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Chocolate Fraisier

“Fraisier” is a classic French dessert, named after the strawberry (“fraise” in French). In between two syrup-soaked layers of sponge cake is a filling of crème mousseline and strawberries. Traditionally, fraisier is made with a vanilla cake but I much prefer the chocolate version!

This chocolate fraisier cake takes time and patience to prepare but is well worth the effort. Organization and timing are especially important.

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Strawberries in a wooden bowl beside blocks of chocolate.

Equipment needed for Chocolate Fraisier:

  • 9-inch cake pan for baking
  • 9-inch springform pan for assembly
  • Acetate cake collar (optional)
  • Immersion blender or food processor
  • Piping bag with a large, plain nozzle (you can use a large plastic bag in place of this, if necessary).

A few ingredient Notes:

  • Freeze dried strawberries – Anytime I am baking a recipe that involves strawberries, I try to incorporate some freeze dried strawberries for some extra, concentrated flavor! Turn the freeze dried strawberries into a fine powder by using a food processor, or if it’s easier, place into a plastic bag and crush with a bowl or heavy object. Only crush the strawberries you need since the powder re-solidifies fairly quickly,
  • For the pastry cream/chocolate crème mousseline:
    • The difference between pastry cream (crème pâtissière) and crème mousseline comes down to one ingredient – butter! The addition of butter creates a smooth, silky texture.
    • A good rule of thumb when working with two ingredients that are sensitive to extreme temperatures (such as eggs with hot milk) is to gradually introduce the ingredient that imposes the change in temperature (the hot milk) to the ingredient affected by the temperature (the eggs). A small amount of hot milk is introduced to the egg mixture so in turn, the egg yolk mixture is partially warmed and able to better tolerate the addition of the remaining hot milk without becoming scrambled eggs or curdling. Continuously whisking as these ingredients are mixed is also key to preventing the eggs from over-cooking.

Prepare in advance:

  1. Read the entire recipe (twice) – I can’t stress this enough – This is one of the best ways to be prepared and stay organized when tackling a multi-part recipe! For this recipe in particular, there are several wait times for cooling/setting, so knowing this beforehand will help you plan and better manage your time.
  2. Measure and set out all ingredients ahead of time.
  3. Finely chop the chocolate (by hand or with a food processor).
  4. Prepare a large piping bag fitted with a large, plain nozzle and set aside for assembly.
  5. Set out the following ingredients to bring to room temperature:
    • For the cake:
      • 2 large eggs (100 g)
      • 113 g unsalted butter (1 stick)
      • 180 mL whole milk (3/4 cup)
    • For the chocolate crème mousseline:
      • 6 large egg yolks (108 g)
      • 450 g unsalted butter (4 sticks)
  6. Hull and prepare the strawberries in advance – Leaving some strawberries whole to decorate the top of the cake if you wish.
  7. Bake the cake and prepare the strawberry syrup the day before (if possible) – Baking two of the four components in advance will make this recipe a lot less intimidating and will make assembling the cake much easier.

What you’ll need for Chocolate Fraisier

This Chocolate Frasier recipe has several parts to it, but the list below totals all of the ingredients you’ll need!

  • 1140 ml whole milk (4 3/4 cups)
  • 8 eggs (2 whole eggs + 6 yolks)
  • 36 oz. fresh strawberries
  • 613 g unsalted butter (5 1/2 sticks) + more for greasing the pan
  • 450 g granulated sugar (2 1/4 cups)
  • 150 g unbleached all-purpose flour + more for the pan
  • 62 g (1/2 cup) corn flour (can substitute with corn starch – cut quantity in half)
  • 35 g dark, dutch processed cocoa powder (1/3 cup)
  • 226 g (8 oz.) bittersweet chocolate (60-70% recommended)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) hot coffee
  • 1 1/2 tsp powdered, unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 tsp kirsch liquor (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried chamomile (optional)
  • 8 g freeze dried strawberries (optional)
  • Cocoa powder for decorating (optional)
Print
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Chocolate Fraisier


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  • Author: Amy @ The Pastry Blog
  • Total Time: 5 1/2 hours
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

For the chocolate sponge:

  • 150 g unbleached all purpose flour
  • 35 g dark, dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 180 ml whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 113 g unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (100 g), at room temperature
  • 30 ml hot espresso or coffee
  • 30 ml boiling water

For the strawberry syrup:

  • 100 g (3 1/2 oz.) fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 10 g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kirsch liqueur (optional)

For the chocolate crème mousseline:

  • 6 large egg yolks (108 g)
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 62 g corn flour
  • 960 ml whole milk
  • 50 g + 450 g unsalted butter
  • 226 g bittersweet chocolate (60-70% recommended)

For the strawberry jelly:

  • 345 g (12 oz.) fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 60 g granulated sugar
  • 8 g freeze dried strawberries (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried chamomile (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp powdered, unflavored gelatin

For assembly:

  • 580 g (20 1/2 oz.) fresh strawberries, halved

For decoration:

  • Cocoa powder
  • Whole strawberries

Instructions

For the chocolate sponge:

  • Grease and flour (1) 9-inch round cake pan lined with parchment and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Combine the milk and vanilla and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until creamy, for 2-3 minutes.
  • Keeping the mixer on medium-high, add the eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Mix until fully incorporated.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated – do not over mix!
  • Add the boiling water and hot coffee and mix until incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out dry. 
  • After 15 minutes, carefully remove the cake from the hot pan and continue to cool on a wire rack.
  • Once cooled, level the top of the cake with a large knife or cake leveler until flat, being careful not to cut off too much cake in the process.
  • Horizontally slice the cake into 2 even layers. If preparing one day in advance, wrap the cake with one or two layers of cling-film and store in an airtight container until use.

For the strawberry syrup:

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the hulled strawberries and sugar until the sugar dissolves and the strawberries start to release their juices, about 3 minutes.
  • Using a food processor or immersion blender, blend the strawberry mixture until smooth.
  • Pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a heat-proof bowl. 
  • (Optional) Stir in the kirsch and set aside to cool completely.
  • If preparing one day in advance, cover the bowl of syrup with a layer of cling-film and store in the refrigerator until use.

For the chocolate crème mousseline:

  • Finely chop the chocolate and place in a heat proof medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture becomes pale in color. 
  • Add the corn flour and continue to whisk until thickened and fully incorporated.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat milk and 50 g of the butter and bring to a boil, removing it from the heat the moment it reaches a boil. Watch this closely as the milk will quickly foam as it begins to boil. 
  • Add a third of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking vigorously and constantly until fully incorporated. 
  • Gradually add the yolk mixture into the pan of remaining hot milk, whisking vigorously and constantly until fully incorporated.
  • Return the hot milk mixture to the stove over low heat, continuing to whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and begins to “burp”. Remove from the heat. 
  • Pour the hot pastry cream into the bowl of chopped chocolate and let sit for 1 minute before stirring. Once combined, allow the pastry cream to cool completely (about 45 minutes) before proceeding to the next step.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the remaining 450 g of butter until fluffy creamy, about 2 minutes. 
  • Using a rubber spatula, spoon the butter into a separate bowl and set aside.
  • Transfer the cooled pastry cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. 
  • With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add the creamed butter to the into pastry cream, waiting until the butter disappears before adding more. 
  • Pour the prepared crème mousseline into the prepared piping bag and set aside.

For the strawberry jelly:

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the hulled strawberries and sugar until the sugar dissolves and the strawberries start to release their juices, about 3 minutes.
  • Using a food processor or immersion blender, blend the strawberry mixture, the freeze-dried strawberries, and the chamomile together until smooth.
  • Pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer back into the sauce pan. 
  • Add the powdered gelatin and cook the mixture, constantly whisking on low heat until it reaches a light simmer. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes (you can begin to assemble the cake in the meantime). 

To assemble:

  • To make removing the cake from the pan easier, cut 4-6 long strips of parchment paper (about 2-inches wide) and arrange them in a grid format along the bottom of the springform pan. You will want the ends of the parchment to stick out of the springform pan when fastened closed. 
  • Place the bottom cake layer into the springform pan and brush it with half of the strawberry syrup. 
  • (Optional) Arrange the cake collar to stand up around the bottom layer of cake, taping the outside where the two ends meet, if necessary.
  • Assemble the halved strawberries around the perimeter of the springform pan with the cut side facing outwards. Scatter the remaining cut strawberries around the middle of the cake. 
  • Using the piping bag and working carefully around the strawberries, fill the cake to the top of the springform pan with the crème mousseline.
  • With an off-set spatula, carefully spread the slightly cooled strawberry jelly on top of the crème mousseline.
    • You can set the jelly as the top layer if you wish (I prefer cake as the top layer as it better contrasts the color of the strawberries used to garnish). 
  • Place the remaining cake layer on top and soak with the rest of the strawberry syrup.
  • Refrigerate to let cool and set (about 1 hour).
  • Once set: Working carefully, loosen the springform pan and remove the cake collar. Slide a large pizza spatula (or two smaller spatulas) underneath the strips of parchment and carefully remove the cake from the base of the springform pan. Carefully pull the parchment out from under the cake.
  • Decorate the top of the cake with cocoa powder and fresh strawberries to garnish.

Notes

Do not freeze this cake! Frozen strawberries once thawed become very soggy and water-logged. 

  • Prep Time: 2 1/2 hours
  • Cooling/setting: 2 1/2 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes

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