Strawberries And Cream French Toast Bake Recipe

French toast is the type of fancy brunch food that makes us dream of breakfasts in bed, luxuriously pouring syrup over stacks of golden, fluffy bread covered in powdered sugar. Instead of stacks of crispy brioche, though, the reality of French toast usually looks like stacks of dishes in the sink, because French toast doesn't exactly just appear bedside (unless you're in a fancy hotel or have a chef-y spouse). French toast is a labor of love, requiring perfectly stale bread, a sugary egg wash, a sturdy frying pan, and plenty of patience. You could make things a little faster with something handy like the air fryer, but if you don't have one of those, give the oven a try instead. 

In our recipe for strawberries and cream French toast, developer Michelle McGlinn turns what is usually a time-consuming breakfast into an easy one with the help of a casserole dish, which delivers perfectly custardy, crisp-on-top French toast with half the hands-on work. Instead of frying slices individually, this method makes the French toast into one casserole, also allowing for additions like whipped mascarpone and jammy strawberries. The combination of sweet strawberries and fluffy cream is perfect for springtime holidays like Mother's Day and Easter; just add blueberries and you have red, white, and blue for the Fourth of July, too. It's the best breakfast for lazy mornings — and don't worry, it's still just as luxurious, too.

Gather the ingredients for strawberries and cream French toast bake

The ingredients list for a French toast bake isn't too different from regular French toast. You'll need thick, sturdy, slightly-stale bread like brioche or challah. You'll also need almost a whole carton of eggs, milk, melted butter, cinnamon, and salt. To make the strawberries and cream, you'll first need strawberries, then mascarpone, heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar.

Step 1: Whip the mascarpone

Beat the mascarpone, ½ cup heavy cream, powdered sugar, and ½ teaspoon vanilla in a bowl until soft peaks form, about 3-5 minutes.

Step 2: Arrange bread

Arrange the bread slices in a casserole dish.

Step 3: Add the mascarpone cream

Dollop the whipped mascarpone evenly throughout the bread.

Step 4: Add the strawberries

Add the sliced strawberries to the dish, distributing evenly.

Step 5: Whisk the filling together

Whisk together the eggs, milk, remaining ½ cup heavy cream, butter, remaining vanilla, cinnamon, and salt until completely smooth.

Step 6: Pour the eggs into the bread

Pour the mixture over the bread in the casserole dish. Let rest for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Step 7: Preheat the oven

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F.

Step 8: Cover and bake

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Step 9: Bake uncovered

Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the custard has set.

Step 10: Dust with sugar and serve

Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before dusting with powdered sugar.

Can I prepare this French toast bake in advance?

You might be wondering what, exactly, makes this recipe so easy — since after all, there's still a lot of whipping, stirring, whisking, and slicing involved and the dishes in your sink continue to grow. What makes French toast bakes so easy is that the preparation can (and should) be done in advance. The egg mixture needs time to soak into the bread — up to overnight, in fact — so you can prepare the entire casserole the evening before serving and simply throw it into the oven an hour before breakfast. 

For the best results, plan a few days ahead, leaving the bread to get stale before arranging in the dish. Add the mascarpone and strawberries, then pour the egg mixture throughout. Cover the dish and store in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours — much longer and the bread may get a little too wet and begin breaking down. The day of, take the casserole out of the refrigerator while the oven heats up, then follow the recipe as written for baking. Allow yourself about an hour and a half for preheating, baking, resting, and dusting. And if you didn't quite plan that far ahead? The bake can be made same-day, too, though you'll need an extra hour to let the egg soak into the bread.

What bread should I use for a French toast bake?

Though there are a few types of bread that are best to use for French toast, regular, pan-fried French toast can be made with just about any bread since you can control the amount of egg wash each piece gets. Of course, a sturdy, thick, day-old piece of bread will always fare better than sandwich bread, but you could use anything in a pinch. That's not the case for a bake, especially if you are planning to make it ahead of time. Because the egg soaks into the bread, creating a custardy base, you need to use thick slices of sturdy, practically-stale bread. A good choice for this is challah, which is a dense bread made with eggs, sugar, and oil. Brioche, on the other hand, is similar, and can also be used if challah isn't available. For either loaf, slice into thick slices or large cubes so the egg can soak into the pieces overnight.

Strawberries And Cream French Toast Bake Recipe
4.9 from 39 ratings
Simplify your Saturday morning with this delicious French toast bake recipe, which features challah, mascarpone cream, and sweet strawberries.
Prep Time
1.33
hours
Cook Time
1.08
hours
Servings
8
Servings
slice of french toast bake on plate
Total time: 2 hours, 25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces mascarpone
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar, plus more for topping
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 (16-ounce) loaf challah bread, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced and stems removed
  • 10 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. Beat the mascarpone, ½ cup heavy cream, powdered sugar, and ½ teaspoon vanilla in a bowl until soft peaks form, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Arrange the bread slices in a casserole dish.
  3. Dollop the whipped mascarpone evenly throughout the bread.
  4. Add the sliced strawberries to the dish, distributing evenly.
  5. Whisk together the eggs, milk, remaining ½ cup heavy cream, butter, remaining vanilla, cinnamon, and salt until completely smooth.
  6. Pour the mixture over the bread in the casserole dish. Let rest for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F.
  8. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  9. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the custard has set.
  10. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before dusting with powdered sugar.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 558
Total Fat 37.7 g
Saturated Fat 20.6 g
Trans Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 313.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 39.0 g
Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
Total Sugars 11.3 g
Sodium 445.4 mg
Protein 16.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe