A cake topped with strawberry mousse is a fabulous way to showcase fresh strawberries.  The creamy and airy texture of the mousse perfectly complements the moist vanilla cake. It’s not quite as sweet as frosting but still bursting with flavor.

Three servings of strawberry mousse cake.

This strawberry mousse cake is unlike any mousse cake you’ve had before. A perfect 2-layer dessert combines moist vanilla cake with a luscious strawberry mousse on top instead of frosting. The gelatin in the mousse gives it enough structure to maintain its shape for several hours at room temperature.

This makes for the perfect dessert for a summer cookout or party. But you can also use frozen berries so keep it in mind for a beautiful Valentine’s day dessert. Strawberry recipes are my favorite, whether baked into a pound cake or cooked in a cobbler, it’s hard to beat fresh fruit desserts.

Pro Tip: Learn a simple trick to keep your strawberries fresh for two weeks while you’re waiting to make strawberry desserts.

A platter of cut squares of strawberry cake.

I had to try several different methods to find just the right consistency for the mousse so that it would maintain its shape and not slide off the cake. Adding gelatin to a strawberry puree was the trick that keeps it in place just like a thick frosting. I even left a piece on the counter all night and the mousse was still perfect the next day.

Creating this strawberry cake begins with preparing the moist cake layer, which is infused with the rich flavor of vanilla and tangy sour cream. As the cake bakes to perfection, you’ll prepare the star of the show: the strawberry mousse.

Simmering fresh strawberries with sugar and vanilla transforms them into a luxurious jam-like mixture, which is then combined with gelatin and folded into whipped cream to achieve a heavenly lightness.

A bite taken out of a piece of cake.

This dessert is a true feast for the eyes. Its vibrant pink color and elegant presentation make it the perfect centerpiece for special occasions or gatherings with loved ones. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply treating yourself to a slice of happiness, this cake will be a winner.

Why You’ll Love a Mousse Cake

  • The vanilla cake is perfectly moist
  • The freeze-dried strawberries add an extra burst of flavor
  • The mousse has a beautifully vibrant pink color that looks beautiful on a dessert table.
  • While it’s sweet, the mousse makes it seem lighter than a typically frosted cake.
  • You can make it in advance

Strawberry Mousse Cake Ingredients

Vanilla Cake Ingredients

Ingredients for a vanilla cake.
Ingredients you’ll need for the cake.
  • Sour Cream – The sour cream in this cake recipe provides a lot of moisture and is, in part, why it’s so light and fluffy. You can replace it with Greek yogurt if you prefer.
  • Cake Flour – Cake flour will create a tender and more delicate cake then all-purpose flour.
  • Eggs – This recipe uses egg whites, not whole eggs. Separate the yolks and the whites in a small bowl before adding them to the batter. Save the egg yolks and make banana pudding with vanilla wafers.
  • Pantry Staples – sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, butter, milk, and vanilla.

Strawberry Mousse Ingredients

Ingredients for a strawberry mousse.
Ingredients you’ll need for the mousse.
  • Fresh Strawberries – Choose medium-size strawberries that look juicy and ripe. You can use frozen berries but make sure you thaw and drain them first.
  • Gelatin – Use unflavored gelatin in this recipe.
  • Freeze-dried Strawberries – Freeze-dried berries give this mousse an extra burst of strawberry flavor.
  • Heavy Cream – Heavy cream is needed to get the light and airy. texture of a mousse.
  • Pantry staples – sugar, and vanilla.

How To Make The Best Strawberry Mousse Cake

Step 1: Make the cake batter.

Whisk together the dry cake ingredients in one bowl. Using a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar. Next add egg whites, sour cream and vanilla. 

Butter and sugar creamed in a mixing bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar.
Eggs and sour cream added to the butter mixture.
Add eggs and sour cream.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer and beat together on low. When the batter is just incorporated, slowly drizzle in the milk. Don’t overmix! 

The cake batter in a mixing bowl.
Add the dry ingredients and milk.
The cake batter in a cake pan.
Add the batter to a 9 x 13 cake pan.

Pour it into the cake pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean.

A baked vanilla cake in a cake pan.
Bake until a toothpick comes out clean.

Step 2: Make the jam.

Puree the strawberries in a food processor or with an immersion blender or regular blender.

A strawberry puree in a glass bowl.
Puree the strawberries.

Add the puree to a medium saucepan along with the sugar and vanilla. and cook over medium heat. When it starts to boil, turn it down and let it simmer until it thickens, about 5 minutes.

Strawberry puree in a saucepan.
Cook the strawberry and sugar mixture until it starts to thicken.
Gelatin dissolved in water in a bowl.
Dissolve the gelatin in water.

Combine the gelatin and 2 tablespoons of water and add to the strawberry mixture and stir until it’s dissolved. Pour it into a bowl and place it in the fridge to cool.

Step 3: Make the mousse.

Beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form, then add the ground freeze-dried berries and fold it together. Next, fold in half of the jam, then finally, the remaining half until everything is combined. Be careful not to flatten the whipped cream.

A bowl of whipped cream.
Beat the heavy cream until stiff.
Freeze dried strawberries added to whipped cream.
Add ground freeze dried strawberries.
Strawberry jam folded into whipped cream.
Fold in the strawberry jam.

Step 4: Assemble the cake.

Once the cake has completely cooled, use an offset spatula to spread the mousse on the top. Place the cake in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving to let the mousse set fully.

A cake half covered with strawberry mousse.
Add the strawberry mousse to the top of the cooled cake.
A cake covered with strawberry mousse.
Cover the cake completely and refrigerate.

A Few Recipe Notes

  • Let all of your ingredients warm up to room temperature before making this cake. Room temperature ingredients combine together much easier than cold ingredients and give you the best texture.
  • Be careful when folding together the mousse. Mix gently. The air pockets you’ve created will burst if you stir the mousse or are too rough with it, so move slowly and deliberately, and fold just until it’s combined.
  • To grind the freeze dried strawberries, you can roll a rolling pin over the sealed bag or place in a resealable bag and roll until they are in powder form. You can also use a food processor.

How to Store

This strawberry mousse cake needs to be kept in the fridge. Just cover it with plastic wrap. It’s best enjoyed fresh, but should be able to last in the fridge for 2-3 days before the cake dries out.

You can make this cake ahead if you want. Bake the vanilla cake as instructed. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then in foil or in a Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 2 months.

You can also freeze this once the mousse has been added. Store it in an airtight container and let it thaw before serving.

More Fruity Cake Recipes to Love

Light and Airy Strawberry Mousse Cake

A cake topped with strawberry mousse is a fabulous way to showcase fresh strawberries.  The creamy and airy texture of the mousse perfectly complements the moist vanilla cake. It’s not quite as sweet as frosting but still bursting with flavor.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours
Servings: 24 pieces
Calories: 204kcal

Equipment

  • Mixer
  • Cake pan
  • Saucepan
  • Food processor or blender

Ingredients

CAKE

  • 2 ½ cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 egg whites room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup whole milk room temperature

MOUSSE

  • 2 cups strawberries 16 ounces
  • ¾ cup sugar more if desired
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons gelatin 1 packet
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 ounce freeze-dried strawberries ground

Instructions

CAKE

  • Preheat the oven to 350º. Place two pieces of parchment paper in a 9 x 13 baking pan, one in each direction. Spray with cooking spray.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and add the sugar, beating on high for 2 minutes until well combined. Add egg whites and beat on high for 2 minutes. Add sour cream and vanilla and beat until combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just incorporated, then while it is still on low, slowly add the milk so that it doesn’t splash out. Mix only until combined trying not to over-mix. Pour it into the cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

MOUSSE

  • Use a blender, food processor, or emersion blender and puree the strawberries in a bowl. Add to a saucepan and add sugar and vanilla. Heat until it starts to boil, then turn down and simmer until it starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of water to the gelatin and stir to combine. Once the jam has thickened, add the gelatin and continue to cook until it has dissolved. Pour it into a bowl and place it in the fridge to cool.
  • In a large bowl, beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Add finely ground freeze-dried strawberries and fold them into the whipped cream.
  • Add half of the strawberry jam to the whipped cream, folding it in until combined, then add the remaining jam and fold in until it is combined, trying not to flatten the whipped cream.
  • Spread the mousse on a completely cooled cake and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow it to set before cutting.

Notes

  • Taste the strawberry puree and if it’s not sweet enough, add a little more sugar.
  • Let all of your ingredients warm up to room temperature before making this cake. Room temperature ingredients combine together much easier than cold ingredients and give you the best texture.
  • Be careful when folding together your mousse. Mix gently. The air pockets you’ve created will burst if you stir the mousse or are too rough with it, so move slowly and deliberately, and fold just until it’s combined.

Nutrition

Calories: 204kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 187mg | Potassium: 130mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 444IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @easy.southern.desserts or tag #easysoutherndesserts!

I first published this Strawberry Mousse Cake on my Southern food blog Butter and Baggage.

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