The name Le Fraisier comes from fraise (French for “strawberry”), and celebrates the sweetness of fresh, French strawberries. Our simplified take on the classic begins with a sponge cake (or génoise). Then it’s split in half, doused with citrus-kissed simple syrup, and filled and frosted with an almond-scented Whipped Cream Cheese. Stunning yet effortless, this cake is the ultimate showstopper.
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
- 5 large eggs (250 grams)
- ⅔ cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon (2 grams) almond extract
- ¾ cup (94 grams) cake flour
- 6 tablespoons (48 grams) cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
- ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- Orange Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
- 16 ounces (454 grams) small to medium fresh strawberries
- Whipped Cream Cheese (recipe follows)
- Garnish: fresh strawberries
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. (Do not spray or butter pan.) (See PRO TIP.)
- In the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together eggs, sugar, and extracts. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°F (43°F).
- Carefully return bowl to stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat at high speed until thick, tripled in volume, and ribbon consistency, about 3 minutes.
- In a small bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Using a large balloon whisk, gently fold flour mixture into egg mixture in two additions just until combined. Remove 1 cup (75 grams) batter; whisk in melted butter until combined. Fold butter mixture into remaining batter in two additions just until combined. Pour into prepared pan, and gently tap sides of pan 1 to 2 times to remove surface bubbles.
- Bake until golden and cake springs back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan.
- Remove stems from half of strawberries; cut in half lengthwise. Place strawberries, cut side down, on paper towels to dry completely. Pat remaining strawberries dry with paper towels.
- Using a thin knife or offset spatula, loosen cooled cake from sides of pan. Remove from pan, and wash and dry sides of springform pan. Reassemble cake pan, and line sides with parchment paper to form a collar, trimming to height of pan. (You can use more than one strip of parchment, if necessary.)
- Cut cake in half horizontally. Place bottom half of cake in prepared pan cut side up. Brush with ¼ cup (65 grams) Orange Simple Syrup. Arrange halved strawberries, cut side out, around sides of pan, leaving gaps between strawberries. Evenly stand remaining strawberries, cut side down, on top of cake, trimming bottoms as necessary so all strawberries are the same height.
- Reserve 2 cups (370 grams) Whipped Cream Cheese. Place remaining Whipped Cream Cheese in a large pastry bag; cut a ¼-inch opening in tip. Pipe between strawberries; using a small offset spatula, smooth flat. Brush remaining cake layer with remaining ¼ cup (65 grams) Orange Simple Syrup. Place, cut side down, on top of Whipped Cream Cheese. Lightly press to make sure cake and filling are level.
- Spread ¼ cup (46 grams) reserved Whipped Cream Cheese in center of cake, leaving a 1½-inch border around edges. Place remaining Whipped Cream Cheese in a pastry bag fitted with a 9⁄16-inch open star piping tip (Ateco #827). Pipe a border around outside edge of cake. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
- Carefully remove sides of pan and parchment. Run a hot dry spatula around outside edge to smooth Whipped Cream Cheese, and garnish with strawberries, if desired. Serve immediately.
PRO TIP: When lining the bottom of the springform pan with parchment paper, it can be helpful to let the parchment extend past the edges of the bottom of the pan so that when you place the sides on top, the parchment can help fill any gaps you may have in your springform pan. It also makes it easier to remove from the bottom of the finished cake.
Orange Simple Syrup
Makes ½ cup
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (60 grams) water
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) orange liqueur*
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir sugar and ¼ cup (60 grams) water until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, and stir in liqueur. Let cool to room temperature.
*We used Grand Marnier. Fresh orange juice can be substituted.
Whipped Cream Cheese
Makes 6 cups
- 2 (8-ounces) packages (454 grams) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 cups (480 grams) cold heavy whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon (2 grams) vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) almond extract
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add sugar, and beat at medium-low speed until smooth and well combined, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add cream, 2 tablespoons (30 grams) at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Add extracts, beating until combined. Thoroughly scrape down sides of the bowl. Slowly increase mixer speed to high, beating until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Use immediately.