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Strawberry-Lemon Cake by Magnolia Days

Strawberry-Lemon Cake

Strawberry-Lemon Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting is a super moist and delightful dessert for both special and everyday occasions.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12 to 24 servings
Author Caroline Wright


For the Cake Magic! Cake Mix:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt see Note

For the Cake:

  • Unsalted butter at room temperature, for greasing the pans
  • All-purpose flour for dusting the pans
  • 3 1/2 cups dry Cake Magic! Cake Mix whisked well before measuring
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks, melted and cooled, or 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature

For the Strawberry Syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry preserves
  • 1 tablespoon seedless strawberry jam
  • Pinch of salt

For the Caramelized Strawberry Jam

  • 1/2 cup seedless strawberry jam or preserves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Strawberry Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks, at room temperature
  • 3 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Caramelized Strawberry Jam
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar one 16-ounce box
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


For the Cake Magic! Cake Mix:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together well to combine. Whisk the mix again before measuring.
  2. Note: It’s important to use table salt in the cake mix; other types will eventually settle out of the mix.
  3. Makes 4 cups (enough for one 8- or 9-inch two-layer cake, one 13 X 9-inch sheet cake, one 10-inch bundt cake, or 24 cupcakes)

For the Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and side of the pan(s). Dust with flour to coat, then invert and tap out any excess. (If making cupcakes, use liners instead of greasing and coating the tins.)
  2. Whisk together the cake mix, lemon zest, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, butter, lemon juice, and eggs until moistened and no lumps remain (be careful not to overmix). Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
  3. Bake until the layers are evenly golden brown and a few moist crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the center of the cake, 32 to 36 minutes (40 to 50 minutes for a Bundt, 25 to 35 minutes for a 13 by 9-inch cake, and 20 to 25 minutes for cupcakes). (At this point, coat the layers with syrup as directed and let them cool completely in the pans.)
  4. Makes one 8- or 9-inch two-layer cake (or one 10-inch bundt cake, one 13 X 9-inch sheet cake, or 24 cupcakes)

For the Strawberry Syrup:

  1. While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup: Combine the sugar, water, jams, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then stir in the vanilla and liqueur, if using. Remove from the heat and set aside to steep, covered, for at least 20 minutes. Strain the syrup. Use the syrup warm or at room temperature.
  2. After removing the cake layers from the oven, pierce them (still in the pans) at 1-inch intervals with a skewer or paring knife. Pour or brush the syrup over the layers, dividing it evenly. Set the layers aside, in the pans, on a wire rack to cool completely. (The syrup will soak into the cakes.)
  3. Makes 1 cup

For the Caramelized Strawberry Jam:

  1. Combine the jam and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil, without stirring, 1 minute. Remove from the heat, stir occasionally, and let the jam cool completely before using (it will thicken significantly as it cools).
  2. Makes 1/2 cup

For the Strawberry Frosting:

  1. When the cakes are cool and no longer wet to the touch, 1 to 2 hours, make the frosting: Combine the butter, cream cheese, jam, salt, and 2 cups of the sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the remaining sugar and beat on medium speed until the frosting is pale and no longer grainy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat until the frosting is very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Run a knife, or an offset spatula, around the edge of one of the cake layers to loosen it. (Turn the layers out of their pans 1 by 1, as you frost them.) Place the layer on a cake plate with strips of waxed, or parchment, paper underneath; these will catch any drips and keep your cake plate clean. Spread the layer with about a third of the frosting on top.
  3. Frost the rest. Run a knife, or an offset spatula, around the edge of the remaining cake layer. Invert it onto the frosted layer. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting.
  4. Makes 4 cups

Recipe Notes

Strawberry Frosting for Sheet Cakes: Use 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature; 2 tablespoons Caramelized Strawberry Jam, a pinch of salt; 2 cups confectioners' sugar; 1 ounce cream cheese, at room temperature; and 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Proceed as directed in the original recipe.

Recipe copyright © 2016 by Carolyn Wright and used with permission from Workman Publishing Company, Inc.