Add a French Twist to your Summer Party

Want a cake that will be light and delicate, yet indulgent and fresh? Let’s face it, nobody wants a stodgy fruitcake on a hot summer’s day! Look no further than the classic Fraisier. This cake oozes summer weddings, garden parties and is the perfect way to celebrate the end of Wimbledon as it is filled with strawberries & cream. A classic Fraisier is perfectly accompanied with a flute of champagne. In short, this cake is a delight for all the senses and has continued to be one of Mon Dessert’s most requested specialities.

The name of the cake comes from the French word for strawberry fraise. Layering genoise sponge between strawberries and crème mousseline. Genoise sponge is a very light sponge, which is made to rise mainly from whipping eggs. However, I tend to use self-raising flour nonetheless to give it an extra springiness. Crème mousseline is a fluffier and I think yummy version of crème pâtissière and is enriched with whipped butter.

The look of the cake is very distinctive with its exposed strawberries along the sides. The cake does have many stages as with most things Patisserie, but the finished result is well worth it!

Loose base 23cm diameter cake tin and 7cm in depth
Acetate strip you can purchase this from amazon
Stand mixer such as a KitchenAid or a handheld electric whisk
Palate knife

The kirsch syrup
70g caster sugar
70ml water
35ml kirsch

The genoise sponge
125g caster sugar
4 organic eggs
125g self-raising flour
25ml warm homemade clarified butter or bought
Plus extra for greasing

For the crème mousseline
500ml whole organic milk
4 organic eggs, plus 2 organic yolks
220g caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla paste
60g cornflour
250g butter, cut into cubes and kept at room temperature. It needs to be squidgy

To finish
200g marzipan preferably coloured a pale green with a smidge of food gel
Icing sugar to decorate
600g medium sized strawberries halved
Reserve 3 of the prettiest strawberries as whole for decoration



The kirsch syrup
Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over a med/low heat
Add the kirsch and leave aside.

The genoise sponge
Preheat the over to fan 180°c, 190°c if a normal oven
Grease & line your cake tin
Place the sugar large bowl or Kitchenaid bowl and set over a pan of simmering water.
Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the mixture over a low/med heat. Using a thermometer check to see when the temperature has reached 30°c.
Take off the heat and continue to whisk the mixture for 5-10 minutes until you have a pale ribbon like consistency. This is where a Kitchenaid or stand mixer comes in handy!
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 clarified butter.
Pour the mixture equally into the cake tins and bake for 20 minutes or until the sides of the cake begin to come away from the tin and its pale golden-brown.
Once baked turn out immediately onto a wire rack with parchment on it be careful as the cake is very fragile.
Brush the sponge with ½ of the kirsch syrup on all sides so it seeps through. Leave to cool completely.

Crème Mousseline stage 1
To make the crème Mousseline, pour the milk into a pan, Bring the milk up to the boil, then take it off the heat.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, cornflour in a medium sized bowl until blended.
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 a medium heat. Whisk constantly.
Cook the mixture until the crème is very thick and holds its shape. Stir in a third of the butter until it melts.
Pour into a shallow dish and cover with cling film on contact with the crème. So that it doesn't form a skin. This needs to be cold so once slightly cool, pop it into the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.

Preparation for the finishing
Roll out a thin disc of marzipan to fit a 23cm diameter circle. It is best if you draw around the base of a 23cm your loose-bottomed tin for the perfect circle.
Gently wrap your disc in Clingfilm and pop into the freezer.
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 the ring of your cake tin on a baking tray lined with parchment
Position the strip of acetate plastic around the inside of your cake tin. Cut to size so it's a couple on centimetres longer than the circumference and over laps. 

Crème Mousseline stage 2
Put your cooled crème into the bowl of a stand mixer or another large bowl if you don't have one.
Start whisking your crème and add in cube-by-cube the remainder of the squidgy room temperature butter.
Add in your vanilla bean paste
Keep whisking for another 3 minutes until you have a fluffy and smooth crème mousseline.
Put the crème into a piping bag

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.
Take around12-15 strawberries, try and make sure they are all the same height. Place the cut sides of the strawberries 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.
Get your crème mousseline bag and cover the exposed sponge completely in the bottom of the tin.
Then pipe between each of the strawberries so the gaps are filled
Cube the rest of your strawberries (apart from your three that you are reserving for the decoration) and place on top of the crème, so it raises the inside of the cake by 2-3cm
Pipe more crème 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 smoothest side at the top so it has a completely flat top.
Brush this with more syrup and lay the marzipan circle on top of the cake so it adheres.
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 then put the whole thing back in the fridge to set.
You can weigh the whole thing down by covering the top with cling film and placing a couple of plates on top on the cake
When ready to serve, remove the cake from fridge take off the plate and carefully peel off the Clingfilm from the marzipan topping.
Then very carefully release the spring tin/loose bottom and remove the cake from the tin and from the acetate.
Place onto a serving plate and decorate with reserved strawberries and a dusting of icing sugar. Serve chilled!

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