Recipe: Fraisier (Strawberry Layer Cake with Mousseline Cream)
Techniques: Ladyfinger Sponge Cake,Brandy Syrup, Buttercream, Creme Patissiere, Mousseline Cream, French Meringue
This is the first cake for the blog that I made for a special occasion. It was Patrick’s (my boyfriend) Mum’s birthday and so I decided to have a bash at the Fraisier. This is a beautiful looking cake, the strawberries peaking through the sides and the delicate layers of sponge.
I’ve struggled to find anything about the history of the Fraisier, so I’m afraid there won’t be any culinary enlightenment this week!
There were lots of components to this cake, thankfully they could be made over a few days. This made the cake a lot less daunting.
Firstly I made the French buttercream that forms part of the mousseline cream. I always thought buttercream was simply icing sugar mixed with butter, it’s something I’ve never liked much and it’s my least favourite type of icing. However the French version is so much more luxurious, this is a buttercream I could learn to like.
The recipe involved making an Italian meringue, for those of you that don’t know, this is the type of meringue where a boiled sugar syrup is whisked into the egg whites to create a marshmallow-like meringue. Then the egg yolks are whisked with a sugar syrup until they are thick and pale. Then the butter is whisked until light and fluffy.
The last part of the recipe involves combining all of these together, the butter is whipped into the egg yolk mixture and finally the egg whites are added. This recipe can be frozen, so I made a bigger batch than the recipe needed so that I have some buttercream leftover for another time.
I then made the creme patissiere, this was mixed with the buttercream to create the mousseline cream, this is the filling for the cake.
The ladyfinger sponge cake for this recipe is very much like a trifle sponge. Its a light sweet cake that soaks up the moisture from the strawberries and the mousseline.
Another fatless cake made from a mix of meringue, whipped egg yolks and eventually flour folded into the light mixture. The cake is spread into two tins, dusted with icing sugar and baked for 12 mins each at 180 degrees.
The cooled cakes are cut out with a 20cm pastry ring and brushed with a brandy syrup (a blend of brandy, sugar and water).
A thin layer of the mousseline cream is spread on the cake and strawberries are pressed up against the sides of the pastry ring and in the centre of the cake.
The remaining mousseline cream is spread over the top of the strawberries and the second layer of cake is placed on the top. The cake is then put in the fridge and left to set for at least an hour.
The next stage was the most fun and meant that I got to use my new gadget, a chef’s blowtorch. After making a French meringue and spreading it over the top of the chilled cake, I had to caramelise it using the blowtorch.
This was actually really easy and a lot less scary than I thought it would be. It was like a giant cigarette lighter with a lot more power. After the meringue was cooked off, the apricot glaze was spread over the top of the meringue. This was a mix of apricot jam and water, it gives the cake a nice shiny finish.
The last thing to do was remove the pastry ring and decorate the cake with some chocolate decorations I had made earlier (Blue Peter moment). These actually helped to hide the corners of the cake as they weren’t as sharp as I had hoped.
This cake went really well and without a hitch. Whilst the finished cake wasn’t as polished as I was hoping for, I’m really pleased with how my first attempt at the Fraisier went. It tasted bloody delicious, light, fruity and really moreish.
This was certainly worth the effort and it seemed to go down well with everyone else round the table. Happy Birthday Diana!
Next week, the Paris Brest. That’s right, I’m attempting choux again! I may need a stiff drink for this one.
Thanks for reading.