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Saturday, 7 September 2013

Frasier Torte (Strawberry mousse cake)

It seems like the weather has finally turned.  Goodbye mild warm summer and hello cold wet autumn.   I love it when the air is cold but the sun is shining, the leafs turning and cosy nights are drawing in.  This recipe takes me back to the end of my summer holidays.  Strawberries where being sold off cheap at a local market stall and I was in the mood to try something technical and new.  Frasier torte, or simply strawberry cake, is a delicious summer dessert.  The mousse is light and the sponge delicate with lemon and vanilla.  Although it may look difficult to make, actually I found it very easy.  Just be prepared and stick to the recipe.  Also, do not be in a rush, this recipe takes time to set.

There are two versions of this cake - American and French.  I have decided to make the American version as it is by one of my favourite pasty chefs Anna Olson.  I have had success with her Chocolate Tart recipe therefore I trusted that this one would turn out well.  The only change I made was adding the strawberry jelly to the top.  

The main difference between the two versions is the American one has strawberry mousse and the French, rich custard.  I would be very happy to eat both and one day I may attempt the custard version.  Today, however, its American all the way.

Fraiser Torte
by Anna Olson

Sponge Cake
3 large eggs, room temp
108g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
73g plain flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon soft butter, melted.
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 egg whites, room temp
2 tbsp gelatin powder
75g caster sugar
185ml water (you will use 125ml in eggs, 60ml in sugar mix)
375ml whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large tubs of strawberries made in to a puree.
1 extra tub of large, good quality, strawberries for the sides of the cake.

a 25cm springboard cake tin, lined but not greased.

First, whizz up the strawberries and pass through a sieve to remove seeds.  You need around 500ml of strawberry puree.  Leave in the fridge while you get on with the rest of the cake.


To make the sponge, preheat oven to 160C (140C fan).  Line the tin as stated.

Whip the 3 eggs with the sugar until pale and light, about 5 minutes.  Lower the speed and add the lemon juice and zest.


Sift the flour and salt over the whipped eggs and on medium mix together.


Transfer a cupful of the mixture to the melt butter, add vanilla, and mix together.  Transfer back to the rest of the mix and carefully fold together.

Pour in the cake tin and bake for 40 minutes until lightly browned and when pressed springs back.  Don't expect a tall cake, it is suppose to be flat.  Allow to cool completely in the pan.


For the mousse, whip the egg whites until foamy - 20 seconds.  Sprinkle the gelatine powder with 125ml of water and allow to soften.

Bring the sugar and remaining 60ml of water to a boil and allow to reach 115C using a thermometer.  You may need to tilt the pan to cover the thermometer from time to time and check the temp.


With the mixer on high, whisk the egg whites until sift adding the hot sugar mixture in a slow stream.  Allow to whisk on high until the eggs have cooled to room temp.

Add the gelatine and whisk to mix in.  (if you gelatine has become very tough, microwave for 20 seconds to return to a liquid)

Then, whisk in the strawberry puree.

In a clean bowl, whisk the cream until soft peaks and add vanilla.  Add this mix to the strawberry mixture in two parts, fold in carefully.

To assemble, run a palette knife round the inside edge of the sponge cake pan and remove the cake, peeling away the parchment paper. Wash the pan, reassemble and place the cake layer back in the bottom of the pan. 

Slice the hulled strawberries in half and place them on the cake so that the flat side of each berry is pressed up against the ring of the pan, and they are very close together. 


Pour the mousse over the cake and berries and chill until set, at least 4 hours. Top the cake with any remaining strawberry halves right before serving.