There are few things more summery than a fraisier cake, that delicate celebration of strawberries and rich creme mousseline. My version is even fruitier; the repetition in the name (fraisier being French for strawberry) referring to the double helping of fresh strawberries to line the cake and strawberry syrup flavouring the rich, buttery custard at the centre.
Strawberry fraisier cake
The strawberries are the star of the show here, so you’ll need to use flavourful ones. You needn’t spend a fortune, though: I tested this using delicious fruit from my local budget supermarket.
Prep 50 min
Chill 3 hr
Cook 35 min
For the sponge
125g caster sugar
3 large eggs
Red gel food colouring (optional)
125g ground almonds
30g plain flour
¼ tsp almond essence (optional)
Oil/melted butter, for greasing
For the strawberry cream
4 tbsp lemon juice
200g caster or granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks, beaten
125ml double cream
180g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
For the filling
550g strawberries, roughly 350g to line the side of the cake, and 200g, chopped, for the filling
Icing sugar, for dusting
First, pick the strawberries to line the edge of the cake (about 350g) – you want ripe ones that are roughly equal in size (as big as a conker) – and put to one side.
Hull 650g strawberries for the cream and blitz in a blender. Pour the pulp into a large pan with the lemon juice and sugar, weigh the pan and its contents, then bring to a boil over a medium-high heat. Boil for about seven minutes, and reduce until the contents of the pan are 200g lighter – give the base of the pan an occasional scrapeto stop anything from catching. Set aside three tablespoons of strawberry syrup, then, over a medium heat, stir the cornflour into the rest and cook for three minutes, until thickened and no longer floury-tasting. Pour in the egg yolks in a thin stream, stirring for another minute, then add the cream. Leave to cool completely, then beat in the butter.
Meanwhile, make the sponge. Whisk the sugar and eggs until pale and frothy, then add the food colouring, if using. Fold in the ground almonds, flour and almond essence, if using, then divide between two 20cm cake tins lined with greaseproof paper. Bake at 190C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6 for 12 minutes, until well browned and just shrinking away from the sides of the tin.
Once the sponges have cooled, assemble the cake. Fill a piping bag with strawberry cream and snip off the end. Grease the base and sides of a high-sided 20cm cake tin with oil or melted butter, then line both with greaseproof paper. Lay one sponge in the base, brush with the reserved strawberry syrup, followed by a thin layer of the cream. Hull and halve the strawberries you set aside at the beginning, and use to line the sides of the cake in a double layer. Chop the remaining strawberries into 1cm chunks, scatter over the base of the cake, then pipe over the cream. Top with the other sponge, dust with icing sugar then chill in the fridge for three hours before serving.