This fucking cake.
Actually, attempt number...3...4? I've lost track....came out correctly. Fraisier cake is still a fiddly fucking cake, and I'm not sure that I was impressed enough with the final result to want to fuck with it in the future.
But it DID give me some useful skills for tackling future GBBO bakes.
As you may well remember, my first real "fail blog post" was about this cake. And I still stand by that post. Fuck this cake.
But maybe it's not as bad as I originally thought it was.
Instead of re-hashing the entire recipe and process (you can click the link to my original blog post for that), I am going to go over how I managed to actually make this cake work out.
My trick? I found a blog post by a contestant on the American version of Bake Off that went over the steps to make this cake in a great deal more detail than any of the Mary Berry recipes I found did.
Laws of Baking seriously made a huge difference for getting this cake right. There were also some pro-tips and changes to the cake that I think overall made for a better cake, but that's just me.
So...how did I make it work?
First things first, I made the creme pat ahead of time. Instead of trying to tackle everything all at once, I spread things out a little bit over the course of a Saturday. I made the creme pat in the morning so it had time to chill in the fridge. And look at this smooth creme pat! In came out properly!
I put it in a bowl and pressed cling film down over the top of it so it didn't form a skin (gross), and then went and did some other stuff for a couple of hours.
Taking a break between making the creme pat and making the rest of the cake really improved the overall experience. I'll also note this: I used the lessons of my first two attempts at creme pat to improve this attempt. I used a different pan to make the creme pat in, and I kept the temperature lower than the recipe indicated I should keep it. This worked out really well for me.
I'm pretty sure my oven burner runs a little hot, which is making it harder to get some things cooked properly - but I'm making it work. Now that I've figured out it runs hot, I'm a lot less likely to overcook things. Phew.
When I came back to make the cake a few hours after I made the creme pat, I spent a lot of time going over the explanation by Laws of Baking.
I made sure to really aerate the hell out of the eggs for the cake before I started to fold in the flour. I think I probably could have aerated it even more, but honestly the ribbon stage was very ribbon-y and I think that the cake came out properly, so I'm just being a perfectionist at this point.
I left a few things out of the assembly of the cake. I didn't make or use marzipan this time around. I have the things I need to make it, but I decided that the marzipan was not hyper necessary for a delicious cake. I also didn't do any chocolate decorations on the top, because I did not want to fiddle with that bullshit. I also made the cake after I'd made lunch and I was getting tired of being in the kitchen, so that definitely contributed. I think if I make this in the future I will make the creme pat and the chocolate decorations and marzipan the day before.
Dividing up the work really seemed to be a big part of getting this recipe right for me. I am sure now that I've done it correctly I could get it right in less time, but it's just sort of exhausting to think about. And I hope I'm never in a position where I have to get it right in less time than the full weekend I had to tackle it.
I also recommend outsourcing the chopping of the strawberries to someone in your home who hasn't been fiddling with the cake and the creme pat. You'll thank them and yourself for not doing all the work, I promise.
I didn't have any acetate to wrap around the outside edge of the cake in order to get perfect, clean looking lines. I definitely sliced my sponge in half a little unevenly, but I think that in the end it looked really lovely.
The cake IS a pretty cake when you do it right. It tastes excellent. It's fresh and not too sweet. I won't say it's "light" because this cake has a ton of creme pat and egg in it. And since I didn't put marzipan on it, I decided to do fresh whipped cream instead - so even MORE dairy!
But here's the final reveal. I decided to hold off on posting the finished product until the very end of the post, just because I am really proud of how it came together. I do regret not taking a picture of my ugly second attempt at the cake. I should have - just for proper comparison.
But that image will live in my memories. And you all can enjoy this lovely final product: