Vanilla Bean Cake with Strawberry Buttercream

Vanilla Bean Cake with Strawberry Buttercream - moist and decadent cake with the most flavorful strawberry frosting!

A freshly baked cake is always the focus of any birthday celebration. I mean, isn’t the food always the focus? And because I am here today to help celebrate the birthday of my sweet blog friend, Carrian, I decided to bake you a cake. When I was growing up, for each birthday in my family, my mom, grandmother or aunts would bake a cake, cover it with decadent frosting and then often spend hours decorating it.

If I am going to eat the calories in a slice of cake, it better be worth it. I’m talking about a rich, decadent cake packed with flavor, not some store-bought dry flavorless loaf of sugar. This Vanilla Bean Cake with Strawberry Buttercream is worth every ounce. The strawberry buttercream creates a natural pink color that is bright, fun and perfect for birthdays, bridal showers, baby showers or even Mother’s Day.

Vanilla Bean Cake with Strawberry Buttercream - moist and decadent cake with the most flavorful strawberry frosting!

The cake is moist and decadent and the frosting is packed with sweet strawberry flavor. You will LOVE the frosting. It always receives rave reviews. The frosting is smooth and decadent but not too rich.

Strawberry and vanilla is one of my favorite combinations.Β Because I use fresh, natural and organic ingredients whenever possible, I used premium vanilla beans to flavor the cake and fresh, ripe organic strawberries for the frosting. Both are essential to achieve the highest quality and most flavorful cake.

Vanilla Bean Cake with Strawberry Buttercream - moist and decadent cake with the most flavorful strawberry frosting! Vanilla Bean Cake with Strawberry Buttercream - moist and decadent cake with the most flavorful strawberry frosting! Vanilla Bean Cake with Strawberry Buttercream - moist and decadent cake with the most flavorful strawberry frosting! Vanilla Bean Cake with Strawberry Buttercream - moist and decadent cake with the most flavorful strawberry frosting!

Yields one 3-layer, 8-inch round cake

Vanilla Bean Cake with Strawberry Buttercream
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  • For the cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 2/3 cups sugar
  • 9 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean, split & scraped or 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the frosting:
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6-7 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted*
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. To make the cake, preheat oven to 350Β° F. Grease the edges of three 8" x 2" round cake pans. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. Line the bottom of each pan with a circle of parchment paper.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy and pale, about 4 to 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the egg whites gradually, mixing until fully incorporated.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk vanilla extract and vanilla paste (or contents of vanilla bean) into buttermilk. Pour one third of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix until incorporated. Add half of the buttermilk, then repeat with the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Smooth with small offset spatula, and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes clean.
  5. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges, turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and peel off the parchment paper. Let cool completely.
  6. To make the strawberry frosting, puree the strawberries in a food processor. Strain the puree through a fine mesh sieve placed over a bowl to remove the seeds. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and half of the sugar. Beat on low speed until well blended. Add the other half of the sugar and two tablespoons of strawberry puree, mixing until combined. Increase speed to medium and add additional puree, a tablespoon at a time, until desired color and flavor is reached (I used all of the puree). Add vanilla and beat on high for about 30 seconds to lighten the frosting.
  7. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cake stand, plate or cake board. Spread and smooth 3/4 cup frosting, using a small offset spatula. Repeat with second cake layer. Place the third cake layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining strawberry frosting. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and serve.


I like the frosting to be light and smooth. Add between 6-7 cups of sugar and continue mixing until desired consistency is reached.


Recipe: Cake from Sweetapolita; Strawberry Buttercream from Spoonful of Flavor


  1. Medeja

    Pink frosting makes this cake look really cute!

    • Ashley

      Thanks, Medeja!

      • dr kelly

        This looks and sounds absolutely delicious. Plan to make it for the next special occasion. Thank-you

  2. Michele @ Flavor Mosaic

    I love a good vanilla cake, and when combined with strawberries and a giveaway, then it is out of this world! Looks delicious. I’m going to have to try the recipe and I entered.

  3. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness

    Hi. I want this cake for all my birthday celebrations to come. I love the strawberry/vanilla combo…and it’s dang beautiful girlfriend!!!

  4. Joanne

    this is a PERFECT birthday cake! And I totally agree with you – if you want your cake to be a showstopper, you have to use good quality ingredients. It’s the only way to go!

  5. ela@GrayApron

    Wow…this is buttery and beautiful! I bet it’s as good as it looks, Ashley πŸ™‚ ela

  6. Melanie @ Carmel Moments

    Looks like the perfect spring cake. My daughter would totally go googly eyed over this. πŸ™‚
    Have a beautiful Wednesday Ashley!

  7. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie

    First of all, I love strawberry buttercream – love it on this cake! As for what I bought buy on Amazon, I have been itching to get a new cookware set.

  8. Jenn @ Deliciously Sprinkled

    Ashley, I think I need to make this cake for my mom for Mother’s Day just so I can eat a piece of this delicious vanilla bean cake, and the strawberry buttercream looks SO good! Pinned πŸ™‚

  9. Deborah Harrington

    I absolutely adore the flavor of vanilla beans, combined with strawberries is nothing short of perfection. Furthermore, the Amazon gift card is very thoughtful and generous of you Ashley. If I were fortunate enough to win, I would purchase items on my kitchen wish list! Thank you again and have a great day πŸ™‚

  10. Becca @ Crumbs and Chaos

    This cake looks absolutely incredible, Ashley!! I would buy cookbooks, kitchen gadgets and new shoes from Amazon πŸ˜‰

  11. Allison-Celebrating Sweets

    This is beautiful! I love that the frosting is made from fresh strawberries. Perfect for spring and summer!

  12. Natalie @ Tastes Lovely.com

    Hurray for cakes! This one looks amazing. Can’t wait to eat up that strawberry buttercream.

    If I won the $1000 amazon giftcard, I’ll use it towards a new lens for my camera!

  13. Natalie Lawson

    This sounds delicious for Easter! Thank you!

  14. Andie

    This strawberry buttercream looks so delicious!!

  15. Beth @ bethcakes

    Beautiful cake! Strawberry frosting is one of my favorite things. πŸ™‚ So sweet of you to make this for your friend’s birthday!

  16. Lynda Del

    I’d buy some cooking essentials.

  17. Amy @ Homey Oh My!

    I love my chocolate and will always be faithful to it… but something about vanilla cake always draws me in. I LOVE the way you decorated it! SO CUTE!

  18. Traci Rothey

    I’m so glad you’re doing this Amazon giveaway… sweettreatsmore.com (Kristy) is my BFF, and through her I now follow you. And I’m SUPER excited to make this cake for our Easter family party Sunday!!!! And I can’t wait to see what else you have on your blog!!

  19. marcie

    What a beautiful, fun, festive cake, Ashley — not to mention that it looks delicious, too! Have a wonderful week!

  20. Rosanne R

    I would buy clothing and toys for all my grandchildren, and serve this beautiful cake πŸ™‚

  21. Deb

    Great looking cake Ashley. I would love a slice now!

  22. Bonnie

    Love vanilla bean, will have to try this cake!!!!

  23. Ashley

    Gorgeous cake! Vanilla bean is my favorite cake flavor (well, tied with red velvet) and then you combined it with strawberry! I wouldn’t mind a big piece after dinner tonight … you ship right??? : )

  24. Jeannie

    I really want a long range zoom lense for my Nikkon. Too late for the blood moon, but there are lots of other things to capture!

  25. Jennifer McBroom

    I would probably get the dslr camera I have been wanting and start taking photography classes!

  26. Shifa

    I can’t wait to try this cake! It’s so cute!

    fresh and natural is the way to go.

  27. Shifa

    With a thousand dollars, I would probably get textbooks lol.

    Books in general, I think. πŸ™‚

  28. Jodi Sue

    Looks sooooo good!!

  29. Amy C.

    A new handbag and shoes!

  30. Leycia T

    Lovely cake recipe!!!!! If I won the giveaway id purchase a Kitchenaid stand mixer for easier baking!!!!

  31. Kelly

    This cake is stunning Ashley! Happy happy bday to Carrian! Vanilla bean cake is one of my favorites and I love the pretty strawberry pink frosting! Adding the colorful sprinkles makes this perfect for any celebration πŸ™‚

  32. Christin@SpicySouthernKitchen

    What a wonderful spring cake! I love a strawberry buttercream and sprinkles are always a nice touch πŸ™‚

  33. Meg

    We’re buying our first home this spring, so $1,000 would go quite a long way toward the many furnishings we’ll need! πŸ™‚ And this cake is so pretty. Yum!

  34. Lora Anne M

    We really need new cookware so that will be the 1st thing we would purchase. We may buy a tablet for some learning games for my son.

  35. Ellen

    Lucky me, I had a piece of the cake and it tasted as beautiful as it looked! Thanks, Ashley, for sharing.

  36. Emily @ It Bakes Me Happy

    what wouldn’t I buy with $1000, man I could really spoil myself and my family with this prize, thanks Ashley for an awesome opportunity πŸ™‚

  37. Joanna

    We love cake in this house and while I love chocolate, my partner does not. This is perfect! I also love the sprinkles – what a unique color combo! Very elegant!

  38. dina

    this cake puts a smile on my face!

  39. Amber G

    My husband’s 4th birthday is coming up and he has a big Amazon wishlist.

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  41. jelli

    This cake is beautiful! I’d love to spend the cash on a camera upgrade!

  42. Trish

    This cake looks ammmazzzing!! With an Amazon gift card I’d upgrade all of my kitchen gadgets and small appliances!

  43. Margot C

    I would buy a new camera ans start a blog.

  44. Calli

    I would get a vitamix b;ender!

  45. Memoria

    This cake is amazingly soft and flavorful. The recipe is similar to my go-to vanilla cake recipe, so I know it must be good! Too bad I’m on a diet :(.

    I would buy cooking stuff and things to get me ready for my trip back to Europe!

  46. Ala

    Just wanted to say that I’m a first-timer here, and I’m super impressed by all of your work–this is a gorgeous cake and some really gorgeous photography. This recipe looks perfect for a celebration. Cheers!

    • Ashley

      Thank you, Ala! I hope you stick around and check out some of my other recipes πŸ™‚

  47. Charlotte Moore

    I would buy some kitchen stuff. Also probably spend some on my great granddaughter that is 2.

    Thanks for this chance to enter to win.

  48. Charlotte Moore

    This is only a 3 layer cake? Is that 2 T baking powder? I only ask because I didn’t ask one time and there was a mistake in a recipe. I rather ask and know for sure. I make a 4 layer cake that has less flour, buttermilk, 1 cup shortening, and less eggs. It seems like the pans would over flow.

    • Ashley

      Hi Charlotte! Yes, it is a 3-layer cake. The measurements are correct and you need to use 8″x 2″ round can pans. Enjoy!

  49. Mandy Koford

    I can not wait to make this cake…all for me!

  50. Alyson M

    This cake looks amazing and delicious. Can’t wait to try making it.
    If I won, I’d buy some summer shoes, a new camera lens and supplies for baking and for my silhouette portriat.

  51. Megan

    I’d finally get my kitchenaid mixer! I’m loving this cake for spring, it’s perfect.

  52. Kaitlyn

    Looks yummy and so pretty too!

  53. Kim

    I was so excited to see this cake on Pinterest. My daughter has a sensitivity to artificial food coloring and I can’t wait to make this pretty pink frosting for her.

    If I won the Amazon gift card, I would upgrade my DSLR body. Mine’s only 6 megapixels (which was state-of-the-art when I got it) and the on-board flash stopped working.

  54. Mina

    This cake is going to be perfect for my daughter’s birthday!

  55. Jen @ Yummy Healthy Easy

    This cake is too gorgeous, Ashley!!! I wish I could reach my hand through the screen and grab a piece! Thanks for sharing on Saturday Night Fever – pinned!!

    • Ashley

      Thanks so much for pinning, Jen!

  56. Kim

    My daughter’s 23rd birthday is April 27 and she is coming to visit for the weekend. Of course, I am baking her a birthday cake, so I asked her to look at my Cakes board on Pinterest and choose one that she would like me to make for her. She chose this Vanilla Bean Cake with Strawberry Buttercream and I can’t wait to make it this weekend. Just hope that it turns out this beautiful! Thank you for the recipe.

    • Ashley

      Hi Kim, I hope that your daughter loves it! It is one of my favorite cakes πŸ™‚

  57. Marilyn proctor

    This sounds like a magical recipe – I can’t wait to make it. If I won I would purchase some
    Antique china.

  58. Mary reynolds

    Would this frosting pipe well?

    • Ashley

      Hi Mary! Yes, this frosting is basically just regular buttercream so it pipes well. If it is too soft, just let it firm up a bit in the fridge. Enjoy!

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  60. Ramona

    Hi, I made this cake for Mother’s Day and it was delicious! Loved the vanilla bean taste and the icing was perfect!! Thanks!

    • Ashley

      So glad to hear that you loved it, Ramona! I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

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  62. Robin johnseys

    Would this recipe easily translate to cupcakes? Any tips?

    • Ashley

      Hi Robin! I have not made cupcakes with this recipe, but you could probably try baking them for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let me know how they turn out if you do decide to try them. It will make a lot of cupcakes.

  63. Abby

    Hi Ashley,

    I’ve been scouring the Web for a cake like this for my daughter’s upcoming first birthday. So sweet and simple, and looks delicious! Technical question for you: I’d like to make this as a sheet cake (12x18x2) and a “smash” cake (6×2) for the birthday girl. Any thoughts on how the recipe would translate to these sizes? I am fairly terrible at conversions!

    Thank you!

    • Ashley

      Hi Abby! I have never made this recipe using the sizes you mentioned. But this recipe makes a pretty big cake, so you should definitely be able to make the sheet cake and may even have enough leftover to make the smaller cake as well. You will probably need 1.5 – 2x the frosting. Please let me know how it turns out. Enjoy!

      • Abby

        Hi Ashley! I finally tried this recipe in my 12×18 pan and it came out very flat — about an inch thick…did I do something wrong, or do you think there was just not enough batter? If it was just a lack of batter, do you think I could bake another layer and stack them, or would it be better to just over? I’m concerned if I stack them that they will be too dense, or that the ratio to icing will be off. Thanks!

        • Ashley

          Hi. Abby! It is possible that it wasn’t enough batter although this recipe makes a lot of cake. You could definitely try stacking them. You may just need to make additional frosting. I wish I had more suggestions but I always make this cake in 8″ round cake pans.

          • Abby

            I meant to write back here so long ago! I ended up tripling the recipe to see what would happen — success! That made enough for a nice high sheet cake and a 6-inch layer cake for my daughter to have as a smash cake. Turns out you need a lot of batter for a 12×18, 3 inch pan — I guess that makes sense when you think about it! It was delicious and a hit at the party. Thanks for the recipe!

            • Ashley

              I am so glad to hear that it turned out well. Thanks for sharing your results!

  64. Chelsea Baker

    I ran across this yesterday on Pinterest and decided to make it today. I was having a picnic with a friend and decided to make this since I had all the ingredients already. This cake was nothing short of amazing! I loved it as did my friends who had some as well. I think I found my “go-to” vanilla cake recipe (which I was in search of). Thank you for sharing this deliciousness!

    • Ashley

      Hi Chelsea! I am so glad to hear that you and your friends enjoyed this cake. It is one of my favorite flavors!

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  68. Keri

    Hi Ashley, I really want to make this cake however I only wanted to do a 2 layer cake instead of 3. Would it be possible for you to provide me with the recipe converted to make a 2 layer cake if that is possible? Will that change the outcome? Thanks much appreciated!

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  70. Lynda

    I made this cake for my husband’s b-day. The frosting was awesome but the cake was just ok. It was very dense and heavy. The taste was just ok too. I guess I like a lighter cake especially when making a three layer cake! I had to cut very thin slices, too heavy for my taste.

    • Ashley

      Hi, Lynda! I am sorry to hear that you didn’t love the cake. It is a pretty sweet cake so I like to cut small slices too. I hope that you try the frosting again.

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  72. kelley

    Simple and beautiful! Love that you use real ingredients and not mixes

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  74. Kathrine

    Would you please share where you bought the sprinkles and the brand? I LOVE them!

    Thank you!

    • Kathrine

      Thank you for your reply!!!! I appreciate it. I am going to bake your beautiful cake but first ordering these sprinkles!

  75. Megan

    Hi Ashley! You mention refrigerating the cake for 30 minutes after frosting. Do I need to keep the cake refrigerated or is that so the icing hardens up? I am worried I won’t have enough room in my refrigerator – not that it will be in there long πŸ™‚

    • Ashley

      Hi, Megan! The chill time is to ensure the frosting hardens.

  76. BraNdy

    Can this cake be made as cupcakes?? How full would I need to fill the liners so they don’t bubble over? Thanks

    • Ashley

      Hi Brandy! I would recommend filling them 3/4 full and baking for closer to 18-20 minutes. You should start checking whether they are baked around 18 minutes.

  77. Catherine

    Could you swap out the strawberries for raspberries? If so, would you use the same amount?

    • Ashley

      Hi, Catherine! Yes, you could use raspberries instead of strawberries although the amount may be different. I suggest starting with a small amount of raspberry puree and add it to the frosting until you have the desired consistency and flavor.

      • Catherine

        Update: I made this with a heaping cup of raspberries and it was very good! The texture of the cake was very good; however, as noted above, the cake tasted very bread-like. The next time I make it (there will be a next time), I will try and use less baking powder as recommended by another user. Thanks for the great recipe!

  78. Donna

    I made your cake today as I wanted to test it for a birthday party I’m hosting in a few weeks, The vanilla flavor was good and it was beautiful, but it had a very gummy texture. How long do you normally beat it after you have added the egg whites? Am I correct in assuming the egg whites are not beaten to soft peaks before adding them to the butter sugar mixture? Perhaps it was just underbaked? I baked my 3 inch layers for about 40 min. I would like to perfect it because I like the flavor combination.

    • Ashley

      Hi, Donna! I am sorry to hear that your cake turned out gummy. Usually a gummy cake results from over beating the batter or using a different ingredient than what the recipe calls for. The egg whites are not beaten to soft peaks before adding, you simply add the egg whites in step 2. I add the egg whites, one or two at a time, and beat until incorporated which doesn’t usually take very long. When you add the egg whites, you want to make sure you adjust the speed to medium. When you add the dry to the liquid in step 3, you only want to beat until just incorporated. I hope it comes out better for you the next time. Enjoy!

  79. Kris

    I made this cake for my birthday and got SO many compliments on it! It was incredible!

    • Ashley

      I’m so glad to hear that you loved it, Kris!

  80. Sandy Tran

    I am extremely excited to try this cake! I am planning to make it for thanksgiving dinner but I cannot bake the day of (or frost the day of) because of the turkey and all that. How would i be able to make this the night before and prepare the night before?

    • Ashley

      Hi, Sandy! The cake can be made in advance. I would bake it and assemble it the day before and then store in a cake container in the fridge until ready to serve, if possible. About an hour or two before serving, remove from fridge to bring to room temperature. Enjoy!

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