Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two round pans (approx 6-7”) or two round pans (8-9”) and add parchment paper, if using.
In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and pale yellow, for about two minutes.
Add in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract until fully incorporated.
Lower the speed and add the flour and milk alternately into the batter in three parts, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl each time.
If making three layers, remove ⅓ of the batter and add to one of the three cake pans. If making two larger cake layers that you can cut in half, remove ½ of the batter and add to one of the two pans.
With the remaining batter in the mixer, add ½ cup strawberry preserves. You can warm the preserves first for 30 seconds in the microwave. If you don’t like the occasional strawberry texture in your cake, make sure to strain the preserves first.
Pour the strawberry batter into the two small pans or one large pan. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.
Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack and release from the round pan.