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French strawberry Fraisier cake recipe

The great chef Escoffier made a cake that resembles Le Fraisier around the 1900s, but it was the famous French pastry chef Gaston Lenôtre who made it the great cake we know and love today. Sponge cake soaked in kirsch, sweet mousseline cream and fresh strawberries – and heaps of wow factor.

Every baker seems to have their own recipe, all similar, but often featuring different alcohols or cream mixes, diplomat cream is also really popular as a filling – made with whipped cream and gelatine. You could also use Chantilly cream and gelatine. It’s also really popular to cover the top layer of sponge cake with a thin layer of marzipan, but I’ve not included that in this recipe. But if you do want to have that just roll out Marzipan to fit on top and then you can pile strawberries on top which gives it great height too. Red or white marzipan looks fabulous. It’s best to put the cake in the fridge overnight – so make it the day before you want to eat it.

This recipe is classic and fairly easy (though not quick)  and makes either one 9″ cake or eight 3″ cakes.

Almond Genoise  sponge cake ingredients

50 g (3 1/2 tbsp) butter, unsalted
200g (1 2/3 cup) cake (self-raising) flour
6 medium eggs
200g (1 cup) granulated sugar
50g (1/2 cup) almond flour (powder)
20g (3/4 oz) butter

Making the Genoise cake

Melt the 20g butter and use a pastry brush to butter your cake pan. Place the cake pan in the fridge to allow the butter to harden.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a heatproof bowl.

Preheat oven to 340F/Gas Mark 4/170 C. Place your heatproof mixing bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and whisk until the mixture is warm, thick and pale, and the mixture has tripled in volume. Remove from the heat and keep mixing until the mixture is cool.

When it’s cooled down, fold in half the sifted flour into the mixture followed by the  50g of butter – which must be melted first – then the rest of the flour and the almond powder.

Divide the mixture between two cake tins. Bake for about 30 minutes until light golden in colour. Leave to cool when cooked.

Kirsch Syrup

100ml (3.3 fl oz or 7 tablespoons) water
100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
40ml (1.3 fl oz or 2 1/2 tbsp) kirsch liqueur

Making the syrup

Combine the sugar and water into a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and leave to boil for 5 seconds. Remove from the heat, let the mixture cool, then stir in the kirsch liqueur.

Creme Mousseline

350ml (12 fl oz) whole milk
100g  (1/2 cup/4oz) granulated sugar
Half of a vanilla pod, split lengthwise and scraped
4 medium egg yolks
35g  (1.2 oz) plain flour
200g (cup/80z) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon cherry liqueur (optional)

Making the creme

Place milk, vanilla bean and scraped seeds into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.

Separately whisk egg yolks and sugar until mixture is pale yellow then mix into the flour until well combined.

Remove vanilla bean pod from milk mixture. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, constantly whisking to combine.

Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and place over high heat. Whisk constantly until it is thick, smooth and glossy.  Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Immediately cover with plastic cling wrap and allow to chill.

Beat the butter until creamy. Then when the pastry cream is about room temperature, add the cream to the butter and mix until while combined. Add the liqueur if required.

Spoon the mousseline into a piping bag with 1cm piping tip.


1lb (2kg) of large ripe strawberries, cut in half and with the green tops removed.

Cake mould(s)

Assembling the cakes

Place one sponge inside a deep cake ring and line it with a circle of plastic cake wrap. Then put the sponge cake inside. Brush the sponge with the kirsch syrup. Arrange some of the strawberries around the edge of the cake ring with the flat edge facing the outside. Pipe or spread the creme mousseline over the strawberries.  Then place another layer of sponge cake on top. Pile strawberries, dipped in the remaining kirch on top. Place in the fridge overnight.

Photo: Strawberry Frasier cake made by Jennifer Pogmore at the Chateau de Gudanes.

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