Step by step recipe:
Prepare 350 g Confectioner's custard (Crème pâtissière, or French pastry cream). When it is made and has cooled a little (wait 15 minutes), incorporate 150 g butter very cold and cut into small pieces, beating thoroughly until the butter is well mixed in.
This cream is a "crème mousseline".
Prepare 1 Génoise (Genoa sponge). When cooked and cooled, cut this to the shape of your cake, round or square.
You can see that here I have cut it round using a dessert ring. If you do not have one, you can cut round a small plate laid on the sponge.
Split the genoa sponge in two through the middle.
Place one circle of sponge on the serving plate and place a dessert ring over it.
Soak the the top of this sponge circle with half the strawberry syrup.
Spread a thin layer of crème mousseline over the sponge.
Arrange straberries cut in half around the circle with the cut side towards the outside.
Then fill the circle with whole strawberries, placed upright.
Spread the remaining crème mousseline over the strawberries; ideally, they should be completely covered.
Tap the plate gently on the worktop to settle the cream.
Lay the other circle of genoa sponge on a wire rack and soak with the remaining strawberry syrup, using a brush.
Then turn this over onto the dessert inside the ring.
This is a tricky operation, so I advise you to turn it over smartly onto a baking sheet to (along with the rack), then slide it onto the top of the cake.
Press gently on the top to make sure it is flat and even.
Decorate with a half strawberry and brush with an apricot glaze. This is not essential, but adds an attractive finish and prevents the marzipan from drying out.
At the last minute, gently remove the cake from the dessert ring. Your "fraisier" is ready to be served and enjoyed.
Remarks:If you do not have a dessert ring, use a circle of strong card, lined with a piece of stretch plastic film, held in place with a paper clip.
For a quicker finish, you can simply sprinkle the top of the cake with icing sugar in place of the marzipan.
For Gaston Lenôtre, a strawberry cake should be made with butter cream rather than mousseline, and he called it a "Bagatelle".
Source:Home made, with Catherine as tester. Her portion is shown in the photo.
Last modified on: September 18th 2011