Recipe: Fraisier (French Strawberry Cake), plus Recent Bakes!

First off, a couple of recent bakes. Well, one bake… one not-bake.
I made some cupcakes for a party… double chocolate, toasted coconut, pink velvet and lemon cream! Lemon cream is my favorite by far, and I’ll put the recipe up eventually.
I was also asked to make a mini cake for the birthday boy, who’s 2 and prefers fruit over cake. I carved it out of a honeydew and filled it with lots of fruit and melon balls. It turned out pretty darned cute! I was glad I had leftover spun sugar to use as garnish.

Now, on to the recipe! I’ve been sitting on this one for ages. This classic French dessert is made with crème mousseline, which is basically pastry cream with a ton of butter whipped in. It’s extremely decadent and extremely delicious, so just try to forget calories exist when you make it. Works for me.

Classically, the cake is made with a genoise. I used a lemon angel cake instead, and personally I think it adds a lot. This recipe yields one 6″ fraisier, which serves about 8 people. If you double up the recipe it should be enough to make a 9″ fraisier.

5 egg whites
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1/2 cup (55g) cake flour, sifted
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a sheet pan large enough to cut two 5″ circles of cake out of with parchment and grease. In a small bowl, stir the lemon zest into flour and set aside.
2. Mix together egg whites and cream of tartar and beat until foamy. Very gradually add the sugar while beating the eggs. Continue beating until a stiff, glossy meringue is formed.
3. Carefully fold in the flour mixture. Spread onto sheet pan and smooth out as much as you can. Drop the pan on the counter a few times to ensure any large bubbles in the batter burst. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until top springs back when lightly touched.
4. Cool and use a cake pan or cake board to cut into two 5″ circles. Eat cake scraps, because yum.
Crème Mousseline 
1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (360ml) milk
1/3 cup (70g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/4 cup (30g) cornstarch
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
Pinch of Salt
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups (350g) of butter
1. In a large saucepan, combine the cream, milk, first sugar, and vanilla bean. Heat until steaming.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, salt, and second sugar. Add in the yolks and mix until smooth and creamy.
3. Once the milk mixture has heated completely, take it off the heat momentarily. Using a ladle, slowly drizzle about 1/2 of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, all while beating the mixture rapidly to ensure the eggs don’t scramble.
4. Once you’ve tempered in half the milk, add the egg mixture into the pot, whisk it vigorously and set it back on the heat.
5. Heat the mix, stirring constantly, until it boils for at least 60 seconds. Taste the mixture to make sure the cornstarch is thoroughly cooked, then take off the heat. Place the hot pastry cream in a standing kitchenaid mixer and beat on medium speed until cool.
6. Once entirely cool, add in 1 cup of room temperature butter for every 2 cups of pastry cream and beat until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) water
2 tbsp (30ml) Kirsch
Heat sugar and water together until sugar dissolves, stir in Kirsch.
Strawberry Glaze
1 cup (240ml) cooked strawberry puree (I cooked down about a cup and a half of chopped berries with 2 tbsp sugar and blended it)
1/2 tbsp (4g) powdered gelatin
1 tbsp cold water
1. Mix gelatin into cold water and allow to bloom for 5 minutes. Warm strawberry puree and pour over gelatin, stirring together until gelatin dissolves.
2 pints (950ml) strawberries for filling and garnish
1. Line a 6″ cake ring with a sheet of plastic, or lightly grease ring. Cut strawberries in half and line outside of ring with the berries, cut side facing outward. Place 5″ cake layer at bottom and brush very lightly with kirsch syrup.
2. Fill about 1/2 of your creme mousseline into a piping bag and pipe the cream into the spaces between the berries lining the cake ring. Pipe a layer of cream onto the cake and smooth, just barely covering the berries lining the cake ring as you go. (If you want to pipe a design on the top with your leftover pastry cream, reserve about 1/4 cup to do so.)
3. Roughly chop about a cup and a half of berries and toss them in a bit of the kirsch syrup. Let rest to draw out juice, then pour off extra juice. Spread berries on top of pastry cream, then top with second 5″ cake layer. Brush lightly with syrup.
4. Top with remainder of pastry cream and smooth out as close to perfectly as you can. Chill in refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
5. Warm your glaze slightly, until just melted. Remove cake from fridge and pour strawberry glaze over the firmed up pastry cream. Allow to spread out into even layer, and return cake to fridge. After 3 hours, remove your cake from the fridge and demold. If mold seems to be sticking, run a towel soaked in hot water along the outside to loosen it.
6. Garnish with your choice of fresh fruits, chocolate decor, piped leftover pastry cream, or anything else you’d like!

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