Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

This vibrant pink layer cake is pure strawberry-on-strawberry goodness, with fresh strawberries going into the cake batter and frosting. One thing to note about the buttercream frosting—it is absolutely bursting with berry flavor, but is easily over-mixed. If you find you’ve broken your emulsion when whipping this frosting up, no worries. You can simply mix in a little more powdered sugar to restore it. That said, we love how purely strawberry-forward the flavor of this frosting is, so we’d advise being very light-handed when adding extra powdered sugar, as it will dilute the berry flavor. In our opinion, it’s better to have a slightly broken frosting that tastes like strawberries than a perfectly pristine frosting that tastes like sugar.

Ingredients

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing pans
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups (about 14 7/8 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries (about 7 oz.)
1/2 teaspoon red liquid food coloring
1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
8 cups (about 2 lb.) powdered sugar
1 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries (about 7 oz.)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon table salt

How to Make It

Prepare the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat sugar and butter with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time; beat on low speed just until incorporated after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add to sugar mixture alternately with half-and-half, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat on low speed just until combined after each addition. Fold in strawberries and red food coloring.
Divide batter evenly among 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Cool cakes in pans on wire racks until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire racks to cool completely, about 1 hour.
Prepare the Strawberry Buttercream Frosting: Beat butter with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar, and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add strawberries, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt; beat just until smooth.
Assemble the Cake: Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate; spread with an even layer of Strawberry Buttercream Frosting. Repeat 2 times with 2 cake layers and frosting. Spread top and sides of cake with remaining frosting.