Fraisier

Fraisier

posted in Bakes, Cake, Custard, Frosting/Icing/Glaze/Syrup, Recipes, Techniques on with 12 Replies

A Fraisier cake, is derived from the French word “fraise,” meaning strawberry. It is a classic French cake that is traditionally comprised of a sponge cake, Génoise, cut in half, imbibed liberally with a simple syrup flavored with alcohol, filled with a crème patisserie and topped with almond paste. My own special version was created in conjunction with my appearance on the American Baking Competition for my sweet mom, who instilled in me this passion for baking, veers off a bit from the traditional Fraisier by using vanilla bean for flavoring and whipped cream rather than almond paste.

Genoise

In 1892 Grover Cleveland was elected President of United States, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle publishes The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Thomas Edison receives a patent for a two-way telegraph and most pertinent to this particular post, it is also when the genoise cake was reportedly born. That is over a hundred years of bakers throwing their hands up in surrender and waving their white kitchen towel in a show of defeat and utter frustration. That, my friends, ends today. You will learn how to make the perfect genoise which will then be used in a stunning Fraiser cake.

There are certain adjectives that you find associated with a genoise cake: difficult, temperamental, persnickety… You get the idea. The reason is eggs. Plain and simple. Understanding the properties of eggs, how to use them and how they react in baking is the difference between baking a perfect genoise or having to scrape a flat, dense, unappetizing pancake from your pans.  Here is the great news though, you have at your fingertips, with the mere click of your mouse, a comprehensive post on eggs which explains in detail everything you could ever want to know about them.  So, armed with this knowledge and your newly forged confidence, I want you to grab your whisk attachment, hold your head up high, back straight, march into the kitchen and bake fearlessly!fixed2

Ingredients:

5 large eggs, at room temperature

½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar

¼ teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 vanilla bean pod (may substitute 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract)

¾ cup (94 grams) cake flour, double sifted

How to Use Them:

Preheat the oven to 350F°/177C° and prepare an 8 or 9 inch cake pan by buttering it or spraying it with cooking spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper.

Prepare the cake flour by adding the salt and sifting it twice. Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat until it reaches the beurre noisette stage.

IMG_8224This French term literally translates to hazelnut butter, because the butter is heated right until the moment you see specs of brown bits and it exudes the fragrant aroma of roasted hazelnuts. It is easy to burn the butter, so you must monitor it closely and remove the pan from the heat as soon as turns a lighter shade of brown. Split the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds with the back of a butter knife and add to the butter, stirring to incorporate. Reserve the pod.

A Genoise is a sponge cake that is leavened naturally with eggs using the foaming method which is the gentle warming of the eggs with sugar and beating them until they are foamy and thick. Place the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixture.

Warm egg mixture by whisking continuously over a bain-marie, a pot of simmering water, for approximately five minutes until warm to the touch, between 110°-120°F/43°-49°C.

Do not let the pot boil and do not allow the bottom of the bowl to come in contact with the simmering water. You must whisk the egg mixture the entire time or you will end up with sweetened scrabbled eggs. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a hand held mixer, whisk the warmed egg mixture initially on low speed for one minute and then progress to medium high for ten minutes until approximately tripled in volume. The mixture should be pale yellow, almost white in color and reach the ribbon stage, meaning that when you lift the whisk over the mixture the batter should fall slowly forming a ribbon that will hold it’s shape for a few minutes.

IMG_8269This process is call aeration, which means you are building air bubbles in the batter.

Sift the cake flour and salt directly over the egg mixture in thirds, gently folding after each addition. Using a large balloon whisk preferably, or spatula, gently go down in the batter, gently back up over towards the middle and down, rotating the bowl slightly. Fold just until all the cake flour is barely incorporated. Take ½ cup of this mixture and stir it into the warm melted butter, mix thoroughly and add it back, folding lightly to incorporate. Be careful not to over mix and deflate the air bubbles you have worked to build.IMG_8275Bring the batter to as close to the pan as possible to retain the aeration that you have achieved. Very gently fill the prepared cake pan with the batter to ¼ inch from the top rim of the pan, Bake for 18-22 minutes until the top is a light brown and the cake tester comes out clean. Do not open the over door until you are certain the cake has baked sufficiently or it will collapse. Cool for five minutes in the pan on a cooling rake, then invert onto a plate and then immediately re-invert back onto cooling rack and cool completely.

Crème Pâtissière

Crème Pâtissière, pastry cream, is a rich and velvety classic custard that is complemented by a myriad of flavorings and quite versatile in its application.  In this recipe, it is vanilla beans that take a bow at center stage, and do beautifully in the filling encasing sun ripened, farm fresh strawberries plucked in peak season.fixed3Ingredients:

5 large egg yolks, at room temperature, preferably organic

½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

3 tablespoons (24 grams) unbleached all purpose flour

3 tablespoons (28 grams) corn starch

2 cups (16 ounces/473 ml) whole milk

1 vanilla bean pod, (may substitute 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract)

½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

How to Use Them:

Cut the vanilla bean pod in the middle to score the center without cutting all the way through and scrape out the vanilla seeds with the back of a butter knife.

Heat the milk, vanilla seeds and vanilla bean pod on medium low heat until it just reaches boiling point.

While the milk is heating, vigorously whisk the egg yolks and sugar until blond in color, approximately three minutes.

Double sift the flour, cornstarch and salt and add it to egg mixture, whisking thoroughly until completely incorporate for another two minutes.

Once the milk reaches the boiling point, pour a slow, steady stream into the egg mixture while whisking constantly. When the milk is fully incorporated into the egg mixture, pour it back into the pot and heat for another 2 minutes, whisking constantly until you have a thick custard consistency. Add one tablespoon of butter at a time and whisk in until completely melted. Remove the pastry cream from the heat and empty it into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or use a hand held mixer. Mix on medium speed until the mixture is cooled completely, approximately ten minutes.

If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap directly on top the custard and refrigerate.

Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is comprised of boiling sugar and water until sugar is completely dissolved and incorporated into the water to form a homogeneous liquid, which is then cooled.  Simple syrup is an excellent vehicle for flavorings as it is a neutral base.IMG_8324Ingredients:

½ cup (100 grams) sugar

¼ cup (2 ounces/59 ml) water

1 vanilla bean pod,(may substitute 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract)

How to Use Them:

Bring the sugar, water and the scraped vanilla bean pod which was used for the Genoise to a rolling boil, swirling the pot intermittently, for approximately 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Vanilla Bean Whipped CreamIMG_8420Ingredients:

1 cup (8 ounces/237 ml) heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons (16 grams) powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

How to Use Them:

Place the heavy cream, mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for ten minutes. Pour the cream into the mixing bowl and whisk on low for one minute and then gradually begin to increase speed to medium high. When soft whipped cream begins to take shape, sift in powdered sugar and add the vanilla. Whisk on medium high until just stiffened.

Assembling the Fraisier Cake

Wash and remove the stem of two pounds of fresh strawberries.IMG_7806Slice the Genoise cake in half.  Place the bottom half on a serving platter you plan to serve the cake on, making certain it will fit in your refrigerator to chill.  Wrap a piece of acetate or parchment paper around the diameter of the cake that is approximately three inches in height and secure with tape.  While acetate is difficult to find in traditional grocery stores and is more of a pastry supply shop find, it works best.  However, parchment paper is readily available and a sufficient substitute.  I have provided photographs below using both.  Placing a pastry ring or spring form pan around the cake will lend added support if those are on hand.

Using a pastry brush, brush vanilla syrup on the cake, making certain to soak the cake sufficiently.

It truly makes all the difference in the world to use fresh organic strawberries.  Using fruit in the peak of its season is what allows bakes such as this to have deliciously pure flavors.  You can taste the sunshine when biting into a ripe, juicy, sugary strawberry,  Slice the strawberries in half length wise and place around the outer edge of the cake, closely squeezed together with the cut side facing out. IMG_8392Place the Crème Pâtissière in a piping bag with a plain tip and pipe a layer of pastry cream on the bottom of the cake and in between the strawberries.  IMG_9706Quarter the remaining strawberries and fill the entire middle of the cake with them until you reach the tops of the strawberries lining the cake. IMG_9709Pipe and spread another layer of the pastry cream on top of the strawberries.  Place the second half of the Genoise cake on top of the pastry cream layer and soak with the vanilla syrup.

Top with a thick layer of whipped cream which can either be piped decoratively or smoothed with a small offset spatula.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to set.  Decorate as desired with piped chocolate decorations or fresh strawberries.fixed

 

12 Comments on “Fraisier

  • Effie, this a clear and straightforward approach, with user friendly lingo. Thank you for all the time you have invested. We are lucky bakers.

    Reply
    • Effie Post author

      Valarie, gratitude for the kindness. I truly love and I am so passionate about baking. I believe in the techniques and foundations of the craft which is why I try to highlight those in the recipes. I hope they inspire others to find the joy in baking.

      Reply
  • I do have one comment on the directions of how to prepare the genoise cake. Everything was very well explained however, when I was whisking the eggs over simmering water I did not see where it says to add the sugar. Weather during the whisking over simmering water process, or once I place the eggs in the stand mixer. This led me to not add the sugar at all until i began to fold the flour into the egg mixture. I looked over at the sugar and asked myself “When do I add the sugar?” I went back and read to the beginning where you state that “A genoise is a sponge cake that is leavened naturally with eggs using the foaming method which is the gentle warming of the eggs with sugar and beating them until they are foamy and thick.” But once I read this It was too late and I had to add it to the flour/egg mixture.
    Maybe try to state the step clearly in case it may happen to anyone else. Other than that, everything is great & im glad I ran into your website, I was looking everywhere for a stable and well explained recipe for this cake. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Stephany,
      I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to not only visit the blog, but also to make the Fraiser. I am sincerely sorry that the directions were not as clear as they should have been, you’re absolutely right! This was actually my first ever blog post and I hope my recipe writing skills have improved since that time. I will make certain to go back and clearly state that step.
      Much gratitude once again for taking the time to write, I hope your Frasier still came out okay! Please share pictures if you have them and don’t ever hesitate to ask any questions, I am more than happy to help and share in any way I can.

      Reply
      • Hi,
        I was about to make this recipe; however, I do not see the correction/addition that you said you were going to make for Stephany regarding the introduction of the sugar. Will you have time to make that correction soon? Thank you.

        Reply
        • Effie Post author

          Janet, thank you so much for your question. I had made the changes, however, they don’t appear to have updated. I believe the issue is resolved and they should be correct now! This was my first recipe on the blog and I have learned much about recipe writing since then! While I had referenced beating the eggs and sugar in the recipe, I should have made sure to add a specific step to do that. That step is on there now.
          Thank you so much for reading my little blog. It’s truly a labor of baking love. While my day job, and little ones keep my running 24 hours a day, and I would absolutely love to post more than I do, when I do get a chance to create and post, it’s an absolute joy and privilege to be able to share it with others.

          Reply
  • Berat Pottinger

    I’ve just made this cake and it is delicious. I didn’t find the sugar issue when making the genoise confusing at all. The recipe clearly said “the mixture” referring to earlier mention of eggs and sugar. I’m not sure if I followed the updated version of the recipe, nevertheless this is a much easier recipe to follow than most of others I’ve found on line.

    Reply
    • Effie Post author

      Berat,

      I cannot thank you enough for your kind comment and for sharing your experience. I am beyond ecstatic that the recipe worked for you, way to go! Genoise is a challenging cake and goodness knows it took me many, many tries to master, so you should be proud of your accomplishment.

      Gratitude friend for sharing and for taking a chance on my recipe, I truly appreciate it.

      Happy Baking!
      Effie

      Reply
    • Effie Post author

      Merci for reading this little blog of mine and your kind comments, I truly appreciate it! I hope the recipe serves you well and that you enjoy the delicious fruits of your labor.

      Happy Baking,
      Effie

      Reply
    • Effie Post author

      Ellen, merci for your question and for taking the time to read my blog! I have not doubled this recipe, but I don’t think it should be a problem to do so, however, I would be concerned if you did not bake all of the layers right away. If you doubled the recipe, but had to wait to bake some of the layers, then they the air bubbles you’ve worked had to created will begin to deflate, and the second set you bake may not turn out as your first.
      I hope this helps, happy baking!

      Reply

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