Strawberry-Lemon Mother's Day Cake

vanilla and strawberry cake on a cake platter with strawberry roses

 The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney 

  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 cake (8 slices)

This sweet and simple lemon and strawberry cake is the perfect gift for your mom this Mother’s Day. It’s easy to pull together and it looks so gorgeous she will think you had it professionally made. It's a nice use of early summer berries and the two fruits go together perfectly.

You can make your life even easier by using a store-bought cake mix and/or frosting. Or go for the extra brownie points and make everything (cake, curd, and frosting) from scratch. Regardless, it's sure to impress mom on her special day.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cups lemon curd
  • 1/2 pound fresh strawberries (divided)
  • 1 pound buttercream frosting

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for mothers day cake
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease and flour two 6-inch baking pans. 

    greased and floured baking pans
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  3. Beat the butter with the whisk attachment of your stand mixer to soften, about 3 minutes. If it’s at room temperature this will take less time. You can also use a large bowl and a hand mixer. 

    Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

    beaten sugar and butter in a bowl
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  4. Scrape down the sides of your bowl. Add the eggs, lemon peel, and vanilla one at a time, beating well after each. 

    eggs and sugar and butter beaten in a bowl
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  5. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt. Add it to the creamed mixture in two additions, alternating with the milk. Beat thoroughly after each addition and scrape down the sides in between. 

    cake batter beaten in a bowl
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  6. Divide the cake batter between the two prepared pans. 

    cake batter in six inch baking pans
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  7. Bake on a center rack for 25 to 30 minutes or until the center of the cake comes out clean when pricked with a toothpick. 

    baked lemon cakes in cake pans
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  8. Allow the cakes to cool for a few minutes in the pan. Use a knife to separate the edge of the cake from the pan. Flip upside down to remove from the pan and cool on wire racks. 

Assemble the Cake

  1. Trim the top of each cake layer so that the top is completely flat. 

    trimmed lemon cake
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  2. Place your first cake onto the cake plate. Hold it steady with a dollop of the frosting underneath the cake. Spread the lemon curd on top of the cake. Slice 2 strawberries and place them on the top of the lemon curd.

    lemon curd and strawberries on top of a cake
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney  
  3. Top the first cake with the second cake. Frost the cake with a crumb coating of buttercream. Place the cake in the fridge for 20 minutes while you prepare the strawberry roses.

    crumb coated cake
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 

Decorate the Cake

  1. Decide if you want to cut off the hulls of the strawberries or not before you get started. Pick 5 to 7 strawberries, choosing ones that have pointy tops. These will make for the prettiest roses.

  2. Make diagonal cuts around the edge of the strawberry. Cut down, but not all the way through. 

    cutting strawberry roses
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  3. Pull your knife away from the strawberry to spread out the slice to make it look like a petal.

    cutting strawberry roses
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  4. Continue around the berry, making about four cuts. Then go above and in between two of the cuts and make another cut. Then continue around the berry again.

     Split the top into three petals and you’re done! 

    creating strawberry rose petals
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  5. Coat the cake with another layer of the frosting and then top with the strawberries. Chill before serving. You can store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

    strawberries on top of lemon cake
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney