This traditional French Fraisier Cake made with two layers of Genoise Sponge, a Diplomat Cream flavoured with Orange Blossom Water, a Strawberry Syrup and Fresh Strawberries. It makes the most delicious Summer Cake ever!
Author: A Baking Journey
60gr (1/4 cup)Caster Sugar
100gr (2/3 cup)Plain Flour
20gr (2 1/2 tbsp)Cornstarch
60grStrawberriesfresh or frozen
90ml (1/3 cup)Water
45gr (3 tbsp)Caster Sugar
500ml (2 cups)Full Cream Milk
1tspVanilla Pasteor 1 fresh Vanilla Bean
1tspOrange Blossom Wateroptional
30gr (2 tbsp)Caster Sugar
35gr (1/4 cup)Cornstarch
1 1/2tspGelatine Powder+ a little bit of water
250ml (1 cup)Whipping Cream(Thickened or Heavy Cream)
500gr (about 1 pound)Fresh Strawberriesor more to taste
20gr (1/4 cup)Flaked Almondsoptional
Icing Sugarto taste
Fresh Strawberriesto taste
Flaked Almondsto taste
Mint Leavesto taste
Preheat your oven on 160'C/325'F. Line a flat baking tray (1) with Baking Paper and set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk the Eggs and Caster Sugar on medium/high speed for 5 to 8 minutes, or until very pale, froathy and doubled in size.
Sift the Flour and Cornstarch over the Sugar/Eggs and gently fold in with a spatula until all incorporated. Pour over the lined baking tray and gently spread with an offset spatula to level the batter.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until puffed and golden. Transfer over a cooling rack and leave to cool down completely before removing the baking paper and cutting the two circles of sponge with the Pastry Ring.
Blend the Strawberries (thawed if using frozen) until smooth then pour it through a thin mesh sieve to keep the liquid only.
Place the Strawberry juice, Water and Sugar into a small pot on low to medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, occasionally stirring, or until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has started to thicken a bit. Set aside to cool down.
Place the Milk, Vanilla Paste/Extract (2) and Orange Blossom Water in a small pot and heat up on low heat.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the Egg Yolks and Sugar. Add the Cornstarch and whisk until combined.
Once the milk starts to simmer, pour about half of it over the Sugar/Egg Yolks, whisk well, then transfer it all back onto the pot. Keep whisking until it reaches a boil, then whisk for an additional 30 seconds. It should have thickened and look like a custard (that's your Pastry Cream). Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, stir the Gelatine Powder and a little bit of Cold Water to dissolve it (3). Add it to the Pastry Cream (away from the heat source) and whisk well until dissolved and combined. Transfer the pastry cream into a clean bowl or tray (4), cover with plastic wrap touching the surface and place in the fridge to cool down.
Once the Pastry Cream has reached room temperature (5), start whipping the cold Cream until you reach stiff peaks.
Whisk the Pastry Cream to loosen it (if you used a tray to cool it down, you may want to transfer it back into a large bowl), then gently fold in the whipped cream in 3 or 4 times. Transfer into a Piping Bag with large round Piping Tip.
Assembling the Cake
Pick strawberries that have about the same height to create the edges of the cake, and slice them in half (6). Cut the rest of the strawberries into small cubes and set aside.
Place the 20x5 cm/ 8x2 inch Pastry Ring over a flat surface (7) and surround the interior of the ring with an Acetate Strip (8).
Put the first layer of Genoise at the bottom of the ring and brush it with Strawberry Syrup.
Place the Strawberries sliced in Half around the edges of the cake, sliced side facing out. Try to place them as tightly against each other as possible.
Pipe the Diplomat Cream between each strawberries, going as high as the pastry ring. Add about half the of the Cream over the Genoise (9) and spread with an offset spatula if needed.
Cover the cream with the cubed Strawberries and Almond Flakes (optional). Gently press on them to avoid any large air pockets.
Pipe the rest of the Diplomat Cream over the cubed Strawberries and Almonds, going all the way to the edges of the Pastry Ring (and over the strawberries on the edges).
Brush the second layer of Genoise with the Strawberry Syrup (on one side only) and cover the cream with it, brushed side facing in. Gently press on it to even it out.
Place in the fridge to set for 2 to 3 hours, or over-night.
To finish the cake, I sprinkled a little bit of Icing Sugar over the Genoise. I also added some slices of Fresh Strawberries in the centre of the cake with Fresh Mint Leaves and Flaked Almonds (10).
Carefully remove the Pastry Ring and Acetate Strip (11) before serving.
Make sure the tray is large enough to cut 2 circles the size of the Pastry Ring. Alternatively, use 2 smaller baking trays or a round Baking Pan.
If using a whole Vanilla Bean, leave it to infuse in the warm milk for 5 to 10 minutes. Then slice it in half, scrap the seeds and add the seeds to the milk.
I used about 2 tbsp of Cold Water for 1 1/2 tsp of Gelatine Powder. Read the instructions on the pack of gelatine you use as it may recommend another ratio.
I use a baking tray similar to a large brownie pan to cool down the pastry cream. The thickest the layer of pastry cream, the longer it will take to cool down and it will cool down unevenly. Spreading it thinly on a tray provides a great way to cool it down evenly and quickly.
You do not want the Pastry Cream to get too cold or the Gelatine will start to set. The ideal temperature is around 20'C/70'F or room temperature - as it will be warm enough for the gelatine not to have set but cool enough not to melt the whipped cream.
With a Pastry Bag, start at the centre of the cake and make your way toward the edges in a spiral movement.
Check if you have enough to go create the edges before you cube the rest of the strawberries
Using an Acetate Strip (or 'cake collar') is optional, but it creates a much cleaner finish. It also makes it easier to remove the Pastry Ring when ready to serve as no cream will be sticking to it.
Use the Plate you will serve the cake on - it is much easier to assemble the cake on the serving plate straight away rather than try to transfer it later on.
If you have some cream left, you can use it as a "glue" for the cake toppings.
If you did not use an Acetate Strip, you may find it a bit harder to remove the Ring as the cream may be sticking to it. A tip to remove the ring if stuck is to use a blow torch on the outside of the ring for a couple of seconds to 'melt' the cream.
Recipe provided by "A Baking Journey" - https://www.abakingjourney.com