Lemon Strawberry Cream Puff Cake

This is the dessert I made for Mother’s Day.  That I wanted to share before Mother’s Day so that I would be giving you a great Mother’s Day recipe.  But… that was a bad week, kitchen wise, and I just wasn’t sure that it would be worth sharing.

In fact, even though it looked amazing, I was actually fairly certain that it would be a disaster when we tasted it.  It was just that kind of week.  I was so sure of this, that I made a second dessert – you know, for options – but mostly so there would still be dessert when the cream puff one was awful!

 

Lemon Strawberry Cream Puff Cake - An amazing lemon strawberry cream puff cake that is absolutely stunning. A giant cream puff shell filled with lemon curd, then a creamy whipped filling and topped with fresh strawberries. This dessert will not last long!

 

I’m happy to say that it was not awful.  Obviously, or you wouldn’t be seeing it here.  Either was the other dessert.  So mostly it just made for a tough choice, which ended up being okay.  Because when you have a choice between two desserts and can’t decide – you just have both.  Obviously.

I’m glad I wasn’t alone in this decision – pretty much everyone there agreed that that was the right call, and there really weren’t a lot of leftovers.  And before you judge us too harshly for that, there were 15 people there, so we had small slices of each!

 

Lemon Strawberry Cream Puff Cake - An amazing lemon strawberry cream puff cake that is absolutely stunning. A giant cream puff shell filled with lemon curd, then a creamy whipped filling and topped with fresh strawberries. This dessert will not last long!

 

This lemon strawberry cream puff cake was the winner though I think.  It was absolutely divine.  A giant cream puff shell, with a layer of sweet lemon curd spread on the bottom, filled with a sweet lemony cream cheese and whipped cream filling, and topped with sliced fresh strawberries.  I was surprised at how good this was.  Although really, I shouldn’t have been.  A cream puff with lemon curd, whipped cream and strawberries?  How bad could it be?

Not bad at all it turns out.  In fact, pretty amazing.  And an absolutely stunning looking dessert that tastes as great as it looks and is perfect for a special occasion.  Or a Tuesday night.  Your call!

 

Lemon Strawberry Cream Puff Cake - An amazing lemon strawberry cream puff cake that is absolutely stunning.  A giant cream puff shell filled with lemon curd, then a creamy whipped filling and topped with fresh strawberries.  This dessert will not last long!

 

Lemon Strawberry Cream Puff Cake
Yield: one 9½ inch cake - serves 8-10
 
Note: Don't be scared off by the long recipe - all the components are easy to make, and can be made ahead of time! Keep the prepared cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve, although I wouldn’t recommend assembling it too far in advance or the cream puff shell may become soggy. Mine was still crisp after about 3 hours in the fridge. The separate components can be made ahead of time, I made everything the day before serving it, and then assembled it the day of, I just left the cream puff covered at room temperature. I did find that it had lost some of it’s crispness, so to crisp it up again I placed it in a 225 degree F oven for about 10 minutes and it was nice and crisp again before assembling the cake.
Ingredients
For the lemon curd:
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch salt
For the cream puff:
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
For the cream filling:
  • 4 ounces (125g) cream cheese, softened
  • ⅔ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
For the topping:
  • 2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Directions
  1. Prepare the lemon curd. In a small bowl, whisk the 2 eggs and one egg yolk together, then whisk in the sugar until combined. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the lemon juice and zest until hot, but not boiling. Slowly pour the hot lemon juice into the egg mixture, whisking constantly while pouring. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick enough to cling to the back of the spoon, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter until combined. Stir in the cream, vanilla and salt. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl. Cover the lemon curd with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Make the cream puff. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease the sides and bottom of a 9½ inch springform pan and set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, water and sugar to a boil. Add the flour all at once and stir the mixture quickly until it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and keep stirring until the mixture is smooth, then allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Using a handheld electric mixer, add the eggs, one at a time to the mixture and beat it until it is smooth and shiny. Spread the mixture in the bottom, and about an inch up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until it is golden brown and crisp to the touch. Take it out and poke it all over, 10-12 times, with a toothpick (there shouldn’t be a lot of sticky batter on the toothpick after poking the puff, if there is bake it a little longer). Then turn the oven off, put the cake back in the oven and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. Allow it to dry in the propped open oven for about 30-45 minutes. Take it out to cool completely, I removed it from the pan at this point and transferred it carefully to a cooling rack.
  4. Toss the strawberries together with the sugar in a bowl and place in the refrigerator until needed.
  5. Prepare the cream filling. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream cheese until it is smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar, and whip the mixture until it is light and fluffy. Add in the heavy cream, lemon zest and vanilla and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. At this point, if you’re not ready to assemble the cake you can keep the prepared cream in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.
  6. Assemble the cake. Spread the lemon curd over the bottom of the cream puff shell. Then spread the cream filling over top of the lemon curd, and pile the strawberries on top of the cream filling. Slice and serve!
Notes
Source: Lemon curd recipe from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book and the cream puff cake is slightly adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

 

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Comments

    • stacey says

      Hi Charlotte – I assembled the cake about 4 hours before serving and kept it in the fridge until we were ready to eat and it was fine, not soggy at all. I made up all the components the day before and they kept just fine too (I left the cream puff shell at room temp lightly covered in tin foil, and briefly re-crisped it in the oven the next day). I haven’t tried, but I think that if you assemble it way ahead of time, the bottom of the cream puff shell may get a bit soggy, but it takes about 2 minutes to assemble it if all the components are ready to go! Let me know if you try it out!

    • stacey says

      It’s hard not to do something with strawberries this time of year when they’re finally good again! Thanks so much Neli!

  1. says

    I’m glad it worked out! Bad weeks in the kitchen are the worst. But something always comes along to save the day and inspire!

  2. says

    What a cool looking cake!! And I would definitely take a big piece of this tonight! Forget about waiting for the weekend or a holiday :)

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