This beautiful Summer Layer Cake is perfect for summertime entertaining or birthday celebrations. It is a 3-layered cake, made up of strawberry cake, strawberry cheesecake, and lemon cake finished with a tangy lemon frosting. For a special flourish, you could top it with fresh strawberries and lemon slices.
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Summer Layer Cake
The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. I highly recommend reading all the way through for any tips or substitute suggestions, to ensure that you have any specialized ingredients and equipment required and that you understand the steps and timings involved.
This summer layer cake is a real showstopper dessert. It’s actually really easy to make, but it does take a little time. Let me explain why.
The cake is made up of three layers, two are simple sponge cakes, made using boxes of cake mix. Easy!
The middle layer is strawberry cheesecake, which is made from scratch and needs time to cook (1 hour) plus cooling time in the oven (45 mins) and then left to chill and set completely overnight in the fridge (12 hours).
When the cheesecake layer is made, you can work on the cake layers, and they too need to be popped in the fridge overnight to help them firm up a bit, which makes the cake easier to assemble and frost.
All that is left to do is to frost the cake which should take no time at all, but you’ll need about an hour back in the fridge before serving.
So if you need to make this yummy cake (and believe me, it is SO yummy!) then you need to make it at least a day in advance.
Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe
While most ingredients can be bought in grocery stores, for your convenience, any specialized or notable ingredients (and equipment) needed for this recipe have been listed below and linked to Amazon or other stores if available online.
It does not include staple ingredients such as oil, salt, and pepper, sugar, etc., as you’re likely to have those in your kitchen already. The complete list of ingredients with measurements is found in the recipe card.
- Fresh Produce – Strawberries, Lemons.
- Dairy – Cream Cheese, Sour Cream, Eggs, Unsalted Butter, Heavy Whipping Cream (Double Cream).
- Strawberry Cake Mix
- Lemon Cake Mix
- Powdered Sugar – also known as Icing Sugar or Confectioners Sugar.
- Pure Vanilla Extract – always buy good vanilla as it really does make a flavor difference.
- All-Purpose Flour – also known as Plain Flour.
- 1 (9-inch) Round Springform Cake Pan – to cook the cheesecake layer.
- 2 (9-inch) Round Cake Pans – to cook the strawberry, and lemon cakes.
- 1 (10-inch) Round Cake Board – to serve the cake on, or you could use a cake stand or cake plate.
- 1 Large Piping Bag fitted with Star Tip – such as Wilton 1M Open Star Tip.
Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog use both cup measurements and/or weighted measurements. American cups and kitchen food scales are handy pieces of equipment to have in your kitchen as it means you’ll be able to make all of the different recipes on my blog. I try to give American, imperial, and metric measurements in my recipes. Please note, you can mix cup measurements with weighted measurements, but never mix imperial (pounds, ounces, pints, etc.,) with metric (kilograms, grams, litres, etc.,).
More Recipes Using Cake Mix
One of the hero ingredients in this dish is a box of cake mix, so here are some more recipes using the same:
- Oreo Spiderweb Cheesecake with Black Velvet Cake Base
- Easy Candy Coated Baked Spiced Pumpkin Donuts Recipe
- Pineapple Upside Down Cake Fudge
More Cake Recipes
Looking for more cakes to make? Check these recipes out next:
- Yellow Sheet Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Rich & Chocolatey Decadent Chocolate Layer Cake For Any Occasion
- Totally Awesome Hippie Tie Dye Cake for 60s Parties
How Do I Make a Summer Layer Cake?
Check out the printable recipe card below with full ingredients and instructions. Any demonstration photos do not print out to save your ink.
For the Strawberry Cheesecake Sauce
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, diced
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
For the Cheesecake
- 3 (8oz/225g) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
For the Strawberry Cake
- 1 (15.25oz) box of strawberry cake mix
- 1 cup water
- 3 large eggs
- ⅓ cup oil
For the Lemon Cake
- 1 (15.25oz) box of lemon cake mix
- 1 cup water
- 3 large eggs
- ⅓ cup oil
For the Lemon Frosting
- 2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)
- 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
- 4-6 Tbsp heavy whipping cream (double cream)
- To make the strawberry cheesecake sauce, combine all ingredients into a medium saucepan and cook over medium to high heat. Stir the sauce occasionally for about 10-15 minutes until it begins to thicken.
Reduce the heat and stir for 1 minute before removing it from the heat and allow it to cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and spray the 9-inch round springform pan with non-stick baking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set pan aside.
- To make the cheesecake, place the cream cheese, sugar, and flour into a bowl and beat together until combined and smooth.
- Beat in the sour cream and vanilla until combined.
- Beat the eggs into the mixture, one at a time, until combined.
- Pour half of the cheesecake batter into the prepared cake pan, then swirl half the strawberry sauce into the batter.
- Add the remaining cheesecake batter, followed by swirling in the remaining strawberry sauce.
- Fill a 9x13-inch baking dish halfway with hot water and place it onto the bottom rack of your oven.
- Place the cheesecake on the top rack, above the center of the baking dish and bake for 1 hour.
- When the time is up, turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for another 45 minutes.
- When the time is up, remove the cheesecake from the oven and leave it to cool completely at room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator to set overnight.
- Increase the oven temperature to 180C/350F/Gas 4 spray two 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick baking spray. Set them aside.
- To make the strawberry cake layer, place the strawberry cake mix, water, eggs, and oil into a mixing bowl and beat until well combined. Pour the cake batter into one of the prepared cake pans. Set aside.
- To make the lemon cake layer, place the lemon cake mix, water, eggs, and oil into a mixing bowl and beat until well combined. Pour the cake batter into the other prepared cake pan.
- Place both cake pans into the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Leave the cakes to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes then remove from the pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- When cool, use a knife or cake leveler to remove the dome from the cakes to create even layers.
- Place the cakes into a cake tin or container and leave to rest overnight. This will allow the cakes to be more sturdy when you build the cake with the cheesecake layer.
- When ready to decorate, make the frosting use an electric handheld or stand mixer and beat all the ingredients until combined and smooth, and it holds a peak.
- To build the cake, place the strawberry cake layer onto a 10-inch round cake board or cake platter.
- Scoop 1 cup of frosting onto the top of the strawberry cake layer and spread evenly.
- Carefully remove the strawberry cheesecake from the cake pan and place it on top of the frosted strawberry cake layer.
- Scoop 1 cup of frosting onto the top of the cheesecake layer and spread evenly.
- Place the lemon cake layer on top of the frosted cheesecake layer.
- Spread a thin layer of frosting around the top and sides of the cake to crumb coat it. Place the cake into the fridge for about an hour to firm up.
- Scoop the remaining frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star tip.
- Pipe swirls all around the sides and top of the cake to cover completely.
- Place the completely frosted cake back into the fridge for 1 hour to firm up before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1563Total Fat: 99gSaturated Fat: 48gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 44gCholesterol: 438mgSodium: 649mgCarbohydrates: 160gFiber: 2gSugar: 126gProtein: 14g
This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
Make It A Full Meal
You’ve made the dessert, but what about the rest of the courses?
Here are additional recipes to make a full meal for a dinner party or special occasion:
- Appetizer: Quick & Easy White Bean Dip with Seasoned Pita Chips
- Soup: Instant Pot Creamy Asparagus Soup Recipe
- Salad: Strawberry Fennel Salad
- Main Dish: One-Pan Lemon Chicken with Summer Squash (Ready in 30 Minutes!)
- Side Dish: Greek-Style Lemon Potatoes
- Beverage: Cuban Rum and Peach Cocktail
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy – please feel free to check them out too.