Fraisier cake

Fraisier cake

B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself

This has been a favourite of mine for years, as it makes such a striking centrepiece. I love a strawberry-pistachio combo, too. Although we’re in level 3 territory, don’t be afraid to have a crack at it. Nothing here is especially complicated; in fact, a lot of the time is spent waiting for things to cool, so you can get on with something else. So no excuses: if you see some nice strawberries when you’re out, get them and make a fraisier; the ‘effort-to-awesomeness’ ratio is certainly in your favour if you do.


Quantity Ingredient

For the crème pâtissière

Quantity Ingredient
300ml whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks, (save 1 of the whites in a cup, and 2 in another cup)
25g cornflour
50g caster sugar
25g unsalted butter
150ml double cream

For the pistachio syrup

Quantity Ingredient
30g pistachios
50g caster sugar

For the pistachio sponge

Quantity Ingredient
4 large eggs
150g caster sugar
50g pistachios
50g cornflour
50g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
50g unsalted butter

For the marzipan

Quantity Ingredient
125g ground almonds
125g icing sugar, plus more to dust
1 egg white
or 2 tablespoons two chicks liquid egg white
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
a few drops pink gel food colour

To assemble

Quantity Ingredient
150g strawberries, hulled and halved symmetrically down the middle

For the jelly

Quantity Ingredient
100g strawberries, hulled and chopped
25g caster sugar
1 sheet gelatine

To decorate

Quantity Ingredient
50g white chocolate

Tool kit

Quantity Ingredient
food processor
23 cm springform cake tin
electric whisk
wire cooling rack
cake-cutting wire, (optional)
pastry brush
piping bags
rolling pin
offset palette knife
serving plate or cake board


  1. To make the custard for the crème pâtissière, heat the milk with the vanilla extract in a saucepan. While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar by hand in a bowl. Once the milk is hot (but not boiling) pour it over the egg yolk mixture, whisking continually. Once combined, pour this back into the saucepan and return to the hob over a low heat. Continue mixing until the custard has thickened, then remove from the heat. Melt the butter in a pan or in a microwave for about 45 seconds on full power. (Remember to cover the butter with something so it doesn’t spit all over your microwave.) Fold this into the custard. Pour the custard into a bowl, place cling film directly on to the surface to stop a skin forming and put in the fridge to chill.
  2. Make the pistachio syrup by blitzing the pistachios in a food processor to a fine consistency. Mix them into the sugar and 100 ml of water in a small saucepan. Heat until the syrup has reduced to a thicker consistency, then pour through a sieve into a bowl and leave to cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the base of a 23 cm springform cake tin with baking parchment. Make the sponge by whisking the eggs and sugar in a bowl with an electric whisk until a light-coloured foam has formed (this should take about 5 minutes).
  4. Finely blitz the pistachios in the food processor and mix this with the flours and the baking powder in a separate bowl. Gently fold the egg and sugar mix into this. Melt the butter in a pan or in the microwave as above and fold this into the mixture. It will be much wetter than a regular sponge mix. Tip the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25–30 minutes; it will be cooked when a cocktail stick stuck into the centre comes out dry. Put on a wire rack to cool. After 10 minutes, release the springform sides (you may need to free the edges with a knife first). Clean and dry the tin.
  5. Make the marzipan: put the ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor and mix thoroughly. Add the egg white, almond extract and food colour and mix well until all the ingredients come together. If you don’t want to use unpasteurised egg white, use Two Chicks instead; it’s available in most supermarkets. When the marzipan has formed, wrap in cling film to prevent it drying out.
  6. To assemble, cut the cooled sponge in half using a cake-cutting wire or a long, sharp, serrated knife. Save the neatest half for the top. Line the clean springform tin with cling film and place one of the halves of sponge in the bottom. Brush some pistachio syrup on to the sponge. Take the halved strawberries and place them – cut side out – around the edge of the tin, with the tip facing up.
  7. Return to the crème pâtissière: whip the cream until it forms soft peaks and fold into the now-cooled custard. Load this into a piping bag and pipe on to the sponge, being careful not to get any on the cut sides of the strawberries or the finished effect won’t look as sharp. The custard needs to come up as high as the tops of the strawberries. Smooth the custard out with an offset palette knife and place the second half of sponge on this. Brush on more pistachio syrup.
  8. Roll out the marzipan to around 5 mm thick, using icing sugar rather than flour to dust the worktop. Lay the marzipan on top of the sponge and trim the edges. You can now gently press the cake down so the surface of the marzipan is about 5 mm below the top edge of the springform tin. (This ensures the custard fills the cake, and makes room for the jelly layer.)
  9. Make the jelly by cooking the strawberries gently with the caster sugar in a small pan. While this is heating, soak the gelatine in water to soften, then add to the strawberries and sugar. Mix thoroughly, then pour through a sieve on to the marzipan layer. Put the cake in the fridge for at least 1 hour for the jelly to set and the cake to firm up. Take the cake out of the fridge, release the springform sides and very gently take off the cling film (this is a bit fiddly, but it does come off eventually; take your time).
  10. Melt the white chocolate for decoration in a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of water over a medium-low heat (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl). When the chocolate has melted, load it into a piping bag and cut a very small hole. Decorate the top of the cake with the white chocolate. Place on a serving plate or cake board.
  11. Er, what are you waiting for? You’ve earned this!


  • This recipe has a level 3 (advanced) difficulty.


  • So, fraisier cake. Not that bad, is it? This is the version I like, but there are plenty of variations, if you fancy.

    Try different flavours of syrup to brush on the sponge: making syrups is pretty easy as long as you go for two parts water to one part sugar, plus your flavour.

    Put any kind of fruit you want in, as long as it’s soft.

    The sponge can be any flavour you like, as long your sugar weighs the same as the flours mixed with any blitzed nuts (in this case 150 g). Rather than pistachio, it also tastes very good with ground almonds. You can make the sponge nut-free, too, by just using half cornflour and half plain flour.
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