I was blessed with a lovely afternoon of sunshine for my birthday this year, perfect weather for a BBQ with friends and family. And even though we’re still waiting for a glorious summer to visit, it felt like the perfect occasion to attempt a strawberry fraisier… I mean, what’s better than sponge, strawberries and cream when the sun is shining? It’s also been a recipe I’ve wanted to attempt since I saw it in the technical challenge of the GBBO, and subsequently found it in one of my favourite recipe books Patisserie by William and Suzue Curley. And whilst it has lots of different elements it’s actually not that hard to make if you have the time and patience for it… it certainly has the wow factor for special occasions.
Makes: 10″ cake (12 slices)
Time: 5-6 hours + chilling
- Cake board or completely flat plate
- Extendable cake ring
- Acetate strip
- Handheld electric mixer
- Palette knife
- Génoise sponge
- Kirsch simple syrup
- Strawberry puree
- Strawberry compote
- Crème diplomat (including crème pâtissière)
- 25 strawberries
- 10 raspberries
- Apricot jam
- A few small mint leaves
- 200g eggs
- 200g caster sugar
- 200g flour
- 83g unsalted butter melted
Preheat the oven to 190°C and line 2 30 x 40cm flat baking trays with a non-stick baking paper.
Make a sabayon by putting the eggs and sugar in a clean bowl and whisking the mix over a bain-marie to 37°C. Remove the bowl from the pan of water and continue to whisk until it reaches the ribbon stage (lift the whisk and the mix should fall back on itself and a trail will be left across the surface that should hold shape for a moment, before sinking back into the mix).
Carefully fold the sifted flour into the sabayon using a spatula. When it is around three quarters folded through, take 2 large scoops of the sabayon and mix it into the melted butter. Then add the butter mix into the sabayon and fold through until fully incorporated. Pour the mix onto the lined baking tray, spreading evenly with a palette knife and bake in a pre-heated oven for 12-15 mins. You’ll know when it’s done as the sponge will be golden brown and spring back when pressed gently. Leave to cool and then use immediately or freeze for up to a month.
Kirsh flavoured simple syrup:
- 113ml water
- 95g caster sugar
- 1/2 peel of lemon
- 1/2 vanilla pod
- 100ml Kirsh
Put water, caster sugar, lemon peel, seeds from the vanilla pod and the pod into a sauce pan and bring to the boil. Cook for 2-3 mins, take off the heat and leave to cool. Add the Kirsh and set aside.
- Caster sugar
- 350g strawberries (I used frozen)
- Lemon juice
Blitz strawberries in processer. Bring water and sugar to boil then remove from heat and leave to cool. Poor the warm syrup and lemon juice onto strawberry mix and then pass through a fine sieve. Leave to cool. The puree will be divided and used for the compote and the glaze.
- 15g caster sugar
- 5g pectin
- 100g strawberry puree
- 100g strawberries diced
Start by making a crème pâtissière:
- 500ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1/2 vanilla pod
- 120g egg yolks (about 6 eggs)
- 100g caster sugar
- 50g plain flour
- 4g gelatine leaf
Bring the milk, vanilla seeds and pod to the boil in a small saucepan. Next whisk together your egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until it thickens and turns light yellow. Add the sifted flour into this mix and whisk again until smooth. Remove the vanilla pod and pour half of the milk into the bowl and whisk until fully combined. Then pour everything from the bowl back into the saucepan and bring to the boil, whisking continuously. Bring the mix down to a simmer and stir for 5-6mins. Pour the crème pâtissière through a sieve into a bowl.
Then make the crème diplomat:
- Crème pâtissière
- 340ml double cream
Soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water until it softens then squeeze out the excess water and whisk into the warm crème pâtissière and stir occasionally as it cools down. Semi-whip the double cream and fold into the crème pâtissière once it has cooled. Place in the fridge for minimum 30 mins before using.
- 8g leaf gelatine
- 175g strawberry puree
- 100g Kirsh simple syrup
- 1 vanilla pod
Soak the gelatine in a bowl of cool water for 3-4 minutes to soften. Place puree, scraped vanilla seeds and vanilla pod in a sauce pan and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and add the gelatine (excess water squeezed out of it first). Strain the glaze through a fine sieve and leave to cool in an airtight container. This can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to a week.
- Cut the génoise sponge into a 1 x 10″ round and 1 x 8″ round using a cake ring as a guide.
- Place the 10″ round onto your cake board (use a little apricot jam or some thick icing sugar to stick it in place).
- Place your cake ring loosely around the sponge and line with the acetate, then slowly tighen the ring in so that it’s snug against the sponge (I usually tie some string around the ring to ensure it stays in place).
- Brush the sponge with some Kirsh simple syrup.
- Place 4 tbsp of the compote onto your sponge and spread evenly.
- Cut 8 strawberries in half lengthways and then trim at the base so they are all a uniform height.
- Line the cake ring with the strawberry halves.
- Spoon a few large spoonfuls of the crème diplomat on top and spread it up the sides of the tin against the strawberries.
- Dice up 8 strawberries and mix with 2 tbsp of the compote. then place half of this mix on top of the middle of the creme diplomat and spread evenly.
- Top with the 8″ round of sponge and brush with the Kirsh simple syrup.
- Cover with the remaining diced strawberry/compot mix and spread evenly.
- Pour over the remaining crème diplomat and smooth over the top with a palette knife.
- Leave in the fridge to set for 2 hours.
- Take your room temperature glaze (it must not be warm/hot or it will melt your crème diplomat) and pour over the top, then place the cake in the fridge for 30 mins to set.
- Before serving heat up a tbsp of apricot jam and glaze your fresh fruit, then take the cake out and decorate with the fruit and fresh mint leaves.