Strawberry lemonade is one of my favorite summertime drinks and this is that drink in cake form – or at least, as close as you’re going to come to the lemony drink and still be able to eat it with a fork! The base of this cake is a lemon chiffon cake, with a bright and zesty lemon flavor that goes well with layers of strawberry filling. The cake is light and moist, making it a good choice for the summertime when you don’t want a very dense or heavy cake to weigh you down. The fact that it is so moist also means that it actually leaves you feeling a little bit refreshed after eating a slice – just like you would after sipping a glass of cold lemonade!
The cake is a typical chiffon cake, a foam cake that gets most of its leavening from beaten egg whites, much like an angel food cake. It gets some extra moisture from the inclusion of egg whites and a small amount of vegetable oil, and ends up being much less cottony than an angel food cake and much lighter than your average butter cake. Chiffon cakes are usually baked in tube pans, as are angel food cakes, but this recipe is baked in 9-inch round cake pans. The light foam cakes may sink slightly as they cool, but that just serves to even out the cake layers and makes them easier to slice when you’re ready to stack them up. Most of the lemon flavor in this cake comes from freshly squeezed lemon juice, so don’t be tempted to use bottled juice if you want the best finished product.
The strawberry portion of this cake comes in the form of strawberry jam, which is spread between the layers of the cake. The jam is sweet enough that even just a thin layer will give the cake a nice strawberry flavor and a very pretty finished look. Choose a good quality strawberry preserve for making this cake, as that will give you the best finished product. I garnished the top of my cake with lots of fresh, sliced strawberries. If you would rather use raspberry jam or some other berry preserve, garnish your cake with berries to match.
yum! very moist, tender and very light.
I frosted this cake with a light cream cheese frosting, which adds some sweetness and a nice creamy finish to the cake. I only flavored mine with vanilla extract, though you can easily beat in a little extra lemon zest to add another lemon element to the cake.
Strawberry Lemonade Chiffon Layer Cake
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
6 large egg yolks
8 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift together cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and egg yolks until smooth. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
In another large bowl, beat egg whites at medium speed until foamy. Beat in cream of tartar, then turn the mixer up to high speed and beat to soft peaks. Fold into lemon mixture, working in 3 or 4 batches. Divide batter evenly into prepared pans.
Bake for 24-28 minutes, until the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Strawberry Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting
1 1/2 cups strawberry preserves
3-oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 – 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon zest (optional)
fresh strawberries, for garnish.
In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until well combined. Gradually add in confectioners’ sugar until frosting has a smooth, spreadable consistency. Beat in vanilla extract and lemon zest, if using.
In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup strawberry preserves with 1/2 cup of the cream cheese frosting. Set aside.
Reserve remaining strawberry preserves for assembly.
To assemble the cake, slice cooled cakes in half horizontally. Place one layer of cake on a serving platter or cake stand. Top with approximately 1/2 cup strawberry preserves, then place another cake layer on top of that. Top second cake layer with mixture of frosting and strawberry preserves. Place another cake layer on top and top that with remaining strawberry preserves. Place final cake layer on top.
Lightly frost the whole cake with a very thin layer of frosting to create a crumb coat. Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes to allow frosting to set.
Frost cake evenly with remaining frosting and decorate the top with fresh strawberries.