Strawberry Lemonade Cake

Strawberries, lemon curd, fluffly lemon sponges, the most delicious mascarpone frosting… this strawberry lemonade cake couldn’t be more delicious if it tried. Have I mentioned it’s also easy to make and gluten free?

This post has been created in collaboration with KitchenAid UK. All opinions expressed in the post are my own… plus, there’s a whole lotta cake – so read on. (For more information you can check out my Disclosure Policy.)

Strawberry lemonade cake on a white cake stand, with a red KitchenAid stand mixer behind it. More strawberries, plates and cutlery is in the background.

Meet my latest food crush. It’s the perfect summer dessert – with an overabundance of lush strawberries, a generous drizzle of tangy lemon curd, the velvetiest of mascarpone frostings, and fluffy, met-in-your-mouth lemony sponges.

I seriously love this strawberry lemonade cake. I’m usually a one-piece-of-cake-is-enough kinda girl, but this beauty saw me going back for seconds. The levels of deliciousness with this cake are bordering on dangerous. You’ve been warned.

A slice of the strawberry lemonade cake being removed wit a cake server.

Speaking of crushes… can we talk about kitchen appliance crushes for a second? (And yes, that’s totally a thing.)

I love my trusty KitchenAid stand mixer – it’s been my constant companion on numerous baking adventures and it has never let me down.

Now, in celebration of their 100th year anniversary, KitchenAid have released a new special edition of their appliances… and they’re pretty. Like, really pretty. From its “passion red” colour to the heart pattern on its trim, the Queen of Hearts stand mixer is a thing of beauty.

Okay, enough drooling over gorgeous kitchen equipment – let’s focus on the prettiest of cakes.

A slice of the strawberry lemonade cake on a white plate. Another slice and the rest of the cake are in the background.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this wonderful cake – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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7 reasons for why you should make the strawberry lemonade cake ASAP

1. The lemon sponges – The sponges are fluffy, full of lemon zest goodness, and they simply melt in your mouth. They’re also just the right amount of buttery and rich, as well as sturdy enough for a layer cake.

2. The velvety mascarpone whipped frosting – We’re taking a break from the usual buttercream, and using whipped heavy cream with folded in mascarpone cheese, for a frosting that will have you reaching for a spoon.

3. The tangy lemon curd – You can’t have a “lemonade cake” without glossy, vibrant, refreshing lemon curd – it’s simply not done. The lemon curd is what brings the cake together, and takes it from a good to AN ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT cake.

4. ALL THE STRAWBERRIES – Or as many strawberries as your heart desires and/or you can get your hands on. In addition to making the cake even more delicious, the strawberries also serve as a no-fuss decoration. Just pile a small mountain of dainty strawberries on top of the cake… and I promise you it will look amazing.

5. It’s gluten free – Yes, this beauty of a cake is gluten free! Of course, if that isn’t a requirement for you, just use regular all-purpose flour instead (and omit xanthan gum).

6. Super easy to make – The advantage of so-called “naked cakes” (where you don’t coat the outside of the cake with frosting, but instead allow the layers of sponge, frosting, etc. to be visible) is that they require minimal skill… while still looking incredibly impressive. And this strawberry lemonade cake is the perfect example – it’s lush and luxurious and just rustic enough, so you don’t have to worry about it being absolutely perfect.

7. It’s. SO. PRETTY. – I mean, no explanation needed here. Have you seen how drop dead gorgeous the cake is?!

Decorating the top of the strawberry lemonade cake with whole strawberries.

How do you make the lemon sponges?

The gluten free lemon sponges are incredibly easy to make – and they honestly couldn’t be more perfect if they tried (even if I do say so myself). What’s even better: you probably have all the ingredients needed to make them in your pantry already!

(For the full recipe, including ingredient quantities, scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

  • plain gluten free flour blend
  • almond flour
  • xanthan gum
  • baking powder
  • caster/superfine sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • lemon zest
  • unsalted butter
  • eggs (and a few more egg whites)
  • milk
  • lemon juice

To make the lemon sponges:

  1. Sift together all the dry ingredients (including sugar).
  2. Add the softened unsalted butter and mix it into the dry ingredients until you get a texture resembling coarse sand – using a pretty KitchenAid mixer (obviously).
  3. Add the wet ingredients, and mix until you get a smooth batter.
  4. Transfer the batter into lined (or greased) cake tins and smooth out the top.
  5. Bake!

As in the chocolate chip cookie cake, the raspberry sheet cake and the AMAZING gluten free lemon drizzle cake, we’re using the so-called “reverse creaming method” to make our sponges. It’s great because it gives a very delicate, melt-in-your-mouth cake crumb with an even aeration and minimal doming.

How do you make the mascarpone frosting?

The mascarpone frosting is a 5 ingredient affair:

  • heavy/double cream
  • powdered/icing sugar
  • mascarpone cheese
  • a pinch of salt
  • vanilla paste (or extract)

And all you have to do to make it:

  1. Whip heavy/double cream (together with the sugar) to the soft peak stage – more on that below.
  2. Fold in mascarpone cheese.
  3. Add in a pinch of salt and vanilla.

And that’s it. Making the mascarpone frosting takes less than 5 minutes, and yet it’s hands down one of my favourite frostings – I promise you’ll love it too.

How to make the perfect whipped cream

The secret to the PERFECT whipped cream, with soft peaks and a luscious, smooth texture is to whip it SLOWLY. Don’t go all crazy and whip it at a high speed (this goes for both hand mixers and stand mixers).

If you whip the cream slowly, you control the amount of air you incorporate into it, and can stop at the soft peak stage, rather than overshooting to the stiff peak or even curdled-looking stage.

When using the KitchenAid stand mixer, I like to whip heavy/double cream on setting 6 at the beginning, and when the cream begins to thicken, move to setting 4 until I get to the desired consistency.

A slice of the strawberry lemonade cake being removed wit a cake server.

Assembling the strawberry lemonade cake

The lemon sponges are baked and cooled, the mascarpone frosting is whipped and luscious, the lemon curd is sheer glossy perfection, and the strawberries are ready to go – let’s assemble the cake!

We’ll start by swirling a generous portion of the mascarpone frosting on top of the sponge, followed by a generous drizzle of the lemon curd.

Drizzling lemon curd on top of mascarpone frosting in making the strawberry lemonade cake.

Now, lemon curd really really wants to drip and ooze down the sides – which is pretty (I’m sure we can all agree on that), but only when done in moderation.

To prevent all the lemon curd from escaping from in between the layers, we’ll gently swirl some of it into the mascarpone frosting.

Swirling the lemon curd into the mascarpone frosting in making the strawberry lemonade cake.

Next up: STRAWBERRIES. Place halved strawberries on top of the lemon curd + frosting – make sure some go over the edge, so they’ll be visible when you place the next sponge on top.

Placing strawberry halves on top of the lemon curd and mascarpone frosting in making the strawberry lemonade cake.

For the top layer, we’ll decorate that with whole strawberries – and we’ll leave the green leaves and stems on, because they make the whole thing approximately 237-times prettier. I’ve thrown a few chamomile flowers into the decorating mix because… why not, right?

Look: pretty!

Decorating the top of the strawberry lemonade cake with whole strawberries.

Strawberry lemonade cake on a white cake stand. A bowl of fresh strawberries, plates and cutlery are in the background.

So there you have it, friends. A rustic, beautiful strawberry lemonade cake that tastes and looks like summer and sunshine. It makes you happy just looking at it… and let’s not even start on how it makes you feel when you actually take a bite. *goosebumbps*

I hope you love it as much as I do. It’s a breeze to make – especially with a good ol’ KitchenAid stand mixer helping every step of the way.

Enjoy.

A slice of the strawberry lemonade cake on a white plate. Another slice and the rest of the cake are in the background.

If you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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Strawberry Lemonade Cake (Gluten Free)

Strawberries, lemon curd, fluffly lemon sponges, the most delicious mascarpone frosting… this strawberry lemonade cake couldn’t be more delicious if it tried. Have I mentioned it’s also easy to make and gluten free?

Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten Free
Keyword layer cake recipe, lemon cake, lemon curd, mascarpone frosting, naked cake, strawberry lemonade cake
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 37 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

For lemon curd:

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) lemon juice (juice from 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup (50 - 100 g) caster/superfine sugar (depending on how tart or sweet you would like the lemon curd to be)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 medium egg yolks
  • 1/3 stick + 1 tbsp (50 g) unsalted butter

For lemon sponges:

  • 2 1/2 cups (300 g) plain gluten free flour blend (I've used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour, which doesn't contain xanthan gum)
  • 1 cup (96 g) almond flour
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum (omit if your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan)
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) caster/superfine sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 3/4 sticks (200 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 medium eggs, room temperature
  • 3 medium egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 mL) milk, room temperature
  • 6 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)

For mascarpone frosting:

  • 2 1/2 cups (600 mL) double/heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g) powdered/icing sugar
  • 2 cups (450 g) mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • pinch of salt

You will also need:

  • ~15 - 20 medium strawberries, halved (plus ~10 - 15 more for decoration on top)

Instructions

For lemon curd:

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine all lemon curd ingredients except the butter. Whisk or stir briefly until the eggs are evenly incorporated.

  2. Cook the lemon curd on medium-high heat until it starts thickening – stir constantly but do not whisk. Whisking will create a foam (from the egg yolks and the sugar), which will make your lemon curd frothy and not at all "lemon curdy".

  3. After about 8 - 10 minutes, the lemon curd should have thickened significantly. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, 1 tbsp at a time, until all butter has melted and has been completely incorporated.

  4. Allow the lemon curd to cool, stirring occasionally to prevent "skin" formation on top. Once at room temperature, place it in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the cake. This will help it thicken up, and prevent it from oozing and dripping too much when you assemble the cake.

For lemon sponges:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 355 ºF (180 ºC) and line three 8 inch (20 cm) round cake tins with baking/greaseproof paper (or you just can grease and flour them lightly).

  2. In a large bowl, sift together the gluten free flour blend, almond flour, xanthan gum and baking powder. Add the sugar, salt and lemon zest, and mix until combined.

  3. Add the softened butter and, using either a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer with the double beater attachments, work the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a texture resembling coarse sand.

  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, egg whites, milk, lemon juice and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry+butter mixture, and whisk/mix well until you get a smooth batter with no flour clumps.

  5. Transfer the cake batter into the prepared cake tins, smooth out the top, and bake in the pre-heated oven at 355 ºF (180 ºC) for about 22 minutes or until risen, golden brown on top and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

    If the sponges start browning too quickly or too much, cover them with aluminium foil and continue baking until done.

  6. Allow the sponges to cool in the cake tins for about 10 minutes, then remove from the tins, and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

For mascarpone frosting:

  1. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer with the double beater attachments, whip together heavy/double cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form.

  2. Once at the soft peak stage, fold in the mascarpone cheese. You will get a smooth frosting that spreads easily but will also hold its shape. Add in the vanilla paste and salt, and mix briefly until it's evenly distributed.

Assembling the cake:

  1. Spread a generous layer of mascarpone frosting on top of the bottom sponge.

  2. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the cooled and thickened lemon curd on top of the frosting. Swirl some of the lemon curd into the frosting, allowing the rest to drip down the sides.

  3. Place halved strawberries on top of the lemon curd + frosting – make sure some go over the edge, so they’ll be visible when you place the next sponge on top.

  4. Repeat with the next two layers, decorating the top of the cake with whole strawberries.

  5. Enjoy!

  6. NOTE: The cake is easier to cut after it's chilled in the fridge for at least 30 minutes beforehand.

Storage:

  1. The cake keeps well in a closed container or wrapped in cling film, in the fridge for 3 - 4 days. 

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