The month’s daring bakers challenge was to make a fraisier cake, meaning the chiffon cake, the pastry cream, the whipped cream, and the simple syrup were all to do made from scratch. The recipe said the cake would take at least 4 hours, although all components could be made a day or two in advance. I decided I would just make everything the same day and assemble it right away as well. I’m not sure why or how but the cake only took me 2.5 hours (assembly included). Two and a half hours is still a decent chunk of time to spend making a cake (especially when you couldn’t care less about sweets to begin with) but considering I had already accepted that it would be a 4 hour investment I was more than happy to be done much sooner than expected. I had never made (or even tried) a fraisier cake before but I think it turned out pretty well. Definitely a great summer time dessert. The basic sponge cake has a soft lemony feel, the pastry cream resembles a fluffy cloud and I’m sure you know what fresh summer strawberries taste like. Even though I don’t particularly enjoy sweets I was pleased with the final result. D said he liked it too but added that since he’s so used to eating cheesecakes (those are the only cakes I really make) traditional sponge type cakes have now lost their appeal (who knew the man who can’t differentiate limes from avocados could be a food snob?).
This would be a good cake to make when entertaining a large group of guests. A couple hours and you’ve got a refreshing summer dessert ready for 16 guests (or you could even start days in advance making all components separately). O and in case you were wondering what the center of the cake looks like – it’s just bursting with cut up strawberries and pillowy pastry cream. Take a look:
Recipe from Tartine Bakery
Start to Finish: 2.5-3 hours (+4 hours of fridge time)
1 cup and 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup sugar (divided)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
5 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line bottom of 10 inch springform pan with parchment paper (no need to grease the sides).
2. In a mixing bowl combine flour and baking powder, stir. Add 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon sugar. Mix.
3. In a separate bowl combine egg yolks, oil, water, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk until smooth.
4. Add wet mixture into dry mixture and mix until smooth.
5. Add egg whites to stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat on medium speed until whites hold soft peaks. Gradually add 3 tablespoons sugar and beat on medium-high speed until whites hold firm and form shiny peaks.
6. With a rubber spatula add 1/3 whites mix to the cake mix and fold in gently. Fold in remaining whites mixture gently, until just combined.
7. Pour cake batter into springform pan. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
8. Allow the cake to cool in the springform pan. When cooled run a sharp knife around the sides to loosen the cake. Remove the springform sides. Flip the cake over onto a plate/cutting board and remove the parchment paper. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Pastry Cream Filling:
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon gelatin
1/2 tablespoon water
1 cup heavy cream
1. Add milk, vanilla extract and salt to a pot. Heat over medium heat until almost boiling (don’t let it boil). Stir occasionally.
2. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment add cornstarch and sugar. Whisk until combined.
3. Add egg to stand mixer and whisk until smooth.
4. With the stand mixer whisking slowly pour the hot milk mixture down the side of the bowl into the egg mixture.
5. Pour the mixture back into the pot and cook over medium heat, whisking the whole time, until the mixture is thick, almost boiling (and can coat the back of a spoon).
6. Remove from heat and pass pastry cream through a strainer/mesh sieve into a mixing bowl.
7. Cut butter into 4 pieces and add 1 piece at a time to the pastry cream, whisking until smooth before adding the next piece.
8. Cover the cream with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap touches the surface of the cream, so that a skin doesn’t form. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
9. In a small bowl sprinkle gelatin over the water and allow to soften for a few minutes.
10. Create a double boiler by adding water to a pot (2 inches up the sides) and place a bowl on top of the pot (make sure the water doesn’t reach the bottom of the bowl). Over medium heat bring the water to a simmer. Place 1/4 cup pastry cream in the bowl and heat to 120 degrees F. Add gelatin mix and whisk until smooth. Remove from double boiler and whisk the chilled pastry cream into the bowl in 2 batches.
11. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment beat heavy cream until it holds medium-stiff peaks. Using a spatula fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream until combined.
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1. Add water and sugar to a pot.
2. Over medium heat bring to a boil and cook until sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Fraisier Cake Assembly:
1 baked chiffon cake
1 batch pastry cream
1 batch simple syrup
2 pounds strawberries
1. Line the sides of the springform pan with plastic wrap (do not need the bottom) and make sure the plastic wrap doesn’t lines only the sides.
2. Slice cake horizontally, creating 2 layers.
3. Add the bottom layer to the springform pan and brush half the simple syrup mix over the surface of the cake, until evenly absorbed.
4. Hull and slice in half enough strawberries to line the edges of the springform pan. Place cut side against the side of springform pan with pointy side facing up. Continue to line strawberries against the sides.
5. Pipe the pastry cream (can use a zip lock bag with the tip cut off) in between the strawberries and make a thin layer on the cake. Spread the layer of pastry cream evenly with the back of a spoon.
6. Chop most of the remaining strawberries and place on the cake. Cover the strawberries with almost all of the pastry cream (reserve 2-3 tablespoons).
7. Place the second cake layer on top.
8. Spread the remaining pastry cream on top of the cake. Decorate the top of the cake with thinly sliced strawberries and sprinkle with confectioners sugar (optional)
9. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. When serving release sides of the spring form pan and remove the plastic wrap. Assembled cake can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.