Combine strawberries with sugar in a bowl or zipper bag. Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour or up to overnight.
Prepare Simple Syrup
Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until sugar is fully dissolved and mixture is clear.
Allow to cool fully. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to one week until ready to use.
Prepare your cake layers
Preheat the oven to 350° and place two racks near the center of the oven. Line three 6-inch round cake pans with parchment or silicone baking liners and spray with baking spray.
In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer or with a handheld electric mixer, cream softened butter on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add sugar and beat for 4-5 minutes on medium speed.
Add in eggs, one at a time, followed by oil, vanilla and sour cream. Mix just until combined in between each addition and scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary.
Sift in cake flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Gently fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the three pans. Drop each pan from about 3-inches onto the counter to minimize air bubbles while baking.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the layers rest in the cake pans for 10 minutes before gently turning them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
(Optional) Once cooled, spray or brush with simple syrup and let sit for at least 15 minutes.
Whip up your frosting
With chilled mixer attachments, beat cold heavy cream, vanilla, pudding mix, and powdered sugar in a large chilled bowl about 3 minutes until stiff peaks form.
Set aside until you're ready to assemble your cake.
Assemble your cake
Start with one of your layers on the cake plate or cake board. Top with about 3 tbsp strawberries and their juices.
Pipe or spoon about 1 cup whipped cream frosting on top of strawberries.
Repeat with second cake layer, more strawberries, and more whipped cream.
Finish with third layer of cake, but this time top the cake with a generous amount of whipped cream, followed by strawberries on top of that.
Store cake covered in refrigerator up to 3 days.
Make ahead: You can spray your cooled cake layers with simple syrup and wrap them in plastic wrap to store, refrigerated, for up to a week. You can also make your strawberries a day in advance, but I would recommend making the whipped cream frosting the day you assemble your cake.
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Vanilla Cake with Strawberries and Whipped Cream posted on March 8, 2020 by Chenée Today at https://cheneetoday.com/mini-strawberry-layer-cake/