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My strawberry jam cake is made up of light as a feather vanilla bean cake layers, sandwiching strawberry jam filling. Frosted with a simple strawberry buttercream and topped with a mix of fresh strawberries and more glossy jam - this is a perfect bake for spring!
This recipe can be divided into three parts:
- Fluffy vanilla bean cake layers
- Strawberry jam frosting and filling
- Strawberry jam cake topping
Ingredients for the Fluffy Vanilla Bean Cake Layers
To make the cake layers for this easy strawberry jam cake, you'll need:
- Flour - either all purpose flour or plain flour will work in this recipe.
- Cornstarch - also known as cornflour in the UK.
- Sugar - superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar. This will be divided in the recipe between making the stiff meringue and the base cake batter.
- Eggs - at room temperature and separated into yolks and whites.
- Cream of tarter - this is often used to help stabilise meringues.
- Vanilla bean paste - while I recommend using a good quality vanilla bean paste for this recipe, you can also substitute with standard vanilla extract. This won't impact the baking of the cake, but the paste does tend to have a stronger flavour.
- Water - a few tablespoons of tap water. This should be cool, but doesn't need to be a specific temperature.
The cake layers are grease free (dairy free) and don't use butter or oil, similar to Angel Food cake or the sponges used for Swiss Rolls. If you want or need to keep the full cake dairy free, you will need to use an alternate frosting to the buttercream below.
Ingredients for Strawberry Jam Buttercream and Filling
You'll need four basic ingredients for the buttercream and filling:
- Butter - unsalted butter, softened at room temperature.
- Powdered sugar - also known as icing sugar or confectioners sugar.
- Vanilla bean paste - as with the cake layers, you can opt to substitute this with normal vanilla extract.
- Strawberry jam - the star of the show! You can use store bought jam for this strawberry jam cake or make your own. My easy small batch strawberry jam recipe is a great quick strawberry jam for cake filling, which makes plenty for this recipe!
Ingredients for Topping
For the perfect topping to strawberry jam cake, you'll just need:
- Strawberry jam
- A few strawberries - stems removed and sliced in half or quartered. You could substitute with frozen strawberries, but defrost these first.
Making Light and Fluffy Cake Layers
The vanilla bean cake in this recipe is incredibly light. This is because it is grease free and leavened by a stiff peaked meringue - loading the cake with air.
To make this cake batter, place the egg whites and cream of tarter in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Using either the stand mixer or a handheld electric beater, whip the egg whites until frothy and soft peaks form. Then add six tablespoons of your sugar a tablespoon at a time, continuing to whisk until stiff peaks form. Set this aside while you make the base batter.
In a separate large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cornstarch and remaining sugar. Meanwhile in a jug, lightly whisk together the egg yolks, water and vanilla bean paste. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to form a smooth thick batter.
Then add the meringue and fold to incorporate - be careful not to knock out too much air! Pour into two baking trays and bake for about 40 minutes, until the top of the cake springs back lightly to the touch.
Remove from the oven and cool in the tins for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to continue cooling.
Tips and Tricks
- To make the meringue easier to fold into the batter, start by adding a spoonful. Stir the spoonful of meringue into the batter, without worrying about protecting the air in the meringue. This will loosen the batter and make folding the rest in a lot easier!
- Don't use grease or non-stick sprays in your baking trays - these cakes work best in silicone baking tins or in standard cake trays, lined with parchment paper.
- After filling the cake trays, smooth out carefully with a spatula and then raise the trays above the counter a few inches and drop down onto the surface - repeat this two or three times. This process of knocking the trays on the counter will help burst excess air bubbles.
- When baking the cake layers, avoid opening the door to the oven too soon or too often - this can cause the cakes not to rise as they should.
- To check that the cake is done, you will want to lightly touch the top of the cake as it bakes. It should spring back to the touch.
- The cakes will balloon out over the top of the cake pans while they bake. Once removed from the oven, let them cool in the baking trays until these are able to be easily handled. The domes will sink back into the cake and they should be more evenly topped.
- These cakes are very delicate, like angel food. Be careful unmoulding from the trays. You may find that there are lots of crumbs. The tops in particular may flake off a bit as you handle them. Don't worry - this is normal and not a problem for the finished product.
Making Strawberry Jam Cake Icing
My easy strawberry jam cake filling is made up of two parts - the buttercream and the jam itself. This frosting is essentially a light strawberry version of my classic vanilla American buttercream.
Follow the same processes of sifting powdered sugar into softened butter and beating until the mixture begins coming together. Then add the vanilla along with a couple of tablespoons of strawberry jam. Beat until smooth.
This will give a light strawberry flavour to the frosting while also providing a beautiful pale pink colour.
Depending on the thickness of your jam (whether this is soft set or more firm), you may need to use additional sifted powdered sugar or milk to adjust the consistency of the frosting to be easily spreadable.
Assembling the Cake
The cake layers will be light and delicate, so you will want to handle and frost carefully so that you don't have too many crumbs!
As a step by step assembly guide, I'd suggest beginning by placing one layer on a cake plate or stand. I find that these cakes often will be wider on top than on the bottom, especially if you have used silicone baking tins. If this is the case, it is best to invert the first layer so that the top is actually turned upside down and placed to be the bottom. To secure the cake to the plate, add a small amount of frosting to the plate, this will help stick the layer more firmly in place.
Use a bit of frosting to add a thin layer of icing on top of this layer. Then pipe a small border around the inside of the edge. This will help to hold your strawberry jam filling in place.
Add your jam on top of this layer, spreading to fill the cavity up to the piped buttercream edge. Then place the other cake layer on top.
Carefully spread buttercream around the sides and over the top of the cake. Due to the crumbs, you may find it best to 'crumb coat' the cake first. This is where you frost the cake in a thin layer of buttercream and then chill it in the refrigerator before adding the remaining buttercream. By thinly frosting the cake, you capture the crumbs in a base coat and then chill this so that you are more easily able to add the rest of the frosting without the crumbs coming loose.
To top off this cake, you have two options:
- Simply spread the remaining jam in a circle on the top of the cake create a glossy ruby finish.
- Mix the jam with some fresh chopped strawberries before spooning onto the top.
The option to use some fresh fruit is a great opportunity for a more show-stopping finish, with large pieces of strawberries.
For best results, add the topping nearer the time of serving. If left in the refrigerator for a couple of days, the jam in the topping may become more runny.
Yes! Absolutely - strawberry jam is a great option for cake filling and this easy vanilla cake with strawberry jam filling is the perfect example! Sandwich homemade or store bought jam into light fluffy vanilla bean cake layers with some quick strawberry buttercream frosting for a light and sweet, fruity treat.
My strawberry jam and buttercream cake will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 days. For best results, do not refrigerate until frosted in at least a thin layer of buttercream - this helps to seal in the freshness and prevent staling.
Yes! This vanilla cake with strawberry jam filling can be frozen for up to 3 months. If choosing to freeze, you may find it easier and more efficient for storage to freeze the cake once frosted, but prior to adding the strawberry topping. Add the topping after defrosting and nearer the time for serving.
Looking for some more cake-spiration? Check out some of these recipes:
- Blueberry Jam Cake
- Lemon Blackberry Cake
- Cardamom Pistachio Cake
- Classic Angel Food Cake
- Thrifty Pound Cake
Strawberry Jam Cake
- hand held electric beater or stand mixer
- small mixing bowl
- piping bag or ziploc bag
Ingredients for Vanilla Bean Cake Layers
- 5 eggs separated into yolks and whites
- 1 teaspoon cream of tarter
- 1¼ cups superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour or plain flour
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch or cornflour in the UK
- ¼ cup water
- 2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Ingredients for Strawberry Jam Buttercream
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 2¾ cup powdered sugar or icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- ⅔ cup strawberry jam either store bought or homemade (for an easy recipe use this small batch version)
Ingredients for Strawberry Jam Cake Topping
- 4 oz fresh strawberries stems removed and cut in half or quartered
- ⅓ cup strawberry jam
Instructions for Vanilla Bean Cake Layers
- Begin by preheating the oven to 325°F (165C/145C Fan) and preparing your cake tins. If using silicone tins, these do not need any preparation. If using standard cake tins, line these with parchment paper - you do not want grease to come in contact with the cake batter.
- Add the egg whites and cream of tarter to a large mixing bowl and whisk with a handheld electric beater until foamy soft peaks form.
- Once your meringue has been beaten to soft peaks, slowly add 6 tablespoons of sugar about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until glossy stiff peaks form (see note). Set this aside.
- In a jug, whisk together the egg yolks with the vanilla bean paste and water until emulsified.
- Meanwhile in a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar with the flour and cornstarch.
- Add the egg yolk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk to create a smooth batter.
- Next, add the meringue to the batter and fold to combine, creating a light and airy mixture (see note).
- Pour the batter into your cake tins and carefully smooth evenly with an offset spatula.
- Bake in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes until the cakes have risen and are turning golden. Test by lightly touching the top of the cakes - they should spring back lightly to the touch (similar to Swiss Roll cakes).
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the cake tins. During this time, the domed tops will deflate and should create a more even surface. Then carefully unmould and place on a wire rack to cool completely, while you prepare your buttercream.
Instructions for Strawberry Jam Buttercream
- To make the buttercream, beat the softened butter briefly until smooth, then sift in the powdered sugar and beat to combine (this can be done in two additions). Then add 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam and the vanilla bean paste. Beat for a couple of minutes until smooth (see note).
Instructions for Assembling Strawberry Jam Cake
- Once the cake layers have cooled, place one on a cake plate or stand and frost with the top with a thin layer of buttercream, taking care as the layers will be delicate.
- Pipe a border around the inside of the edge of the layer and fill with about ½ cup of strawberry jam.
- Place the second layer of cake on top, sandwiching the jam filling.
- Then carefully frost the sides and top of the cake (see the blog post for tips on assembling and crumb coating this cake).
- To make the topping, stir the fresh strawberries with about ⅓ cup strawberry jam and spoon onto the top of the cake (see note).