I knew this bake would be intense, I mean it’s 34 steps and multiple recipes within recipes. But this was something else. From cellulite-y crème pâtissière to making my own marzipan the challenges just kept on coming. And don’t even get me started on the genoise. But there was a bright spot in this whole ordeal! For once in, what feels like the entirety of this process, I had the right size cake tin!
I have no more witty narrative to precede this post, there was too much baking for pithy remarks and hilarity. It was all business!
Day 1 – I started by assembling the ingredients. I went back to my roots and weighed and measured everything before getting started. And I invested in some honest to goodness caster sugar. I told you I meant business.
As I mentioned earlier I had the bright idea to make my own marzipan for the top of this cake. Partially because I am determined that the ingredients themselves were cheaper than the premade stuff and partially because I have an ego and when someone asked my husband if I made my own marzipan last time I wanted to be able to say yes. So psychological motivation aside I put ground almonds, water, egg white, powdered sugar and almond extract in my food processor and took out marzipan! Here’s the recipe if you’re interested.
Marzipan – check. Crème pâtissière’s up next. I’ve talked before about how I have made my fair share of ice cream and as a result feel like I am a pro at custard and tempering eggs. Well, not so much this time. I whisked together my eggs, sugar, cornflour, amaretto (I wasn’t about to buy a whole bottle of kirsch just for one tablespoon) and put my milk onto boil. In the past, I’ve used custard recipes that say to warm the milk but never boil. Even though I took the milk back off the heat for a bit I think it was still too hot when it went into the eggs. Why do I think it was too hot? Because
It was not pretty. Remember the how Dani said her custard had cellulite when she was making this recipe? Same Dani, same! No worries, I figured Mary just forgot to include the step where you use your immersion blender to turn scrambled eggs back into a custard.
I was losing steam at this point and reaching the end of day two. I boiled together the lemon juice, more sugar and water to make a lemon syrup. Thankfully that went to plan. and I indeed got lemon syrup.
Day 2 – I went shopping with my sister and didn’t bake at all but it’s much more impressive to say a bake takes three days instead of two.
Day 3 – was cake day! Keen to avoid making the genoise I took my time and cut up my strawberries. I am so annoyed at myself for missing strawberry season to make this. Ontario strawberries are to die for in June and July but in August they are past their prime and super expensive. I know the California strawberries I used can’t do this cake justice but that’s life.
After all the procrastinating I could manage I had to face my fear. I put a pot on to simmer and a bowl with my ingredients on top. I had my mixer poised and ready to go. when I noticed some burnt out lights. Better change those immediately. Eventually I started making the cake. The eggs and sugar mixed together perfectly. Doubled in size just like it was supposed to. The problem came when I had to add in the flour and butter. Even with the lightest touch I could hear the batter deflating with every stroke and just when I thought I could stop mixing I would discover another streak of unincorporated flour. I hoped for the best and put the batter into bake. 22 minutes later I had a cake.
Not quite 2 inches and this picture is deftly disguising a dip in the middle but it would have to do.
After waiting as long as I could for the cake to cool I started cake surgery. My halves were far from level, but nothing a little creme pat couldn’t fix. I drizzled the lemon syrup and arranged my strawberries in the requisite crown formation.
I was skeptical the delicate cake could withstand the whole jar of lemon syrup. But the top layer sucked up every last drop. I topped the whole thing with my marzipan and put it back in the fridge to set. I opted out of the chocolate decoration because I had had quite enough of the fraisier cake at this point. So now the moment we’ve all been waiting for, to find out if the whole thing had collapsed or not…
Nope! It stayed intact, at least long enough to take this picture. The strawberries aren’t exactly flush with the cake but who cares! It was a a success. And oh my god, it tastes amazing! Even the marzipan on top makes sense when you take a bite. I have to admit this was a total pain to make, so much so that I’ll probably never do it again but I’m really happy to have added the different components to my baking arsenal. Fraisier cake success! Oh, and PS you couldn’t even tell that the crème pâtissière used to be scrambled eggs.