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Warm Strawberry Cakes with Crème Chantilly Recipe


Strawberries were the favorite fruit of the French court, Louis XIV held a poetry contests on the topic of strawberries.  Marie Antoinette’s favorite dessert was fresh strawberries with crème Chantilly. 

FrançoisVatel (1631-71) invented crème Chantilly for an extravagant banquet for 2,000 in honor of Louis XIV in the Chateau Chantilly. According to the memoirs of Madame de Sévigné,Vatel committed suicide on the occasion when he feared the fish would be served late. His death was treated as a national tragedy. — Maites Gomez-Réjon.

Adapted from the ArtBites tour of the Los Angeles County Musuem of Art.

Recipe is adapted from "Baking with Julia" by Dorie Greenspan.


For the strawberry cakes:

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus melted butter for coating pans
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 12 strawberries, ends cut off

For the crème Chantilly:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the strawberry cakes:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the insides of twelve cupcake pans with the butter. Set aside.

Working with a hand-held mixer, cream the butter, 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar and the granulated sugar together on medium speed for 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to beat for 3 more minutes or until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture whitens.

Add one of the eggs, increase the speed to high and beat for another 30 seconds. Add the second egg, the orange zest and vanilla and, still on high, beat until well incorporated. 

Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the flour and baking soda and beat for just about 15 seconds. Pour in the buttermilk and mix for about 30 seconds more. Finish blending the ingredients with a spatula.

Spoon about 2 tablespoons of batter into each of the prepared cups. Place a strawberry into each cup, pushing down only a little. 

Sprinkle an equal amount of the remaining brown sugar over the cut surface of each of the fruit.

Place on the center rack of the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the cake part of the dessert comes out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool before unmolding. Serve with crème Chantilly.

For the crème Chantilly:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract together on high speed until soft peaks form in the mixture.


Click here to see the Eating Through the Ages: A Museum and Culinary Tour story.