A deconstructed strawberry cake by Benoît Castel

The best Benoit Castel strawberry cake

© Salomé Rateau (@salome_rateau)

The star pastry chef Benoît Castel, known for his beloved brunch in Ménilmontant, expertly showcases the magic of the seasons with his incredible creations. His star for spring ? The strawberry ! He transforms it into tarts, tartlets, jam, choux pastry, and even ice cream. Our favorite ? His ultra-yummy deconstructed strawberry cake with a soft pistachio financier base. Here’s the easy-to-make recipe for you to try at home.


Ingredients to shop

For 6 small strawberry shortcakes :

Vanilla pastry cream :

  • 500 g of whole milk
  • 50 g of granulated sugar (1)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 50 g of granulated sugar (2)
  • 45 g of cornstarch or flan powder (starch)
  • 80 g of egg yolks
  • 25 g of unsalted butter


Pistachio financier base :

  • 140 g of unsalted butter
  • 170 g of granulated sugar
  • 70 g of almond powder
  • 70 g of flour
  • 140 g of egg whites
  • 55 g of pistachio paste


Vanilla pastry cream :

Boil the milk, sugar (1), and the scraped vanilla bean. Mix the sugar (2), cornstarch, and egg yolks. When the milk boils, remove the vanilla bean and pour half of the liquid onto the sugar, cornstarch, and egg yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the butter and mix. Transfer to a container, cover with plastic wrap in contact with the cream, and place in the freezer for 20 minutes, then in the refrigerator until completely cooled (about 2 hours).

Pistachio financier base :

In a saucepan, heat the butter until it becomes nut-brown. Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, combine all the dry ingredients. Add the egg whites. Mix well between each addition. Add the butter last and then the pistachio paste. Pour into a dish to a thickness of about 1 cm and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 160°C (320°F). Let cool and cut into small cubes. When the vanilla pastry cream is completely cooled, loosen it with a mixer and whisk it with 325 g of mascarpone.

In small round pots about 8 cm in diameter, pipe three large dollops of vanilla pastry cream directly into the bottom. Fill with whole or halved strawberries, then add the small cubes of financier. Decorate to your taste ; you can add chopped pistachios, for example.

Chef's note : For the base of your strawberry shortcake, you can also make a shortcrust or sweet pastry dough, according to your taste. Here, I chose a pistachio financier tart base. For decoration, I love to add cubes of marzipan or pieces of fresh almond.


Also discover an ultra-delicious zucchini salad and a simple rice pudding recipe that's as easy as pie.

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