Fraisier cake is a traditional French strawberry cake, consisting of two layers of genoise sponge, filled with a silky delicious vanilla mousseline cream and fresh strawberries. Whether you make it for Mother’s Day or a birthday party, fraisier is the quintessence of strawberry celebration!
This year, my sweet daughter Lucie ordered a strawberry cake for her 3-year-old birthday party. I thought about making this Easy No-Bake Cheesecake and this Lemon Strawberry Layer Cake, and eventually landed on a Fraisier Cake. After all, she’s French too and it’s never too early to learn about traditional French desserts.
What is a fraisier?
A fraisier is timeless French strawberry cake (it comes from “fraises” that is the French translation for strawberries). It consists of two layers of genoise sponge brushed with syrup, a silky mousseline cream (crème mousseline) flavored with vanilla and some fresh strawberries.
In the original version, there is also an additional layer of Marzipan on top of the cake, but it’s become optional other the years (some like it, others don’t).
Baking equipment needed
Specific baking equipment is often required in French pastry, and fraisier cake is no exception:
- Pastry rings (7-inch/18 cm for the sponge cake, 8-inch/20 cm for the mousseline cream). You can also use an adjustable pastry ring.
- Acetate Strip (or ‘cake collar’). It creates a much cleaner finish. It also makes it easier to remove the pastry ring when ready to serve as no cream will be sticking to it.
- Piping bag + offset spatula for icing. This allows the cream to be better distributed over the sponge cake and in between the strawberries.
- Small kitchen brush. It helps spread the syrup over the genoise sponge.
What if I don’t have the baking equipment needed? You can replace the pastry rings with springforms with detachable edges, replace the acetate strip with parchment paper, and skip the piping bag and only use an offset spatula to spread the cream filling. I myself didn’t have all the baking equipment needed the day I baked this fraisier and it turned out allright anyway!
Mousseline cream (crème mousseline)
While the traditional fraisier cake recipe calls for mousseline cream (crème mousseline), some people use a diplomat cream (crème diplomate) instead, which is a lighter version prepared with gelatin. I myself personally avoid the use of gelatin, and as a result my choice goes to the mousseline cream.
What is mousseline cream? A mousseline cream consists of a pastry cream (crème pâtissière) and softened butter, whipped together until it turns into a light and fluffy mousse texture, deliciously flavored with vanilla. The key is to mix both preparation when they are at the same temperature, more or less.
A 3-part recipe
A fraisier cake is made up of 3 main parts (and sometimes 4, with the addition of the marzipan layer on top):
- Genoise sponge (sponge cake). The key to a successful sponge cake is to mix the eggs and sugar well before adding the flour. Once cooked, let it rest on a wire rack then cut it in half lengthwise using a serrated knife. The sponge cake discs must be smaller than the pastry ring used for the final cake assembly.
- Mousseline cream. It consists of two parts: the pastry cream on one side, the whipped softened butter on the other. Incorporate the two preparations together when they are at the same temperature (important!) and whisk in a food processor until fluffy and resembling to a mousse.
- Syrup + fresh strawberries. The syrup makes the genoise more tender, while fresh strawberries are used both around the cake and inside.
How to assemble a fraisier?
- Slice the genoise sponge lengthwise and brush each half with the syrup. Place one in the center of the pastry ring.
- Arrange the strawberries cut in half all around the sponge cake (cut-side out), then pipe about half of the mousseline cream onto the genoise sponge and in between the strawberries.
- Dip whole strawberries in the middle in the mousseline cream, and pipe more cream to cover and smooth out the top.
- Add the second genoise, pressing lightly with your hand, and pipe the remaining cream on top, smoothing the surface as needed. Decorate with strawberries now or later, and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours before serving.
Important! It is possible to add the marzipan layer onto the cooled cake. Simply roll out the marzipan block with a rolling pin and cut it out using the 8-inch (20 cm) pastry ring. Carefully lift it on top of the fraisier and decorate with fresh strawberries.
Useful tips to make fraisier ahead of time
First thing first: keep in mind that a fraisier cake NEEDS to be prepared ahead of time, as the recipe requires about 4 to 6 hours chilling (or overnight) before serving.
- The genoise sponge can be baked the day before. Slice it lengthwise, then wrap in cling film to keep it moist and leave at room temperature until ready to use.
- For the mousseline cream, I recommend to make the pastry cream part the day before and keep it in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap, touching the surface. On D-Day, add the softened butter and whisk everything in the stand mixer right before assembling the strawberry. If you do make the mousseline cream from A to Z (pastry cream + whipped butter) the day before, it will harden out in the refrigerator and will take more time to come to room temperature before using to fill the cake.
- The syrup can be made up to several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.
More desserts with fresh strawberries:
- Strawberry Tiramisu
- White Chocolate Strawberry Charlotte Cake
- Strawberry White Chocolate Cheesecake with Brownie Bottom
- Strawberry Cheesecake Blondies
If you like traditional French baking, try also…
Fraisier Cake (French Strawberry Cake)
- Prep Time: 1h
- Chilling Time: 6 hours
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 2 minute
- Yield: 10 servings 1x
- Category: Cakes
Fraisier cake is a traditional French strawberry cake, consisting of two layers of genoise sponge, filled with a silky delicious vanilla mousseline cream and fresh strawberries.
* Disclaimer: I highly recommend using the measurements in grams & ml for this recipe (instead of cups & spoons) for more accuracy and better results.
Génoise sponge (7-inch/18 cm form):
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup (90g) caster sugar
- ½ cup (60g) all-purpose flour, sifted
- ¼ cup (30g) cornstarch
- 3 Tablespoons (40g) caster sugar
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) water
Mousseline cream (8-inch/20 cm pastry ring):
- 1 ¾ cups + 2 Tablespoons (450 ml) full-fat milk
- 4 egg yolks
- ½ cup (100g) caster sugar
- ½ cup (60g) cornstarch
- 1 vanilla pod, sliced lengthwise
- ¾ cup (180g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1.1 lbs (500g) fresh strawberries, or more as needed
- Fresh mint leaves
Genoise sponge + syrup:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a flat baking tray with baking paper and grease the sides of a 7-inch (18 cm) pastry ring (or use and grease sides and bottom of a spring form with detachable edges).
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar using an electric hand mixer for 10 minutes, until fluffy and tripled in volume. Add the sifted flour, cornstarch, and stir until combined.
- Pour into the prepared form and spread with an offset spatula. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and invert onto a cooling rack.
- For the syrup, pour sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, then turn the heat to low and let simmer until syrupy. Let cool completely.
- Pour the milk into a large saucepan, then scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and add the pod. Heat the milk to a gentle simmer and remove from heat immediately. Remove the vanilla pod.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar until fluffy. Add cornstarch and whisk well. Slowly pour the warm milk, whisking constantly.
- Transfer back to the pan and heat on medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens.
- As soon as the cream thickens, remove from heat and transfer to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap touching the surface. Place in the fridge to cool down until it reaches the temperature of 85-95°F (30-35°C). Use a baking thermometer to check.
- Meanwhile, place softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk and beat until whipped. Add the pastry cream in 3 additions, and whisk until light and fluffy, like a mousse texture. Transfer to a large piping bag with a round piping tip.
- Slice in half all the strawberries you will need to place around the genoise sponge. Keep the other ones whole, but remove the stems.
- Cut the genoise sponge in half lengthwise, using a serrated knife. Brush the top of each half with syrup, using a small pastry brush.
- Place an 8-inch (20 cm) pastry ring onto a serving plate or cake stand, and line the inside of the ring with an acetate strip (also called ‘cake collar’).
- Add the first genoise sponge in the center of the ring, then place the sliced strawberries around the edges, between the cake and the pastry ring, sliced-side facing out. Try to place them as tightly against each other as possible.
- Pipe about half of the mousseline cream onto the genoise, and in between each strawberry. Add the remaining whole strawberries in the center, face down, covering the top with more cream as needed.
- Place the second genoise sponge over, and gently press with the flat of your hand to avoid any large air pockets underneath. Pipe the remaining mousseline cream on top, and flatten out using an offset spatula. Place in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours, then carefully remove the pastry ring and acetate strip. Decorate with some strawberries and fresh mint leaves.* Allow to come to room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy with a glass of dessert wine or bubble wine.
* Marsipan option. For a very traditional French fraisier cake, roll a marzipan block out thinly onto a clean surface, dusting a little confectioners’ sugar underneath so it doesn’t stick. Using the 8-inch (20 cm) pastry ring, cut a circle of marzipan and gently lift it and place on top of the cooled fraisier cake. Decorate with fresh strawberries.
Keywords: Fraisier Cake
Did you make this recipe?
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