Fraisier cake recipe
An incredibly pretty French cake filled with delicious strawberries and crème pâtissière. Tricky to achieve but certain to impress.
- 125g/4½oz caster sugar
- 4 free-range eggs
- 2 lemons, zest only, finely grated
- 125g/4½oz self-raising flour, plus extra for flouring
- 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus extra for greasing
For the crème pâtissière
- 600ml/20fl oz milk
- vanilla pod
- 4 free-range eggs, plus 2 free-range egg yolks
- 180g/6¼oz caster sugar
- 1 tbsp kirsch
- 100g/3½oz cornflour
- 150g/5½oz butter, cut into cubes and kept at room temperature
For the lemon syrup
- 75g/2¾oz caster sugar
- 2 lemons, juice only
To finish the cake
- 200g/7oz marzipan
- 200g/7oz dark chocolate, for decoration
- 600g/1lb 5oz medium-sized strawberries
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Grease, flour, and line the base of a 23cm/9in spring-form or round loose bottom cake tin.
- Place the sugar, eggs, and lemon zest in a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
- Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the mixture over medium heat until doubled in volume and pale in color. 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.
- Gently fold in the melted butter.
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the sides of the cake begin to come away from the tin and it is pale golden-brown.
- When cooked, allow the sponge to cool a little bit in the tin, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Be careful as this sponge is quite delicate. It should be just under 5cm/2in height.
- To make the crème pâtissière, pour the milk into a wide-based pan, split the vanilla pod along its length, and add it to the milk along with the vanilla seeds. Bring the milk up to the boil, then take it off the heat.
- Whisk together the eggs, sugar, kirsch, and cornflour in a medium-sized bowl until blended.
- Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and pour the hot milk through a sieve into the egg mixture. Whisk to combine.
- Pour the custard back into a clean saucepan and set over 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. Whisk until smooth.
- 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. This chills it faster as it cools over a larger surface area – alternatively, you could fill the piping bags with it at this stage and leave overnight to chill.
- Place the ingredients for the lemon syrup in a small saucepan with 70ml/4½ tbsp water. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, then boil rapidly for two minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, roll out a thin disc of marzipan to fit a 23cm/9in circumference circle. It is best if you draw around the 23cm/9in the base of another loose-bottomed tin for the perfect circle. For best results and a perfectly flat surface, chill it in the fridge until it is needed.
- 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 a strip of acetate plastic around the inside of the springform tin. Or line the base and sides with cling film or parchment-lined foil.
- Place one layer of sponge cake in the bottom of the 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.