Lemon sponge cake with strawberries and cream

The ultimate treat, this lemon sponge really takes the cake as far as impressive desserts go!
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 8
Kid Friendly


Speedy sponge cake

  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence or extract
  • 4 free-range eggs at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons milk 3 tablespoons
  • 75 g butter melted
  • 1-2 lemons finely grated zest
  • cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Lemon and vanilla cream-cheese cream

  • 200 g cream cheese softened
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 lemon finely grated zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence or extract
  • 300 ml cream
  • 3 tablespoons icing sugar

To assemble

  • cup strawberry raspberry or similar jam 1⁄3 cup
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 2 lemon sponge layers
  • 4-6 tablespoons cream or 3 tablespoons amaretto or other liqueur
  • 2 punnets strawberries


Speedy sponge cake:

  • Preheat oven to 190°C. Lightly grease and line two 20-22cm round cake tins with baking paper.
  • Use an electric beater to beat sugar, vanilla and eggs in a large mixing bowl for 3 minutes on high speed, until pale, light and fluffy.
  • Add milk, melted butter, lemon zest and a pinch of salt, then sift in flour and baking powder and fold together using a large metal spoon until just combined – do not over-mix or the sponge will be tough.
  • Spoon mixture equally into tins. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until sponges spring back when lightly touched. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes before removing.

Lemon and vanilla cream-cheese cream:

  • In a bowl, use an electric beater to beat cream cheese, lemon juice, zest and vanilla until smooth. Add cream and icing sugar and continue beating for 2-3 minutes until mixture is like thick whipped cream; take care not to over-beat.
  • To assemble, mix jam with the boiling water to loosen. Place one sponge on a serving plate or cake stand. Drizzle with half the cream or liqueur and spread with one-third of jam. Roughly spread over half the cream-cheese cream and top with 1 punnet of sliced strawberries. Repeat with second sponge, adding cream or liqueur, jam and cream-cheese cream. Place second sponge on top of first. Pile with second punnet of halved or quartered strawberries. Drizzle with remaining jam.


  • Measure flour by tipping it into cup. If you scoop it from the packet, you end up with too much flour!
  • You can make sponges a day ahead and keep in an airtight container in the pantry (not the fridge or they will dry out). NB: If sponges do dry out, they can be revived with a drizzle of cream, liqueur, or jam mixed with a little water.
  • You can make the cream-cheese cream up to a day in advance; keep well covered in the fridge. Add a little liquid cream to loosen the mixture slightly before spreading.


This is a nod to my nan’s favourite way to end Christmas lunch – a simple sponge cake with strawberries and cream. I’ve made my own twist, using lemon zest as well as a decadent vanilla and lemon cream-cheese cream. Be sure to add as many strawbs as you can fit on the lemon sponge cake!
Check out the tips below for perfect sponge cake making. My sponge recipe is quick and easy, and can even be made a day in advance. If you wanted to be really sneaky, you could even buy ready-made sponges from a nice bakery and assemble the cake with the other elements.
If you like this sponge recipe, you’ll also like my Ferrero Rocher Chocolate Hazelnut Cake!