Fraisier : Traditional French Strawberry Cake
Fraisier is a traditional cake you can find in France during strawberry season. It’s made of a light sponge brushed with simple syrup, a buttery vanilla cream and fresh strawberries.
Usually there is a layer of almond paste on top of the cake. But today, I garnished it with chantilly (vanilla whipped cream) and berries.
Mousseline cream is like a very buttery pastry cream. You start it off the same way, then add half of the butter while the cream is still hot, and refrigerate. Then whip it with the rest of the butter at room temperature. If it’s too cold, you’re going to end up with pieces of butter. When this happens, you can use a blow torch while beating the cream to warm it up a bit. You can also try to warm up the bowl with the palms of your hands if you don’t have a blow torch.
Once the cake is done, the cream needs some refrigerating time to solidify so you might want to start making the cake the day before. For example, make the sponge, the first part of the cream and the simple syrup the day before. This way you can assemble the fraisier the next morning and enjoy the cake in the evening.
You will need three sponge rounds for this cake, two the size of the ring and one smaller. It’s important to sift the flour before folding in the whipped eggs so that there is no lumps.
You also want to bake the sponge straight away, right after piping and sprinkling icing sugar, so it doesn’t collapse and stays light and fluffy. Watch out for the sponge when reaching the end of the baking time, the color should stay pretty white and the texture soft.
The cake is going to be about 2.5 inch – 6 cm high so I had to tape two stripes of cake collar together since mine is too short.
When assembling the cake, it’s better not to put strawberry pieces in the center. It makes a cleaner cut when slicing the cake.
For the simple syrup, you want to brush the first sponge lightly since it’s at the bottom. You can certainly be more generous with the one that is in the middle. As for the top one, I chose not to brush it because the fruits and chantilly are directly on top of it. But if you decide to put some more mousseline cream on top of this sponge then you can definitely go ahead and brush it.
Garnishing and storing
You can decorate the cake with any kind of berries, whipped cream, meringues, roasted almonds, crushed pistachios…
Fraisier can’t be kept for a long time since it has fresh strawberries and they get mushy pretty quickly. Also, never freeze a cake with fresh strawberries, it will get soggy when defrosting.
- 2 baking sheets
- Stand mixer with a whisk
- Piping bags and tips
- ¾ cup +2.5 tbsp milk 231 ml
- ¼ cup + 1 tsp sugar 70 g
- 2 tbsp egg yolks 30 g
- 2.5 tbsp whole eggs 38 g
- ¼ cup + ½ tbsp cornstarch 38 g
- ½ vanilla bean – scraped ½ tsp vanilla paste
- ⅓ cup + 1 tbsp butter 92 g – to mix in when cream is hot
- ⅓ cup + 1 tbsp butter 92 g – room temperature, to whip in the cold cream
- ½ cup all purpose flour 75 g – sifted
- 3 egg whites 90 g
- ⅓ cup sugar 75 g
- 4 tbsp egg yolks 60 g
- icing sugar to sprinkle
- ½ cup water 120 ml
- ⅓ cup sugar 75 g
- ½ vanilla bean ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1 lb Strawberries – 454 g
Chantilly – whipped cream
- ¾ cup whipping cream 190 ml
- 1 tbsp sugar 15 g
- ¼ tsp vanilla paste / extract
Mixed Berries – to garnish
- In a small pot, mix the milk, half of the sugar and the vanilla. Bring to a boil on medium heat.Meanwhile, mix together the rest of the sugar, the eggs and egg yolks and the cornstarch in a bowl with a whisk.When the milk starts to boil, pour some in the egg mix and whisk quickly. Pour everything back in the pot and cook until it thicken. Mixing constantly.Remove the pot from the stove and add the first part of the butter, mix it in. Pour in a container and cover with saran wrap directly on the cream. Refrigerate.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F – 180°C.In the bowl of your stand mixer, start whisking the egg whites on high speed and pour in the sugar in 3 times until you have a fluffy meringue with medium peaks.Pour in the egg yolks and beat for just 5 seconds.
- With a rubber spatula, add the sifted flour and mix gently.
- Place in a piping bag with a Ø1.6mm tip, and pipe 2 sponges a bit wider than the size of the ring – Ø 6 inch – 15 cm, and a smaller one – Ø 4.5 inch – 12 cm.
- Sprinkle with icing sugar, using a sieve, and bake for 12 minutes at 350°F – 180°C.
- Put all the ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil, cook for a couple of minutes until the sugar is dissolved.
Assembling the cake
- Rinse and dry the strawberries. Choose the strawberries that are going to be on the side of the cake, they need to be about the same size and height, remove the stem and cut in half lengthwise.Cut some strawberries in smaller pieces to go inside of the cake.Cut the wider sponges by placing the ring on top and cutting with a small serrated knife on the outside of the ring.Place the ring on a cake pad or on a tray with parchment paper. Use a cake collar that is 2.5 inch – 6 inch high or higher.
- Prepare the mousseline cream : beat in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk until it gets smooth.Add the butter at room temperature and keep mixing on medium speed for a few minutes until it gets light and fluffy.Place in a piping bag with a wide round tip. Leave at room temperature so it stays soft.
- Put one of the biggest sponge on the bottom of the ring and place the strawberry halves on top of it, against the edges of the ring. Try to not leave any spaces between them.
- Soak the sponge lightly with vanilla syrup, with a brush.Pipe some mousseline cream on top and push the cream in between the strawberries using a straight spatula.
- Put some strawberry pieces in the cream, avoiding the center of the cake, and pipe some more cream on top.
- Place the smaller sponge on top, pushing it gently in the cream – you need to turn it while pushing slowly. Brush generously with vanilla syrup.
- Repeat the same process with the last layer : pipe the cream, put the strawberry pieces, and the rest of the cream. Spread the cream with a rubber spatula and place the last sponge on top (push it in the cream).Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Garnishing the cake
- Whip the chantilly and fill a piping bag with a star tip.Rinse and dry the berries.
- Remove the ring and the cake collar, pipe a few swirls of chantilly.
- And decorate with the berries!