1Set the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two 9-inch by 2-inch round cake pans with parchment paper (do not grease the pans).
2In a bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Whisk in ½ cup of the sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, water, vanilla, and egg yolks. In a third bowl, using a mixer with the whip attachment, beat the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar. When the egg whites get foamy, slowly add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then fold the egg whites into the batter. Divide the batter between the two cake pans. Bake just until a toothpick comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake pans to loosen the cakes, then invert the cakes onto the racks. Peel off the parchment, and let cool completely.
3In a bowl, stir together the strawberries, sugar, and lemon zest. Set aside for 30 minutes to macerate.
4To whip the cream: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip attachment, on medium-high speed, beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla to medium-stiff peaks. Do not overbeat.
5To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cake plate. Top with half the macerated strawberries. Top the strawberries with half the whipped cream. Gently place the second cake layer on top of the whipped cream. Top with the remaining half of the macerated strawberries and the remaining half of the whipped cream. If you like, decorate the top with the strawberries, dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve.