This week’s bake was a real challenge to make . . . a classic French cake, derived from the French word “fraise”, meaning strawberry. It is a combination of layers of a Genoise sponge cake, vanilla syrup, creme patisserie, strawberries, and whipped cream.
Making this cake is a series of multiple steps, in which I felt like I used every bowl and pan in the kitchen. It is a cake that comes with a reputation of being difficult, temperamental, and persnickety. After all, most Americans make their cakes from a store bought box mix, or buy them from the grocery store bakery.
With that in mind, I tried to follow each step exactly. Never having tasted Genoise cake or creme patisserie before, it was a little hard to know what to expect in terms of texture and consistency.
After making all the parts and pieces for the cake, construction begins with a slice of the bottom half of the cake that is soaked with the vanilla syrup. Then you place cut strawberries around the outer edges of the pan, followed by a layer of creme patisserie. That is filled with more cut up pieces of strawberries, another layer of creme patisserie, the top half of the cake, more vanilla syrup, and finally a top layer of whipped cream and strawberries for decoration.
Then into the fridge to chill and set for four hours. The drama ends with removing the spring form pan and parchment paper, and holding your breath as you hope it all stays together.
And here is the finished result . . .
Having tasted my cake, and rereading the recipe, I can identify a couple places where I went wrong. I am ecstatic that it held together, it looks pretty, and did taste wonderful. But my cake was not very spongy, and had more the texture of a pound cake. I know what I did wrong and am more than anxious to give it another go.
It is a wonderful dessert and made the perfect cake for my daughter’s 30th birthday. Besides it’s beauty, it is one of those desserts that despite looking decadent, it leaves you feeling satisfied, without feeling like it was too much or too rich.
If you should feel so inclined to give this American version Fraisier Cake a try, the very lengthy and detailed instructions can be found here on Effie’s blog, “Laws of Baking. It is a great way to show someone special how much you love them!