For the cake layers:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
For the strawberry filling:
3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
For the cream cheese frosting:
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
16 oz cream cheese, softened
8 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, which should take about 3-4 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Mix until just combined; be careful not to overmix.
Divide the cake batter equally among the prepared pans. Smooth the tops with a spatula.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cakes are cooling, prepare the strawberry filling. In a saucepan, combine the sliced strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, water, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and the strawberries break down. Remove from heat and let it cool completely.
To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the softened butter and cream cheese together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, and continue to beat until the frosting is fluffy.
Once the cakes have cooled completely, spread a layer of cream cheese frosting on top of the first layer. Add a portion of the strawberry filling on top of the frosting. Repeat with the second layer.
Place the third cake layer on top, and cover the entire cake with the remaining cream cheese frosting.
Decorate the top of the cake with fresh strawberries and mint leaves.
Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
Enjoy your three-tiered «Strawberry Abundance» cake!