I made a French strawberry cake for my husband's birthday.
I made a genoise.
Then, made a batch of pastry cream.
2 cups milk
3/4 c. sugar
pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
5 tbsp. cornstarch
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tbsp. vanilla extract)
2 tbsp butter
3 sheets of gelatin (bloomed in cold water)
Place milk in sauce pan. Slice vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out with a knife. Place bean and seeds in the milk. Bring milk to a boil on high heat. Meanwhile, Whisk together sugar, salt and cornstarch. Whisk in egg yolks.
When milk comes to a boil, slowly whisk into sugar/egg mixture to temper eggs. Then, add back to pan. Cook on high heat stirring constantly for one minute or until it thickens.
Next, strain pastry cream through a fine sieve to catch any egg bits, vanilla bean, and lumps.
Drain the water from the gelatin and add into pastry cream while it is still hot. Stir in to melt. Add in the butter. If you are using vanilla extract you can add it in at this point. Allow to cool completely in fridge.
When pastry cream is completely cool. Whip up 1 c. of heavy whipping cream. Add in almond extract to taste and 1 tbsp. Grand Marnier. Gently fold whipped cream into pastry cream.
Layer genoise, brush with syrup of choice. Layer with strawberries and the cream. Top with jam, marzipan, or both! I used the ring from my spring form pan to build the cake on a plate, and it worked out great.
Sorry no pictures! They ate all the evidence before I found my camera! Too bad because it was prettier than the last one. Here's the picture of last year's cake.