Waitrose and Partners
The best strawberry cake

The best strawberry cake

When Martha Collison was tasked with writing a recipe for the best strawberry cake, she couldn’t overlook the grandeur of the fraisier cake.

4 out of 5 stars(12) Rate this recipe
Vegetarian
  • Serves10
  • CourseCake
  • Prepare1 hr
  • Cook30 mins
  • Total time1 hr 30 mins
  • Pluschilling

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Ingredients

For the Genoise sponge

  • 4 Waitrose British Blacktail Free Range Eggs large
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 25g ground almonds

For the crème mousseline

  • 550ml whole milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways (or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste)
  • 4 Waitrose British Blacktail Free Range Eggs large
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 30g cornflour
  • 30g plain flour
  • 250g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature

For the almond syrup

  • 75g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp almond extract

To assemble & decorate

  • 400g strawberries
  • ½ tbsp icing sugar, for rolling and to dust
  • 50g white marzipan

Method

  1. For the sponge, preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Butter the sides and line the base of a deep, 20cm round loose-bottomed or springform cake tin with baking parchment. In a large heatproof mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugar briefly using an electric hand mixer.

  2. 2 Bring a pan of water to the simmer and place the bowl over it (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl, or the heat will be too intense). Whisk continuously with the hand mixer until pale, thick and tripled in volume. Remove from the heat and whisk for a few minutes more. It’s ready when you lift the whisk out and it leaves a trail that holds for 3 seconds.

  3. Pour the melted butter around the edges of the bowl. Swap to a balloon whisk and use a figure of 8 motion to fold the butter into the egg mixture without knocking out too much air. Sift the flour over the mixture and sprinkle over the ground almonds, then gently fold together until just combined.

  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the sponge is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  5. To make the crème mousseline, add the milk and vanilla pod or paste to a medium-sized saucepan and heat until almost simmering (don’t let it boil). If you’ve used a pod, remove it, scrape out the seeds using the back of a knife and add them back into the milk to infuse.

  6. Whisk the eggs, sugar and flours in a separate large bowl until smooth. Carefully add the hot milk, whisking continuously, until incorporated, then return the mousseline to the saucepan.

  7. Set the mousseline over a medium heat, whisking continuously for 5-10 minutes until thick, glossy and the streaks made by the whisk hold their shape. Remove from the heat and add the butter a little at a time, whisking in between each addition, until it melts into the custard. Pour into a large bowl, cover, cool, then chill until ready to use.

  8. For the almond syrup, combine the sugar with 75ml water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract. Set aside.

  9. To assemble the cake, choose approximately 10 strawberries similar in size, then hull and halve them. Trim the bottom of each to ensure they are the same height. Set aside 3 whole strawberries for the top, then cut the remaining ones into small cubes.

  10. Using a serrated knife, slice the Genoise sponge into 2 thin layers. Brush the cut side of each generously with almond syrup. Grease and line the same 20cm cake tin used earlier with a strip of baking parchment or acetate around the edge, then place the bottom layer of sponge into the tin.

  11. Take the mousseline out of the fridge and, using an electric hand mixer, beat for 3-4 minutes until fluffy and light, then scoop into a piping bag. Pipe a thin layer of mousseline over the bottom of the sponge and spread out using a palette knife.

  12. Arrange the strawberry halves around the edge of the tin, cut-sides facing the parchment or acetate. Press down firmly into the sponge, then use the piping bag to fill the gaps with crème mousseline. Top with a layer of chopped strawberries, then all but 1 tbsp of the remaining mousseline, until both are used up. Press the top layer of the cake firmly on top, cover loosely, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours to firm up. Using a little of the icing sugar, roll out the marzipan, then cut out 3-4 small hearts (about 5cm) or other shapes. Leave to harden on a plate or tray lined with baking parchment.

  13. Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with the remaining icing sugar. Remove from the tin and peel away the parchment or acetate to reveal the strawberries around the edge. Spoon the 1 tbsp reserved crème mousseline onto the middle of the cake, then use as a base for positioning the 3 reserved whole strawberries (some halved if wished) and marzipan shapes just before serving.

Cook’s tip

Electric hand mixer
An electric whisk is truly your friend in this recipe, as it’s challenging (if not impossible) to beat the required amount of air into the cake without one.

Keep stirring
Custard is easier to make than you might think, but it is very needy! Make sure you give it your full attention, stirring constantly until it has thickened, or you’ll end up with lumps.

Nutritional

Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe

Energy

2,392kJ/ 573kcals

Fat

34g

Saturated Fat

19g

Carbohydrates

54g

Sugars

42g

Fibre

1.6g

Protein

12g

Salt

0.4g

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