Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9" round cake pans (use my parchment paper trick from above) and sprinkle bottom and sides of pans with sugar and set aside.
In a large bowl, add the cake mix, eggs, water, and softened butter. Use a hand mixer (or stand mixer) to beat on low until moistened and then on medium for two minutes, until fully combined.
Pour evenly into prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cool in pans then flip onto cooling racks to cool completely.
Trim the tops with a serrated knife, if necessary, to make the two cakes even.
To make the frosting/filling
In a medium bowl, add the softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla and mix with a hand mixer until smooth.
In a small mixing bowl that has been chilled (see my note above), add the heavy cream and beat on high until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
Put the frosting into a large zip top bag and snip off the tip.
Spread half of the frosting on top of the first layer of cake. Top with half of the sliced strawberries.
Place the top layer of cake onto the strawberries and pipe on the remaining frosting. Arrange the remaining strawberries onto the top of the cake.
Slice and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from an old Duncan Hines cookbookStore any leftover cake covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
I used a French Vanilla cake mix but you could use angel food, yellow, or even white. Whichever you prefer.
To easily flip the cakes out of the pans, trace the pan onto a piece of parchment paper, cut out your circle, and lay it into the pans before greasing so they easily pop out.
Before making your whipped cream, start with a really cold bowl. I like to pop my metal bowl into the freezer for about 10 minutes before I start so it’s fully chilled. Cream whips much better when cold.
I piped the frosting on, just using a zip top bag, because it’s so easy and I think it looks nice, but you could also just spread it with a spatula.