RECIPE # 5008 - FRAISIER CAKE, Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

RECIPE # 5008 - FRAISIER CAKE, Wednesday, May 22, 2013

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Genoise Cake
5 whole eggs (preferably, organic free-range at room temperature)
1/2 cup (3.5 oz) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons (1.5 oz)
unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 vanilla bean pod
3/4 cup (3.3 oz) unbleached cake flour, double sifted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare an 8 or 9 inch cake pan by spraying it with cooking spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper.

Prepare the cake flour by adding the salt and sifting it twice.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat until it reaches the beurre noisette stage.  This French term literarily translates to hazelnut butter, because the butter is heated right until it you see specs of brown in it and has the aroma of hazelnuts.  It is easy to burn the butter and so you must monitor it closely and remove the pan from the heat as soon as turns a lighter shade of brown.  Split the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds with the back of a butter knife and add to the butter, stirring to incorporate.  Reserve the pod.

A Genoise is a sponge cake that is leavened naturally with eggs using the foaming method which is the gentle warming of the eggs with sugar and beating them until they are foamy and thick.  Warm egg mixture by whisking continuously over a bain-marie, a pot of simmering water, for approximately five minutes until warm to the touch, between 110-120 degrees.  Do not let the pot boil and do not allow the bottom of the bowl to come in contact with the simmering water.   You must whisk the egg mixture the entire time or you will end up with sweetened scrabbled eggs.  In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a hand held mixer, whisk the warmed egg mixture initially on low speed for one minute and then progress to medium high for ten minutes until approximately tripled in volume.  The mixture should be pale yellow, almost white in color and reach the ribbon stage, meaning that when you lift the whisk over the mixture the batter should fall slowly forming a ribbon that will hold it's shape for a few minutes.  The process is call aeration, which means you are building air bubbles in the batter.

Sift the cake flour and salt directly over the egg mixture in thirds, gently folding after each addition. Using a large balloon whisk preferably, or spatula, gently go down in the batter and over and then rotate the bowl slightly.  Fold just until all the cake flour is barely incorporated.  Take ½ cup of this mixture and stir it into the warm melted butter, mix thoroughly and add it back, folding lightly to incorporate. Be careful not to over mix and deflate the air bubbles you have worked to build. 

Bring the batter to as close to the pan as possible to retain the aeration that you have achieved.  Very gently fill the prepared cake pan with the batter to ¼ inch from the top rim of the pan, Bake for 18-22 minutes until the top is a light brown and the cake tester comes out clean.  Do not open the over door until you are certain the cake has baked sufficiently or it will collapse.  Cool for five minutes in the pan on a cooling rake, then invert onto a plate and then immediately reinvert back onto cooling rack and cool completely.

Crème Pâtissière
5 large egg yolks (preferably, organic free-range at room temperature)
1/2 cup (3.5 oz) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 cups (16 oz) whole milk
1 vanilla bean pod
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (2 oz)  unsalted butter, room temperature

Cut the vanilla bean pod in the middle and scraper out the vanilla beans. Heat the milk, vanilla beans and vanilla bean pod on medium low heat until it reaches boiling point.  While the milk is heating, vigorously whisk the egg yolks and sugar until blond in color, approximately three minutes.  Double sift the flour, cornstarch and salt and add it to egg mixture, whisking thoroughly until completely incorporate for another two minutes.  Once the milk reaches the boiling point, pour a slow, steady stream into the egg mixture while whisking constantly. When the milk is fully incorporated into the egg mixture, pour it back into the pot and heat for another 2 minutes, whisking constantly until you have a thick custard consistency.  Add one tablespoon of butter at a time and whisk in until completely melted.  Remove the pastry cream from the heat and empty it into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or use a hand held mixer.  Mix on medium speed until the mixture is cooled completely, approximately ten minutes.  If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap directly on top the custard and refrigerate.

Simple Syrup
1/2 c (3.5 oz) sugar
1/4 (2 oz) water
1 vanilla bean pod

Bring the sugar, water and the scraped vanilla bean pod which was used for the genoise to a rolling boil, swirling the pot intermittently, for approximately 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature. 

Whipped Cream
1 cup (8 oz) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract (Nielsen-Massey preferred)

Place the heavy cream, mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for ten minutes.  Pour the cream into the mixing bowl and whisk on low for one minute and then gradually begin to increase speed to medium high.  When soft whipped cream begins to take shape, sift in powdered sugar and add vanilla.  Whisk on medium high until just stiffened. 

Assembling Fraisier Cake
Slice the Genoise cake in half.  Place the bottom half on a serving platter you plan to serve the cake on, making certain it will fit in your refrigerator to chill.  Wrap a piece of acetate or parchment paper around the diameter of the cake that is approximately three inches in height and secure with tape.  Placing a pastry ring or spring form pan around the cake will lend added support if those are on hand.  Using a pastry brush, brush vanilla syrup on the cake, making certain to soak the cake sufficiently.  Wash and remove the stem of two pounds of fresh strawberries.  Slice the strawberries in half length wise and place around the outer edge of the cake, closely squeezed together with the cut side facing out. Place the Crème Pâtissière in a piping bag with a plain tip and pipe a layer of pastry cream on the bottom of the cake and in between the strawberries.  Quarter the remaining strawberries and fill the entire middle of the cake with them until you reach the tops of the strawberries lining the cake.  Pipe and spread another layer of the pastry cream on top of the strawberries.  Place the second half of the Genoise cake on top of the pastry cream layer and soak with the vanilla syrup.  Top with a thick layer of whipped cream and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  Decorate as desired with piped chocolate decorations or strawberries.

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