Most of the cakes I bake look very homey, if you know what I mean. They please the palate but they sure won’t win any prizes for their tantalising looks.
And to be honest, most often than not I just want a cake that’s fuss free and does what it’s meant to do i.e. taste good.
Anyway, I finally succumbed to the make-over bug and signed up for a course at Le Cordon Bleu hoping to learn a few ‘chef’fy skills and make cakes look like they could hold their own in a patisserie window.
The result is the Fraisier, pictured below. Sorry, for the typo. Got a bit carried away with my French spellings.
The recipe sounds more complicated than it actually is, so don’t be put off by the number of instructions.
The only tricky bit is to rein in the moreish cravings.
A. Genoese Sponge
1 egg yolk
75 g caster sugar
75 g soft flour
12 g butter, melted
B. Kirsch Syrup
90 g sugar
65 ml water
25 ml Kirsch
C. Mousseline pastry cream
250 ml milk
1 Vanilla pod
2 egg yolks
60 g sugar
20 g soft flour
20 g corn starch or custard powder
20 ml Kirsch
125 g butter, softened
Food colouring – red and green
Strawberries (about 8-10 for the border and another 10-12 chopped into bits)
E. Glace Royale
1 egg white
200 g icing sugar
a few drops of lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C.
2. For the sponge: Whisk together the eggs and the yolk with the sugar to ribbon stage (over a bain marie)
3. Gradually fold in the sifted flour, then fold in the melted butter. Transfer to an 8″ cake ring and bake for 15-20 minutes.
4. For the pastry cream: Place the milk, half of the sugar and the split vanilla pod into a saucepan over low heat and infuse. Whisk together the remaining sugar and egg yolks and then combine with sifted flour and cornflour.
5. Pour a third of the hot milk onto the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Pour back into the saucepan and whisk to combine. Cook over a low heat until the mixture thickens and bring back to a boil.
6. Transfer to a baking tray and chill. Once cooled, whisk until smooth. Add the kirsch to flavour the cream. Gradually add in the softened butter to form a smooth paste.
7. Assembling the Fraisier: Cut 2 layers of the sponge and place one as a base, into the cake ring. Soak with Kirsch syrup. Arrange cut strawberries around the edge. Pipe the mousseline cream filling into the middle and then add more strawberries inside. (Make sure the cream is filled just in line with the tops of the strawberries.) Chill for about 10 minutes.
8. Place the second layer of cake on top and chill again for 5-10 minutes.
9. Prepare the marzipan using the food colouring to achieve the pink colour. Roll out and place on top of the second sponge layer. (The trick here is to use the cake ring as a measure for size.) Decorate with more strawberries or marzipan art etc.
10. Piping the words with the Glace Royale: Beat egg white to firm peaks. Sieve icing sugar and incorporate with the egg white. Adjust consistency with the lemon juice. Pipe mixture using a small round tip nozzle.
Having done that, I wondered if there was a homey version that I could dish up at short notice, particularly useful if you’re already cooking up a storm for a dinner party. The short answer is, there is. And I’m even more excited that I’ve managed to create a lower calorie version of it too.
The cake below is a deconstructed version of the Fraisier and uses yogurt for the filling instead of cream. Yay!
Enjoy! I’d be very happy to hear from you on which version you prefer. 🙂
The cake is a basic Vanilla cake. I have used the Hummingbird Bakery‘s recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes but any other Vanilla Sponge works just as well.
For the vanilla yogurt and strawberry filling:
200 gms of Greek Yogurt
4-6 tbsp caster sugar
12-15 strawberries, chopped
1 vanilla pod
Whip Greek yogurt and caster sugar together until well incorporated. Scrape the vanilla pod and add it into the yogurt mix.
Cut the cake into 2 layers. Slather the base of the cake with a generous portion of the vanilla yogurt. Add chopped strawberries and cover with the top layer of the cake. Decorate with strawberries.
This is best assembled just before serving.