Clearly a shared 20th and 54th birthday call for cake based extravagance, but I have to say I didn’t realise quite how much I’d be taking on with this cake. It took 4 hours altogether, from start to finish, and 14 eggs. It went down well though, and looks lovely, so it was probably worth it.

The fraisier cake calls for a light sponge made by heating the eggs and sugar together while whisking. If you’re feeling lazy, however, I’d imagine it would work pretty well with plain Victoria. I followed Mary Berry’s recipe to the end, all 34 steps, except I left the lemons out, because that’s just how I roll. I had my doubts about her creme patissiere recipe because I think using cornflour is cheating, really. I also had to make 2 cakes, instead of splitting one, because my original cake didn’t rise that well.

Fraisier cake

350g caster sugar
8 eggs
350g self-raising flour
100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Creme patissiere
I would use this recipe, if you prefer a cornflour free version

Plus a basic lemon syrup made with the juice of one lemon and 75g of caster sugar, and 4 tablespoons of water.

Plus marzipan

Plus strawberries

Heat the eggs and sugar in a bowl over a simmering pan of water, and whisk until doubled in size and golden coloured. Then remove from the heat and sift in the flour, stirring with a metal spoon. Add the melted butter, and pour into a loose bottomed cake tin. Bake for 30 minutes.

Make the creme patissiere as per my previous recipe, given above. Then chill for 30 minutes.

After you’ve cooled the cakes, line the tin with cling film and lower the cake into the tin and press down. Brush with the lemon syrup. Halve about 15 strawberries and put round the edge like a crown, cut side out. Then fill the middle of the cake with creme, and pipe in between each strawberry to the top. Put some strawberry halves in the centre to raise the cake, then cover the whole lot with creme – you should have none left. Place the second cake on top and push down. Brush all over with the remaining syrup, then place a marzipan circle on top, and dust with icing sugar.

I made chocolate letters to decorate the top, which is remarkably easy, just drizzle chocolate in the desired shape over some baking parchment and leave to dry.

Fair warning: don’t tell people how many eggs its got in til they’ve already eaten it.