Vanilla Birthday Cake with Homemade Strawberry Jam & Vanilla Buttercream

Hello, friends! How are you keeping? I find myself in a near constant state of frustration these days, looking at people not wearing masks or social distancing. It’s just so irresponsible it bugs me right to the core. Thankfully we’re escaping to a secluded house in the country on Friday, so I won’t have to think about that for a while. Until then, there’s always cake, and amen for that! Vanilla Birthday Cake with Homemade Strawberry Jam & Vanilla Buttercream. Because birthdays always deserve to be recognized, especially during a pandemic.


As soon as I made the strawberry jam last week, I just knew that I wanted to use it to fill a layer cake. I’ve been intrigued by the idea of filling a layer cake with jam for some time now, but have always chickened out before doing it. Jam is one of those tricky fillings that’s too thin to withstand the weight of the cake layers, so you have to build a buttercream dam along the edges of the layers to keep it inside. I genuinely don’t know why I let this put me off for so long – I piped a squiggly boarder around the edges of the layers with a freezer bag cut at one corner. Literally. And look at the pretty layers! Genuinely, anyone could do it.

I made this 6-inch Vanilla Birthday Cake for one of my best friend’s birthdays last week and it was perfect! We had a small, socially distanced gathering of 4-people, and both the size & taste of this cake were just what we needed. There’s something so simple and yet so classy about a layered vanilla cake. Of course, I had to pair it with fresh Irish strawberries because HELLO is there anything more classy than little flecks of vanilla & seasonal strawberries? I think not. Add a glass of prosecco and you’re winning. I speak from experience.

Elegant, classy, seasonal, simple – this Vanilla Birthday Cake is the perfect way to welcome in a new age.

Happy birthday, Fรณ!

Print this recipe!

Makes one 4-layer 6-inch cake | Recipe by Passionate Baker


for the cake:
50g salted butter
3 large eggs
225g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, homemade
1/3 cup + 1 & 1/2 tablespoons milk
180g plain flour
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

for the filling:
1 cup strawberry jam, homemade

for the vanilla buttercream:
170g salted butter, room temperature
240g icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, homemade

for the topping:
strawberries, for decoration (optional)


for the cake:

Heat the oven to 180ยฐC. Butter & flour two 6-inch cake tins; set aside. Melt the butter; set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, use an electric whisk to beat together the eggs, sugar & vanilla until very light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.

Heat the milk until lukewarm (about 20-seconds in the microwave), & slowly whisk into the egg mixture. Whisk in the cooled melted butter.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour & the baking powder. Add all at once to the cake batter & stir until smooth.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared tins & bake in the preheated for 30/35-minutes, until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Leave the cakes cool for 10-minutes in their tins, before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

for the buttercream:

Using an electric whisk or stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy, about 1-minute. Add the icing sugar to the butter a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the milk & vanilla extract, increase the speed slightly, and beat until light & fluffy, about 3-minutes.

to assemble:

Use a sharp knife to divide each of the cake layer in two, giving you 4 layers.

Put one layer on your serving platter & spread with 1/4 cup of vanilla buttercream. Using a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle, pipe a quick “dam” of buttercream around the edges of the cake. Spread 1/3 cup of strawberry jam over the vanilla layer, within the edges of the “dam”.

Repeat this process until youโ€™ve used up all of your layers.

Spread a very thin layer of frosting all over the cake & place into the fridge for 15-minutes.

Spread a the remaining frosting all over the cake, using an offset spatula to smooth it over.

Top the cake with strawberry halves or flowers etc.


This cake is on the sweeter side of things, and I suspect the culprit is the homemade jam. For a less sweet cake, use store bought jam in the filling. Either way – it’s still delicious!

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