Fraisier Cake

Fraisier cake is a classic french strawberry cake made with two layers of genoise sponge, simple syrup, Crème Mousseline and the iconic strawberry halves along the sides. 

What even is fraisier?! Fraise is actually French for strawberries so Fraisier is French for Strawberry Cake. Fraisier translates to strawberry tree…so I’m not sure why this iconic cake is called fraisier. 

Fraisier cake is traditionally made with a genoise sponge, filled with crème mousseline, fresh strawberries with the strawberry halves around the edge. 

So if you’ve always wanted a bite of French cuisine but can’t be in France at the moment, I got you!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • The perfect summer treat with all the fresh strawberries!
  • SO impressive when serving to guests
  • Can be made 1-2 days in advance
  • Really not as difficult to make it as it looks…I did all the heavy lifting with the recipe testing lol.

For more strawberry cakes, make sure to check out my strawberry vanilla cake, strawberries and cream cupcakes and strawberry mojito cupcakes!

What is genoise

Genoise is a very popular type of sponge cake. Sponges are generically considered cakes but most people refer to cakes that use eggs as a leavener to be sponge cakes. That’s because they’re actually “spongey”. 

The most traditional sponge cake is usually made with eggs, sugar and flour. A genoise is enriched with a touch of butter (a lot of people make it without the butter – very similar but technically a genoise). 

To make a genoise, there are only two steps but they’re important. 

  1. Beat the eggs and the sugar to incorporate as much air as possible, since we don’t have any baking soda or baking powder. 
  2. GENTLY fold in the flour and melted butter just until they’re combined. 

When you pour the batter into the baking pan, it should still have a lot of air bubbles (look at the photo below). 

What is crème mousseline

Ohhhh the beloved crème mousseline. This guy gave me a headache and here’s why. Creme mousseline is technically also known as German Buttercream. If you have my cookbook, Frosted, you’ll see that that recipe is different from this one. Both recipes are pastry cream that’s cooled and then beaten with butter. 

That recipe works well as a buttercream. It holds up well, pipes well, can be flavored, etc. I did not want to stuff a whole middle of a cake with buttercream… It just sounded so incredibly heavy and buttery so I made a new version.

To make it more of a creamy, “mousse” texture and not a buttercream texture, I did some more research and realized it should have 2 parts pastry cream and 1 part butter. This means that if my pastry cream weighs 800 grams, then I need 400 grams of butter. I did slightly less butter than that but the ratio is close enough.

As for the actual pastry cream, I really did not want to use just egg yolks and be stuck with 8 egg whites (or more from testing) so I set out to make pastry cream that uses whole eggs. IT IS SO GOOD, I will write a whole post on whole egg pastry cream!

Why do I need simple syrup

Sponge cakes tend to be pretty sponge-y but since it’s low in fat, they’re not quite as tender and moist. Most sponge cake recipes require a syrup to add a little more moisture. 

I just combined 1 part sugar and 1 part water here with a tsp of vanilla extract. Feel free to add a little lemon juice here too, that would pair really well with the strawberries. 

Ingredients

  • Flour: I use all purpose flour in most of my recipes and I HIGHLY recommend using a digital scale, as flour is so often over measured. 
  • Sugar: please don’t cut the sugar… 🙂
  • Butter: I like to use salted butter in the cake but not in the cream. 
  • Eggs: I use room temperature, large eggs. Pop them in hot water for a few minutes if they’re cold.
    • I developed this pastry cream recipe for the crème mousseline to use whole eggs solely because I didn’t want 8 egg whites lying around…it is perfect. 
  • Milk: I use whole milk for the pastry cream 
  • Vanilla: I recommend using real vanilla beans in the pastry cream, if not vanilla bean paste or extract works too. 
  • Strawberries: For the strawberry halves around the edge, try to find strawberries that are about the same size and height so they line up evenly. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Make the pastry cream: whisk together the eggs, sugar and cornstarch while the milk is heating on the stove. Temper the eggs with the hot milk and then return the whole mixture to the pot. Cook on medium heat, whisking continuously until the mixture thickens. Remove and stir in the butter. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate it. 
  2. Make the simple syrup: heat the water and sugar over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until all the sugar is dissolved and comes to boil. Remove and cool/refrigerate. 
  3. Make the genoise: beat the eggs with the sugar for 5-10 minutes until the mixture is thick, fluffy, pale yellow and ribbons. Fold in half of the flour, then the melted butter and the second half of the flour. Line the bottom of an 8 inch pan (don’t grease the sides) and bake for 25 minutes. Run a knife along the edge to release the cake from the edge of the cake tin and let it cool in the pan until it’s easy to remove, about 10-20 minutes. 
  4. Make the crème mousseline: Beat the room temperature butter at full speed until it’s super pale and fluffy. Add in the chilled pastry cream in 4-5 batches, mixing well between each one. Fold the cream with a rubber spatula to smooth it out.

Equipment needed

So this cake is a little particular in the sense that you can’t just stack it and expect it to stay. The main thing you’ll need is a cake collar roll/acetate sheets. I like to also use a cake mold ring to make it a little easier and more sturdy but you can do it without if you just wrap the acetate around the bottom layer and be gentle when assembling. 

You can also do it with a springform pan if you have that. I suggest baking the cake in the springform pan in that case so that it’s the perfect size. I baked this cake in an 8inch pan but you can also use a 9inch pan, it’ll just be a little thinner. 

If you don’t want to purchase any special equipment, you can make this cake without the strawberry halves around the edge. Just pipe a border of mousseline cream around the edge of the bottom cake, place the strawberries on the inside the same way I did. Fill in the gaps with the cream and then finish the same way I did. 

Make sure to be very gentle if you’re doing it this way. If it feels soft/unsteady at any point, refrigerate it for 20 minutes or so and then proceed with the next step. Feel free to also refrigerate the cream as needed or use room temperature butter to start with instead of softened.

How to assemble a fraisier cake

  1. Slice the cooled genoise sponge in half and place a cake ring mold around the bottom layer. Cut some acetate to wrap around the cake and insert it between the genoise and the ring. 
  2. Brush the genoise with 2 oz of simple syrup and then pipe a thin ring of the Crème Mousseline around the edge of the cake.
  3. Line the strawberry halves around the whole edge, facing outwards. Use the cream with the piping bag to fill in any gaps between the strawberries (see photos). 
  4. Pipe a generous layer of cream on the inside. Fill with more strawberries (I quartered them) and cream. Spread a nice even layer of cream on top to make it flat.
  5. Then top with the second layer of genoise and brush with another 2 oz of simple syrup.
  6. Use a piping bag with a round tip to make little poofs on top. Decorate with some fresh strawberries, gold foil and gold dust.

How to decorate a fraisier cake

I like to keep my decorating pretty simple but effective so they’re still show-stopping! The first few times I made this cake I kept running out of cream and then had to figure out some way to decorate the top. 

Traditionally, a fraisier cake is topped with a layer of marzipan but I’m not really about that life… lol so I made extra cream and used a piping bag with a round tip to pipe little poofs on top. Of course I added some fresh strawberries, gold foil and gold dust

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I make fraisier cake in a different size?

You can make this fraisier cake in a 9 inch pan as well, it will just be slightly shorter and you may need a few extra strawberries.

You can also make it in a 7 inch pan and it will be slightly taller and require a few less strawberries.

You can also halve the entire recipe to make it in a 6 inch pan.

Can I use a different cake layer?

I think this cake would be great with just about any vanilla cake recipe to be honest. I used the genoise because it’s traditional and I wanted to stay true to that. 

Why didn’t my cake rise?

Genoise (and any sponge cake without a leavener) is very particular about how it’s mixed. The rise comes from the air incorporated into the eggs. When you add the flour and the butter, it’s easy to deflate all of that air we just added. Make sure to be very gente when folding the flour and butter in. 

Sometimes I find it’s easier to just leave the mixer going and add 1-2 Tbsp of flour in at a time, then the butter and work quickly so the air doesn’t deflate. 

If this is a consistent problem, you can feel free to add 1 tsp of baking powder to the flour. 

Why don’t I grease my pan?

Since sponge cakes don’t use leaveners, it’s more difficult for them to rise evenly. If the pan is ungreased, the cake batter is able to cling onto the edge of the pan and make its way up. This is also a tip some people use to get any kind of cake to rise more evenly and flat. 

If you grease the sides of the pan, the sides of the cake usually have nothing to cling to so they sag a little bit and the air gets pushed to the center, doming the cake. 

I usually just line the bottom of my pan with round parchment baking paper. When I pull them out of the oven, I run a knife along the edge of the cake to release it from the pan and then let it cool for 15-20 minutes before removing it. 

How do I know when my pastry cream is done cooking?

The pastry cream doesn’t get quite as thick as an egg yolk based one but for this cake that’s a good thing. It should thicken enough to hold a streak or ribbon for a few seconds but it won’t be super stiff like custard that holds its shape. 

The reason I like the custard a little softer like this is because once you combine it with the butter to make the mousseline cream, it’ll thicken up. Since the whole middle of the cake is cream, I wanted it to be softer and creamier than a traditional buttercream. 

If you’re checking the temperature, I took the pastry cream just passed 190F (88C).

Why did my cream split?

If you’re crème mousseline split when you mixed the butter with the pastry cream it’s usually because of a temperature shock. The pastry cream is probably too cold for the butter or the butter was slightly chilled and the pastry cream was too warm. 

Either way, the temperature of the two should be similar. I refrigerate the pastry cream until it’s just slightly chilled and add it in slowly so it doesn’t shock the butter. 

Can I use diplomat cream instead?

I was SO TEMPTED to use diplomat cream instead of mousseline cream. Diplomat cream is very similar but instead of butter, the pastry cream gets mixed with whipped cream. 

It would be a great alternative here but you would have to stabilize the whipped cream with gelatin so that it sets up firm enough. Diplomat cream would definitely give it more of a mousse cake vibe. 

What kind of strawberries should I use

You’ll need fresh strawberries. Make sure they aren’t soggy or getting old and try to get some that look similar in size/height/color so the edge lines up nicely and looks consistent!

How to store fraisier cake

Fraisier cake is best stored in the refrigerator fully covered. A cake dome is easiest but if not, you can try refrigerating it until it’s firm, then covering it with foil/plastic wrap. It should be good for 4-5 days. Once the strawberries start leaking, it’ll slowly lose structure.

Thanks so much for reading today’s post, if you have any questions just comment down below. Make sure to leave it in the comment section because I can’t answer in the rating section :).

If you make this French fraisier cake recipe I would love to see it so make sure to tag me @baranbakery on instagram!

As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!

Love, B

Yield: 12-16 servings

Fraisier Cake

fraisier cake

Fraisier cake is a classic french strawberry cake made with two layers of genoise sponge, simple syrup, crème mousseline and the iconic strawberry halves along the sides. 

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 9 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients

Pastry Cream

  • 2 cups (16oz) whole milk
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (30g) cornstarch
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or place a vanilla bean to boil with milk)
  • 1/2 cup salted butter

Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4oz) water

Genoise Sponge

  • 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (90g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

Crème Mousseline

  • Pastry Cream (800g)
  • 1 1/2 cups (340g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

Instructions

Pastry Cream

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt and cornstarch. Whisk them together until the mixture is smooth; set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, over low-medium heat, bring the milk to a simmer and then slowly stream the milk mixture over the egg mixture, while whisking continuously.
  3. Return the whole mixture to the pot and over low-medium heat, whisk continuously (not super aggressive) for about five minutes, until the pastry cream starts to hold a streak from the whisk.
  4. Whisk more aggressively for about 30-60 seconds and then pour it into a bowl to cool (large shallow bowl will cool quicker).
  5. Stir in the butter and vanilla bean paste and cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until it’s slightly chilled. 

Simple Syrup

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and once the sugar is fully dissolved, remove it from the heat. Add some vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract.

Genoise Sponge

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C) and line the bottom of an 8 inch (20 cm) round pan. 
  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, use a whisk attachment to beat together the eggs and granulated sugar.
  3. Beat for about 10 minutes at full speed, until the batter is fluffy, pale and trails off the mixer attachment for a few second before blending into the rest of the batter. 
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl or saucepan, heat the butter in the microwave or on the stove just until it’s melted. Set aside to cool a little. 
  5. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Then sift 1/2 of the flour into the egg mixture and use a rubber spatula to gently fold it into the batter.
  6. Gently pour the melted butter around the edge of the bowl and sift the other half of the flour over the eggs. Fold just until it’s combined. 
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 23-25 minutes. The tops should be golden brown and spring back when you gently press on the center. 
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the cake to release it from the pan. Allow it to cool for 15 minutes in the pan and then remove the cake and place it onto a cooling rack. 
  9. Allow the cake to cool completely and then use a large serrated knife to slice it in half. 

Crème Mousseline

  1. Beat the softened butter for 5 minute at full speed, until it’s pale and fluffy.
  2. Add in the pastry cream in 4-5 increments, mixing fully between each addition. 
  3. Use a rubber spatula to smooth out the cream when it’s finished. 

Assemble

  1. Place a cake ring mold around the bottom layer of the genoise. Cut some acetate to wrap around the cake and insert it between the genoise and the cake ring. Tape the edge to itself so it doesn't move. 
  2. Brush the genoise with 2 oz of simple syrup and then pipe a thin ring of the Crème Mousseline around the edge of the genoise.
  3. Line the strawberry halves around the whole edge, facing outwards. Use the cream with the piping bag to fill in any gaps between the strawberries (see photos). 
  4. Pipe a generous layer of cream on the inside. Fill with more strawberries (I quartered them) and cream.
  5. Spread a nice even layer of cream on top to make it flat. Then top with the second layer of genoise and brush it with another 2 oz of simple syrup.
  6. Use a piping bag with a round tip to make little poofs on top. Decorate with some fresh strawberries, gold foil and gold dust.
  7. Refrigerate the cake for a few hours until it feels firm.
  8. Cake is best served slightly chilled. I like to pull it out of the fridge, slice it and leave it at room temperature for an hour or two.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 404Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 165mgSodium: 98mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 1gSugar: 25gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information may not be fully accurate.

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