- Dish type
- Cakes with fruit
- Berry cake
- Strawberry cake
This classic French cake is what patisserie dreams are made of. A true celebration of strawberries, the fraisier is a perfect celebration cake for Mother's Day, birthdays and more.
13 people made this
- For the sponge
- 5 eggs, separated
- 150g caster sugar, divided
- 150g plain flour, sifted
- 75g butter, melted
- 1 pinch salt
- For the syrup
- 120g caster sugar
- 200ml water
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthways
- For the filling
- 500ml milk
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthways
- 1 to 2 egg yolks
- 100g caster sugar
- 40g cornflour
- 150ml double cream, chilled
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar (optional)
- 450g strawberries, halved lengthways
- 350 to 400g diced strawberries
MethodPrep:1hr ›Cook:30min ›Extra time:2hr chilling › Ready in:3hr30min
- Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease a round 24cm cake tin and dust with flour.
- Mix the 5 egg yolks with 100g of the sugar in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, ensuring the bowl doesn't touch the water. Whisk until the mixture is lukewarm. Remove bowl from heat and whisk until completely cooled.
- In a separate bowl with a clean whisk, combine the egg whites with a pinch of salt and beat to soft peaks, then beat in the remaining 50g sugar and whisk till stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold flour and melted butter into the cooled yolk mixture. Once smooth, fold in the egg whites. Pour mixture into prepared tin.
- Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- In a small saucepan, heat sugar, water and vanilla. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, till the sugar is well dissolved. Reduce heat and keep the syrup warm until needed.
- In a saucepan, heat the milk with the vanilla. Bring to a gentle boil for 1 minute.
- Whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the cornflour. Slowly pour the hot milk into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer back into the saucepan and heat over medium heat while whisking constantly until the custard thickens. Once thickened, pour into a bowl and cover with cling film. Let cool at room temperature for a bit, then transfer to the fridge to cool completely.
- Whip the chilled cream, with the optional tablespoon caster sugar if liked, till stiff. Fold the whipped cream into the cooled custard and transfer to a piping bag. Keep in the fridge until needed.
- Place a baking ring on a clean work surface. Line the inside of the ring with parchment. Cut the cooled cake in half horizontally to make two layers. Place one layer in the bottom of the baking ring and soak generously with the warm vanilla syrup. Place the strawberry halves standing along the ring, flat side facing out. Ensure that the strawberries are pressed firmly against ring.
- Use the piping bag to top the bottom layer with the chilled custard cream mixture, ensuring the strawberries remain in place. Fill with cream to just above the strawberries, scattering the cream in the centre with diced strawberries as you go.
- Cover with the second layer of sponge cake, then lightly soak it with the warm vanilla syrup.
- Decorate the top of the cake with fondant, marzipan or royal icing, or whipped cream. One can also add small marzipan or fondant designs. Chill the cake for two hours and remove the ring just before serving.
Prepare the sponge:
Prepare the syrup:
Prepare the filling:
Try to get strawberries that are all the same size when lining the cake; your fraisier will look even better!
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(8)
From 𠇌ross Cultural Holiday” article in the December 2017 issue.
Sugar Nymph&aposs Ki Holtze whipped up a show-stopping version of fraisier, a French cake named for les fraises or strawberries, that decorate it. It includes pastry cream and sweetened almond paste or marzipan as a part of the layered confection. You may choose to leave out the food coloring from the marzipan and have a cream-colored cake, but there’s something extra festive about the look of the dyed topping.
For the Cake
- 2 large eggs and one egg yolk, at room temperature
- ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ cup ground unsalted pistachios or almonds
- ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
For the Buttercream
- 7 large egg yolks
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups half-and-half
- 8 ounces imported white chocolate (such as Lindt), chopped
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 5 tablespoons fraise or framboise eau-de-vie (clear strawberry or raspberry brandy) or other brandy
- 6 tablespoons strawberry jam
- Three 1-pint baskets strawberries, stemmed
- 7 ounces marzipan
- Several drops green food coloring
- Confectioners’ sugar
- 2 ounces imported white chocolate (such as Lindt), chopped
- 4 strawberries, cut in half through stem end
For the Cake
1. Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°.
2. Butter 9-inch square pan with 2-inch-high sides. Line bottom with parchment paper. Butter and flour parchment.
3. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and ⅓ cup sugar on high speed in large bowl until a slowly dissolving ribbon forms when beaters are lifted, about 4 minutes. Mix nuts, flour, cornstarch and baking powder in medium bowl. Fold nut mixture into egg mixture. Using clean beaters, beat egg whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold whites into batter in 2 additions. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
4. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Cool cake in pan on baking rack 5 minutes. Cut around cake in pan. Turn cake out onto rack. Peel off parchment cool cake completely.
For the buttercream
1. Whisk yolks, sugar, and flour in medium bowl until well blended. Bring half-and-half to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Slowly pour hot half-and-half into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return egg mixture to same saucepan and cook until mixture is very thick and boils, whisking constantly. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add 8 ounces white chocolate and vanilla extract and stir until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Press plastic wrap on surface of pastry cream to prevent skin from forming cool. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before continuing.)
2. Using electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 tablespoon brandy in large bowl until fluffy. Add pastry cream ¼ cup at a
time, beating after each addition until just blended.
3. Melt jam in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons brandy into jam. Cut cake horizontally into 2 even layers. Place 1 layer on 8-inch cardboard square. Brush half of jam over. Spread 1 cup buttercream over jam. Cover buttercream layer completely with whole strawberries, stem end down. Set aside ½ cup buttercream spoon remaining buttercream over, between, and around berries.
4. Spread remaining jam over second cake layer. Place cake, jam side down, atop buttercream. Press cake gently to adhere. Refrigerate cake until buttercream is firm. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover cake and remaining buttercream separately and chill. Bring buttercream to room temperature before continuing.)
5. Knead marzipan and 2 drops green coloring in large bowl until color is evenly distributed. Add another drop or two, if you wish, for a deeper shade. Dust work surface with confectioners’ sugar. Roll out marzipan on sugar to 12-inch-diameter circle, sprinkling with confectioners’ sugar as needed, to prevent sticking. Spread reserved ½ cup buttercream over top of cake. Using rolling pin as aid, drape marzipan over top of cake. Press gently to adhere. Trim marzipan flush with top of cake reserve trimmings. Brush excess confectioners’ sugar off marzipan. Using long sharp knife, cut ⅓ inch off each side of dessert to expose strawberries. Cut marzipan trimmings into leaf shapes using small cutter.
6. Melt 2 ounces white chocolate in heavy small saucepan over low heat. Transfer chocolate to small parchment cone. Cut off tip to form small opening. Pipe the word Fraisier atop marzipan layer. Garnish with strawberry halves and marzipan leaves. Refrigerate until serving. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead.)
- 3 cups raspberries
- 1 ¾ cups white sugar, divided
- 6 egg whites
- 11 egg yolks, divided
- 1 ¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 quart fresh strawberries, rinsed and sliced
In medium saucepan, cook raspberries and 1 1/4 cups of sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Mixture will boil and then thicken. When thick, remove from heat and put over ice to cool.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). While berries are cooking, beat egg whites in large mixing bowl with electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat in 8 egg yolks and flour, until smooth. Pour mixture into pastry bag and pipe two spiral cakes, slightly smaller than 9 inches, onto baking sheets. Bake 5 to 7 minutes, or until set and golden. Cool.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, egg and remaining 3 egg yolks. Add the cooled raspberries and mix thoroughly. Place a 9 inch cake ring or spring form pan on a serving platter. Line the inside of the ring with sliced strawberries. Frost the sides of one of the spiral cakes with raspberry cream, and place it in the ring. Spread more cream on top, and add a layer of strawberries. Repeat with the next layer. Use a kitchen torch to loosen cake ring, or simply remove spring form ring. Serve.
Fraisier with buttercream
If Harrods food hall were burning and I could grab only one thing before I ran from the store that has everything, it would be butter. Not milk, not cream, not Somerset Cheddar, not Normandy Brie. Not one of those holds a candle to butter. No other food has anything close to butter’s concentrated goodness of clover, alfalfa, rye, dandelions and grass.
Butter has the taste of a flower, but rich. The first bite in spring is like you’ve rolled down a grassy slope on a sunny day, eating cake. It’s the distillate of meadow, waiting to be spread across a piece of bread, after which, depending on your mood, it will need a sprinkling of salt or a spoonful of jam. Butter is why dairy farmers farm, chefs cook and this eater eats.
Butter’s so good that Catholics give it up during Lent as a show of piety, though on a traditional farm, that is about as big a sacrifice as giving up sunshine at midnight. Dairy cows only give the milk that provides the cream that provides the butter after they’ve calved. Traditionally, farmers time breeding so they calve in the spring, and the milk only starts flowing around Easter.
Butter is the best of that milk, the cream of the cream. It’s made by skimming cream from milk, cooling it to just below room temperature, then agitating that cream so its most congenial fats, the ones in which all the best milk flavors reside, huddle up in glorious globules as the watery buttermilk drains out. These globules are then either salted or left sweet, and churned to a smooth, golden mass.
That’s the most basic butter. For a nuanced taste, and the potential for improvement in aging, Europeans add a bacterial culture to the cream, so that it ferments slightly before churning. This will digest lactic acids, producing the complex flavors that keep drawing our knives back to the butter.
Dairy technologists will tell you that the difference between European and American butter is merely textural -- a question of fat content. Indeed, our commodity butters contain the 80% fat required by law, and European butters have more like 84% to 86%. American dairies that do not stint on the fat, such as the organic Straus Family Creamery, routinely label their butter “European style” because of its richness, but the complexity is lacking.
Allison Hooper of Vermont Butter & Cheese dares us to buy any French butter -- President, Isigny, Echire -- and fail to notice the difference. It will have the character, the irresistibility, so lacking in most American butter. The ingredients panel will list “lactic starter.” When Hooper started making cultured butter five years ago, French chefs in New York went nuts for it. “They all said, ‘This is what we remember from home,’ ” she says. Occasionally Vermont Butter & Cheese cultured butter graces the shelves of West Coast Whole Foods stores. If you see it, buy it. It is superb, and as important as any new American cheese.
But it somehow seems right and proper that the best butter comes from France. French cuisine is built on it. There are the butter sauces, bearnaise, hollandaise. Butter makes a Wednesday night gravy sublime: Deglaze a pan with vinegar, add a knob of butter and you have instant sauce. There is butter on noodles, butter dotted on chicken before roasting, anchovy butter with garlic and rosemary packed over a leg of lamb, then roasted with half a bottle of white wine and the juice of a lemon. There is the beautiful butter seal over little ramekins of chicken liver pate.
Nowhere does butter do more glorious service than in French pastry. Imagine a croissant with margarine. Second thought, let’s not. Butterless puff pastry, impossible. Olive oil cake is interesting -- once.
Even Americans are roused by butter. All it takes is a whiff wafting off a warm piece of toast or a baked potato. Unlike olive oil, which often has green and fiery notes, butter is never strident. Nothing marries so well with the deep mineral flavors of spinach. The more butter you melt into blanched spinach leaves, the happier the marriage. Too much is enough.
To test the congeniality of molten butter with new-season vegetables, put out an olive oil vinaigrette with a plate of boiled spring artichokes. Then next to it put out melted butter with salt, cracked black pepper and lemon. Now just watch which bowl will be dunked to dryness the fastest.
This is not to bash olive oil. Butter has no business on salad or tomato. Sometimes one can be substituted for the other. Butter and olive oil can even be blended together: Witness pesto. But it would be a crime to put olive oil on peas if butter were in the house.
And so to the frying pan. Again, butter is the most congenial in its class. Nothing greases a skillet more tantalizingly. The smell of a just caramelizing knob will call a family to the table faster than a dinner bell. It will leave a nutty imprint on the skin of even the blandest white fish. Always prefer butter for sauteing mushrooms. It doesn’t compete with their woodsiness, just adds rich back notes.
The only danger in sauteing is the innate delicacy of butter. It burns easily compared with oil. Cooking schools have elaborate charts posted around their kitchens listing various smoking points of butter (low), olive oil (medium), peanut oil (high). The time-honored way to protect butter as you heat the pan is to heat a touch of oil, heat the pan, pour off the excess, add butter, reduce heat and proceed to saute for that good butter flavor.
No Indian cookbook is complete without instructions to clarify butter, or cook off the water, to make ghee. This has a higher smoking point and imparts an intense butter flavor, provided that, unlike me, you don’t ruin it by browning the butter in the process. (NB:Surfas in Culver City sells ready-made ghee.)
But sometimes browning the butter is the whole point. Chef Nancy Silverton likes playing butter for its full flavor range, from raw to near burnt. She made Sandwich Night a cult at Campanile in part by packing the prosciutto baguettes with fresh butter -- but, in the case of the open-faced sandwich with roasted asparagus, fried egg and cured pork, garnishing it with browned butter.
The most surprising place Silverton uses browned butter is in her pastries. Where she wants a caramelized complexity (think gingerbread tang), she might brown the butter and then chill it, before creaming it with sugar and baking powder for a batter. (On the subject of creaming: Silverton recommends ignoring the conventional instruction to sift in baking powder or baking soda with the flour. Rather, always cream it with the butter, she says. This will ensure that it is distributed more evenly and lessen the chance of that evil, concentrated baking soda flavor in your cakes and cookies.)
The downside to butter’s equanimity with other flavors is that it is so susceptible to vile influences. If Americans don’t appreciate the sublime delicacy of butter, it is not just the fault of fad diets and food technologists but of the funky state of so many of our refrigerators. Butter might go into the fridge as blameless as a spring meadow, but it can come out only hours later redolent of the mold on the rotting berries next to it.
We can do our part by cleaning up our acts and wrapping butter tightly in plastic wrap. However, the current standard packaging of wax paper and paraffin-coated boxes is a century old. If American butter deserves a new start, it will need a new package.
In the meantime, Silverton recommends that we wrap it in plastic and store it in the freezer, grating it as we need it. In France, all butter is sold in aluminum foil.
Butter is such a luxury that recipes involving it suffered terrible indignities during World War II. This butter tart recipe endured a decade of Crisco substitutions, says Audrey Haas, the friend who I begged to part with it. It was so badly mucked about that she went to Union Bakery in South Pasadena for help restoring it to a true and proper state. It was her mother’s, says Haas, from her countrified past back in Ontario, Canada. Her aunts evidently had their own versions however, one taste of this and, I think you will agree, the aunts need not apply.
A second recipe, Jeremiah Tower’s Montpellier butter, is a souped-up sauce for fish. All it needs is some fried Dover sole, boiled new potatoes and a bottle of Chablis to constitute a vacation on a plate. (Don’t worry about extra freeze it in an ice cube tray for fish dinners to come.)
The third recipe is for buttercream. It comes from Michel Roux, brother of Albert, uncle of Michel Roux Jr., the three best chefs in the British Isles and owners of the Waterside Inn at Bray and Le Gavroche in London. Here the buttercream goes into the classic French strawberry dessert fraisier, along with spongecake, syrup and fruit. It could just as easily go on French toast or a spicy boiled pudding. “The beauty of buttercream,” says the youngest Michel, “is you get richness and lightness at the same time.”
STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS & PICTURES
FOR THE CREME MOUSSELINE – PART I
Let’s start by making the pastry cream that will later become our mousseline. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla seeds and 2 tablespoons of kirsch and bring that to a slow simmer over medium-low heat. Do not let the milk come to a boil.
If you didn’t have fresh vanilla beans, you *could* always use vanilla extract, but this is a case where I find using fresh is almost imperative. First, because the flavor is so much better and second, because you WANT those beautiful little specks that the fresh vanilla adds to the cream, which are, in my opinion, an unmistakable sign of absolute quality.
Plus, it’s the real classic way of doing it. So there. That’s reason enough!
While the milk is warming, combine the eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl.
Whisk vigorously until the mixture turns a light shade of yellow and becomes slightly thick and frothy, about 3 minutes.
Add the corn starch, all at once…
…and resume whisking just until it’s completely incorporated.
Now slowly pour the warm milk into the egg mixture while whisking continuously.
If you’re in no position to do both at the same time (like if you’re taking pictures, for instance) add the milk delicately, about a cup at a time, whisking well between each addition.
Adding the milk to the eggs like this will insure that your eggs slowly come up in temperature, preventing them from cooking and scrambling on you. That wouldn’t be really desirable…
Once all the milk has been added to the eggs, pour everything back into the saucepan. Place the pot back over medium heat and start whisking!
From this point on, you won’t be allowed to stop whisking, not even for a second, until your cream has come to a full boil. Be extra mindful to always cover the entire bottom of the pan, as pastry cream tends to attach to the pan and burns fairly easily, leaving behind all kinds of brown bits in your cream.
Again, not really desirable… but if that were to happen, fear not, there’s a solution for that. Keep going, I’ll fill you in later…
Initially, the mixture will be fairly thin and frothy, but it will eventually start to thicken. When this happens, pause whisking every 10 seconds or so, to see if the mixture has actually come to a boil.
It is imperative that the cream come to a complete boil so the starch reaches its full thickening power.
When large bubbles start coming to the surface, continue whisking for 15 seconds.
Your pastry cream is now ready!
Remove the pan from heat and whisk in half of the butter. You’ll be adding the rest later, once the cream is completely chilled.
At this point, if you find that your pastry cream has perhaps attached to the pan a little bit too much and has too many little brown bits in it for you liking, you can force it through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of them.
I found mine to be very acceptable, so I opted not to strain it…
Transfer your pastry cream to a jelly roll pan (if you are going to strain it, you can do it directly over the pan…)
Now the reason why you want to use a jelly roll pan as as opposed to a bowl is that it will allow your cream to cool down much faster. By the time we’re done baking the cake, you pastry cream will be nice and cold and ready for action.
Cover your cream with a piece of plastic film pressed directly against its surface. It’s absolutely imperative that the film comes in contact with the entire surface of the cream, so no air can get between the film and the cream. If that happened, a crust would inevitably form on the pastry cream and that would result in a lumpy mousseline trust me, no one wants a lumpy mousseline!
Place the cream in the refrigerator and chill completely.
FOR THE SPONGE CAKE
While the pastry cream is chilling, let’s work on the génoise (or sponge cake)
Preheat the oven to 375°F grease and flour one 8″ round cake pan. Hold the pan upside down and knock it gently against the counter a few times to remove any excess flour. Set aside.
Combine the flour, corn starch and salt in a bowl mix well and reserve.
Crack the eggs into the bowl of your stand mixer, add the egg whites and powdered sugar and whisk on high speed for 10 minutes…
… or until the mixture is really pale and thick and forms a soft ribbon when you lift the whisk and let it drip.
Transfer your flour mixture to a fine meshed sieve…
Now add that flour mixture to the eggs by sifting it directly over the bowl, in thirds, and then delicately fold with a rubber spatula after each addition
Be careful not to deflate the eggs: gently go down in the batter, then back up over towards the middle and down again, rotating the bowl slightly as you go.
Fold just until the flour is barely incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until the top is nice and golden brown and bounces back when pressed delicately with your finger.
Do not open the oven door sooner than 15 minutes into the baking process and shut it very gently to not disturb the rise of the cake.
FOR THE SIMPLE SYRUP
While the cake is baking, make the simple syrup.
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan bring to a boil over medium heat and keep boiling for one full minute, or until the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup has a slightly viscous consistency.
Don’t let your syrup get overly thick, else your cake won’t be able to absorb it well. Remove from heat, stir in kirsch and reserve.
When fully baked, remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool slightly in the pan, for about 2 minutes.
Then, turn it onto a wire rack to cool completely.
FOR THE CREME MOUSSELINE – PART II
Alright, now let’s turn our pastry cream into a delicious, light and fluffy crème mousseline!
Take your chilled pastry cream out of the refrigerator and place it in the bowl of your stand mixer.
Whip it on high for about 2 minutes, or until the cream is nicely emulsified.
Doesn’t that look amazing already? Wait, it’s about to get even butter! Erm, better, I mean!
Add the rest of the butter to the bowl (you should have about half a pound left)…
…and resume whisking on high, for about 5 minutes this time, or until the cream is light and fluffy.
Oh, now that’s what I’m talking about. Time to add a little bit of booze to this already dreamy concoction.
To do that, you’ll want to transfer about 1/4 cup of mousseline in a small bowl and then whisk in 2 tablespoons of kirsch. Then, you’ll want to add this back to the main bowl and whisk on high for a few seconds, just long enough to fully incorporate the alcohol.
You might be tempted to add the kirsch directly into the creme mousseline, but doing that may cause your cream to separate… It would still taste awesome, but it wouldn’t be as visually pleasing… and since looks are very important with this cake, I think you better play it safe and mix it in with a small quantity first.
Now set your cream aside until ready to use.
ASSEMBLY – PART I
Finally, we’re about to put this baby together! Well, to start, anyway… this will be a 2 part process, as your cake will need to chill completely before we can put the finishing touches on it.
For now, you’ll need to split your cake into two even layers.
To do that, gently place one hand on top of the cake and with your other hand, score the side of the cake with a long serrated knife, exactly halfway up the height of the cake. Score all around the side, cutting about half an inch deep into the cake. Keep rotating the cake and cut about 1 inch into the cake rotate the cake some more, cutting deeper and deeper inside the cake until your cake is split into two separate layers.
Place a 9.5″ x 2.5″ cake ring on a 10″ cake board or plate. Make sure it’s well centered.
Place one cake layer, cut side up, right in the center of that cake ring.
Hull 10 to 12 large, picture perfect strawberries and slice them in half lengthwise.
Arrange your sliced strawberries vertically, narrow tip facing up, around the circumference of the cake circle with the cut side facing out as this side will be revealed once the cake ring is removed. They should fit snugly between the cake and ring, but if they didn’t, you could always trim them a little bit…
Press lightly on your strawberries to ensure good contact with the metal ring: you don’t want any cream to get between the ring and the strawberries.
Brush about 1/2 of the kirsch syrup all over the surface of the cake, paying special attention to the edges.
Top with about half the reserved mousseline cream spread it all the way to the edge, making certain that you push the cream well against the ring to fill in all the cracks between the strawberries.
Hull and dice 12 medium strawberries and distribute them across the top of the mousseline.
Make sure that none of the diced strawberries come in contact with the cake ring, otherwise they would show once you’d removed the ring.
Top with the second cake layer, cut side up press it down lightly and then brush it with the rest of the kirsch syrup.
Top with the rest of the mousseline cream and smooth the top with an offset spatula.
Here’s a neat tip for you: if you happen to own an extra long blade, one that’s longer than the diameter of your cake ring, run it at a slight angle while actually rubbing it against the top of the cake ring. This will make that top perfectly smooth.
A serrated knife held upside down works really well for this, or even a long stainless steel ruler.
Now place your cake in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.
ASSEMBLY – PART II
HA! Now for the fun part! We’re about to put the finishing touches on our classic masterpiece. The real true way of topping off a Fraisier is with a thin layer of almond paste, better known as marzipan. Traditionally, this top layer is a light shade of green or pink, but you can use basically any color you want, really. Personally, I’m a big fan of pink.
So start by tinting your marzipan with the desired color you’ll want to keep that color very light and pastel, so you really won’t be needing much food coloring at all.
Spread your tinted marzipan into a thin 10″ disk. Make sure you dust your work surface with powdered sugar to prevent the marzipan from sticking, and then use a dry pastry brush to brush off any excess.
Carefully remove the ring from around your cake, clean it well and wipe it really dry. Then, use that cake ring to cut your marzipan into a perfect circle of the perfect size.
Delicately place that disk of marzipan over your cake.
If you wish to decorate your cake with cute little marzipan flowers, you’ll need to spread about 50g (1.8oz) of white marzipan and, with the help of a plunger cutter tool, cut out as many or as little flowers as you wish to use.
To make the flowers adhere to the top of your cake, brush a tiny little bit of melted cocoa butter in the spot where you want your flower to be and then delicately press your flower in its place.
Now we’ll be garnishing the center of the cake with a handful of extra large, juicy, picture perfect halved strawberries.
To prevent the marzipan from becoming soggy (because of the moisture that’s in the strawberries, you know), brush a little bit of melted cocoa butter over the area where you are planning on placing your strawberries.
Now arrange your fresh strawberries on top of you cake, and you are finally ready to slice and serve!
Oh, and impress a whole bunch of people, too!
This cake is best consumed straight from the ice box and leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
I honestly doubt that they’ll ever last that long, though. And that’s IF there are any leftovers to store in the first place…
Any birthday party needs a great birthday cake. This classic Fraisier cake was the star of the family party. It is a French recipe, easy to make, and super delicious. It’s a perfect cake for summer, full of strawberries, with delicate vanilla custard, topped with marzipan and chocolate. You’ll need a fluffy sponge cake (genoise, wiener, biskuit), a butter custard vanilla cream, plenty of strawberries, marzipan for the top and some dark chocolate.
Ingredients for the Biskuit (sponge cake) – 26 cm:
- 4 eggs (M size for Europe, L for America)
- 120 g caster sugar
- 120 g all-purpose flour
- 20 gbutter
- 20 gmilk
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 sachet vanilla sugar (8 g) or 1 tsp vanilla extract or any other flavor of your choice
- 1 tbsp cherry brandy (Kirschwasser) or any other alcohol of your choice (optional)
Ingredients for the vanilla custard cream:
- 5 egg yolks
- 100 g sugar
- 500 ml of milk
- 40 gr cornstarch
- 1 vanilla pod or 2 sachet vanilla sugar or 2 tsp vanilla extract
Extra (for the cream and filling):
- 200 gr marzipan
- 250 g strawberries (optional)
- 50 gr dark chocolate (optional)
- green pistachio or mint leaves (optional)
- white and dark chocolate mini-hearts (optional)
For detailed instructions and pictures, you can check out how Biskuit is made.
This isn’t the first time I’ve made a fraisier, but this is the first time I’ve made one that I am really proud of. Practically everything went right with this and I truly love how it looks. There are a few things I would tweak or change, but overall, for once, I’m very happy with it.
My first fraisier was a birthday gift and whilst it wasn’t a disaster, I think you can really see how my patisserie has improved over the last year and a half. I wont keep you in suspense, here it is, my photography has also come on a lot as well, I no longer use my front room as a backdrop. Or use borders on my pictures.
Looking back at my old posts is always a strange feeling, I’m pleased with what I have achieved, but some of my archived posts are a bit shocking. The first fraisier I made was from the Patisserie book by Christophe Felder. I remember being very proud of it and it was well received. This fraisier is from the William & Suzue Curley book Patisserie.
I’d had my eye on the course for a while and I was hoping to attend at some point. Then when I was shopping I saw that British strawberries were in season and on special offer, so I decided to try the recipe again. I’d love to pretend that I saw these strawberries at an artisan/farmers market and I brought them home wrapped in a brown paper bag, nestled in my wicker basket. However I didn’t, I bought them from my local supermarket.
Fraisiers are in essence a sponge cake with strawberries and cream, a bit like an upmarket Victoria Sponge. It’s important that you get small sweet strawberries that are in season, otherwise your cake won’t have a summery, fresh taste. Dont be tempted to buy the big woody kind that have been flown in from other parts of the globe. You’ll just be disappointed, I speak from experience.
This fraisier has a lot of components to it, they’re all pretty easy, but if you have the chance, make as much of it in advance as you can. The fruit compote can be substituted for a jam/preserve with whole fruits, but apart from that, you’ll need to make it all. The cake can be prepared up to a day in advance too, the flavour will develop further.
There is some special equipment and ingredients you will need to make this cake, an entremet ring is needed, I used a 20x6cm ring, an instant-read thermometer (Thermapen are great), food grade acetate strip and strawberry puree.
The acetate strip helps the strawberries stay in place and make it easier to slide the entremet ring off the finished cake.
The top of the fraisier is decorated with a strawberry glaze, pieces of strawberry glazed in apricot jam, mint leaves, Amedei white chocolate chips and gold leaf. This differs slightly from the decoration in the book, but I like how this looks, so I decided to add my own touch.
The cake is filled with strawberries coated in strawberry compote, creme diplomat and a layer of genoise that is soaked in Chambord syrup. So, I bet you want the recipe, well here you go, do give this a try, don’t be daunted by the components, you can make all of these in individual stages and information about how long they will keep is included.
My Top 5 Baking Tips for home bakers
- Read the recipe carefully including my tips and recommendations on how to avoid and fix typical issues during baking this Fraisier cake recipe. A short recipe alone not able to call out all the details that you need to pay attention to while baking therefore most of my recipes contain further important information about ingredients and technique
- Avoid using substitutes and changing the recipe unless you are aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavour. In general, replacing egg, using gluten-free flour, skipping certain ingredients etc. will all have an impact on your Fraisier cake recipe. I test my recipes numerous times by the time I achieve the best possible texture and taste. Please note, that I am not able to test my recipes with all sort of substitutes so kindly suggest to follow the recipe unless you can professionally reformulate it
- For consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is provided as an indicative figure only and might be used for less complex and large batch recipes however it is not an appropriate method if you want consistent results or bake more advanced pastries like this Fraisier cake recipe
- Did you know that most home ovens can significantly under or oven run? Also, oven temperature hugely drops when opening the oven door therefore it is recommended to always pre-heat the oven above the required baking temperature.
- Temperature is so important when it comes to baking and accurate oven temperature is key, can make or break any recipe. Make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid under baked or burnt, sad looking desserts
Mary Berry´s Fraisier Cake
FOR THE CAKE
- 4 medium eggs, at room temperature
- 125g caster sugar
- Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
- 125g self-raising flour
- 50g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
FOR THE CRÈME PÂTISSIÈRE
- 600ml milk
- 1 vanilla pod
- 4 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 180g caster sugar
- 1tbsp Kirsch (optional)
- 100g cornflour
- 150g butter, diced, at room temperature
FOR THE SYRUP
YOU´LL ALSO NEED
- Brush some melted butter around the base and sides of a 23cm spring-clip or loose-based, deep round cake tin. Line the base with greaseproof paper and dust the sides with flour.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- To make the sponge, put the eggs, sugar and lemon zest into a large heat-proof bowl lemon zest in a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the mixture over a medium heat until doubled in volume and pale in colour. The mixture is at the right stage when it forms a ribbon trail when the whisk is lifted out of the mixture. Remove from the heat.
- Sift in two-thirds of the flour and gently fold into the whisked mixture with a metal spoon or spatula. Add the remaining flour and fold again. Try to keep in as much of the air as possible. Make sure all the flour is incorporated into the mixture. Then, gently fold in the melted butter.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin. Try and keep the bowl as close to the tin as possible, so that you don´t knock out too much of the air. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Check if the cake is ready by inserting a metal skewer (you want it to come out clean), the cake is a pale golden brown colour and shrinking away from the sides of the tin.
- When ready, remove the cake from the oven. Place the tin on a wire rack and leave to cool for 5-10 minutes so that the cake can firm up a bit. Then gently turn out the cake on to the rack and leave to cool completely.
- To make the crème pâtissière pour the milk into a wide-based pan, split the vanilla pod along its length using a sharp knife, and add it to the milk. Bring the milk up to the boil, then take it off the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Make sure all of the vanilla seeds have come out of the pod. If they haven´t, scrape them out with a knife and add to the milk.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, kirsch and cornflour until smooth and creamy.
- Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and pour the hot milk through a sieve into the egg mixture. Whisk to combine. Then pour the custard back into a clean saucepan and set over a medium heat.
- Stir the custard constantly until the mixture thickens. The mixture will take about four minutes to thicken, but when it does it happens very quickly, so you need to really keep stirring to prevent lumps and make a smooth crème. Be careful not to catch the crème at the bottom of the pan. Cook the mixture until the crème is very thick, so that it can be piped and it will hold its shape. Stir in the butter until thoroughly melted and combined.
- Allow to cool slightly, pour into a shallow dish and chill in the fridge for about an hour until really cold and set firm.
- To make the syrup, place the sugar, lemon juice and water into a small saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, then boil rapidly for two minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, dust the surface with a little icing sugar and roll out a thin disc of marzipan or fondant icing to fit a 23cm circumference circle. It is best if you draw around the 23cm base of another loose-bottomed tin for the perfect circle.
- Next, prepare your strawberries. Wash them and set aside a few smaller ones for decorating the top. Then select about 12 strawberries of roughly the same height and half them. Quarter the remaining strawberries to fill the cake with.
- Once you are ready to assemble the cake (see my video on how to do it below), place a strip of acetate plastic around the inside of the springform tin. Alternatively, you could line the base and sides with clingfilm.
- Spoon two-thirds of your crème pâtissière into a large piping bag and cut off the tip.
- Slice the sponge in half horizontally, creating two slim discs of cake. The cut must be as level as possible as it will be visible in the finished cake. Place one layer of sponge cake in the bottom of the prepared cake tin. Then liberally brush the sponge with half the syrup. With the back of a spoon, gently squash the edges of the cake down so that they are pushed directly against the sides of the tin, creating the defined edges necessary for the Fraisier cake.
- Place the cut sides of the selected strawberries halves against the plastic on the inside of the tin. The strawberry halves should be sitting snugly beside each other, so it looks like a little crown inside the tin.
- Pipe a swirl of crème pâtissière, covering the exposed sponge completely in the bottom of the tin. Then pipe between each of the strawberries so the gaps are filled right to the top with the crème pâtissière.
- Place the remaining chopped strawberries on top of the crème, so it raises the inside of the cake by about an inch.
- Pipe another swirl of crème pâtissière on top of the cut strawberries to cover the whole surface. Then smooth with a palette knife.
- Place the other disc of sponge on top of this, with the cut side uppermost, so it has a completely flat top. Brush with the remaining syrup. Gently press the top down quite firmly, so that the cake and filling push against the acetate to create the distinctive smooth and defined sides of the Fraisier cake.
- Lay the chilled marzipan circle on top of the cake and put the whole thing back in the fridge to set.
- To make the chocolate decorations, carefully melt the chocolate over a bain-marie. Then spoon into a piping bag with a 2mm nozzle or alternatively just cut off a very small bit of the end of the piping bag. Drizzle the chocolate onto a baking sheet lined with a piece of baking parchment in the shape of your choice.
If you like, you could also dip some of the reserved strawberries in the melted chocolate. Leave the chocolate to set at room temperature for a good few hours.
For more tips on how to master chocolate, read this post here.
- When ready to serve, remove the cake from the fridge. Carefully release the spring tin/loose bottom and remove the cake from the tin and from the acetate or cling film. Place onto a serving plate and decorate with reserved strawberries and chocolate decoration. Serve chilled.
Assembling the Fraisier Cake
Assembling the cake is very relaxing for me. Cutting the strawberries, arranging them in a circle and then smoothing the buttercream.
Position the cake ring on a flat service, preferably one that will fit easily into your refrigerator. Lay the cake in the center and brush the surface with about 1/4 cup of heavy syrup.
Arrange the cut strawberries around the cake ring. I used local strawberries for this dessert but you can also use imported berries too. The advantage of the local berries is the taste, the advantage of the imported berries is the uniform size of the berries. After arranging the strawberries in a ring spread a thin layer of the creme mousseline on top and then layer more cut strawberrries on top the buttercream. Fill the cake ring with buttercream and use an offset spatula to smooth the top.
I prepare this cake over 2-3 days but allow at least 2 days for this recipe to give time for the buttercream to set and pastry cream to cool. If you choose to brulee the top, sprinkle 3-4 tablespoons of sugar over the top and use a kitchen torch to melt sugar. It will form a thin crackly crust on top. Return to the refrigerator and allow it to set, about 1 hour.
When you're ready to serve the cake, decorate with fresh fruit and the remaining buttercream.