This cake from Frank Barron of the blog Cake Boy Paris is inspired by the fraisier, an elegant cake featuring kirsch-soaked genoise, strawberries, crème patissière, and marzipan. In his transatlantic version, Frank layers an all-American white cake with alternating rings of Strawberry Pastry Cream and Italian Meringue Buttercream.
Fraisier Layer Cake
Makes 1 (8-inch) cake
- 1¼ cups (284 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cups (300 grams) castor sugar
- 6 large egg whites (180 grams), room temperature
- 2 teaspoons (8 grams) almond extract
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
- 3½ cups (438 grams) all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons (20 grams) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
- 1½ cups (360 grams) whole milk
- Italian Meringue Buttercream (recipe follows)
- Strawberry Pastry Cream (recipe follows)
- ⅓ cup (107 grams) seedless strawberry jam
- 1 cup (125 grams) (¼-inch-thick) sliced fresh strawberries
- Pink food coloring
- Garnish: fresh strawberries
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans; line bottom of pans with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. With mixer on medium-high speed, gradually add castor sugar, beating until fluffy, about 5 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. Scrape sides of bowl.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. (Do not overbeat.) Divide batter between prepared pans.
- Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool in pans for 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Using a serrated knife, level top of cake layers, and cut layers in half horizontally. Place bottom layer on a cake stand. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a round piping tip with Italian Meringue Buttercream. Fill another pastry bag fitted with a round piping tip with Strawberry Pastry Cream. Pipe a ring of Italian Meringue Buttercream around top edge of cake layer. Pipe a ring of Strawberry Pastry Cream inside ring of buttercream. Continue alternating with Italian Meringue Buttercream and Strawberry Pastry Cream rings until you reach center of cake. Top with next cake layer, and pipe a ring of Italian Meringue Buttercream, creating a dam. Fill in buttercream ring with a thin layer of jam. Layer strawberry slices on top of jam. Top with next cake layer, and repeat Italian Meringue Buttercream and Strawberry Pastry Cream rings. Add final layer, and spread a thin layer of Italian Meringue Buttercream on top and sides of cake to create a crumb coat. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Place half of remaining Italian Meringue Buttercream in a small bowl. Dip tip of a wooden pick in food coloring, and gently dip tip into buttercream. (A little food coloring goes a long way.) Fill a pastry bag fitted with a round piping tip with pink buttercream. Remove cake from refrigerator, and place on cake stand. Pipe a ring of pink buttercream around bottom of cake. Pipe a ring of white buttercream around cake above pink buttercream. Repeat until you reach top of cake. Hold an offset palette knife or cake scraper against side of cake as you turn cake completely around, smoothing out striped frosting as you go. Spread remaining white buttercream on top of cake to meet sides. Top cake with strawberries, if desired.
Italian Meringue Buttercream
Makes about 5 cups
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (60 grams) water
- 4 large egg whites (120 grams)
- 2 cups (454 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon (13 grams) vanilla extract
- In a small saucepan, bring sugar and ¼ cup (60 grams) water to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until mixture registers 238°F (114°C) on an instant read thermometer.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer on medium speed, add sugar syrup in a slow, steady stream until combined. Increase mixer speed to high, and beat until bowl is cooled to room temperature.
- With mixer on medium speed, add butter, a few tablespoons at a time. Add vanilla, and increase mixer speed to high; beat until well combined. Use immediately.
Strawberry Pastry Cream
Makes about 3 cups
- 2 cups (480 grams) half-and-half
- ⅓ cup (67 grams) plus ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 large egg yolks (93 grams)
- ⅓ cup (64 grams) cornstarch
- ⅓ cup (107 grams) seedless strawberry jam
- ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan, bring half-and-half, ⅓ cup (67 grams) sugar, and salt to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar for about 45 seconds. Slowly add half of hot milk mixture to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Add egg mixture to remaining hot milk mixture, whisking to combine. Reduce heat to medium; cook, whisking vigorously, until mixture is thickened, about 45 seconds. Remove from heat; let cool for 1 minute. Whisk in jam, butter, and vanilla.
- Transfer pastry cream to a bowl; cover with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.