Every year around this time I post a new cake recipe to celebrate my birthday. This year, for my quarantine birthday it needs to be extra special so I’m combining all my favorite desserts into one glorious cake: Meyer Lemon Tres Leches Strawberry Shortcake! A Meyer lemon butter cake soaked in the classic tres leches cream and topped with juicy strawberries.
How To Make A Large Strawberry Shortcake Recipe
Growing up strawberry shortcake meant either sweetened Bisquick biscuits or store-bought chewy spongecake orbs doused with Cool-Whip and sliced strawberries. While I have fond memories of both those options, I crave a rich, buttery, poundcake now to go with my berries and cream.
For one, I like the cake to play a more substantial role than just a way to transport sweetened strawberries in my mouth. It needs to be special enough to serve on its own, but even better in chorus with the lavish combination of berries and cream.
Not to mention, a large Strawberry Shortcake makes an impressive dessert. Elegantly topped and all dressed up, it is ready for a birthday party, Mother’s Day affair, or Sunday afternoon.
The larger cake is also so much simpler to serve, and not all that complicated to prepare. Here’s how:
- Use a large cake pan. I use a 10-inch cake pan for this recipe. The larger pan gives a lot more surface area to cover with whipped cream and strawberries.
- Flavor it with something special. This cake has zest from delicate, sweet Meyer lemons but you could use anything from almond extract to vanilla beans.
- Top it with the unexpected. If you’re going to make a large Strawberry Shortcake you’ve got to take it to a whole new level and go beyond berries and cream, a Tres Leches milk bath, like we did here, is a great place to start.
Can I Use A Regular Lemon Instead Of A Meyer Lemon?
Simple answer, yes, you can substitute regular lemon zest and lemon juice one-for-one in this recipe. That being said, let me give you a little nudge to pick up a bag of Meyer lemons if you see them at the store.
Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange and a unique aroma so powerful and sweet it will fill your whole house if you leave them out on the kitchen table fruit bowl. Their peel is smooth and the color of a backyard chicken’s egg yolk but it’s their flavor that will be sure to steal your heart.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a neighbor who drops off grocery sacks of Meyer lemons on your doorstep then you probably already have several Meyer lemon recipes you’re fond of. If not, I’ll give you a few more (aside from this cake) to use up those precious jewels:
- Almond Buñuelos with Orange-Meyer Lemon Sugar
- Spinach Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
- Dairy-Free Almond-Meyer Lemon Cake
Tres Leches Cake With A Twist
An authentic Tres Leches Cake recipe is traditionally made with a soft, sponge cake that easily soaks up the three-milk mixture poured over the top. It is one of my all-time favorite desserts, but, like I said before, I wanted to combine my three favorite cakes into one. So I took the lemony goodness of my favorite lemon cake and put it in a buttery shortcake batter of my favorite strawberry shortcake then doused it in a sweetened cream mixture of my favorite tres leches cake.
It’s a take on the Tres Leches Strawberry Shortcake I made last year for Better Home and Gardens, one of the several Cinco de Mayo recipes I developed for a gorgeous article they wrote about our multicultural family and celebration.
I loved the recipe so much I wanted to make it again but with a new twist of Meyer lemon. The more Mexican dessert recipes the better, right?
Tips To Make This Strawberry Shortcake
There may seem to be a lot going on in the recipe below, but it just requires a few simple steps and a little patience. To make sure you get the very best results here are a few tips:
- Rub the lemon zest into the sugar until it almost disappears into the sugar with your fingers. This will infuse the cake with bright lemon flavor.
- You need to give the cake some time to soak up the Tres Leches mixture. It’s best to let it sit overnight if possible.
- Take the cake out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you serve it to let it warm up to room temperature. You don’t want a cold, hard cake.
Something Special When You Need It Most
Celebrating a quarantine birthday like me? Then this cake is exactly what you need. Make any moment special with this gorgeous welcoming of spring, just make sure you snap a picture of it tag me @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno on Instagram.
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