This is my kind of cream puff! All the wonders and deliciousness of a tender cream puff wrapped up in an easy-to-make cake. Yum!
My Aunt Marilyn introduced this wonder of a cream puff cake to me years and years ago (it should look familiar to some of you!) and it’s been an oft-made and very favorite cake ever since. I can’t even count the number of times this has been my go-to dessert when company is coming over because it is always, always a hit.
I mean, just look at it! It’s screaming “love me!!”
This cream puff cake is elegant, so simple, and out-of-this-world delicious. Plus, you don’t have to fuss over individual cream puff shells that may or may not collapse on you and cause you to say and think very bad thoughts about cream puffs in general.
The base of the cake, baked in a springform pan (or a 9-inch cake pan in a pinch), is exactly, exactly like a cream puff shell: tender and light with that classic, delicious cream puff taste and texture.
It holds up perfectly for the pillowy and light, creamy filling infused with just a little bit of fresh orange zest (my favorite part of the whole equation). Topped with strawberries, this is a masterpiece – and a pretty easy one at that.
If you’ve been hesitant to make real, live cream puffs part of your baking repertoire, ditch that goal (at least for now) and opt-in to this simple and amazing dessert. I know the instructions look lengthy, but that’s only because I’m giving you lots of details to ensure 100% success (not hard when it’s this straightforward and simple).
While I’ve continued to make this strawberry cream puff cake exactly as written – because that slight hint of orange with the fresh strawberries just gets me – I have a feeling the options with that filling and fruit combo could be endless.
Lemon blueberry, maybe? Creamy vanilla filling with chocolate ganache glaze? I’m thinking maybe it’s time to explore some other tasty possibilities.
Strawberry cream puff cake! It’s a thing. And a really, really good thing at that. I hope you love it!
If you don't have a 9-inch springform pan, you can use a 9-inch cake pan in a pinch. The slices won't cut as neatly, of course, and the shell will be slightly thicker based on the lower sides of the pan, but it should work.
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2/3 cup (3.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2/3 cup (2.75 ounces) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2-3 cups sliced, fresh strawberries
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- For the cream puff base, in a medium saucepan, bring the butter, water and sugar to a boil. Add the flour all at once and stir quickly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the mixture forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir the mixture until smooth. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl or into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time and beat with a handheld electric mixer (or with the stand mixer) until the mixture is shiny, 1-2 minutes. Don’t overbeat.
- Using an offset spatula, spread the mixture on the bottom and 1-2 inches up the sides of the prepared pan. If it's difficult to spread, use your fingers (wetting them with cool water lightly may help) to evenly portion the mixture into the pan and then spread with the spatula.
- Bake the cream puff shell for 20-25 minutes, until just golden. Remove from the oven and prick the bottom and sides with a toothpick 10-12 times. Return to the oven and bake 5-10 minutes more until golden brown but not overbaked (you can insert a toothpick into the center and if it comes out with sticky dough, it still needs longer in the oven).
- Cool completely.
- For the cream cheese filling, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until mixture is smooth, another 1-2 minutes. Add the orange zest, vanilla, and whipping cream. Whip with the mixer until the mixture is thick and creamy, 2-3 minutes.
- Spread the filling over the cooled cream puff shell, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 24 hours.
- Combine the strawberries and sugar and let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes (or up to several hours) before serving.
- To serve, pile the strawberries on top of the cake. Remove the sides of the springform pan, slice into pieces and serve. Alternately, you can slice the cake before adding strawberries and add them to each individual serving.
Recipe Source: from Aunt Marilyn
Recipe originally posted October 19, 2009.