Strawberry Cake à la Dacquoise
Strawberry flowers and leaves decorate the top of this Framboise-flavored confection. Layers of genoise are stacked with buttercream and a tangy mixture of crème fraîche, whipped cream, and crème anglaise. Each layer incorporates fresh strawberries. Slice into portions with an electric knife or a serrated knife dipped in hot water and wiped between each cut. To get the right proportions, the genoise recipe makes two cakes. Freeze the second for another use.
- Eggs - 8
- Sugar - 1/2 pound
- Sweet Butter - 1/4 pound, at room temperature
- Cake flour - 7 ounces
- Egg Yolks - 4
- Sugar - 1-3/4 cups
- 1-3/4 cups - 1/2 cup
- Sweet Butter - 1/2 pound, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- Crème Anglaise
- Egg Yolks - 3
- Sugar - 1/3 cup
- Vanilla bean - 1 inch , split
- Milk - 1-1/2 cups
- For Assembly
- Genoise Cake - one, 9-inch
- Buttercream (above)
- Eau de Vie Framboise (raspberry brandy) - 1/4 cup
- Crème Anglaise (above) - 1/4 cup
- Crème Fraîche - 1 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/2 cup
- Strawberries - 1 pint, hulled
- Strawberry leaves and flowers for garnish (optional)
- Wild strawberries with stems (optional) - 12
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
To make the genoise: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour the sides and bottoms of two 9-inch springform pans. Melt the butter over low heat and set aside. Mix the eggs and sugar together and place in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring constantly by hand until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth and lukewarm. Beat about 5 minutes with a mixer on high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume and is pale ivory in color. Sift the flour twice, then gradually sift the flour over the mixture, folding in gently. Add the cooled butter and fold in gently but quickly. Pour the batter into the pans and bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool just enough to handle. Remove from the springform pans and cool on wire racks.
To make the buttercream: Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve. Wash down the sides of the pan with a damp brush and cook without stirring to 238 F. Begin to beat the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer. When the syrup reaches the correct temperature, turn the mixer to high and slowly add the syrup to the eggs. Continue to beat until the mixture has cooled. Add butter, bit by bit, beating until fluffy. Set aside.
To make the crème anglaise: Put the milk and vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Beat the yolks with the sugar and gradually add the hot milk, whisking constantly. Put in the top of a double boiler over simmering water and cook until it thickens slightly and shows a “rose” pattern on the back of a wooden spoon when blown on gently. Place over a bowl of ice water and stir to cool.
To assemble: Cut the genoise horizontally into three thin layers. Sprinkle the layers lightly with 2 tablespoons of Framboise. Flavor 2 cups of buttercream with 1 tablespoon of Framboise. Whip the crème fraîche and heavy cream together until stiff peaks form. Add 1/4 cup crème anglaise and the remaining Framboise and whip until stiff peaks form again.
If the strawberries are small, cut in half lengthwise; if they are large, slice crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. spread one layer of genoise with one-third of the buttercream. Arrange sliced berries around the perimeter of the cake, cut-side out. Continue to cover the bottom of the cake with half the berries and spread with half of the whipped cream mixture. Repeat for the second layer of genoise. Place the final layer on top and spread with a thin layer of buttercream. Smooth nicely. With a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip, make a border around the top with the remaining buttercream. Arrange wild strawberries around the perimeter. Garnish with strawberry flowers and leaves. Refrigerate 2 to 4 hours before serving.
To serve: Cut into slices and serve on plates dusted with confectioner’s sugar.