Strawberry-Cardamom and Cream Cake

Padma Lakshmi puts a fresh spin on a strawberry shortcake with a buttery layer cake.

Strawberry-Cardamom and Cream cake and curtains
Photo: Carson Downing
Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
Hands On Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
one (2-layer) 9-inch cake

Creator of Taste the Nation and host of Top Chef, Padma Lakshmi plays with the idea of strawberry shortcake as a layer cake with a dense buttery cake, fresh berries, and cream cheese frosting fluffed with whipped cream.


  • 2 ½ cup chopped strawberries, divided

  • cup plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar

  • 4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom

  • 2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened

  • cup packed light brown sugar

  • 4 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided

  • 4 large eggs

  • Zest of 2 lemons

  • 1 ½ cup buttermilk

  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

  • 2 cup heavy cream


  1. In a small bowl combine 1 cup of the strawberries and 1 tsp. of granulated sugar; set aside.

  2. For the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 9x2-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper.* In a medium bowl whisk together the 4 cups flour, the cardamom, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, the remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, and 2 tsp. of the vanilla on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl.

  4. Add eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl between each beating. Fold in the lemon zest.

  5. Add half of the flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating on low. Repeat with remaining flour and buttermilk, beating until just incorporated.

  6. In a medium bowl toss the remaining 1 1/2 cups strawberries with the remaining 2 Tbsp. flour. Fold strawberries into batter, then divide batter evenly among the prepared pans.

  7. Bake until cake springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove; cool completely.

  8. For the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix cream cheese and powdered sugar to combine. Slowly add the heavy cream and continue to mix until the mixture becomes thick, like medium-peak whipped cream. Mix in the remaining 2 tsp. vanilla. Chill until ready for use.

  9. To assemble the cake, use a serrated knife to cut the domed tops from cakes so they are flat.

  10. Place one cake layer on a cake stand and scoop half the whipped frosting on it; spread evenly. Top with half of reserved strawberries (use a slotted spoon to avoid bringing too much juice along with the fruit). Place remaining cake layer bottom side up. Top with remaining frosting and remaining strawberries.

*Padma's Pro Trick

Use the wrappers from the butter to grease the pans, then leave them lying flat in the bottoms of the pans instead of lining with parchment paper.

Cover Version

Bake cake recipe in three 8-inch pans for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Prepare whipped frosting as directed, except use 2 cups powdered sugar (to make it sturdy enough to frost sides). Tint about 2 cups frosting pink with paste, or for more intense color, dissolve 2 Tbsp. dragonfruit powder in 2 Tbsp. water and beat into frosting. Use the white frosting to frost between cake layers and on the top half of the assembled cake. Frost lower half with tinted frosting. If you like, top with berries and edible flowers.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

716 Calories
39g Fat
83g Carbs
10g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 716
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 39g 50%
Saturated Fat 23g 115%
Cholesterol 168mg 56%
Sodium 452mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 83g 30%
Total Sugars 48g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 19.1mg 96%
Calcium 175mg 13%
Iron 2.8mg 16%
Potassium 254mg 5%
Fatty acids, total trans 1g
Folate, total 99.3mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.4mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.1mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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