This weekend I made a 'Fraisier'. It's a French cake, comprised of a genoise sponge soaked in creme de framboise, creme mousselline, strawberries, another layer of soaked sponge and topped with a layer of marzipan.
I should have said above, when declaring my love, that I adore French patisserie. In a recent trip to Toulouse, I went to a cake equipment store twice and I went to look in every window of every patisserie I walked past. When I went to Paris 2 years ago for a hen weekend, I went to a store where I bought two pallette knives. They changed my life. (Incidentally, a friend bought some Christian Louboutin shoes at exactly the same time. I still don't know who was more excited!)
Imagine my delight when an email fell into my inbox inviting me to a birthday / anniversary BBQ. 'I can bake!' I exclaimed, rather too excitedly to myself. I've been trying to think of an excuse to bake a Fraisier for months. (Not that an excuse for baking is ever needed. Certainly not where my friends are concerned.)
The genoise sponge was quite straightforward. It only requires three ingredients - eggs, sugar and flour. Next came the creme mousselline. It's basically creme patisserie with some butter. Easy, right?
Perhaps it's a good thing that no photographic evidence exists of my first attempt at creme mousseline. I was doing so well until I added the butter, which split the creme. No amount of beating and whisking helped & I ended up throwing it away.
Well, sad as I was, there was no point crying over spilt creme mousselline, so I changed recipes (google is wonderful), tried again and thankfully this worked. Assembling it only caused a worry that it wouldn't come away from the ring, but it did (after sitting in the fridge for about an hour) and I placed it onto a board, into a box and went to the BBQ.
A Fraisier isn't something I would make every day, or even every week. It's not hard to make, but does require time and patience. It is definitely worth it, if my friends are anything to go by and I will be making it again, along with variations such as the framboisier. And from there I can experiment by adding nuts and mixing flavours.
Cakes are fun. Once you have a recipe you are happy with, start experimenting. I had a fraisier with pears in Toulouse (research purposes, you understand). The world is your oyster, or cake stand. And cakes aren't just for celebrations, but if you're having one, what better excuse?