Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Daring Bakers' July 2011 - Fresh Fraisiers

My, what a rushed challenge this was. I haven’t been in the right frame of mind in the last few weeks and was contemplating skipping this month’s challenge. 

But sometimes when life gets in the way, the best way to deal with it is to grab the bull by its horns and just get on with it I suppose. So at 5pm, 24 hours before the deadline, I thought ‘right, stop moping and bake a cake!’. 

For this month’s challenge, Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

I decided to make a chocolate chiffon cake with a vegatarian pastry cream.  The fruit of choice had to be strawberries as I love the contrast of the darkness of chocolate with the tantalising red of a strawberry. I replaced the almond paste with a layer of chocolate ganache and decorated the fraisier with chocolate coated strawberries and a Daring Baker’s emblem to pay homage to our beloved community.

The fraisier is delicious, moist and light – the perfect cake for stuffy July. Possibly even more delicious than one would find in a patisserie (if I dare say so lol)!

Assembling the cake was easier than I thought it would be. The chiffon cake was baked in a 22’ cm pan however I used a cookie cutter to cut out miniature individual cakes. The remainder of the cake is frozen to be used at a later date!

Fresh Fraisiers

Chiffon Ingredients

110g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
170g sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks
95ml water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ lemon zest
5 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar


  1. Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F (160°C/gas mark 3). Line the bottom of an 22cm spring form pan with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides of the pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Add in all but 3 tablespoons of sugar, and all of the salt. Stir to combine. 
  3. In a small bowl combine the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk thoroughly. 
  4. Combine with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for about one minute, or until very smooth. 
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack. 

Vegetarian Pastry Cream

Yields 1 cup

Adapted  from The Vegan Chef

1/4 cup plain flour
1 cup semi skimmed milk
1/6 sugar
Pinch of salt
1/8 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a small bowl, place the flour and whisk in 1/4 cups milk, and set aside. 
  2. In a small saucepan, place the remaining milk, sugar, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the liquid ingredients and whisk well to combine. Cook the mixture over medium heat, while whisking constantly, for 5-6 minutes or until thickened. Add the remaining ingredients, whisk well to combine, and cook the mixture an additional 1 minute.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the mixture to a glass bowl. Place a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming on the top. Place the pastry cream in the refrigerator for several hours to cool completely.

Simple syrup

1/6 cup sugar
1/6 cup water

  1. Combine water and sugar in a  saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let it cool.


  1. Using a cookie cutter of your preferred size, cut the cake. Once you have your desired size, cut the cake horizontally to form two layers.
  2. Line sides of the cookie cutter used with cling film and fit in the bottom layer with one layer of the cake. Moisten the layer evenly with a few teaspoons of the simple syrup. When the cake has absorbed enough syrup, to resemble a squishy sponge, you have enough.
  3. Slice in half enough strawberries to arrange around the sides of the cookie cutter and place the cut strawberries against the side of the cutter, point side up, forming a ring.
  4. Pipe the cream in and around the strawberries and a thin layer across the cake.
  5. Place the remaining slice of cake on top of the cream and moisten with simple syrup. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours to allow the fraisier to set. 
  6. Once set, remove the cookie cutter carefully.
  7. Melt dark chocolate with a touch of cream and spread a thick layer on top of the cake. Dust with icing sugar and remaining strawberries.
  8. For the chocolate abstract, fill a piping bag with a narrow tip with the remaining melted chocolate. Pipe your desired pattern on to parchment paper and freeze for a minimum of 15 minutes. Remove carefully and stick on cake.

Vegan Pastry Cream


  1. Very beautiful! Love the fancy chocolate decoration. Great job!

  2. What a piece of art!!! Beautiful creation!

  3. Great job on this, Nish! It looks so beautiful!

  4. Nish I must salute you for that great work you have done on making this cake. I am sure I will be able to. Big admiration to your skills in baking, keep up.

  5. Luscious!I bet better than one would find in a patisserie.

  6. Thanks everyone! You're all very flattering and too kind :) x

  7. so beautiful and amaizing job!! Congratulations!

  8. Well done on the DB challenge! Love the chocolate emblem too =)

  9. what a fun challenge! i think your cake looks marvelous. i especially like those abstract chocolate decorations!

  10. chocolate & strawberries sounds yummy. I like "DB" letters you made from chocolate :-)

  11. Holy hot stuff! That's amazing! Great photos and a great cake :) Well done

  12. The unique DB Emblem atop your dessert takes it a step above others and I believe it was every bit as delish as it looks. Great job Nish!

  13. This is so cool. Love the chocolate DB garnish.:)

  14. Thanks again everyone :) Making the chocolate emblem was the funnest bit of the whole experience I think! :p

  15. Waow, that is a perfectly done challenge! I like the blend of flavours and your lovely presentation!

  16. Love the presentation of it! It looks delicious!