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Chocolate & Strawberry Layer Cake

Macerated summer strawberries and a luscious chocolate buttercream are sandwiched between layers of deliciously moist vanilla bean cake in this Chocolate & Strawberry Layer Cake! Can I get a 'love sigh' from you? Because this cake is about to release all your happy!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings: 8


For the chocolate buttercream frosting

  • 3/4 cup 1 1/2 sticks Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa powder
  • Pinch table salt
  • 4 cups Confectioners' powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup Heavy cream cold
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla extract

For the macerated strawberries

  • 1 1/2 cups Sliced strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons Granulated sugar
  • Splash of vanilla extract

For the cake

  • 1 tablespoon Baking powder
  • 2 cups All-purpose flour spooned then leveled
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/4 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon Almond extract
  • 3/4 cup 1 1/2 sticks Unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup Granulated sugar
  • 2 large Eggs


Make the chocolate buttercream frosting:

  • In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip butter, cocoa powder, and salt over medium/high speed until combined. Turn the mixer off and add the confectioners' sugar all at once. Turn the mixer on to the lowest speed and whip until the confectioners' sugar is completely combined with the butter/cocoa powder mixture. It will look super grainy/sandy at this point.
  • Stop and scrape the mixer to incorporate.
  • Turn the mixer to medium/high speed and add the heavy cream in 2 parts, allowing the heavy cream to thicken each time before adding in more cream. Add the vanilla extract and continue whipping the frosting until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Turn off mixer and remove bowl. Transfer about 1/4 of the frosting to a large piping bag with a round tip. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Macerate the strawberries:

  • Place the strawberries in a medium bowl. Sprinkle sugar over the berries, add the vanilla extract, and mix until combined. Set aside in room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Bake the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Grease three (3) 8" round cake pans with cake release or cooking spray and line them with a circle of parchment. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk quickly with a fork to combine and set aside.
  • Combine the buttermilk, vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a measuring cup. Mix well to combine and set aside.
  • In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment over medium/high speed, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Stop and scrape the mixer to incorporate ingredients. Turn the mixer back to medium/high speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stop the mixer once more and scrape to incorporate ingredients.
  • Turn the mixer speed to low. Starting and ending with the flour, alternate adding the flour and buttermilk mixtures to the creamed butter mixture. Mix over low speed until moistened. Remove from mixer and fold a couple of times to ensure all the dry flour bits are incorporated into the batter.
  • Divide the batter as evenly as you can into the cake pans. Bang the pans a few times on your counter or work surface until the batter spreads, evens out, and rids itself of air bubbles.
  • Place cakes in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a tester (or wooden skewer) placed in the center of the cakes comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  • Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

To assemble:

  • Even out the layers by using a leveler or serrated knife and save the cake scraps for spackle. Use the best layers for the bottom and top of your cake.
  • Place the bottom layer atop a cardboard circle. Pipe chocolate buttercream on the bottom cake layer and smooth as best you can. Arrange the macerated strawberries neatly on top of the chocolate buttercream.
  • Place the middle cake layer over the strawberries. Pipe more chocolate buttercream over this layer and smooth as best you can. Add the final layer.
  • Using Toba Garret's spackle technique, combine left over cake with some chocolate buttercream until thick and pasty. I use a 3:1 cake/frosting ratio. Carefully, with an offset spatula, ice the cake with the spackle. If the spackle becomes too difficult to handle, place the spatula under very hot water as needed. Dry quickly and continue spackling the cake. The hot spatula will help melt the buttercream.
  • Place the cake in the freezer for about 20 minutes to allow the spackle to set.
  • Remove cake from freezer and frost with the chocolate buttercream, smoothing with an offset spatula as you frost the cake.
  • Slice and enjoy.
  • Cake recipe adapted from Wonky Wonderful
  • Chocolate Buttercream recipe adapted from I Am Baker