French Fraisier to Celebrate My First Blog Birthday

It’s my blog birthday today!  One year ago, in Paris, I started Food Lover’s Odyssey.  To celebrate my 1-year blog birthday, I made a Fraisier.  Not only is the Fraisier a traditional birthday cake in France, I love making them.  Whenever someone asks me what my favorite French pastry to make is, this dessert is in my top 5 for several reasons.

I love the bright colors of yellow and red that play together in this dessert.  I love how it looks so simple, but actually takes a caring hand to create. Strawberries are bright and happy, a “bon jour” from Spring, and this cake is all about the strawberries.  It is a deceptive dessert, though.  When you eat it, you feel like you’re eating a light, airy treat. And, hey, it’s packed with strawberries, so it must be healthy, right? Well I have to admit, it’s also packed with a few calories, but with so many strawberries in the dessert, it should count as a fruit serving. What I love most about this dessert is how it embodies Spring and the elegance of French pastries.

Fraisier classic French pastry

A traditional Fraisier is crème mousseline (pastry cream with extra butter) and strawberries sandwiched between two sheets of very moist sponge cake (genoise). The moistness comes from the cake being doused in simple syrup. It is topped with either a sheet of red or green almond paste or Italian meringue.  Mine is a Meyer lemon genoise (sponge cake) doused imbibed with Meyer lemon simple syrup because I love the slight tang of lemony simple syrup to balance the sweetness of the strawberries.  And, I topped it with a thin layer of the rich crème mousseline instead of the very sweet meringue or almond paste.

Below is the recipe and instructions for assembling.  I hope you make it and enjoy it.  Thank you for joining me this year on my food lover’s odyssey! I hope you like what you’ve read this year and will continue to follow along on this food journey with me.

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Join me for a week-long Pastry Making Vacation in Provence! Learn secrets of the French patissier and make gorgeous and delicious pastries like these! All the vacation details here:

French Pastry Making Vacation in Provence

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Fraisier French birthday cake

To make the Fraisier, you will need:
One 9-inch Meyer Lemon Génoise cake, sliced in half
One recipe Mery Lemon Simple Syrup (recipe below)
About 3 cups Crème Mousseline (recipe below)
About 2 pounds (1 kg) fresh strawberries, stemmed and hulled

Fraisier with Meyer Lemon Genoise and Creme Mousseline
(Makes one 9-inch Fraisier)

For the Meyer Lemon Génoise:

1 cup (125 g) cake flour
2 tablespoons (25 g) butter, melted
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (130 g) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons Meyer lemon zest (from 2-3 lemons)

Preheat and oven to 350ºF and lightly grease the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan

Sift the cake flour and set aside. Melt the butter and set aside.

Heat the eggs and sugar over a double boiler with simmering water. Whisk constantly until the mixture reaches 122ºF (50 C), about 7 minutes. Once the mixture is heated beat the mixture to ribbons, preferably using a stand mixer. (You can use a handheld mixer or whisk by hand, but it will take a lot longer.) The mixture is at the “ribbon stage” when you pull the batter up with the beater and it stays atop the rest of the mixture, forming a ribbon-like effect. It will take about 8 minutes for the mixture to reach this stage using a stand mixer, about double the time using a handheld.

Fold 1/4 of the egg mixture into the melted butter to lighten the butter. Add the lemon zest to the egg/butter mixture.

Fold the egg/butter mixture back into the rest of the egg mixture. Sift 1/3 of the cake flour onto the egg mixture, then gently but quickly fold together. Repeat in thirds until the flour has been incorporated. Gently pour the batter into the cake pan and bake about 17 minutes, or until you insert a knife in the center, and it comes out with a few moist flakes of cake.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the cake pan. Let cool completely. (If a mound has formed on the top of the cake, slice it off to make an even and flat top.) Slice the cake into two halves.

*How you fold the mixture together is crucial to the success of a light and spongy génoise. You want to evenly incorporate phentermine online the flour into the egg mixture while not deflating the aerated eggs. It’s important that you’re quick and gentle at the same time, cutting the spatula down toward the center, lifting the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and turning the bowl with your other hand towards the hand that’s folding.

For the Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup:

1/3 cup (70 g) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (70 ml) water
4 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice

Bring to a boil the sugar and water. Remove from the heat and cool. Add the lemon juice and refrigerate until you are ready to use it.

For the Crème Mousseline:

2 1/4 cups (600 ml) whole milk
6 (120 g) egg yolks
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, divided in half
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (50 g) cornstarch
1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (300 g) butter, room temperature, divided in half

Scald the milk and half the sugar in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium high heat.

While the milk and sugar are heating, whisk together the egg yolks, the remaining sugar and cornstarch until the mixture becomes pale in color. Once the milk is scalded, bubbling at the edges, slowly pour about 1/4 of it into the egg yolk mixture, whisking until combined. Continue adding the milk in fourths until all has been whisked together. Check the bottom of your saucepan. If there is any scorched milk or film, use another heavy bottom saucepan; otherwise, pour the mixture back into the pan and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring vigorously and constantly. Once the mixture boils, continue stirring vigorously over the heat for about 30 seconds more. Remove from the heat continuing to stir until the steam dissipates.

Press through a sieve for a smooth cream. Dot the cream with half of the butter in tablespoon-sized chunks. Let the butter melt, then stir in. Cool over an ice bath for 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap. The plastic should come in direct contact with the cream, so a film doesn’t develop. Refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes.

When the pastry cream has chilled, remove it from the refrigerator. Mix the remaining butter with a spoon until it’s a soft consistency. In a stand mixer, add the pastry cream and then stir until it’s soft. Add 1/4 of the softened butter at a time and combine before adding the next 1/4 of the butter. Stir until the butter and pastry cream are combined into a smooth emulsion. Place the mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a round tip that is 1/2-inch in diameter.

assembling the fraisier

TO ASSEMBLE THE FRAISIER:

Place one sliced half of the génoise cake into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan. Using a pastry brush, brush about half of the simple syrup onto the top of the cake. (You know you have enough syrup in the cake if you press down on the cake and hear a “squish,” like that of a full sponge.)

Slice 12-15 of the strawberries in half. They should be the same height. Place the strawberries on top of the cake in a ring with the sliced half of the strawberries against the side of the spring form pan.

Pipe a ring “escargot” of crème mousseline onto the top of the cake. Pipe more crème mousseline in a line upwards between each strawberry. Using a flat metal spatula, spread the crème out so that any air pockets are filled. Quarter the remaining strawberries and place them on top of the layer of crème mousseline. Fill it full with strawberries (fraises, in French)! As my French chef told me, “It’s called a Fraisier, not a creme mousselinier.” Be generous with the strawberries. Pipe another ring in the form of an “escargot” on top of the strawberries. Smooth out with a flat metal spatula.

Brush the remaining simple syrup onto the other sliced half of the génoise cake. Place this slice on top of the crème mousseline layer in the spring form pan. (Be careful because the cake is filled with the simple syrup and extra delicate.) Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Remove from the refrigerator and pipe a thin layer, about 1/4-inch thick, of crème mousseline on top of the Fraisier. Decorate with strawberries. Serve and enjoy!

*The Fraisier will keep up to 2 days in the refrigerator.


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Comments

  1. Congratulations on one year! Beautiful cake and beautiful photos.

  2. Edda
    April 11th

    Congratulations! And this fraisier is just amazing :-)

  3. Paula Aiello
    April 11th

    My birthday being in December, I’d never get strawberries. But I’ll have to have an Un-birthday so I can make this. YUM!!!!

  4. Noelle
    April 11th

    Paris is my favorite food city, but I have not gone since turning vegan.

  5. Gourmantic
    April 11th

    Happy Blogaversary and congratulations on the milestone! :) Santé!
    The fraisier wouldn’t last 2 days in my fridge. it looks too good!

  6. Tiffiny Felix
    April 11th

    What a gorgeous cake! And happy birthday :) My blog-birthday is coming up next month and I’ve been wondering what I should do. This is so pretty, and strawberries are in season! I may have to copy you ;)

  7. food lover kathy
    April 12th

    Thanks everyone for all the blog bday wishes!
    Paula: I’m pretty sure your saint’s name day (San Paolo) is in the summer (my Sicilian cousin Paula is always celebrating when I’ve been there in the summer). If so you could have this on your saint’s name day.
    Noelle: Paris is my favorite pastry city, but I would choose somewhere in Italy for savory. Yes, I think Paris, France in general, is a very hard place for a vegan—there is always L’as du Fallafel though!
    Gourmantic: Thanks! I actually had to make two of these because my first one was gobbled up before I could take pictures.
    Tiffany: Go ahead and copy away. It is a delicous dessert.

  8. Trix
    April 12th

    Wonderful lesson, beautiful cake!!! Happy blogoversary!!!

  9. Kaitlin
    April 12th

    The presentation on this is absolutely beautiful I love your photos!

  10. Vegetable Matter
    April 12th

    Gorgeous! Wishing you many more beautiful posts in the year to come.

  11. Jozee
    April 12th

    Happy Anniversary Kathy. I can attest to this creation because I have had several pieces of it. It is as delicious as it looks.

  12. 5 Star Foodie
    April 12th

    Happy blog birthday and your cake is absolutely gorgeous!

  13. redkathy
    April 12th

    Beautiful display and fabulous cake. Wishing you a happy blog birthday!

  14. What a stunning preparation and wonderful photography! You have a beautiful blog for the eyes and the belly!
    Happy 1st year blog birthday!
    Ciao, Devaki @weavethousandflavors

  15. Well, happy birthday then! Looks like you and your blog had a first great year together. congrats! If you want some french-swedish food – watch the latest episode of my online cooking show where I’m making Swedish Crêpes!

  16. bunkycooks
    April 13th

    Happy birthday! What a beautiful cake to celebrate with! Congrats on Top 9 today.

  17. Loul@
    April 13th

    What a wonderful cake! I remember when I was in France, I loved to buy one sometime.

  18. clea walford
    April 13th

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY from me, too, and I love the Fraisier – will try it soon.

  19. Rocquie
    April 14th

    Gorgeous cake! I enjoyed reading about it and seeing it. Congratulations of your blog’s birthday.

  20. Wow! I can’t find a perfect word to describe this lovely cake! I’m totally impressed.

  21. Lazaro
    April 20th

    Saw your profile on another page. Glad I read your fantastic blog. Look forward to following you here. Cheers!

  22. Diana
    April 24th

    Congratulations on your Blog Anniversary. The cake looks super delicious!

  23. Akila
    April 26th

    Congratulations! Beautiful cake.

  24. TripleScoop
    May 4th

    Wow that looks absolutely divine. I bet it tasted so good!
    Happy belated Congratulations to your 1yr anniversary.

  25. Lisa
    May 16th

    Fantastic Fraisier! Thank you for sharing! I’ve been having difficulty with the strawberries falling out after I unmold the cake, any suggestions?

  26. Lisa: Here are some possible causes and my suggestions to fix. Please let me know how it turns out and which tip worked for you:
    1. The creme mousseline isn’t chilled enough when you unmold it. After assembling the entire Fraisier, chill it at least 45 minutes before unmolding.
    2. There are air pockets in between the strawberries. You want to make sure and place the strawberries together tightly and fill the small spaces between them with the creme mousseline. After you’ve piped the creme mousseline in between the strawberries, use a spatula to push the mousseline into each nook. (see photos)
    3. The strawberries in the center are pushing the strawberries out. There should be a generous amount of strawberries in the middle, but not so much as to push the strawberries outward.
    4. You can also put a clear strip of mylar plastic around the edge of the mold before you begin assembly. This keeps everything together when you unmold it, and then you undo the plastic right before serving. You can get these at cooking equipment stores, especially those specializing in French pastries.
    Thank you very much for the feedback on my recipe. I really appreciate it.

  27. Naomi
    July 31st

    I just made this for my partner’s birthday on the fourth of July. It was incredible– definitely wowed all of our friends! The flavor was just lovely and the cake was so beautiful, it pained me a bit when I finally cut into it! It certainly takes time and patience, but the effort is well worth it. Thank you for a truly wonderful recipe.

  28. foodloverkathy
    August 3rd

    Naomi: Thank you so much for the comment. I’m always happy to hear when someone uses one of my recipes. Glad it “wowed” everyone and your time and effort paid off. (You will get faster with practice; I promise)

  29. Trisha
    September 25th

    Hello! First of all, this cake looks absolutely beautiful! (Almost too beautiful to eat) And second, I made it last night for some family coming in this weekend! Others were right in saying it takes patience, but I had fun making it.. I had a couple of questions and was wondering if you could help me for next time I make it:

    1) After I mixed all of the ingredients for the Génoise, it was very thick and instead of pouring into the cake pan, I had to press it, kind of like a pie crust. Doing this left it lumpy and when it came out of the oven it was VERY thin and shrunk to less that 9″, making it difficult to assemble into the 9″ spring form pan.
    2) My Crème Mousseline turned out a bit more yellow than yours shows in the final picture, and I don’t think I put enough in between all of the strawberries, but again, it was kind of difficult since it didn’t touch the edge of the spring form pan.

    Any advice would be great! :)

    I have not tasted it yet, and it is definitely not as pretty as yours, but I have no doubt that it will be just DIVINE! Thanks for sharing!

    ~Trisha

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