My Gran’s birthday is on Halloween and this year she decided to throw a Mason family party to celebrate. My Gran is a very special lady, so I decided to make her a very special cake. I got out my The Great British Bake Off: How to turn everyday bakes into showstoppers book and saw this beautiful Frasier cake. It’s definitely a challenge but heck – my Gran is worth it!
Here is what you will need:
For the Genoise Sponge
- 4 Eggs, Room Temperature
- 125g Golden Caster Sugar
- Zest of 2 Lemons
- 125g Self Raising Flour
- 50g Unsalted Butter, Melted & Cooled*
For the Crème Mousseline
- 600ml Full Fat Milk
- 1 Vanilla Pod, Split
- 4 Eggs, Room Temperature
- 2 Egg Yolks, Room Temperature
- 180g Golden Caster Sugar
- 1 tbsp Kirsch
- 100g Cornflour
- 150g Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature & Cubed
For The Syrup
- 75g Golden Caster Sugar
- Juice of 2 Lemons, Reserved from Sponge Ingredients
- 600g Strawberries
- 200g Marzipan
- 100g Milk Chocolate
- Icing Sugar, for dusting
- 23cm Springform or Loose Bottomed Cake Tin
- Strip of Acetate (or Parchment/Baking Paper)
- Piping Bag fitted with a Large Round Nozzle
*Melt the butter for the sponge in a small saucepan and set to one side to cool completely. You don’t want it hot or oily or you will deflate the sponge batter. Just really really soft. It should look like this:
Lightly dust your work surface with icing sugar then roll out the marzipan to a thickness of 3mm. Using the base of the cake tin as a template, cut a perfect circle and pop it into the fridge to chill for later.
Put the eggs, sugar & lemon zest into a stand mixer with the balloon attachment. (Or a large bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water + electric hand whisk.)
Mix on the highest setting until it has more than doubled in volume, is very thick & pale. When you lift the beaters from the bowl it should leave a ribbon on the surface for about 4-5 seconds.
DO NOT OVER MIX! Only fold until the ingredients are just incorporated otherwise you run the risk of knocking out all that air you’ve spent ages putting into it.
As close to the tin as possible (to avoid losing air bubbles) pour the batter into the cake tin and pop it into the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. It’s cooked when the sides have shrank away from the tin & the top is golden brown.
Onto the crème mousseline filling. Add the milk & split vanilla pod to a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
Pour the hot vanilla milk through a sieve, onto the egg mixture – whisking all the time.
Tip the whole lot back into the saucepan over a medium heat and stir continuously until it thickens. It should take about 4-5mins. Continue to cook for another minute to ensure it will be thick enough, then stir through the butter until melted. Pour onto a baking sheet, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge to chill.
For the syrup, put the sugar, lemon juice & and 70ml of water in a small saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar is dissolved, then bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set to one side.
Wash the cake tin you baked the sponge in and grease the base. Line the sides with a strip of acetate, or, if like me you didn’t have any – some good parchment/baking paper.
Carefully slice the sponge in 2 and place one half, cut side up, into the base of the cake tin. Generously coat with half the syrup then using the back of a spoon, gently squash the edges out. Make sure there are no gaps left between the sponge and the tin.
Take about 12 strawberries (try and pick ones the same height) and slice them in half lengthways. Arrange them, pointed side up, around the edge of the tin. Press each strawberry firmly against the next to make sure there are no gaps.
Top with the other sponge half and coat with the remaining syrup. Again – (carefully) squash down the edges ensuring there are no gaps left. Finish by placing the marzipan circle on top and chill for at least 2-3 hours. I actually left mine overnight just to be sure.
Roughly chop the 100g chocolate and add 3 quarters of it into a glass bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Reserve the remaining quarter for later.
Gently warm to a temperature of 45°C then remove from the heat and add in the reserved chocolate. Stir until melted then bring down to 30°C. Speed up the process by placing the glass bowl into shallow cold water.
Don’t get any water in the chocolate or it will seize and become completely unusable.
Quickly pour the chocolate into a piping bag, snip the end and begin piping your designs onto a lined baking sheet.
If you have the time, cool at room temperature and not in the fridge. The chocolate will retain more of a shine.
If you choose to use dark chocolate instead, heat to 48°C and cool back down to 32°C.
If necessary, smooth and bumpy bits with a knife, then sprinkle liberally with icing sugar and top with some whole strawberries & your chocolate decorations.
Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
Phew, we made it!! Yes, it’s a little complicated and yes, it’s a little time consuming but just look at it, isn’t it totally worth it? I think this cake looks absolutely beautiful, so much so – it broke my heart to cut into it!
Every single person that had some, including my lovely Gran, said it was truly, incredibly delicious! And as for me? Well… I have never been too keen on marzipan and having tasted the crème mousseline filling on it’s own, I honestly thought I’d loathe it. However, after braving a slice I can happily say I was sincerely surprised! All the flavours worked gorgeously together. It was light, refreshing and honestly? A little slice of Heaven.
This bake is definitely a labour of love but the results are stunning. Best of all, my Gran was over the moon & everyone else loved it too. Possibly the most proud I have ever been!
Which only leaves me to say one thing… Happy Birthday Gran!
Hope you all enjoyed the post my lovelies.