Monday, 30 July 2012

Lemon Génoise with White Chocolate Fraisier

lemon génoise with white chocolate fraisier

It was my mum’s birthday last week and it as dutiful daughter I wanted to make her a birthday cake which looked stunning but wasn’t too sweet or heavy as we’re all supposed to be on a diet for my cousin’s upcoming wedding. I immediately knew I was going to make a Fraisier, because we all know if fruits are added to cake, it automatically becomes healthier and possibly even good for you!

top view - strawberries galore!
Having made my first Fraisier last year as part of the Daring Bakers’ challenge, I was excited to get started, knowing that there were many things I would do differently to create a more professional looking cake. (I think I may be a closet perfectionist!)

nothing quite like fresh, colourful  ingredients

I found this recipe online and thought the lemon-strawberry combination sounded delicious. Having never made a Génoise (sponge) I wasn’t sure how difficult or complex the process would be. To be honest this Lemon Génoise with White Chocolate Fraisier wasn’t the easiest cake I’ve made as it requires attention and a lot of patience as beating the eggs to a ‘ribbon’ stage took almost 15 minutes. It may have been down to the fact that the speed of my mixer wasn’t high enough.  As with any Génoise, the method of mixing the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients is important as over mixing may deflate the aerated eggs, creating a flat dense cake.

The crème Mousseline was a breeze to make.  It’s basically a pastry cream with a million more calories as butter is added in two stages. Extremely delicious though! I’ve lost count of the number of tablespoons of this stuff I devoured while assembling this cake!

creme mouselline - the process

Assembling this Fraisier was easier than I remember. I didn’t use the cling film technique previously used. Instead, I placed the spring-form tin (bottom removed), the same one which was used to bake the Génoise, on a cake stand, and began the assembly. A layer of Génoise is placed at the bottom of the tin and heavily imbibed with lemon simple syrup. Strawberries halves are then placed all around the sides. I would suggest slicing the tops of the strawberries to create a flat top which sits nicely on the cake, plus it makes for a more beautiful and tidy cake. Place the strawberries as close as possible to one another. Once done, generously fill the center of the cake with crème Mousseline. Pipe strips of cream between each strawberry half. Fill the center with more chopped strawberries and top with more cream. Place the other layer heavily imbibed Lemon Génoise on top and press down slightly so all components are in place.

assembling the  Fraisier - half the process
Spread a thin layer of remaining Crème Mousseline on top of the cake. Spread a generous layer of white chocolate on top of the cake and chill. I wanted to create something spectacular so I went a bit mad with the strawberries. It definitely got the attention it deserved and everyone devoured this without any hesitation. Most importantly mum loved it!

lemon génoise with white chocolate fraisier

Lemon Génoise with White Chocolate Fraisier

Makes a 9-inch cake

Recipe adapted from Food Lover's Odyssey

Lemon Génoise

125g cake flour, sieved
25g unsalted butter, melted
4 eggs, room temperature
130g granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lemon zest (I used 3 lemons)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C and line and lightly grease the bottom of a 9-inch spring form cake tin.
  2. Heat eggs and sugar over a double boiler. Make sure water is simmering and not boiling. Whisk constantly until mixture reaches 50°C, about 7 minutes. Mixture should feel warm when touched.
  3. Once mixture is heated, beat until it reaches the ribbon effect. I would suggest using a stand mixer as it took about 15 minutes for my mixture to reach this stage.                                              **The term ‘ribbon stage’ is used to describe the texture when eggs and sugar are beaten to a point where the batter becomes thick and pale in colour. When beater is lifted, the batter falls back into the bowl, gently, forming a ribbon-like pattern.
  4. Fold ¼ of the batter into the melted butter. Add the lemon zest to this mixture.
  5. Fold the lemon butter mixture back into the rest of the egg mixture. Fold in the flour in thirds, gently but quickly. Repeat until all flour is incorporated.
  6. It is important to fold in the flour effectively as too much would deflate the aerated eggs, creating a flat dense sponge.
  7. Bake for 15-17 minutes. The cake is ready when the skewer inserted into the cake bears  a few moist crumbs.
  8. Remove from oven and let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Remove from tin and leave to cool completely.
Lemon Simple Syrup

70g granulated sugar
70ml water
4-5 tablespoons lemon juice, depending on how lemony you like your syrup to be
  1. Bring sugar and water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
  2. Add the lemon juice and mix well.

Crème Mousseline

600ml milk
6 egg yolks
200g granulated sugar, divided to two portions
50g corn starch
300g butter, room temperature, cubed, divided to two portions

  1. Warm milk and half the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, remaining sugar and corn starch until the mixture becomes pale in colour.
  3. When the mixture starts bubbling around the sides of the pan, slowly pour ¼ of it into the egg mixture, whisking continuously until combined. Continue to add the milk until all has been whisked together.
  4. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and continue to stir vigorously until the mixture starts boiling.
  5. Continue to leave on heat for a further 30 seconds, while whisking continuously and vigorously.
  6. Remove from heat and stir until steam dissipates.
  7. Press mixture through sieve for a smooth crème. Dot the crème with half the butter and leave to melt before stirring in. Cover with cling film immediately, making sure the film touches and creme. This prevents the creme from forming a layer of film. Refrigerate until ready to cold before using.
  8. Once cold, remove from fridge and transfer to stand mixer. Beat for 15-30 seconds until it becomes soft.
  9. Add the remaining butter (softened) and mix until incorporated. 
  10. Transfer the creme into a pastry bag and pipe.

White Chocolate Ganache

100g white chocolate, melted 
60ml fresh cream
1.5 punnets of fresh strawberries
  1. Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl. 
  2. Heat cream on medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and pour immediately over the chocolate. Stir until completely mixed and glossy.
  3. Leave to cool slightly before glazing the top of the fraisier.
  4. Decorate with strawberries.

Assembling the Fraisier  

  1. Start by slicing the cake to create two layers.
  2. Place one of the layers at the bottom of a spring-form tin, or place it on the cake-stand, while using the spring-form tin (without the base) as a mold. 
  3. Brush the cake with a generous amount of lemon simple syrup. You know you've got the right amount when the cake becomes 'squishy' when poked.
  4. Arrange the strawberries along the sides of the cake, pressing it down slightly so they stay in place.[** Remember to slice the tops off so you get a nice flat surface which lies nicely on the cake]
  5. Pipe the creme mouselline in the center of the cake, and along the sides of the strawberries to seal it in place. Fill the center of the cake with chopped strawberries and cover with more creme mouselline.
  6. Transfer the other layer of heavily imbibed Génoise and place it on top of the creme. [* Be careful when handling as the second layer as it becomes quite soft!]
  7. Press down slightly so all components are cemented in place.
  8. Top the cake with the white chocolate ganache and decorate.
  9. Let the cake chill for a few hours. I always prefer to chill it overnight.
  10. Slowly remove the spring-form tin and serve immediately.


  1. I'm sure your mother was very pleased. This cake looks stunning!

  2. thats a beautiful genoise:)..tempting too...!!

  3. It does look just gorgeous!

  4. This is such a beautiful cake! What a beautiful tribute to your mom :)

  5. Lemon and strawberries are such an awesome pairing, this is perfection indeed Nish. The picture up top showcases the lovely assembly of the cake. Beautiful.

  6. This looks unbelievable :) I got your tweet about guest posting and i would absolutely love to have you! just email me at

  7. Lovely cake Nish. Bet your mom loved it.

  8. Wow, this is amazing!

  9. Very nice blog. I am following you now. Please drop by to Carole's Chatter and check it out. You might like my Food on Friday series which focuses on a different ingredient. Last week it was Berries and Currants. This week it is pork. If you like my blog it would be great if you followed me back. Have a good week.

  10. Nish, this looks like perfection, and I'm sure tastes just as delicious ~ Kudos ;)

  11. Oh wow, what a lovely cake you have here! I love the lemon/ strawberry combo! I really like your new photo instructions, they are so clear and they make it so much easier for nervous bakers like me! I look forward to trying this recipe soon! Have a great weekend Nish!

  12. Hey, I know you have probably been busy. Just a wee reminder that it would be great if you followed Carole's Chatter back. Cheers

  13. Happy belated birthday to your Mom!