer ahead of time and freeze it for up to 30 days. Pull it out 1 hour before decorating.
Other Cake Recipes To Try
- 2 ¼ cups All-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoon Baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon Baking soda
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ cup Unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 tablespoon Oil canola or vegetable oil
- 1 cup White granulated sugar
- Zest of 3 lemons
- 2 tablespoon Lemon juice 2 lemons
- 3 Large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup Buttermilk room temperature
Whipped Cream Cheese
- 6 oz Cream cheese room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup Powdered sugar sifted
- 1 cup Heavy cream cold
- 1 lb Strawberries fresh, washed, cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoon White granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Spray a 9X9-inch square pan with baking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, spray again.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.2 ¼ cups All-purpose flour, 2 ½ teaspoon Baking powder, ¼ teaspoon Baking soda, ½ teaspoon Salt
- Using a mixer, beat the butter, oil, and sugar on high speed for 3 minutes until pale in color. Add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and eggs. Mix on medium speed until combined. It will appear separated, but that is normal.½ cup Unsalted butter, 3 tablespoon Oil, 1 cup White granulated sugar, Zest of 3 lemons, 2 tablespoon Lemon juice, 3 Large eggs
- Add ⅓rd of the dry ingredients and half of the buttermilk and mix on low speed. Add another ⅓rd of the dry ingredients and the rest of the buttermilk. Then, finish with the rest of the dry ingredients.1 cup Buttermilk
- Spread the batter into the pan. Bake for 28-32 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let the cake sit in the hot pan for 10 minutes before transferring a cooling rack. Let it cool completely before decorating.
Whipped Cream Cheese
- Place a metal bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- In a medium bowl using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and vanilla on high speed until creamy. Add in the sifted powdered sugar and mix until smooth.6 oz Cream cheese, 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract, ¾ cup Powdered sugar
- Pour the heavy cream into the cold bowl. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Pour the whipped cream on top of the cream cheese mixture. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold it in. Make sure to be gentle to not knock the air out of the whipped cream.1 cup Heavy cream
- In a bowl, add the chopped strawberries and sugar. Let it sit for 5 minutes.1 lb Strawberries, 2 tablespoon White granulated sugar
- Spread the whipped cream cheese over the cake. Top with the strawberries.