strawberry chiffon shortcake

Though this should surprise precisely no one, when I was a kid my best friend and I went through a phase where we became obsessed with baking cakes. Though the cake creations ranged in flavor and size, they never lacked for two components: buttercream frosting by the bucket and Dunkin Hines “yellow” cake by the layer. (My mother politely requests that I point out that we did the baking at my friend’s house, and not mine, as my mother would never, ever permit the use of such things as baking mixes. She doesn’t kid.)

caaarefully folding

I’m not exactly proud of the cake mix part either, but you see, these cakes really had nothing to do with eating and everything to do with construction. Fascinated by cakes with endless layers, one time we cut the layers so thin, we were able to make the Layer Cake of Our Dreams, six flats of cake each filled with a different shade of frosting (red, orange, yellow, green and blue) and covered in purple icing. It was the kind of starts-and-hearts-and-glitter-and-omg fantabulous I think you really need to be a pre-adolescent girl to appreciate, and the taste, well, what did we care. It was purple!

chiffon cake

Come to think of it, that might have actually been the last cake we made for a good long while, but I’ve never lost my love affair with that vaulted, magical tool in her mother’s kitchen that brought our skyscraper cake dreams to life: the layer cutter. Ridiculously simple, it involves arched piece of metal with a wire stretched across that could be set at one of twenty different notch-levels, I had never seen such a tool before or since hanging out at her house. So, you can imagine my unparalleled glee when I found this very toy on, people, and for all of $9.95. It took all of my restraint not to buy two.

layer splitter

Which kind of brings us up to my current “phase”–birthday cakes. Tell me, is there anything as splendid as a homemade, multi-layered birthday cake replete with gushing bloops and dollops? Something about a big round cake in a Plexiglas-domed always screams “yay! party!” in a way that cupcakes, cookies and brownies never do. Doesn’t everyone deserve one of these? I think so. Thus with my friend Alexis’ (cough) 25th birthday on Saturday night, I couldn’t resist making another favorite childhood cake, a layered strawberry shortcake, simple and fresh as could be.

strawberry chiffon shortcake
strawberry chiffon shortcake

I struggled a bit, however, choosing a variety of cake that would be light as well as complementary to the stars–whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Pouring over recipe after recipe, the questions kept coming: Did I want a vanilla foam cake? Perhaps a genoise? Could angel food cake be made in anything other than a tube pan? What does dacquoise even taste like? I still don’t know if I made the “perfect” choice–a classic chiffon–but I was so enthralled by the Joy of Cooking’s story about Harry Baker, a Hollywood insurance salesman, and his invention, the chiffon cake, I couldn’t resist, and you shouldn’t either. Maybe there’s a better layer cake out there, and believe me I’ve thought about it, but sometimes you’ve just got to go with the consensus: birthday cake=awesome, and that’s really all there is to it.

one layer short

Strawberry Chiffon Shortcake
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Chiffon cakes are known for having the richness of butter pound cakes but the lightness of angel food cakes. Some argue that this is because they use oil, which because it is liquid at room temperature, can keep the cake especially moist. The oil cannot be replaced by butter, unfortunately, and recipes advise universally against it. The lemon zest helps compensate for flavor lost by the lack of butter.

Although I’d intended the cake as a four-layer, the limitations of my cake carrier demanded that I stop at three, and even the center dollop of that was rudely squished by the dome. Not to overwhelm you with my might and could-ofs, here are three options to consider before you proceed with the following recipe:

  • Make it as I’d originally intended the towering four-layer: Proceed as directed below.
  • Make it as pictured, the thick three-layer: Proceed as below to bake a four-layer cake, but stash the fourth layer well-wrapped in the freezer for a future use. (Dare I suggest a whipped cream and strawberry trifle with the other remaining ingredients?) Make only three-quarters of the whipped cream and use only one-and-a-half quarts of strawberries.
  • Make it as I’d like to, next time, a slim three-layer: Make only half the cake recipe, baking it in a single 9″ pan. Once cool, take a deep breath, and carefully cut this layer into thirds. Proceed with three-quarters of the whipped cream and only one-and-a-half quarts of strawberries.

Cake layers:
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups superfine or regular sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large egg yolks at room temperature
8 large egg whites at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 quarts strawberries, hulled and sliced (I sliced mine very thinly, but would do so more thickly next time, or double-layer the strawberries so that you get a higher fruit-to-bite ratio.)*

1. Make cake layers: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Have two 9-inch round cake pans ready, lined with parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray, but otherwise ungreased. (Alternatively, this recipe yields on classic tube chiffon cake. Leave the cake pan ungreased, and use one with a removable bottom.)

2. Sift the flour, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking powder and salt together twice into a large bowl.

3. In a another bowl, beat the yolks, water, oil, zest and vanilla on high speed until smooth. Stir into the flour mixture until smooth. In another large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks are formed. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and beat on high speed until the peaks are stiff but not dry.

4. Use a rubber spatula to fold one-quarter of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. Do so gently, only until the egg whites are no longer visible. Overdoing it will deflate the egg whites, and yield a denser, shorter cake.

5. Scrape the batter into the two prepared pans and spread evenly. (If you are needling and fussy, you can weigh them to make sure they are even, something I would never do, oh no.) Bake them until the top springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean 40 to 50 minutes (or 55 to 65 for the tube pan). (Please, do me a favor and check your cake every five minutes or so from the 30 minute mark on, as I confess I never wrote down the exact baking time for the 9″ circles, but am pretty sure it was 45 minutes in my oven. M’kay?)

6. Let cakes cool on a cooling rack for at least an hour (or, if in a tube pan, upside down over a bottleneck or resting the pan on four glasses for at least 1 1/2 hours). When completely cool, run a knife around the sides to release, then flip out onto a plate (or your hand, if you’re daring) and then another plate.

7. Make the whipped cream: Beat heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a clean mixing bowl until it holds stiff peaks.

8. Assemble the cake: Carefully split each cake layer in half, leaving you with four cake surfaces. One by one, scoop one-quarter of the whipped cream onto the surface of the cake and spread it evenly to the edges, without going over, with an offset spatula. Arrange one-quarter of the sliced strawberries over the whipped cream in one or two layers, depending on your preference. (If you use only one layer, you’ll likely have leftovers.) Repeat with the remaining three layers. If you have any leftover whipped cream, you can pipe it decoratively over the top, or, uh, scoop it up with those leftover strawberries. I won’t tell.

9. The cake can refrigerated for a few hours before eating it. In fact, as some of the moisture from the whipped cream and berries seeps into the cake, I think the texture is improved.

* In the comments, we’ve gotten into another approach to the strawberry filling part: macerating them for one hour with a couple tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of either creme de cassis or fresh lemon juice. This softens the strawberries and creates more of the saucy variety you’d get in a bakery cake. To create the cake layers this way, spread the strawberry mixture then the whipped cream over each layer, proceeding otherwise as directed above.

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255 comments on strawberry chiffon shortcake

  1. deb

    No! I did not. But I really, really want one now, despite Alex’s repeated assertion that I already have one. Is my oven pink? I didn’t THINK so.

  2. I swear that, if I lived in NY rather than Texas, I would be stopping by your house every dang day to see what you were up to in the kitchen and what I could sneak a taste of. Count your blessings that I do indeed live thousands of miles away.

  3. 1. I always use a genoise for that type of ‘open’ layer cake. We do a similar one of peaches and cream with almond crunchie bits on top.
    2. You would totally love my family’s 12-layer caramel cake. I’ve made it many times, slicing the paper thin cake layers by hand, I’m kind of anti-gadget like that. (cake looks sort of like this one)
    3. That one picture makes me dizzy, very cool!

  4. Kara

    Ooh, I’ve made one similar to this but with (in my opinion) one big flavor-booster. In my recipe, you make a strawberry syrup out of frozen strawberries, sugar, etc., simmered on the stove. After you slice the cake layers, you spread the syrup onto the cut sides to let the strawberry goodness soak into the cake. Then just ike you did–layer with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. It’s amazing what that extra strawberry moistness does for the cake!

  5. deb

    Laura W. — Love that story, very similar but much more involved.

    Glenna — You know, I’ve always preferred pretty much any frosting over buttercream. I don’t dislike it, it’s just so shockingly sweet it makes everything inside taste flat in comparison. When I was a kid, I never understood why people frosted cakes with anything but whipped cream.

    Mercedes — I just DROOLED from that butterscotch cake. I must make it. Whose birthday is next? Huh? Huh? Tell me more about this genoise. I confess I’ve read about them, probably eaten it without realizing it, but haven’t made it and connected the taste. Is it super-moist? Firm and easy, well, stacked and sculpted? Does it have to be brushed with syrup to stay moist? Yes, I know I can read about any of this by Googling, but I’d much rather hear from someone I *know* who has made them often!

    Kara — Love the strawberry idea. I considered giving an alternative strawberry filling, where you macerate the strawberries for an hour with sugar and some lemon juice and then maaaybe a pinch of cornstarch to thicken it up, but I haven’t tried it for this cake so I didn’t want to lead anyone astray. I agree that a little extra moisture goes a long way.

  6. Mar

    I think that I enjoy watching your cake phase.
    If only you had mentioned this earlier. My birthday was three days ago.
    But I think I may just try this one for my dad’s instead of tartlets. Or for a special occasion of another sort.

  7. Eeek- I just saw that I miss-typed, I meant to say that I usally make my cakes with chiffon, as in, way to go girl, good choice. I like chiffon because it’s much easier, friendlier, and moister than genoise (in my opinion).
    Also, I know, 12-layer caramel cake rules, we use a slightly different icing, but either way it’s good stuff.

  8. Shelly

    Me me me! Oh please, me! My birthday is July 27th! Plenty of time for you to make one then fly over here with it!

    My chocolate layer cake cheats all the way through with pre-mixed cake and frosting, however, I paint on, slog on, whatever you want to call it, either raspberry juice or kalua, depending on the birthday person, on each of the 4 layers before assembly. It makes it really moist. I think I’ll give this recipe a go sometime though. Maybe for my husbands birthday in November, since this recipe screams “SUMMERTIME”.

  9. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this tool until today! I absolutely need one. No birthdays coming up, but, really, isn’t it always good to practice?

  10. Ohhh that looks so delicious! I love the photo where you are folding in the egg whites. And the ones from the top showing the lovely arrangement of berry slices.

  11. Jane (your sister)

    Ahem. My birthday is next (well, after Alex’s). And that cake is butterscotch. Coincidence? Hmmm, I think not. (Yes, I’d forego my request for BigFatMuffinCakeWithRaspberryOnTop for that butterscotch cake.)

  12. Looks delightful and just so summery! I may have to try because every strawberry that is grown in Japan is absolutely PERFECT. No lie.

    I do have one question, though; what do you do with those extra three egg yolks!? It’s driving me nuts.

  13. You are my new best friend. First…the photography. Just awesome. Had I your talents, I would be doing the happy dance all day long. Second…oh my glorious gracious, this recipe is getting a big fat Google star. It looks THAT good. **Hearty applause**

  14. Hahaha – While I am no expert, I believe the flavor of a cake like the Technicolor one you mentioned, is probably also *best described* as purple.

    As in:
    Q- “What does that cake taste like?”
    A- (as you swallow the bite straight, with no chaser) “Purple. It tastes… like purple.”

  15. when my mom makes wedding cakes, she actually uses fishing line to level off the top of the layers. no fancy layer cutter for her! my mother has always been a baker (not professionally… she just loves it so much & was born with the gift) but i didn’t inherit too much of the desire (save the occasional banana bread loaf). you have inspired me to bake a cake tho. if it wasn’t after 1:30 am, i’d do it NOW.

  16. Marie

    Hi Deb — I first made a cake like this way back in 1966. My method for slicing the cake in two was (and still is) — go to your sewing basket, get a spool of thread, wrap a length of thread around your cake then gently pull. I don’t mean to saw with the thread held straight, I mean to put the tread all the way around the side of the cake (it’s easy to position it to see exactly where the cut will be) then cross the ends and gently pull. Works beautifully.

    I also (God forgive me) used a Bisquick mix. They used to have a recipe for a cake on the back of the box. I’d macarate strawberries with sugar (no cornstarch, please) and let them set in the fridge for maybe an hour. I’d sprinkle the cut sides of the cake with Kirsch. On go mounds of strawberries directly on the cake so their juice can soak into the cake, THEN the whipped cream. Think 4th of July, sparklers, mosquitos, wet bathing suits and Strawberry Cake. Summer is officially here.

  17. Deb, this cake is drool city! I love love love, strawberry and whipped cream cakes! Chiffon and me tend not to get along, but I’m inspired and will start trying to improve my relations with that light, fluffy yellow cake! Thanks!

  18. When I was a kid, I adored marbled cakes. My mom would help me make the batter and then she’d let me “play” at swirling the choloclate batter into the white with a table knife… thus was born a passion for baking and some really interesting “animal” figures in the batter. I’m glad to hear you had a similar experience. As for fresh whipped cream (particularly when piped into stars on cake), I think I’d bath in the stuff if I didn’t have to worry about cleaning the tub afterwards. I have peaches on hand at home… I think I’ll make this cake tonight with those and extra whipped cream!

  19. Meghan

    Birthday Cake help! Deb – you seem like the right expert to ask (or one of your readers who seem to know all!) – My hubby loves banana cake – anyone have a great (and not too hard, I seem to be cake-challenged) recipe?

  20. Yvo

    OMG, I just made a um, semi-homemade version of this (I can’t bake for my life). I was just going to post about it today…. so strange. Lovely looking cake!

  21. deb

    Jane — I have no doubt that we can arrange that cake for your birthday, but I think there is something seriously cracked out about a 9-layer cake that requires you to bake each layer separately (who the heck has THREE 8-inch cake pans? I have one. I don’t consider 8″ standard.) for 18 minutes each? I might test out whether you can make this cake in two or three layers and divide them up. And yes, we can find some way to tuck coffee flavor in there. We’ll save the BigFatMuffinCakeWithRaspberryOnTop for your wedding shower, hee.

    Deidre — Why does it not surprise me that every strawberry in Japan is perfect? I used the three extra yolks to make the pastry cream (as I had extra whole milk, too) from the strawberry tart recipe over here. It can be frozen for up to one month.

    Jory — Heh. You’re so right. I mean, we’d always make real (quick) buttercream with butter and powdered sugar, so the flavor wasn’t terrible. I just don’t think that yellow cakes and buttercream frosting are the end-all be-all. Except maybe when they’re purple. ;)

    candy, Marie — Great suggestions! I have no doubt they’d work equally well, though the onus would be on the person holding the wire/string to get it perfectly level. (I’d fail every time.)

    1. Maria

      I made this just now and followed the recipe to the letter but the cake came out a bit dry (but not overbaked for it was just a light golden brown when I took it out of the oven). Any idea what could have gone wrong by any chance? I used the convection bake mode on my (new, not yet “broken in”) gas oven.

  22. Sharon

    oh my goodness, thank you for posting this! I always hated the cutting of the layers part of making a layer cake…95% of the time, the cut does not come out even! well, i am going to buy that device right now and hopefully my problems will be solved :D *muah!*

  23. I feel I should make a note about the butterscotch cake, here’s what I do:

    Bake the cake in 4 8″ pans, you can use Bill Telepans’s recipe, or any trusted yellow-cake recipe. Honestly, I usually just watch to see when they seem done, maybe 15 minutes? Split each cake layer in half. Make the following frosting:

    1 cup butter
    2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk
    1 Tbl corn syrup
    1 pinch sea salt
    1 tsp vanilla extract

    In a 3 qt saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook over low heat on stovetop, stirring until ingredients are dissolved. Continue to stir until it reaches the soft ball stage, 234 F. Remove icing from heat and cool until lukewarm, this can take as long as 20 minutes.
    Beat with an electric mixer at high speed until icing is thick and creamy. If icing becomes too thick, thin with a small amount of water or milk.

    The icing will continue to harden as it cools, so you have to work very quickly to frost the cake. If it becomes too hard, rewarm it over low heat and then beat it again if necessary.

    The frosting is slightly grainy- it’s supposed to be that way, kind of like fudge, it’s part of the appeal of this classic southern cake. Basically, it’s just one giant vehicle for brown sugar.
    This was always called 12-layer caramel cake when I was growing up, but I’ve only ever been skilled enough for 8 layers. The thinner the layers- the more frosting- the better.

    Hope that helps!!

  24. Gillian

    I had to make this cake as soon as I saw the recipe. Mine didn’t come out as pretty (of course), but it was heavenly. Thanks for the recipe.

  25. Joanna

    Dental floss (unflavored) works extremely well as a layer cutter too! A genunine pastry chef taught me that one when I was also a pre-adolescent obsessed with cakes.

  26. hey my whipped is never so smooth, could you please tell me where i go wrong…

    i generally use the thick layer of cream collected from top of the milk after it has cooled after being boiled for the first time. and then whip it with a balloon whisk and then the buttermilk get separated and if you whip it somemore it start taking it back… and am not able to get it to be so smooth and often of buttermilk remain… and also if i separate the buttemilk, it still wont be smooth and then the cream has more greasy texture coz then its all cream…

    and you cake looks so pretty and lovely… and obviously the smooth texture of the cream caught my eye, great camera work as well!

  27. vintagevendor

    You would love the cake my Mom always made for our birthdays. If you decide to try this …its really easy …I would love for you to share about it here. As soon as I saw the pictures on this entry ..I was transported back to my childhood. There are only three(!) ingredients for the cake itself. There is no exact measurement although each ingredient is equal parts. My mom used to use those old style beer glasses to measure …about 2 cups.

    Equal parts:
    Eggs (Fill the measuring cup/glass/whatever you are using to measure full of whole eggs …I use around 12)

    butter and flour an angel food cake pan …the kind that will leave a hole in the finished cake) and pour in the batter. Bake at 350 for about an hour. After the cake has cooled …slice in as many slices as you like. Put the bottom slice on a serving plate and use about 1/4 – 1/2 cup 7up/sprite/gingerale spooned onto the cake and then spread a raspberry/strawberry jam, or fresh sliced fruit…whatever your fancy on the first layer. Repeat with each layer until you get to the top one where you will have to spoon the 7up on the underside of the top layer before stacking the last layer. Cover in fresh whipped cream and strawberries.

    MmMmMM …where is my mommy?

  28. Kat

    See, I love and am proud to use cake mixes! Every time I make a birthday cake, people compliment me on how moist the cake is…and I never keep the fact that it is a mix, a secret.

  29. Angela

    Long time reader of your site, which has some of the most gorgeous food-related photographs I have seen on the Web. I recently made this cake and while everyone loved the flavors of the cake, cream, and strawberries, the cake itself came out with a rather hard crust (exacerbated by then sitting in the fridge for a few hours). I was wondering if you could provide some insight as to why the cake layers developed a hard crust during baking — would it have something to do with the cake pans I used (9″, non stick) or maybe I overmixed when incorporating the egg whites into the batter? Oh, and I only baked the cake layers for 45 min as they were getting quite brown.

  30. Grace

    Hello there, I just had this cake last night. It was amazing. The first time I’ve made a cake and actually liked the taste! Nix that, I *loved* the way this cake!!

  31. Hami

    Your cake looks awesome! I’ve been trying out baking chiffon cakes in normal cake pan, with the bottom with parchment paper. But always the cake sink in the middle after it cools off (i inverted it). May I know if u do invert ur cake? Urs look so nice and level, not sinking at all! How do u achieve that?

  32. Cheril

    I am so happy that I found this website. I’ve been lurking and cooking from it for a while. I had to post to say this cake was awesome. I managed to layer all four cake layers using a long sharp knife to split them since my dental floss is mint. The cake only took 30 minutes to bake. I divided the berries in half letting half sit with a sprinkle of sugar and a squeeze of lemon; the other half plain sliced. I didn’t want an overwhelmingly sweet filling and this was perfet. It’s peak strawberry season so it may not have been necessary to add the sugar. Thank you for your great website!!

  33. Elizabeth

    Great cake – I made it for our Easter/Birthday Bruch and everyone loved it! I managed the 4 layers and the cake looked beautiful. Cutting the individual slices at the table was a bit of a challenge, not so pretty.
    This was the second recipe I made from your site and so far I’m a fan! Thank!

  34. Christina M

    Deb- cutting the layers from a single cake terrifies me. Can I cut the recipe in half and divide between 3 equal-sized pans, then bake briefly? I think I could handle lopping off a little from the tops to make the layers flat after baking.

  35. deb

    Christina — Yes. However, this cake recipe actually makes four half-layers, so if you divide the batter across three pans, your layers will be thicker. (My cake was getting too tall for my cake carrier, so I only used three of my half-layers.)

  36. Christina M

    Deb, sorry, just checking. So should I halve the recipe and divide among three pans? Or the full recipe makes 4 layers?

  37. deb

    You could divide it into three pans, and end up with thicker layers or four pans, and get the same size I did. Hope that helps!

    P.S. If there is any cake to practice splitting layers on–which I know can be intimidating!–this is it. It’s quite sturdy. Just wanted to throw that out there, too.

  38. Ronni

    Still getting questions about this cake a year later, huh? It must be good.
    My question also is about pan size. I want to make this for a gathering this weekend and plan to make it in a 9×13 size pan and split it in half one time. Do you think that will work or should I stick with round pans?

  39. Christina M

    I’m going to try it today with 3 slim layers and blueberries, strawberries, and peaches, provided I can find some nice ones at the market. I’ll macerate the strawberries and peaches together and keep the blueberries as a separate layer…unless you sense imminent disaster and warn me of such!

    Thanks for the great recipes.

  40. Christina M

    I reduced the recipe to 2/3 the original amount (love the calculator) and split between three 9″ pans. They took 23 min. to bake at 325F. They look awesome– here’s hoping they taste great!

  41. Christina M

    Deb, thanks for all the advice! The cake turned out great. Not nearly as pretty as yours, but hey— it tasted fantastic. I love the texture of the chiffon. I guess cake flour and egg whites make a big difference!

    The layers were blueberry (brushed with the sugar and lemon juice they were macerated in), and strawberry-peach (brushed with their sugar-lemon sauce). I added a teaspoon of gelatin to the whipped cream to help stabilize and avoid disintegration since we couldn’t finish the whole cake in one night.

  42. Scott Mattingly

    Wow made this cake for my wife for her birthday because she does not like icing. I know she is a freak nature in that aspect. But that is why I married her. I get my cake and get to eat it to. Then I get double icing. Can’t beat it. Anyway cake was amazing. I think this made up for me sitting around watching football and drinking beer on Saturdays! Well somewhat.

  43. Gigi

    Somehow, even though I am someone who does not enjoy frosting in the least, i WANT to see that rainbow cake. I would totally eat it. Demolished.

    Thanks for the randomizer! I would have never found this entry otherwise.

  44. Mary

    Hey deb:
    I just made this last night for a birthday and I must say it looks fabulous! This was my first attempt at cutting cake layers with decidedly mixed results…I think I will try some fishing line or something next time.
    My only qualm was that for four layers there was not quite enough whip cream for me…I think next time I’ll use 3 cups of cream instead of two.
    Can’t wait to try it! yummm

  45. sam

    aaaaagh i made this tonight
    but im putting it together tomorrow
    im really worried about the strawberries, because i cut them tonight
    ill post a picture of how it looks

    wish me luck

  46. fitzie

    Made this cake for my granddaughter’s birthday. Baked the cake Friday night. Covered one layer with a regular cake dome and the other with a bowl. Got up Saturday morning and the one covered with the bowl was loaded with ants! Oh well, we’ll have one layer split. Proceeded with the whipped cream and strawberries, refrigerated about 5 hours. Took it out of the fridge and the top layer had slid a bit but pushed it back, put the candles on and had the regular birthday do. Everyone loved the cake. It was truly good. After the party, put the cake back on the dr table. Heard my grandsons screaming and laughing – dog had licked one side clean of straberries and whipped cream. Cut that side off and sent the good side home with the birthday girl. I’m going to try this again and hope the critters will leave it alone!

  47. Deb, I’m makin’ this Strawberry Cake today, but in reading the comments I became very interested in Jane’s “BigFatMuffinCakewith RaspberryOnTop.” Did I miss it somewhere? WOuld like to try it another time, if I can. Thanks :)

    1. deb

      Mindy — Ha ha. I think that comment was snuck in from my sister, who was pining for me to make a giant cake-sized version of this muffin for her birthday. Didn’t happen for whatever reason but I’m sure it’d be a delight.

  48. I made this cake for my husband’s first father’s day (our Maxence Tao was born on April 6, 2009) and for my dad, who both love strawberries, cake and whipped cream.

    I had a few variations:
    > I used all four layers of cake because I had no room in the freezer to store the extra layer. The cake was as tall as those I get from the pastry chef I used for my wedding cake. It was awesome to behold (sorry no photos posted to our Flickr stream yet).
    > I filled two layers with a vanilla bean and lemon peel pastry cream.The middle layer was strawberries and whipped cream.
    > I macerated the berries in sugar and lemon juice. I drizzled some of this juice onto each cake layer to add flavour and moistness.
    > I covered (iced?) the whole cake with whipped cream.
    > I used local Ontario strawberries, which are just coming into season now. I aim to only make strawberry desserts when the berries are in season in my area and the result is always fantastic.

    The cake was a huge hit with my whole family at the father’s day BBQ at which it was served. I liked this recipe especially because the cake was super light and fluffy. If I wasn’t so full from the meal, I am sure I would have eaten more. My dad, husband and brother-in-law were all eager to split the leftovers.

    Thank you for this awesome variation on shortcake. :)

  49. Cheryl

    I realize this is coming a bit late–it’s now 2009!–but thank you, Mercedes #43! Your 12-layer butterscotch cake is “… just one giant vehicle for brown sugar”? I think I must have died & gone to heaven! I will try it soon…just as soon as I’ve finished Deb’s delish Strawberry chiffon. And Deb, thank YOU for giving me the details I needed to make a version of the strawberry whipped cream cake we used to get every birthday when we lived in LA. Haven’t found anything like it here in North Carolina, but now I’ve no excuse not to make it myself!

  50. Cheryl

    Me again. Deb, I just wanted to say how much I not only love your site but also love your readers/commenters. Yours are the only ones I read all the way through– and all the way to the last comment!–bcz I’ve learned so much, found so many wonderful suggestions, and even found many great RECIPES. So thanks to everyone! Dying to try the 12-layer Butterscotch Cake AND the version of the Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake posted here by Vintagevendor (#48)–can’t imagine what a cake with that many eggs in it will be like but might be a good excuse to have it for breakfast (not that I need an excuse). Thanks, ladies!

  51. cait

    Like Cheryl, I’m a bit late to this party (oh, only like… TWO AND A HALF YEARS), but I wanted to thank you for another wonderful cake recipe! I always come here first when I want a good cake recipe to wow people. I made this for a Valentine’s dinner and it was a smashing success. Nice and light and perfect after a heavy dinner. I added a thin layer of strawberry-rhubarb jam in between the layers–would have been fine without it, but I liked the subtle flavor it added. Thanks again!

  52. Vanessa

    I made this along with your chocolate butter cake recipe for my friend and her hubby to be’s birthday bash. OMG! It was a showstopper! People were asking for the name of the bakery I bought them from! The reason I made this cake is, for some reason, my friends always buy these ridiculously expensive birthday cakes to serve at birthday parties. Like $100+ on a birthday cake! They’re basically chiffon cake, whipped cream, and mixed fruit. And now that we’re in a recession no one can afford to buy them. So I figured hey I can attempt at making one similar to the ridiculously expensive bakeries. This recipe was perfect. I didn’t have cream of tartar on hand and still was just fine. I was just very gentle in folding in the whites.

    I divided the recipe in half to make a 2 layer 9″ round cake. I baked mine for 35 minutes. I did find it was just a bit dry so I used a sugar syrup with a few drops of lemon and brushed it on the cake layers. I mixed strawberries, kiwi, and nectarine in the whipped cream for the filling. I used sliced almonds to decorate the sides of the cake and sliced fruit on top. People loved the cake, I’m really glad I made both this cake AND the chocolate cake. It was the best of both worlds!
    Pics of the cakes:

  53. emma

    Hey! I love your blog: your photos, the detail in all your recipes, and the beautiful things you create. I wanted to make this cake for a birthday this weekend and I was wondering if the cake layers could be made the night before and frozen? Thanks!

  54. Marilou

    Hello, a few years late as well! I am looking for a good cake recipe for a pear-caramel trifle. The classic seems to be pound cake, but I worry about that being too heavy. Since you seem so very talented in cake baking, I was wondering if you had an oipinion or advice on that? Thank you in advance, I just adore your website! Best wishes form Montreal.

    1. LH

      you want a gingerbread for a pear trifle! I can’t recall which recipe I used. I bet one of Deb’s gingerbreads would be good

  55. Mmmm! We made this last night and it was delish! Nice and light and fluffy- we loved it! I halved the recipe and baked it in a 9″ round cake pan, then we topped it with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. One question, though- the cake kind of overflowed the pan, so there was some cake baked up over the rim, any idea why? Didn’t you use 2 round pans, so shouldn’t half the recipe have worked in one?

  56. deb

    I did so it should have. Of course, I made this eons ago but from looking at my picture, mine looks up near the top of my pan so maybe with a little more oomph in the egg whites or even slightly larger “large” eggs, it could have gone up higher.

  57. Karen

    I just made this – the cake has the most delicate, fluffy, beautiful texture. It was so perfect, I was kind of impressed with myself. Thank you!

    (Also..I did bake it in 8.5″ pans and it was done in 30 min.)

  58. Wilton makes those cake leveler/slicer thingies–best $3.00 you’ll ever spend! I’ve also had great luck using dental floss. I’d always heard it was good for cutting cheesecake, but it is also great at cutting through butter cakes, genoise, etc.

    It sounds like your childhood experiments were much tastier than mine. At least they were edible. I put together some kind of flour-sugar-water-red food coloring nightmare that looked like Pepto Bismol. Then, I made my mom drink it for a “tea party.” Poor mom. ;)

  59. This cake is amazing!!!! We loved it. It is now the family favorite, and everyone has been asking me to make this cake for their birthday!!!!!

    Thank you, Thank you, thank you for sharing, and posting the photographs. I loved seeing the process of it!

    Lisa Baker

  60. Allison

    I’ve read every post, and I plan to make this for my strawberry shortcake obsessed mother for her birthday. I’m wondering if it would hurt to make the cake using 3 9″ pans yielding slightly thicker layers, or if you think I’m better off slicing 2 for thin layers? Silly question I’m sure – I’m new at this. :) I must say that I’m happy to have found this site. It has become my “go-to” for all things tall, beautiful and sweet. The raspberry almond layer cake was super. Thanks.

  61. Wendy

    I recently had a whipped mascarpone/cherry dessert and quickly fell in love with the whipped portion (and sweet talked the pastry chef into giving up the recipe). It’s simply 2 c. mascarpone, 1 c. heavy cream, 1/3 c. sugar and then whipped ferociously. It’s got a slightly denser consistency than whipped cream and a richer flavor… but still very fun n dainty. I think I’ll try to sub the whipped cream portion with this whipped mascarpone obsession… any suggestions?

  62. Amy

    It’s pretty telling how great this cake is that you’re still getting comments on it 3 years later! I have always preferred the lighter angel-food style of cake for my strawberry “shortcake” desserts (rather than the heavy scone-style of actual shortcakes), and this version is perfect.

    I’ve made this twice in the last few weeks, both times to rave reviews from friends and family. I will admit I did not attempt the layers, just served it in wedges with fresh farmers market strawberries and soft home-whipped cream drizzled over top. Both times I made the half recipe, using only 2 egg yolks (I rounded down from 2.5). My cooking times were close to 30 mins in a 9″ pan with no spillover (though placed on a cookie sheet just in case as the pan did look a mite full). The first time, I added a 1/2 tsp of lemon extract along with the zest to bump up the lemon flavor, which came out really nice. Yesterday, I was in the process of making this again to take to a barbecue and realized, oops! no lemon zest on hand and too late to go get a lemon at the store (if it was even open on the holiday). So I subbed in a 1/2 tsp of almond extract, which also tasted pretty good. The flavor was recognizable, yet subtle.

    I’m thinking I might try orange extract next time and then add a bit of Cointreau to my strawberry mixture to pick that flavor up. I am also thinking about trying other berries/fruits, maybe peaches? And that mascarpone idea just above sounds amazing as well. I can already tell this is going to be a go-to summer dessert for me! Many thanks for the recipe, deb!

  63. Liz

    Hi deb,

    came across your website while i was researching celebration cakes for my boyfriend’s birthday. When asked about what kind of cake he wanted, he answered with ‘ anything with a massive load of strawberries and cream!!!!’. As he said this, he had this twinkle in his eye that just made him look like i promised a 5 year old some ice cream after dinner.Lol.

    Anyway, i’m having a trial run of baking the chiffon cake this weekend and since this is the first time i’m making it, just wondering if it would be fine frozen until i need it. And when i do, what would be a good and safe way of doing it – leave it at room temperature, low setting in oven? any additional advice on making this as a first timer?

    Thanks in advance, deb!

  64. aviv

    I have been a headoveerheels smitten girl for awhile now and this is my first comment. I am an inept baker but this cake delighted me to no end. It did take me about 1.5 hours from clean kitchen to putting the cake in the oven, but every moment is worth it. I made the full recipe in 2 springform pans, big round possibly 9 inches. one we cut in half, slathered the layer with the delicious marscapone cream creation a commenter above shared, closed up the top and ate it with plum jam, never even getting to plate stage. it was that good. even though i managed to under cook it…. what can i say… the cake is a dream. the other one is magically well-cooked, and tomorrow will be a birthday cake for a very lucky girl.

    this is airy, delicious, lightly sweet and everything you want a strawberry and cream delivery cake to be. i admit that i put some chocolate chips in the batter before folding the egg whites in. the little smudges of chocolate through this amazing cake are kind of divine.

    thanks deb <3

  65. Jill

    I’ll see what the result is, but when I lightly press on the cake in the oven, it’s more like a tempurpedic mattress…maybe something about the egg consistency? My fingers are crossed.

  66. Hi! I want to make this for my daughters 2nd birthday party, she loves strawberries! My question is the serving, does it get refrigerated til just before you serve it? or can you have it out on display?
    Im just worried how the whipped cream holds up if it gets to room temperature. We live in bushwick and I am thinking of having a “smitten kitchen” inspired menu for her party! thanks for the terrific blog, we love it!

  67. Kate

    hi deb, what proportions would you suggest to make this in a 9×13 glass dish? I’m looking for a cake to make for my college roommates birthday, and we only have that one pan to bake a cake in!

  68. Lindsay

    Hi Deb! Love Love Love your site, I have tried this recipe once and I LOVED it. I was wondering just the actual cake batter could I use it to make cupcakes? I love the taste of the sponge and I am making cupcakes for a party and I didn’t know if you had ever used this recipe for cupcakes before? If not do you have another good sponge recipe for cupcakes? Thanks!!!

  69. BKK

    I made this cake this past weekend for a baby shower and it was FANTASTIC and PERFECT!
    I did macerate in sugar and made a total for four layers with the two cakes. It looked awesome, and massive and everybody loved it so much. Thank you Deb for this awesome recipe.

  70. MM

    I just finished making this cake. It was a lot of work but it does look awesome. I only made it with 3 layers and it is a monster cake. My cake lid just fits over it!Using it to sell at bingo tonight. I also made another one with my last layer. Going to keep that one for dessert for tomorrow nite with friends. Can’t wait to try it!

  71. Melissa

    Well I made this cake for my daughter’s fourth birthday (for which we happened to be in Maui). I was just about out of white sugar at the condo, but had plenty of brown on hand for coffee. So, I made it with brown and you know what? It still turned out beautifully! Fluffy, airy, scrumptious, just a little….brown. Also used brown sugar for the whip cream, which actually gave it a pretty color. Chopped the strawberries fairly small and muddled them with just a touch of honey. Everyone declared it the best cake they ever had (four kids, dad, and grandparents…) and I declared it the easiest cake I ever made. Win-win. Thanks for the great recipe!

  72. Latika

    Thank you for this recipe. I made it on Friday for my mum’s birthday and it turned out beautifully. The cake was soft, light and loved by all. Instead of strawberries I made a thick raspberry syrup to spread on the cake along with the whipped cream. I whipped the rest of the cream with some raspberry jam until it was stiff enough to cover the cake completely. I also wrote a birthday message with some buttercream. My family was very impressed. It’s my brother’s birthday in a few days and I’ll be making him your cappuccino fudge cheesecake. :)

  73. Fatima

    Hi Deb! This cake looks so delicious and I can’t wait to try it. I wanted to know if you thought it would be okay to leave out the cream of tartar?

    1. deb

      Cream of tartar is an acidic ingredient that plays a chemical role in baking. You should use it. Or, if you search about, you might find another recipe for chiffon cake that doesn’t use it and you can use that cake in this cake’s place in the recipe.

  74. Katie

    this recipe is delicious.
    do you have any tips on how to make an easy home-made filling/icing/etc nozzle to decorate cakes and such? or one i can buy that isn’t too expensive? i always end up using a plastic bag with a hole in the corner.

  75. emily

    i really want to make this cake! i live in alaska in the summer and dont have many resources (like a mixer) so i’m wondering two things. can i beat the egg whites by hand with a whisk? also wondering: what do you mean when you said line the cake pan with parchment paper? i’m guessing the obvious: put the paper in the pan and then pour the batter on top of it…. will the parchment paper be sticking up out the sides of the pan? thanks. i really hope i can make it and it turns out!!

  76. emily

    sorry, one more question. when you say 2 1/4 cups sifted flour, do you mean to sift the flour before measuring? sorry for the dumb questions, i’m a pro at cookies but a novice at cakes!

  77. deb

    The egg whites can be beaten by hand but it will be exhausting. You line the inside bottom of the cake pan with a circle of parchment paper, not the sides. It should fit in the bottom. You butter the top of the paper, and the bare sides of the pan. The flour should be sifted before measuring. (Otherwise the correct way to write it would be “2 1/4 cups flour, sifted”.) Hope that helps!

  78. Lina

    Attempted to make this today for the first time. First time ever making a cake, I usually bake cookies. The first time it was a complete mess. I didn’t mix it thoroughly with the egg whites. I ended throwing it all out and going to the store for more eggs. The second time while mixing I transferred the mix to a second bowl to make sure it was well mixed. They looked awesome in the oven beautifully risen gorgeous. Then I took them out within seconds the dome shape deflated and both cakes shrunk. Given this is the hottest day since the beginning of time and I have my air conditioner running non-stop but could a sudden shift in temperatures be the reason they deflated so drastically? I will assemble tomorrow cover with whip cream and strawberries and hopefully it will cover up the strange shape.

  79. emily

    thanks so much for the tips! luckily I did find a mixer to borrow. despite a lack of parchment paper, I was able to make the cake and it came out great! an awesome treat for us alaska-seasonals who rarely get a true taste of summer or home-baked goods!

  80. amelia

    i’ll be making this cake this weekend. i only have a 9″ pan, is it possible if i bake them all at once instead of separating the batter into two pans? do i need to lengthen the baking time?

  81. Sarah

    The cake looks magnificent. I love it how at the bottom of recipe when I looked at it, the ads called up one for Jenny Craig.

  82. Sally

    Thank you! I made this cake for my daughter’s birthday this weekend. It was just gorgeous, the chiffon so light! Everyone loved it and it looked so impressive. I used macerated strawberries and it worked really well.

  83. Sammy

    I just made this cake today for Mother’s Day and it was fabulous! I used a traditional tube pan and cooked it for almost 70 minutes. The final product was heavenly! So light and fluffy! One thing I recommend, if you bake the cake the night before you assemble the whole thing, leave it turned upside-down the whole night to help preserve the puffiness of the whole thing. Watch out though! My cake fell out of its pan and was stuck to the counter when I found it in the morning. I’m not sure how to avoid this but it still remained tasty and fluffy. Overall, a fantastic recipe!

  84. eclaire

    Is there a way to make this a chocolate chiffon cake? Could you mix dark chocolate baking powder into the cake batter? I have a vision of a dark chocolate strawberry chiffon cake, but I’m not sure it’s just a lovely dream. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

  85. deb

    You could probably swap 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the flour with unsweetened cocoa powder, in theory. I haven’t tested it in my kitchen, however, so I can’t say for sure if it would give you the desired results. Good luck!

  86. Alix

    Hi :) I made a variation on this cake where I did the traditional four layer, but used the filling as an overall frosting and made a strawberry/pastry cream filling. I garnished with pirouettes along the side and chocolate dippe strawberries (picture can be found here- Everyone loved it! Thanks so much for the recipe :)

  87. Sarah

    I made the 4 layer version and it was huge! I just had to tent some plastic wrap over it and hold it in my lap in the car to bring to a party because my cake dome was not nearly tall enough. The cake turned out good despite the fact that I accidentally used all 8 egg yolks after I separated my eggs. I macerated the strawberries with some sugar but I still wished they would have been a little saucier. Next time I might make a sort of simple jam to spread between the layers in addition to the sliced berries. Overall it was good though and everyone liked it.

  88. Lisa

    I know it’s not necessarily intended for this, but this has become my go-to white/yellow cake. It holds frosting nicely and is so light. I get compliments every time. I’ve used it cubed as a base for a quick strawberry shortcake as well and also for cupcakes. Also used it for my rum cake and it worked so well with the rum, custard, cream and fruit. Am planning on using it for my daughter’s bday cake too.

  89. I’m excited to give this recipe a try tomorrow! One question, one comment:

    Minor TYPO: ‘cake carried’ should be ‘cake carrier.’ No judgement, just wanted to let you know. :)

    Do you think you could use this recipe for a multi-tiered cake? Or is it too fragile? Would it hold up under fondant?

  90. Madeline

    I’ve got my mind made up to make this for Easter dessert. We are having ~25 people for dinner, and I’m trying to figure out how many duplicates of the recipe will feed such a crowd. Would two cakes be sufficient? Or maybe turn it into a sheet cake of sorts? This cake looks so delicious, I can’t wait!

  91. Juanita

    This cake looks delicious and absolutely perfect for my friend’s bridal shower, for which I volunteered to bake a dessert. The shower will be in mid May, at a BBQ, in upstate New York. As we live in the city, traveling there would involve taking the Metro North. So my main concern is if this cake will survive the trip. If I were to chill it after assembly, for, say, a couple of hours? Or if this could be disastrous, I could easily find another cake on your site.
    Thanks so much for any advice you might have! Or any desserts that would survive a trip and is great for a BBQ.I love your blog and have never commented, but I’d appreciate any input :)

  92. Heather

    This cake looks fantastic. I am planning to make it for a baby shower and I have 2 questions. 1) How many people do you think a four layer version will serve? I need to serve 22 people – should I make two? Actually since I only have one cake carrier, perhaps I’ll make a second version as cupcakes. 2) How well does this cake hold up? Can I make it the day before, keep in the fridge overnight before serving the next afternoon? Or, should I assemble it the morning of?
    Thank you for all your wonderful recipes and detailed instructions. Everything I’ve made from your site has been delicious!

    1. deb

      Heather — It should be okay the day before but if you can wait until the day of to assemble/slice it, it will be more moist. How many cakes are going to be served? If this is the only one, you’ll want more. If there are others, I am sure people will just cut it into thinner slivers.

  93. Carol

    Can this cake be made in to cupcakes? I am looking for a light not too heavy yellow cake for one of my friends birthdays. Any suggestions would be great.

  94. jackie

    Hi Deb – love your site and your book!! I am having a problem with sloping sides with my chiffon cakes. It’s fine as it bakes, but as it cools it shrinks and I wind up with sloped sides. i think I am doing everything correctly (not over/underbeating the whites, folding carefully, oven temp thermometer) etc. I am only buttering the underside of the parchment paper. Do you have any thoughts/suggestions? Thanks again!!

    1. deb

      jackie — Hm. I’m not the chiffon expert that I should be by now, but my understanding is that shrinking comes from oiled sides (maybe some is slipping out?). I’ve also read that too much liquid can lead to shrinkage… Actually, let me interrupt myself with a better question: are you at a higher altitude? This can affect a lot.

      1. Julia

        I notice that the Fanny Farmer cookbook recommends not oiling the sides of the pan, with chiffon cakes, to help them rise (like with an angel food cake), and also recommends cooling the cake upside down, still in the pan. For this to work, a springform is helpful!! So not necessarily a perfect solution, but I do think it would help with the shrinkage/uneven sides issue.

  95. jackie

    deb, thank you for responding. No, am not at high altitude at all. I will check % of liquid to flour and eggs, etc and see if there is something off with the cake. Thx again!

    1. deb

      jackie — Just wanted to add that mine does/did shrink slightly (you can see the sides pulling away in the cake pan photo, and that the cake sides are not fully straight) but not significantly. Slightly shrinkage is normal.

  96. Devorah

    I’m wondering what the best way to frost the sides of this cake would be, if I wanted more of a finished, fancy look. Just more whipped cream all over? Some kind of frosting?

  97. Ashni

    Hi Deb – I’m trying another baking experiment. Do you think I could flavor the chiffon cake with green tea using green tea powder / matcha? Trying to make an Asian-esque dessert. Thanks!

  98. Ali

    Hi Deb!
    This looks delicious and I’m thinking of giving it a try for a celebration tomorrow night. I’d like to get a head start and do any possible prep today. You mention that ‘the cake can be refrigerated for a few hours before eating it’ – does that mean that I should wait to assemble until tomorrow? Can I start anything a day before? Especially with the humidity this time of year, I’m a little nervous to make any baked creation too early! Thank you!

    1. deb

      Ali — You can bake the cakes and wrap them well in plastic, keep them at room temperature overnight. (Long than a day, I always recommend freezing.) Then, before you’re ready to go — and this is truly a quick assembly process, don’t worry — just make the whipped cream, split the cakes and arrange the strawberries. I suppose you could slice the strawberries ahead of time to save time too. Enjoy!

  99. laura

    Hi Deb,
    This may be a silly question, but if I were to halve the cake recipe as you suggest to make a shorter cake, how would I divide the eggs, since it calls for 5 egg yolks? I’m not sure how best to get a half of an egg yolk.

  100. rosh

    Hi Deb, I think I’ll be giving this recipe a shot in a couple weeks for my daughter’s first birthday! Quick question though–do you think it would still work if I substitute the vegetable oil with almond oil for an almond-y flavor? Thanks!

  101. Suki

    I made this cake for my sons 8th birthday (he loves strawberries!) and it was perfect.
    I made the 4 layers and poured a bit of syrup made from macerated strawberries into each layer as an added kick of strawberry flavour.
    Great recipe – thanks!

  102. Olga

    Oh no! I was so excited to make this cake, bit it came our spungey–like, rubbery and porous. This happened once before with a recipe, too. Do you know what the issue might be?

  103. Mia

    Deb, this cake looks amazing! Is it possible to bake this cake in a sheet pan and cut the cake to form the layers of a small rectangle cake? Are there any adjustments in the recipe/baking time that you would recommend?

    1. deb

      Mia — I haven’t tried it in a sheet pan but it might work. You’d use the same temperature but just have to keep an eye for it for the baking time.

  104. Delia

    How well do you think the cake would hold up as cupcakes? I’m serving these to 100+ kids and the coordinators don’t want to go through the mess of serving cake.

  105. Lu

    Just made this for my son’s first bithday, and it was amaaaazing! Did the macerating strawberries thing, and it was really yummy as the liquid soaked into the cake

  106. beh72

    Deb, my soon to be three year old has consistently (as much as I kept hoping it would change) requested a “strawberry shortcake mustard birthday cake” for her bday next month. So I thought this would be a great start, but first, a couple of questions: a). can I use frozen berries (thawed and drained) from this summer? b). uhhhhh….mustard? maybe throw a drop of yellow food dye in the whip cream?

    1. deb

      beh72 — OMG, she’s hilarious. And you’re a better mother than I am. I’d just lie and say “of course there’s mustard in there!” I mean, you can probably a teaspoon of dry mustard powder in and nobody will know… Re, frozen berries: probably, but they’re going to be pretty soggy. You’ll want to drain them well, macerate them a bit with lemon and sugar to get more flavor out of them. And not let them sit on the cake too long because they’re so wet and heavy. I don’t know where you live and this is of course not a paid plug but do you get Driscoll’s or other fresh berries in the winter? I mean, their December strawberries are nothing to write home about, but I think if the slices were tossed with a little lemon and sugar, they’d be a pretty decent stand-in.

  107. beh72

    And I’m just reporting that the 3 year old birthday cake turned out perfectly! I made your modified version (halved recipe, used one pan, split layers in 3rds) and did end up using thawed frozen berries (macerated) and covered the entire thing in whipped cream. The kids were licking their plates. And while the birthday girl was skeptical, “I cannot see the mustard Mama! Where is the mustard?” I thought it was absolutely perfect and would make again in a heartbeat. Thanks Deb!

  108. beep

    I just made this for my 2-year-old’s birthday. Because the request was for “fancy cake, ‘nanas” and my other child is allergic to strawberries, I used bananas sliced with a little lemon juice instead of strawberries. I also used some banana jam to spread on the layers, and was glad I did because it was borderline too dry as it was (though still very good–great flavor). It looked very homemade especially since my layers puffed up over the pan so were shaped like flat muffins, and therefore were in two different sizes when split. I piped lemon curd on top for writing happy birthday, which worked well. If I was going to make it again (which I likely will), I would thin the banana jam with some lemon or orange juice to really soak the layers and make 25% more whipped cream. Also, I added some pudding and rum to the leftovers to make a trifle, which was so delicious.

  109. Beth

    I made this for Mother’s Day yesterday and it was a huge hit! One of the best strawberry shortcakes I’ve ever had!! I made the cakes two days ahead of time and then assembled it a few hours before dinner. Very easy, impressive and delicious! I can always count on you, Deb, to have awesome, never-fail recipes. Thank you!!!

  110. Maryna Fontenoy

    So, 6 years later I’ve made this cake, 4 layered and wonky with strawberries. Not beautiful but so good! Is it supposed to have a meringue type top to the cake bits or did I not stir the whites in enough? Whatever, it was super good especially with stabilized marscapone whipped cream. (Normally I just do as you say but not with this whipped cream ) Thanks from Provence!

  111. Stephanie

    I am thinking about making this cake for my daughter’s first birthday. I love anything strawberry this time of year! Two questions – 1. If I want to make the cake layers ahead of time and freeze – what’s the best way to defrost and preserve flavor? 2. Can I flavor the whipped cream with something other than confectioner’s sugar. I always find it to be too super sweet. Maybe maple syrup or honey?

  112. WrittenPyramids

    Do you have tips for not getting yolk into the whites? I am recently traumatized by egg whites that would not form peaks, and I suspect yolk was the culprit (though I’ll take other suggestions as well).

    1. deb

      WrittenPyramids — I just move the egg yolk back and forth in the shell and let the whites fall down, however, I know people that swear by (it’s a little gross) just using your fingers. It feels messy but the whites really do fall naturally between your slightly opened fingers and the yolk will stay in your hand. However, even better, I can offer my favorite tip for getting yolks out of whites when they fall in: use the egg shell. For some reason, nothing scoops little bits or even whole yolks out better or more cleanly. Trust me, I make messes all the time so I do this a lot.

    1. deb

      Jim — If the layers are wrapped well, they should be good for a couple days but chiffon cakes are generally best on the first. If you’re nervous, you can always brush the layers with a simple syrup (flavored or not) before assembling for extra moisture.

  113. Nicole

    Hey Deb!! As always, a beautiful post with an amazing cake!! I have made so many of your recipes and all have been a huge hit with my family and friends!! I want to make this cake for a picnic tomorrow night but am busy all day tomorrow. Would you advise against making the cakes tonight and wrapping them well once cooled? Make the whipped cream and berries tomorrow? I have never tried this before, and I apologize if someone already touched on this, I skimmed the comments but may have missed it? THANK YOU!! You are so appreciated by many!!

  114. Brooke

    Can these cake layers be frozen? My turning-8-year-old saw the picture and wants this for her birthday party – the day after we get home from vacation. I’m wondering if I can make the layers ahead and freeze them, and do the cream and strawberries the day of the party?

  115. Laura

    Is there a non-strawberry way to use the cake layers, now that summer is over? Would it work as a boston cream pie, give the lemon in the batter?

  116. Merlin

    I’m planning to make strawberry shortcake for about 220 people and this cake recipe might do the trick.

    How would you proceed with making the cake using a full sheet pan? Double recipe? What do you think about using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil? Do you have any direction on perhaps using frozen strawberries and macerating them?

    1. deb

      Coconut oil should be just fine. I haven’t done this with frozen strawberries but perhaps with a freezer strawberry jam layer instead of fresh might work. This recipe, as written, makes two standard/thick 9-inch round layers or 1 standard/thick 1/4 sheet cake. I imagine you’d want it a little thinner if going for two layers (not sure what you have in mind) so you could make two thin 1/2-sheet layers with it, or scale it up as needed from there.

  117. Donna

    I used all four layers and it turned out beautifully. It was for our church’s dessert auction, so I didn’t get to taste it all together, but the the little bits I tasted were great. :)

  118. emilyklash

    I’ve just taken to lovely-smelling cakes out of the oven! I went with two 9″ layers as written, we’ll see if i end up with 3 or 4 final layers. However, they’ve sunken a little. They’re golden, and the cake tester came out clean, and really, are still plenty thick, but i’m wondering if i’m going to end up with very dense cake?

    Also, i’m making this for my MiL’s birthday next weekend, and will be freezing the layers. Do you recommend splitting the layers now, or once they’re frozen? Thanks!

    1. deb

      I’d split after freezing; will be easier and even less of a risk of drying. Sorry, I’m not sure why they sunk. I might have a better answer after I make this again soon, when strawberries are back.

    2. Kelly

      I made three 9 inch rounds and they took thirty mins. I macerated the berries, which was perfect. My only wish was for more whipped cream bc I filled the two layers and wish I had had some for the top

  119. I made this cake for Mother’s Day. It was so nice and light, it’s the best sponge recipe I’ve made so far. I macerated the strawberries in a bit of sugar as well. I also split the mix into three 20 cm tins and I’m glad I did. The sponge rose to the top of each tin and it took 30 minutes to cook. Great recipe!

  120. MLG

    Made this past weekend for my daughter’s second birthday. It was amazing! I ended up freezing the second cake and just making it two layers and I used the extra whipped cream all around the sides. It was so delicious. Thank you!

  121. Kat

    I made the cake!…well, just the sponge part so far! I still baked both for 50 minutes, poked only one around 40 minutes (which made it sink just the slightest), and the other one, I waited until the timer went off to like them. I gently removed them from the oven and gently placed them on the wire rack…because some cakes can still sink/collapse when you set it down too hard. Only the one I poked earlier sank a slight bit, and the other is perfect!

  122. Jenn

    I’m making this in a 2 layer sheet cake as the main cake for a 1st birthday party (because it’s the only non-chocolate cake I make really well). I want to do a more traditional birthday cake look (ie frosted top and sides with writing and candles) and only have fruit in between the layers and on the side. I also need to assemble and decorate the night before for my sanity. Would you recommend a stabilized whipped cream, a whipped cream frosting, or something else to frost it with?

    1. deb

      Stabilized whipped cream will be the most stable but personally I’d just wing it with regular whipped cream if just overnight. You’ll want a lot more. This volume will make a thin two-layer sheet cake; I might 1.5x it to get a thicker one.

      1. jjjeanie

        I’ve used the gelatin method to stabilize whipped cream, but only once, as there were tiny specks of gelatin–probably user error. But what worked great was using Marscapone!!! great flavor on its own, and worked like a charm. Can’t remember exact ratios, so I just checked online and saw a huge range (really–like, by a factor of 4!). I might start with 4 oz marscapone to 1 Cup of heavy cream, but if someone else knows, or tries, perhaps they’ll share.

        1. Amy

          This is similar to using cream cheese with whipped cream to keep it from “weeping”. I’ve made one that way using an online recipe and it was delish.

  123. Vanessa

    I just made this cake on a lark since I had a ton of strawberries laying around. It turned out perfectly first try! I brought it to my work and everyone lost their minds. Make this; you won’t be sorry!

  124. Kelly Behrens

    Help!! I made this and my 9″ rounds completely overflowed. I wonder if it’s because I used liquid egg whites for the remaining 3 egg whites and perhaps those don’t measure the same?! Both of my pan have risen and spilled over at least 2 inches!!!

      1. Kelly Behrens

        I didn’t use self-rising flour – but even before baking the batter was almost to the top of my 9” pans. It just made a ton! It must have been the egg whites?! Next time I obviously should put the extra batter in a third pan. Rookie mistake!

  125. In the ingredient list, you ask for 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour, do you mean to sift flour into the measuring cup.
    Or do you mean 2 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted. So to measure 2 1/4 cups cake flour and then sift it after it’s measured?
    Makes a big difference in the overall volume/weight of flour in the cake.

    1. deb

      It’s pre-sifted and then measured. (Sifted before flour always means sift first; after means, of course, after.) I generally don’t write recipes like this these days because it drives me bonkers, but this is an oldie (but goodie) so it remains.

  126. Addie

    I just wanted to share a variation my sister made for a baby shower. In every other layer (she did 4 layers) she added a layer of lemon curd and instead of stawberries we used blueberries and blackberries. She also made a blueberry powder from dried blueberries, made a very fun, extremely delicious, very on theme “boy” shower cake. Was gone as fast as we could cut it! Thanks for all your amazing recipes. We love your food!

  127. Sammi

    This is just the type of cake recipe I was looking for! Your site and recipes always come through for me. I was wondering though, say I make this cake a couple days in advance (because of my work schedule) of the occasion, do you think it would be fine to spend all that time in the fridge beforehand? What’s the shelf life on this? I couldn’t find anything about it in the comments, so please forgive me if I’ve missed it.

    1. deb

      It should be fine for a few days, but I’d be more confident if using a stabilized whipped cream. You can do it with gelatin (many techniques written online) but I rather like this gelatin-free method. Some creme fraiche would be delicious in the cream here. And this really works; I’ve done it.

  128. seumon

    Hi Deb,

    I have made and enjoyed the Strawberry Chiffon Cake by the Joy of Baking but I really like how your version is less saucy/drippy. I’m planning on making yours this weekend but I have few questions. I’m using 2 (10″ pans), cutting each cake into 2 and totally going for it by making it tall…I may try to add 2 more half layers to the 4 that’s already there…making it a total of 6 layers! Possible without the cake falling over? or total nuts, don’t do it? Considering all the layers, it’s still only 10 inches in dia, could i feed 25 people? If I wanted to stiffen the whipped cream a bit, should I use gelatine, meringue powder or icing sugar? Last question – what is grease paper?

    Thank you for your time and expertise!!


    1. deb

      The cake will not fall over. Just do know that even in the 3 layers shown (I couldn’t fit the 4th one in my cake carrier, so I made it with 3) are quite tall. It’s a tall cake. I’m not sure going over 4 would be needed unless you’re looking for a something almost comically tall.

  129. I am about to make this tomorrow (large 3 layer sheet cake that will require a triple batch of the batter recipe) and have never heard of stabilized whipped cream before… I was just going to go with buttercream instead since that’s what I am familiar with. Will that be a big mistake??

    1. Jenn

      I made this in April with stabilized whipped cream and it was yummy, and held up well. The cake got stale and berries mushy and the cream still looked good. I just googled a recipe. Also FYI, I did 1.5x the recipe for a 2 layer 9×13 cake and it was huge—each layer was the size of a regular single layer cake, so the cake was twice as tall as I expected and wouldn’t fit in my cake carrier. Next time I’ll just use the recipe as written.

      1. I’m actually doing jelly roll pans so they’re pretty thin, the second cake is baking now and they’re working perfectly! I’m just so undecided on what to do for frosting. I LOVE whipped cream frosting, I’m just scared to try it for the first time and have it not work keep well overnight/in the heat.

  130. Marie

    I made this twice and it’s amazing!
    I made it as describe but with stabilized whipped cream to be able to pipe a design on top, it was for a birthday party. It was so hot outside we endep up put the cake in the freezer for about 2 hours before eating and it was half frozen, it was seriously amazing!
    I made it again but with pureed mangoes this time. I cannot tell you how tasty that was.
    It’s a super easy cake, so light and not too sugary, it’s a favorite now

  131. LH

    I made into a trifle. Delicious! used chambord to macerate less-than-perfect strawberries. Custard (3 yolks, 10 oz cream). Was amazing!

  132. krista Maruca

    Turned out great!! Such a pretty cake. I made a half batch in a 8” springform pan so it was taller and able to cut easily in 3 layers. Took an hour to bake though! Came out perfect for Easter Sunday. A little over sweet, I would omit 1/4 cup sugar.

  133. This was divine! A note on the overflow issue some people had: I used what I *think* are standard 9″ pans (about 1.5″-2″ tall), and when I poured the batter in (I was doing the third bullet point option: halve the batter, put it all in one pan, then cut into three), it was up to the top even before baking. I divided it into two pans, and the cakes rose most of the way up them. I then cut each of those into halves and did a four-layer cake. It worked great!

    In sum: if your batter mostly fills your pan, divide it! This recipe is delicious and looks great even if you’re a mediocre cake decorator!

  134. cmaliniak

    Hi Deb. What are your thoughts on baking this in a half sheet pan and punching out 6” rounds? I need to make many many 6” rounds and I don’t have enough pans! Spray with pam, line with parchment. Cool in pan completely! Or remove after 10 min? I like the look and texture of this cake. Thanks!

  135. Joyce

    Is the Tablespoon of baking soda a typo?? Should it be a teaspoon? Currently baking in a tube pan & it’s risen a good 4-5 inches above the top 😬 Hope it doesn’t run over.

  136. jjjeanie

    I want to make this for Mother’s Day (in 2 days!). Does anyone have info for weight conversion (to grams or ounces, i’m not fussy!) I’ve been baking so much more reliably since I started to use a scale, and I don’t want to go backwards–or fail, since my mom is 102! thx.

  137. jjjeanie

    Made this morning in 2 9″ pans and even tho they sunk a bit, was fine. Scary to cut the layers, but I did, with a long serrated knife. But lordy! hard to cut/serve a 4-layer cake with squishy whipped cream filling. –haha, maybe i put too much cream!!
    I used 220 grams sugar, 250 grams AP flour + 4 Tbs cornstarch (to pretend I had cake flour). I also macerated one layer’s worth of strawberries in Chambord (raspberry liqueur–cuz i didn’t have any strawberry). Everything worked quite well.
    I’d make again, but it’s not my all-time favorite. Next on the to-bake list is Toasted Pecan Cake!

  138. Erin Nakayama

    Hello! I’m making this for my son’s first birthday. Can I make the cake layers a day or two before and wrap in plastic to keep in the fridge or freezer? Also, can I assemble the cake the day before or only a few hours before. I don’t trust my family to leave me alone long enough to pull this off the day-of.

    1. Jenn

      I’ve made this numerous times and almost always bake the day before. I’ve assembled the night before as well, using stabilized whipped cream, and it still tasted great the next day. In fact, we almost prefer it assembled late the night before (like assemble at 8 or 9pm to serve at 6pm the next day). Leftovers also keep well for a couple days with regular whipped cream and 3-4 with stabilized, assuming your berries are fairly firm and your cake holder airtight.

      1. Erin Nakayama

        This is so helpful- thank you! I have my layers in the freezer and I’ll split and assemble the day before!

        1. Erin Nakayama

          This is so helpful! I think I have both sour cream and gelatin on hand. Maybe I’ll try both methods and see which one I execute better. Many thanks!

    2. deb

      Yes. If one to two days, room temperature is fine. If longer, the freezer is the way to go. You can assemble it the day before, but I prefer it just a few hours before eating it. It won’t take long if you have everything ready.

  139. Helena

    I made the cakes almost exactly as written, except I used orange zest and almond extract (only 1/4tsp) instead of lemon and vanilla, because that’s what I had on hand, and I reduced the sugar to one cup, because I used homemade mango curd instead of strawberries between the layers, which is quite sweet, and topped with fresh mango slices. The cake turned out wonderfully (I did four layers, using 2 9″ rounds, and has no issue with overflow) and the mango curd was perfect with it. I must have taken them out a couple minutes too early, as they did sink just a touch, but they were still incredibly light and soft, with a bit of crunch at the edges. It was very well recieved at the event I brought it to. Even if I made it with strawberries, I would keep the reduced sugar amount because I thought the cake tasted perfect. I’ll certainly be making this again.

    1. deb

      What size is your pan? Is it a tube?

      Also, FWIW, if you’re looking for inspiration: Two weeks ago, I halved the cake recipe, baked it in one thin layer in a 10×15-inch jelly roll pan, cut it into 1-inch squares, placed each in a mini-muffin liner, dolloped each with whipped cream, and placed a slice of very ripe strawberry on top for a potluck. It looked like this and really didn’t take much time at all.

    1. jjjeanie

      When I use oil to bake, I always use avocado oil, and it’s always fine—or even wonderful if it’s a SK recipe! Go for it.

  140. Alyssa

    This was delicious! I made it for a celebratory end of the school year lunch for my son’s kindergarten teachers and – yum! I did only three layers, but had so much extra batter that I made a small 8 inch layer as well. My son and I called it the “taster cake.” Macerated the strawberries as well. Yum yum yum!

  141. Leslie

    Oh, Deb. I made this yesterday for a friend’s birthday using fresh local Ontario strawberries…the batter made 4 8 inch rounds. I used a whole one for the bottom, cut a second to make two additional layers (and froze the rest for trifle as you suggested!). I layered macerated berries topped with whipped cream between the three layers a dotted the top with whole berries. Ii was fantastic. I loved the texture of the cake! my friend, who is an excellent baker, gave my dessert a two thumbs up! Too bad I cannot post a oic here, it was gorgeous. Thanks for always being such a reliable go-to!

  142. Jane

    Hi Deb:

    I made this chiffon cake in 2 9” cake pans, took 35 minutes. I thought I followed the recipe to a tee, but the cakes turned out thin, hardly deep enough to cut in half, what did I do wrong? Not whip the egg whites enough? Will try again at some point.
    I hope it tastes ok?

  143. Marisa

    Instead of splitting the layers in half, can I just put less batter in 4 pans? If so, what do you recommend in terms of baking time?

  144. Annie

    I made this for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary as and ode to a wedding cake. Topped with nectarines and blueberries macerated in Prosecco for a seasonal and celebratory touch. It was divine!
    I made the full recipe and two cakes, but still sliced each cake into 3 layers and took the best of them for my cake. Leftovers for breakfast!

    1. Maraha.K

      I’ve been so scared of trying anything with egg whites since the last angel food cake i made turned out so disappointing and dry. This is the exact opposite! The cake can be used for so many more recipes, I’m gonna be using the leftover layer for a rose and pistachio tres leche cake

  145. Emily

    I want to make this but accidentally bought self rising cake flour – can it be salvaged? Should I adjust some ingredients so it comes out right (omit salt, baking powder)?

    1. deb

      I haven’t tested it with self-rising, but yes, that’s the usual idea. Not sure if your flour has salt in it but you can check the ingredients. Good luck!

  146. StevEagle

    This cake is so good. I’m about to make it for the 4th time (once with just mixed berries since the strawberries available at the time weren’t up to snuff) for Mother’s Day/because they had Harry’s Berries at the co-op yesterday. If you’re wondering, Harry’s Berries are very expensive but very much worth it organic strawberries- the kind of berry that makes you recalibrate what a strawberry should taste like, and which makes it very difficult to ever eat, say, a Driscoll berry ever again. They can cost 2-3 times a Driscoll, but are easily 5-6 times tastier and juicier, so more than worth it!
    Anyway, I’ve always followed this recipe exactly and it’s always come out perfectly. So simple and light and delish!

  147. Kylene

    This is my go-to cake to request when it’s my birthday! I made it this year and discovered that it was easily made gluten-free with the Bob’s Red Mill one for one flour. Same taste, no texture change, baked the same amount of time (40ish minutes) and I was so happy my husband could enjoy it with us.

  148. Elizabeth S.

    This recipe was SO good! I have 3 kids and I confess that I only make your cake recipes for their birthdays, since the year 2015. My youngest, almost 2, loves strawberries. I actually turned this into cupcakes for the tiny outdoor gathering we had last year for her 1st birthday during peak Covid and they were delicious! I sliced them in half, filled the middle with the whipped cream, and then put the tops back on; then I spread whipped cream on top with a knife, arranged 1/2 strawberry slices like a pinwheel on top of this, and then piped a little dollop of whipped cream in the middle. I’m getting ready to make this again for her 2nd bday next week- can’t thank you enough for all the perfect cake recipes.

  149. Penny Lamping

    I’ve also read you can use dental floss,wrapped around the cake, then pulled tight to go through the cake-as a method for cutting the layers horizontally. Have you ever tried that?

  150. Beth

    I made this cake today. It was wonderful but I feel the layers are too thin. I would divide the batter into 2-9” springform pans and use each cake as a layer. Or divide among 3-8” cake pans for a 3 layer cake. Thanks, Deb. I love your recipes.

  151. Ashley

    Holy God I just made this cake and it is heaven itself! I think an extra cup of cream (3c total) would be even better for assembly. My bother in law has had a strawberry chiffon cake every year for his birthday since childhood and he said this one was the best he’s ever had!

  152. Suzanne S

    Just this week I found you : )
    I am known for not using recipes. I picture myself as Beaker from the Muppets, Just crazily adding ingredients, but recently I have found myself wanting to buckle down and follow the rules. Today I made this Chiffon cake for our Son’s 21st Birthday. I will also Prepare the Chicken Gyro salad for the Celebration dinner.
    The cake came out beautiful!! I think I should have sifted the Cream of Tater into the egg whites.
    Thank you for being such an inspiration

  153. Lelia

    Hi, I love this cake so much, I made it for my sisters birthday a few years ago and I’m making again soon. What would be a good substitute for the cream of tarter in the whipped cream? Thanks, I love your recipes!

  154. Mara

    This was amazing! What a winner. I made it for a 2 yo birthday party as 2 x 6″ pans, and 12 cupcakes (and I had a little leftover, so I made a 9″ layer to freeze). cupcakes took about 18 min. and the 6″ cake pans took 30 ish min. Everyone loved it.