Thursday 21 January 2016

Fraisier Cake

The basis for this was Mary Berry's recipe, which was used as a technical challenge on GBBO. I did a couple of tweaks to make it more suitable to myself; I made 2 cakes, once in a 20cm diameter tin, and another in a 13cm diameter tin (after doing the maths, this involved increasing the amount of ingredients by 10%, and then putting about 30% of the ingredients in the smaller cake). Having 2 cakes allowed me to take one into work, and have the other at home.

I also made my own marzipan...since I learnt to make my own, I've never bought any. Home-made stuff is so much nicer, and it's better for you (comparatively!). Shop-bought marzipan is 75% sugar, and uses glucose syrup as the moisturiser...proper marzipan is 50/50 sugar and almond, and uses egg white. As this recipe has crème patisserie, you already have spare egg-white, so it's a no-brainer making your own marzipan as well. I skipped on the kirsch in the crème, as I'm not a fan of it.

Finally, I chocolate-dipped the strawberries on top... Mary's recipe warns against putting sliced strawberries on as decoration in case of colour-bleed, however I thought that if the cut sides of the strawberry were sealed in chocolate, then that removes the issue!

The end result was generally pretty good. If I were to do it again I'd possibly increase the sponge mixture a bit more, as it was a little on the thin side (this is either not enough mixture as it was split between the cakes, or I folded too much air out when I incorporated the flour and butter). I didn't quite have enough crème patisserie (I forgot to increase the volume by 10%), so the smaller cake has a layer of whipped double-cream.

In terms of the order you make stuff, you probably want to make the crème patisserie first, as it needs time to chill and set to a firm consistency. 

Fraisier Cake

Crème Patisserie Ingredients

  • 660ml Full-Fat Milk
  • Vanilla Pod
  • 4 large eggs + 2 egg yolks
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 110g cornflour
  • 165g unsalted butter (cubed, and at room temperature)

1) Put the milk in a large saucepan

2) Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add to the milk

3) Gently bring the milk to the boil, then take it off the heat

4) While the milk is heating, put the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a large bowl, and whisk until thoroughly mixed (I used an electric hand mixer, which is invaluable for this recipe)

5) Once the milk has boiled, pour it through a sieve into the egg mixture, and whisk thoroughly to combine

6) Pour everything back into a clean saucepan

7) Put on a medium heat, and stir/whisk constantly until it begins to thicken. You want this to be pretty thick (it's structural, and needs to hold its shape when piped)

8) Take off the heat and stir/whisk in the butter until it has melted and combined fully.

9) Pour the custard into a large ceramic oven tray, put a layer of clingfilm on top of the custard (this stops a skin forming), and place in the fridge to cool

  • Pre-heat the oven to  180'C
  • Grease, flour and line 2 loose-bottom cake tins (one 20cm, the other 13cm)

Genoise Sponge Ingredients

  • 140g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 55g butter, melted, and then slightly cooled (still liquid)

1) Put the sugar, eggs and lemon zest in a large heatproof bowl, and place in a bain-marie (I used a colander over a pan of simmering water)

2) Using an electric whisk, beat the mixture until it has at least doubled in volume, has gone light, and is stiff enough that when you lift the whisk out it leaves a trail on the surface.

3) Remove from the bain-marie, and gently fold in the flour in parts, being gentle, and keeping as much air in the mixture as possible.

4) Finally, gently fold in the melted butter

5) Pour the mixture into the 2 prepared tins (the split is 30% in the small one, and 70% in the large one...I do this by weighing the large heatproof bowl when empty, then weighing it when full to work out the weight of the this case the small mixture is ~150-160g)

6) Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The cakes will take different times, so keep an eye on them. They are done when they are a golden brown, and are pulling away from the side slightly.

7) Once baked, remove from the oven, and allow the cakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes. Then, turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely

Lemon Syrup Ingredients

  • 75g caster sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 70ml water

1) Place all the ingredients in a small pan

2) Bring to the boil on the hob

3) Boil for 2 minutes

4) Leave to cool

Marzipan Ingredients

  • 200g Ground Almonds
  • 200g Icing Sugar
  • ~35-40g egg white
  • A few drops of almond essence

1) Place all the ingredients in a stand mixer bowl

2) Attach the dough hook

3) Run the mixer on a low speed, allowing all the ingredients to combine. Eventually, a firm paste will form (you may need to scrape down the sides)

4) Once the marzipan has formed, remove from the bowl and work into a ball.

5) Prepare a surface by sprinkling icing sugar on it

6) Roll out the marzipan to ½cm thickness (I have some 5mm batons I use).

7) Using the base of the cake tins, cut out a 20cm diameter circle and a 13cm diameter circle. Place these on baking parchment sprinkled with icing sugar (to stop them sticking), and place to one side

Assembling the cake

  •  ~600g of strawberries
  • 100g dark chocolate

1) Line the sides of the cake tins with acetate (I used A4 sheets from a stationary shop, chopped in half longways)

2) For each cake, chop the sponge in half horizontally using a sharp bread knife. You are aiming to end up with 2 thin discs of even thickness.

3) Put the bottom disc in the cake tin, with the cut side facing up

4) Using a pastry brush, generously coat the cake with the lemon syrup

5)  Prepare the strawberries by chopping off the leaf end, and then chopping them in half longways (so you get a roughly triangular cross-section)

6) Place these around the outside of the cake tin with the points up, and touching at the bottom.

7) Put the crème patissiere in a piping bag with ~1cm nozzle, and pipe a disc on the exposed cake

8) Pipe into the gaps between each strawberry, so that the outer edge of the cake is full to the top of the strawberries

9) Fill the gap in the middle with strawberries, so that they form a rough level with the edge

10) Pipe another disc of crème patisserie over all the strawberries, and smooth with the back of a spoon

11) Place the second disc of sponge on top, with the cut side UP, and press down on all the edges

12) Using a pastry brush, generously coat the cake with the lemon syrup

13) Take the marzipan circle, and carefully place on top of the cake

14) Melt the dark chocolate in a bain-marie

15) Take ~6 strawberry halves, and dip them into the dark chocolate so that the cut side is covered

16) Place these onto a sheet of greaseproof paper to cool and solidify (I put this on a marble slab to speed up the cooling process)

17) Put the rest of the melted chocolate in a small piping bag with a small aperture cut

18) Once they are set, stick the chocolcate-covered strawberries on top of the cake with a small amount of piped chocolate

19) Do some chocolate swirls around the strawberries, and the top of the cake

20) Return the cake to the fridge to set fully.

21) When the time comes to serve, remove the cake from the tin carefully, transfer to a serving plate, and remove the acetate