Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fraisier - A Daring Bakers Challenge

This was my first Daring Bakers Challenge. When I found out the challenge was to prepare a Fraisier, I was really excited. I had never made one and they look so yummy and appealing on pictures. I did go through the trouble of preparing the batter and cake, the cream filling, and cutting the fruit. I left out the sugar syrup from the original recipe because a) The thought of drenching the cake part in syrup and making it mushy wasn't very appealing, and b) the cake and cream filling were already sweet enough. Well, finally, after a whole day of work, the Fraisiers were done. I took a bite and.... I was disappointed. The taste (there wasn't much taste to begin with) was rather mediocre, and the dough layer was way too thick for my taste. I prepared the amount of dough given in the recipe (which stated the dough was for an 8-inch form) was just way too much. I didn't even use it all. I would probably have been enough for 2 8-inch cakes. (Instead of 1 8-inch cake, I prepared 4  4-inch cakes.) Preparing a Fraisier can be an interesting and artistic project, but I thought it was not worth my time. I don't think I would do it again. I love to eat cakes that have lots of fruit, I have lots of recipes for them. Taking on those recipes will be a much better use of my time.

Basic Chiffon Cake:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons (270 ml) (5½ oz/155 gm) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) baking powder
3/4 cups (180 ml) (6 oz /170 gm) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (1½ gm) salt, preferably kosher
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks
⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon (3.17 fl oz/95 ml) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon (3¾ ml) (3 gm) lemon zest, grated
5 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1 gm) cream of tartar
  1. Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F (160°C/gas mark 3).
  2. Line the bottom of 4 4-inch (10 cm) spring form pans with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides of the pan.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Add in all but 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) of sugar, and all of the salt. Stir to combine.
  4. In a small bowl combine the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk thoroughly.
  5. Combine with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for about one minute, or until very smooth.
  6. Put the egg whites into a stand mixer, and beat on medium speed using a whisk attachment on a medium speed, until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat on a medium speed until the whites hold soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining sugar and beat on a medium-high speed until the whites hold firm and form shiny peaks.
  7. Using a grease free rubber spatula, scoop about ⅓ of the whites into the yolk mixture and fold in gently. Gently fold in the remaining whites just until combined.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Removed the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.
  10. To unmold, run a knife around the sides to loosen the cake from the pan and remove the spring form sides. Invert the cake and peel off the parchment paper. Refrigerate for up to four days.

Pastry Cream Filling:

1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) whole milk
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon (1/2 ml) (¼ gm) salt, preferably kosher
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (10 gm)cornstarch
1/4 cup (60 ml) (2 oz/55 gm) sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (1 oz/30 gm) unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon (3¾ ml) (4 gm) gelatin
1/2 tablespoon (7½ ml) water
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) heavy cream
  1. Pour the milk, vanilla, and salt into a heavy sauce pan. Place over medium-high heat and scald, bringing it to a near boiling point. Stir occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer add the cornstarch and sugar. Whisk to combine
  3. Add the eggs to the sugar and cornstarch and whisk until smooth.
  4. When the milk is ready, gently and slowly while the stand mixer is whisking, pour the heated milk down the side of the bowl into the egg mixture.
  5. Pour the mixture back into the warm pot and continue to cook over a medium heat until the custard is thick, just about to boil and coats the back of a spoon.
  6. Remove from heat and pass through a fine mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool for ten minutes stirring occasionally.
  7. Cut the butter into four pieces and whisk into the pastry cream a piece at a time until smooth.
  8. Cover the cream with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  9. In a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand for a few minutes to soften.
  10. Measure 1/4 cup (2 oz/60 ml) of the chilled pastry cream on top of the gelatin.
  11. Gently heat the cream in the microwave and whisk until smooth. Wisk the remaining cold pastry cream in to incorporate in two batches.
  12. In a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it holds medium-stiff peaks. Immediately fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream with a rubber spatula.

Fraisier Assembly:

4 baked 4 inch (10 cm) chiffon cakes
1 recipe pastry cream filling
strawberries, blueberries, mango, and kiwi
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

  1. Line the sides of 4 4-inch (10 cm) spring form pans with plastic wrap. Do not line the bottom of the pan.
  2. Cut the cake in half horizontally to form two layers.
  3. Fit the bottom layer into the prepared spring form pan.
  4. Place cut fruits around the sides of the cake pans. 
  5. Pipe cream in-between fruits and a thin layer across the top of the cakes.
  6. Place remaining fruits in the middle of the cakes. Cover the fruits entirely with the pastry cream.
  7. Place the second cake layer on top.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  9. To serve release the sides of the spring form pan and peel away the plastic wrap.
  10. Dust with confectioner's sugar and top with fruits.
  11. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


  1. Congratulations on finishing your first challenge :)
    I am impressed that you did 4 cakes and there seems to be great effort in arranging the fruit..they look beautiful
    looking forward to seeing your up coming challenges

  2. Phew - that was a lot of work. That would be fattening for me to take on such a challenge. ;)

  3. So pretty! That was quite the challenge, but it turned out beautifully!

  4. Congrats on your first challenge, you got creative with the different fruits, they look really tasty. I enjoyed eating this challenge and can't wait to make another one. I look forward to seeing your other challenges.

  5. Welcome to tne DBs. So sorry to hear that it didn't work for you as you would have liked. They look beautiful and colorful though. I used the same recipe but the cake was just enough, and the amount of fruit made it packed with fruity flavor :)

  6. Oh, how beautiful! I haven't done the DB challenge the last two months...summer is so hard to keep up! But I'm glad I got to see your delicious creations :)

  7. Congreatulations on your first DB challenge, sorry they didn't turn out the way you wanted but they are beautiful :)

  8. Congratulations on finishing your first challenge. I'm sorry you were disappointed with the cakes...they are lovely....

  9. Wow, you did your work, they are beautiful....don't be dissapointed:)

  10. Well done with these fraisiers! They look absolutely beautiful =)

  11. The mini fraisiers are adorable! Congratulations!! :D

  12. Well they look pretty, even if they weren't your cup of tea.

  13. I"m sorry you were disappointed, but everything looks lovely!

  14. so sorry you didn't enjoy it after all that work! i must say that your cake with the rainbow like layer of fruit is absolutely stunning! great job!

  15. stunning photos and attempt! congrats!