Coming from a family of opinionated strawberry shortcake connoisseurs, I wasn't sure how this beautiful but pre-assembled dessert would go over. No worries, it was scarfed up over Easter dinner! One of those recipes-through-the-mail packs came for me to try, and this particular recipe made it into our permanent cookbook.
1Preheat oven to 350*F. Prepare cake according to package directions. Grease and flour two 9" cake pans; pour batter into pans. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.
2Reserve 8 - 10 large strawberries for garnish. Slice remaining strawberries; place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with sugar. Mash slightly with potato masher. Chill until ready to assemble cake, at least 30 minutes.
3Beat whipping cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; continue beating until mixed.
4Place 1 cake layer on serving plate. Cover with mashed strawberries. Top with about 1-1/2 cups whipped cream. Place second cake layer on top. Spread with remaining whipped cream. Garnish with reserved strawberries (shown with strawberries pointing straight up, but you can be creative).