Fraisier Cake

Serves 10 - 12

For the genoise sponge
150g caster sugar
150ml aquafaba (the water from a can of chickpeas)
Pinch cream of tartar
75g gluten-free plain flour
75g gluten-free oat flour
40g dairy-free margarine

For the pastry cream (crème pâtissière)
570ml / 1 pint barista plant-based milk
80g gluten-free plain flour
20g gluten-free custard powder
100g caster sugar
vanilla, to taste

For the lemon syrup
75g/2¾oz caster sugar
2 lemons, juice only

To finish the cake
200g/7oz marzipan
50g/2oz dairy- and gluten-free dark chocolate, for decoration
50g/2oz dairy- and gluten-free white chocolate, for decoration
600g/1lb 5oz medium sized strawberries

For the genoise sponge

Preheat the oven to 190°c / 170°c fan oven / 375°f / gas mark 5.
Grease and line 2 x 20cm / 8in round cake tins.

Place the caster sugar and aquafaba into a large grease-free bowl with the cream of tartar.

Whisk until the mixture forms a stiff peak. An electric mixer is the best for this.

Sieve together the gluten-free plain flour and gluten-free oat flour.

Use a spoon to add the gluten-free flour and melted dairy-free margarine to the mixture and fold in carefully. You want to keep as much air in the mixture as possible so don’t bang the spoon on the bowl!

Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until firm to touch.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling wire.

For the pastry cream (crème pâtissière)
Place the barista plant-based milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile weigh the gluten-free flour and custard powder into a heatproof bowl. Add a little plant-based milk and stir to a smooth paste.

Just before your plant-based milk starts to boil, whisk a little of the hot milk into the flour mixture. Return this back to the saucepan whisking constantly.

Whisk over the heat for 2 minutes until thick . Whisk in the sugar and vanilla to taste.

Pour into a clean bowl and leave to cool. Store in a fridge until needed.

The custard can be made thinner by whisking in more plant-based milk to the cold crème pâtissière until it is the required consistency.

Place the ingredients for the lemon syrup in a small saucepan with 70ml/4½ tbsp water. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, then boil rapidly for two minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, roll out a thin disc of marzipan to fit a 20cm/8in circumference circle. It is best if you cut around the 20cm/8in base of a loose bottomed tin for the perfect circle. For best results and a perfectly flat surface, chill it in the fridge until it is needed.

Place a strip of acetate plastic or a double strip of baking parchment around the inside of a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin or spring-form cake tin. Or line the base and sides with cling film or parchment lined foil.

Place one layer of sponge cake in the bottom of the cake tin. Then liberally brush the sponge with half the syrup. With the back of a spoon, gently squash the edges of the cake down so that they are pushed directly against the sides of the tin, creating the defined edges necessary for the Fraisier cake.

Rinse, hull and halve about 12 strawberries, try and make sure they are all the same height.
Place the cut sides of the strawberries against the plastic on the inside of the tin. The strawberry halves should be sitting snugly beside each other, so it looks like a little crown inside the tin.

Take the chilled pastry cream (crème pâtissière) out of the fridge and spoon two thirds of the crème into a piping bag, fitted with a 1cm/½in nozzle.
Pipe a swirl covering the exposed sponge completely in the bottom of the tin.
Then pipe between each of the strawberries so the gaps are filled right to the top with the pastry cream (crème pâtissière).

Set about 3-5 strawberries to one side for decoration, then hull and quarter the rest of them and place on top of the crème, so it raises the inside of the cake by about an inch.

Pipe another swirl of pastry cream (crème pâtissière) on top of the cut strawberries to cover the whole surface. Then smooth with a palette knife.

Place the other disc of sponge on top of this, with the cut side uppermost, so it has a completely flat top. Brush with the remaining syrup.

Gently press the top down quite firmly, so that the cake and filling push against the acetate to create the distinctive smooth and defined sides of the Fraisier cake.

Lay the chilled marzipan circle on top of the cake and put the whole thing back in the fridge to set.

Make some pretty decorations of your choice with melted chocolate – pipe or drizzle melted chocolate onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and leave to set.

When ready to serve, remove the cake from fridge.
Very carefully release the spring tin/loose bottom and remove the cake from the tin. Place onto a serving plate. Carefully remove the acetate or cling film from the side of the cake (use a small palette knife to hold against the side of the cake while you pull away the acetate).
Decorate with the reserved strawberries, chocolate decoration and a dusting of icing sugar. Serve chilled.

I made this cake for a blog post in 2012 when I made a gluten and dairy-free version of the technical challenge from The Great British Bake Off each week. This is based on a recipe by Mary Berry.