Strawberry Cream Puff Cake
A decadent Strawberry Cream Puff Cake combines layers of puff pastry and a creamy strawberry compote finished with vanilla bean whipped cream on the outside. Perfect for that special occasion!
I don’t typically make desserts as complicated as this one for a Strawberry Cream Puff Cake, however I was challenged in a group event and decided to forge ahead. I do love a good challenge and baking anything at 6200′ is that already. Baking is not as open to experimentation as cooking as it does rely on more exact proportions to achieve desired results.
I participated briefly in a baking group and the first month’s recipe was from The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg. The Strawberry Choux Cake is two layers of pâte à choux filled with a strawberry compote cream that is then iced with Chantilly cream and topped with toasted choux. Powdered sugar and fresh strawberries complete the finished product.
The original recipe called for 2 separate cakes; each two layers of the choux pastry filled with the strawberry layer before being iced and garnished. I revised my version fairly significantly as we had a birthday on the block and I’ve gotten in the habit of making a birthday cake and hosting a short celebration whenever that happens.
I decided to combine more layers into one cake to accomplish that and just for fun, I made some small cream puffs for decoration. Trust me there was PLENTY of choux dough and I’ll be honest…if making this again, I would cut the recipe in half. I had enough leftover of all ingredients to make a berry trifle as well.
For what it’s worth? I had never made choux pastry believe it or not so I was pretty happy with the results!
The original recipe calls for ammonium carbonate as a leavening agent. Because I live so high up in the air, I decided to forego it completely; I doubted cream puff pastry would need additional leavening and I’m glad I didn’t spend time on that search. If you can easily locate it and you’re not at altitude, you should give it a try as it is supposed to add an extra bit of crispness to the final product.
The only thing not evident on my cake are the toasted choux leftovers suggested for the top. I had so many ingredients leftover that I opted instead to use it for a trifle I concocted with them and the toasted choux went on top of that. I preferred topping mine with little whipped cream filled cream puffs. The kids who came over with their parents LOVED those little things and they quickly disappeared!
I had a couple of friends take on this challenge too; take a peek at www.barbarabakes.com for another variation as well as some great photos of the process and a video Barbara made on how to make choux pastry. I had great intentions but I’m telling you that spring yardwork is winning at everything!
This cake is not hard but it takes some time; for me I found it worked best to split up the process; I baked the pastry one day and finished it with the strawberry filling and assembly the next. I’m anxious to try it again with different fruits and maybe, just maybe I’ll take that leap of faith and go four layers!
It was a day though to luxuriate in the kitchen; to just enjoy the challenge and have fun with it. We had a late spring storm in Denver when I made it so it was perfect; music blaring and stuck inside with choux…pretty perfect in my book!
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Strawberry Cream Puff (Choux) Cake
Pate a Choux (You’ll need 2/3 of this recipe for two cakes; I made it all and used the extra for a trifle)
- 8 oz cake flour
- 11 oz bread flour
- 1 qt water
- 12 oz unsalted butter
- 1-½ tsp salt
- 1 qt eggs 16-18 large eggs
Strawberry Compote Cream:
- Strawberry Compote Cream Prepare the cream while the choux is baking but do not finish it (Step 2-4 until you are ready to assemble the cakes or the gelatin will set and you will not be able to fill the cakes)
- 14 oz strawberries
- 4 oz granulated sugar
- Juice of 1 lime
- 4 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
- ⅓ cup water
- 3 c heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 2 c heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Make the Pate a Choux
- Preheat over to 375
- Mix flours on a piece of parchment and set aside.
- Heat water, butter and salt to a boil and butter is incorporated into the liquid. Gather the ends of the parchment to form a funnel. Pour the flour into the liquid, using a wooden spoon to mix as you pour. Pour as fast as it can be absorbed in the liquid. Do not pour it all at once or it will be a lumpy paste.
- Cook the mixture and stir constantly. If there are lumps, press the against the side of the pan with the back of the spoon. When the entire mixture is in one mass, about 2-3 minutes, remove from heat.
- Turn the paste into a mixing bowl and allow to cool briefly. You want to avoid cooking the eggs as you add them!
- With the paddle attachment on medium low, add the eggs 2 at a time.
- Continue to add as many eggs as the pate can absorb, but still hold its shape. (Imagine piping it. Will it hold that shape?)
- Draw two circles using a springform pan on two pieces of parchment for a total of 4 circles. Use a dab of choux paste to hold down the parchment and divide the pate into 4 equal quantities.
- Spread the paste into three circles about 1/2” thick on three circles and use a pastry bag and large round tip to pipe the pastry into one circle (for top).
- Bake at 375° about 40 minutes or until the pate a choux is completely baked. Turn off oven; prick the dough and leave in oven for three to five additional minutes to insure dough is dry.
- Cool thoroughly.
- While the choux is baking, complete steps 1-2 below. Then begin preparing the strawberry compote cream.
- Make the Strawberry Compote Cream
- Stem and cut the strawberries into chunks. In a medium saucepan, add the berries, sugar and lime juice and stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Chill.
- To soften the gelatin, sprinkle it over the water and allow it to sit. Then heat it to dissolve it.
- Warm ½ c (120 ml) of the heavy cream, but make sure it isn’t hot. Pour the remaining heavy cream into the bowl of a mixer and begin whipping the cream. Combine the warm cream with the gelatin mixture. Then, slowly add the gelatin cream mixture and continue to whip to soft peaks.
- Fold in the chilled berry compote and immediately assemble the cake layers.
- To Assemble the Cake
- Place one thoroughly cooled choux circle inside the bottom of a springform pan, right side facing up, that is resting on a plate or cake circle.
- Spread a thick layer of strawberry compote cream between the cake rings, alternating the cake with the compote and ending with a ring on top. (You might have some leftover compote)
- Chill overnight.
- Make the Chantilly Cream
- Slice the vanilla bean along its length and using a spoon, scrape all the seeds into the granulated sugar. Mix thoroughly. Save the seed pods for another use.
- Pour the cream into a chilled mixing bowl and with a chilled whip, beat at high speed. Add the sugar vanilla bean mixture.
- Continue whipping until stiff peaks form.
- Finish Assembling the Cake
- Once the cake filling is thoroughly set, remove from the refrigerator.
- Run a knife around the inside perimeter to loosen, then remove them.
- Ice the sides of the cake with the Chantilly cream and press the scraps into the Chantilly cream if using.
- Dust with powdered sugar on top.
- Finish with a decoration of halved strawberries around the bottom and some with stems on top.
- Serve as soon as possible.
I know this recipe was posted a long time ago but how come it doesn’t just use pastry flour which has a protein content in between cake and bread flour?
Simply because we were using a recipe from someone else that came out of a book; you’re welcome to substitute it if you think there would be a better result Alyssa. This made a TON of choux dough…as much as I used for the cake photographed, I still had a bunch left over!
So, I was wondering. You said that 2/3 of this recipe would make two cakes, right? If I just made 1/2 of the recipe, would that be fine for just one cake? I’m attempting to make this for my mother’s birthday, but we only have a family of three, so to make 2-3 cakes…. then again, I might just be stupid and am not reading the content right..
I would cut the amount in half and I think you’d have plenty. I didn’t want to suggest that because I haven’t actually done it but I see no reason why that wouldn’t work just fine. That is a lot of choux pastry!
Barbara may I ask you one more question if I may, when you made the pate of croux how many eggs did you use to make it it seems a awful lot of eggs to go into making it I want to make this beautiful cake for a special dinner on thanksgiving Barbara but this a awful lot of eggs to use 16 to 18 eggs iI am afraid this would ruin it for me that is why I would so grateful if you could help me with this one I don’t want it to turn out a flop I want it to be a beautiful presentation Barbara and a main focus on my thanksgiving table . thank you so much for the help it is really appreciated. thank you
I used the recipe that was provided by the person who organized this group event. It made way too much of the choux pastry. I think it could easily be divided in half. I used a lot to make a trifle as well.
That would be my suggestion…halve all the pastry ingredients and you will still have three rounds and probably enough for the small ones on top.
on this recipe it does not say how many eggs to use, what would be the recommended amount of eggs to use in this recipe, after the pate is done do you use a springform pam to put the circles in after baked or can you set the circles directly on the cake plate and fill the layers that way? thank you for the advice i appreciate it.
Everything you have asked about is included in the recipe; take another peek!
barbara can you use all purpose flour instead of bread flour is this acceptable or do you barbara have to use bread flour. barbara thank you so much for your advice I really appreciate it very much thank you again.
can you use cream on top of the cake also to make it look alot more sormalier than just leaving it plain on top and just putting confectioners sugar on top i think this would look much better to put the chantilly cream on the whole cake including the top also you would have a more fomalier looking cake than just beautiful i thought i would just give a opinion to make this cake look even more prettier than thank you
Funny I got RAVE reviews for how beautiful this cake was but still…beauty is in the eye of the beholder; change it up to whatever you feel is best for you!
Your recipe called for 4 circles yet I only see 3 layers.
Yikes Kat! The recipe was given to us to use and I think I must have modified it but failed to change the number of layers I made. It’s been awhile but I sort of remember that I decided to use some of the choux dough to make those little puffs that I decorated it with. This makes so much dough that if you wanted to do 4 layers I’m sure there would be enough. I’ll change that but can’t at the moment; I’m out running errands.
That is incredible. I do love the idea of spending the day in the kitchen on just one masterpiece like this, especially with the music blaring and the rain outside.
Oh wow Barb ~ you’ve outdone yourself with this one, it’s spectacular!
Thanks so much Sue…it was fun to do even if a bit timely but I must admit my friend that I made it for was verklempt…best reaction right? 🙂
Would you please verify how much water you add to the Strawberry Compote Cream? In the recipe it has a question mark.
Well that’s the fun part isn’t it; guessing an amount? OK, not really!
The software that I use for that section of the page for the recipe apparently can not handle fractions with thirds and sometimes that it simply inserts a question mark; sorry for any confusion. I’ve fixed the recipe; it’s 1/3 cup of water. Have fun!
Thank you so very much Barb. So look forward to making this one!
I’m wowed by your cake, Barb. The elevation just puts this whole challenge to the test and you did such an amazing job. I know how busy you are and am so very happy that you joined the group. You put so much finesse into your work I marvel at how you get it all done. Beautiful post — looking forward to lots more!
This truly was a challenge, especially since the quantity was SO huge that a mistake would have been costly. But ‘she persisted’ and I’m happy I gave it a shot. Now to cut it down and try something else next time. I actually want to recreate some cream puffs I had at a local pastry shop next with an espresso filling and a caramel topping.
Thanks for starting this group; this sort of stuff is really what I love to do even if not normally once a month. My neighbors also thank you. 🙂
It’s gorgeous! Love how you topped yours with cream puffs.
Well, you know there was enough pastry to have opened a small shop so I had to! Now I want to make them again and fill them with something fun. You’ll see. 🙂