Strawberry cake (Fraisier) celebrates the sweetness of the strawberries and the beginning of the summer. To get this cake to the next level, look up Fraisier Cake Masterclass for the latest version!
*Almond paste can be subbed for 60g sugar and 60g almond meal. Process sugar and almond meal to fine powder using your food processor (Tant Pour Tant). Makes a 2''x8''/5x20cm pastry ring. In a pastry bowl, sift flour with baking powder; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat almond paste and sugar on medium speed. Add a couple of eggs gradually – increasing the speed. Stop the mixer and swap the paddle attachment with the whisk (beat directly with the whisk attachment if using the almond meal mixture instead). Add remaining eggs and beat on high speed for 10 minutes. Stop mixer, mix about a cup /200g of the egg mixture into the melted butter. Add sifted powders to the batter and incorporate the butter mixture. Fill greased mold and bake.
Bake at 350ºF/180ºC for about 35 minutes or until an inserted blade comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Unmold sponge over rack lined with parchment and chill. Shave off top and slice out several 0.4''/1cm thick discs. Select 2 discs for the cake – freeze leftovers for later use. Cut 2 discs into 7''/17.5cm diameter making them slightly smaller than the pastry ring.
Heat up pistachios in a frying pan for a few minutes. Avoid coloration. Throw in food processor and blend to puree with oil and a few drops almond extract if desired. Keep for months refrigerated.
Boil water and sugar. Blend syrup with strawberries, lemon juice, vanilla and Kirsch. Add more water if needed. Use at room temp. Punch can be refrigerated up to 4 days or kept frozen for weeks.
Bring milk, half of the sugar and vanilla to a simmer. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl combine egg yolks with remaining sugar, flour and corn starch. Turn off the heat. Whisk hot milk gradually into the yolk mixture. Return custard to the stove, bring to boil and cook for 2 minutes on medium high heat whisking constantly. Turn off the heat and whisk in the 100g butter. Let cool custard to room temp (70ºF/22ºC). Throw in remaining butter and beat in high speed. At this juncture, if the mousseline ends up too soft, place in the freezer for about 10 minutes and beat again. If too stiff and grainy, warm up the mixing bowl a bit and beat again. Then add pistachio paste if desired.
Over a flat surface using a round platter, line a clean freezer bag and place pastry ring lined with parchment paper, or acetate. Arrange strawberries halves on the bottom in circle motion and top with a layer of Mousseline filling. Soak two-third of one sponge disc into the strawberry punch, flip and place on the top, pressing down carefully. Arrange strawberry halves against the pastry ring. Add more filling and spread evenly using a spoon filling up any space left between each fruit. Cover the cake with more fruits and mousseline. Top with the second almond sponge soaked in punch. Smooth out the surface of the cake using a spatula and refrigerate a few hours or until completely set. Flip cake and remove ring and plastic. The fraisier can be glazed with a thin layer of warm neutral glaze. Store 2 days max in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. Enjoy!