Fraiser (Daring Bakers Challenge July 2011)

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 loved making Fraisers, it was simple and came out delicious every time. I managed to knock up 3 versions of this dessert this month!  I was busy with 3 part-time jobs (and I start another one next month) and moving house, if you’re super-efficient you can whip this up very quickly.

Persimmon, banana and cherry with lemon chiffon & crystalized rose petals. I made this quite early on in the month. I am now a chiffon cake convert after making this for the first time. It’s so light & bouncy, and compliments the pastry cream layer perfectly.  I halved the recipe which yielded 8 mini fraisers. I used a rectangular pan to make a swiss-roll style cake and stamped out rounds with a cookie cutter.

Lychee & raspberry with matcha chiffon. I made this for my boyfriend’s birthday. I felt bad as I hadn’t bought him a present or planned anything special. We were moving house so were both occupied by cleaning our apartment to ‘show-room’ standard, otherwise we would forfeit our deposit from the agency. (Despite 2 days of constant cleaning, they still found dust & smear marks…grrr!). The other gift I gave him was a single yellow tomato that I had been nurturing on my window sill for the past months.  I had accidently knocked the plant in the move and it rolled off, I knew it was ready to harvest.  We now have a garden, an apple tree, raspberry bush, a ginormous bay tree, lots of herbs & other unidentified plants. We are novice gardeners.

This is my ‘stream-lined’ shoe collection.

Strawberry & peach with chocolate chiffon & balsamic vinegar.  I spent all afternoon french-seaming slippery silk, over 30 panels and lots of pointy edges , and after all that I’m not sure if I like the garment design…why do I do this to myself??? I treated myself to a huge healthy salad and a mini fraiser (followed by tea &biscuits…) when I got home.  What a perfect way to end the day!

Preparation time: The traditional recipe I am providing can be made in stages. As a whole the recipe requires at least 4 hours of time, and 4 hours of refrigeration, BUT the cake, pastry cream and syrup can be made days ahead of assembly to help ease the time burden. Once these three are made, the cake will take about half an hour to assemble followed by 4 hours of refrigeration.

Equipment required:

● measuring cups and spoons for liquid and dry ingredients
● cutting board & knife to prepare the fruit
● electric mixer or stand mixer
● wooden spoon
● rolling pin
● plastic wrap
● parchment paper
● cooling rack
● serving platter of your choice
● 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan
● 2 large mixing bowls
● small mixing bowl
● whisk
● rubber spatula
● toothpick
● butter knife
● heavy sauce pan
● fine mesh sieve
● small dish
● 2 small sauce pans
● small stainless steel bowl or double boiler
● pastry bag

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 an 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan 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 pan. 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.     Put two inches (55 mm) of water into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.

11.     Measure 1/4 cup (2 oz/60 ml) of the chilled pastry cream into a small stainless steel bowl that will sit across the sauce pan with the simmering water, without touching the water.

12.     Heat the cream until it is 120 F (48.8 C). Add the gelatin and whisk until smooth. Remove from the water bath, and whisk the remaining cold pastry cream in to incorporate in two batches.

13.     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.

Simple Syrup:

gluten free and vegan!
You may choose to flavor the syrup. One way is to use flavored sugar (for example: apple cider sugar, orange sugar, or vanilla sugar) or to stir in 1-2 teaspoons of flavored extract. You may also infuse with herbs or spices, if desired or add four tablespoons (60 ml) of fruit juice or liqueur while the syrup is cooling.

1/3 cup (2⅔ fl oz/80 ml) (2⅔ oz/75 gm) of sugar, flavored or white
1/3 cup (2⅔ fl oz/80 ml) of water


1.        Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan.

2.        Bring the mixture to a boil and let the sugar dissolve. Stirring is not necessary, but will not harm the syrup.

3.        Remove the syrup from the heat and cool slightly.

4.        Transfer syrup to a lidded container or jar that can be stored in the refrigerator. Simple syrup can be stored for up to one month.

Fraisier Assembly:

1 baked 8 inch (20 cm) chiffon cake
1 recipe pastry cream filling
⅓ cup (80 ml) simple syrup or flavored syrup
2 lbs (900 g) strawberries
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
½ cup (120 ml) (5 oz/140 gm) almond paste


1.        Line the sides of a 10-inch (25 cm) spring form pan 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. Moisten the layer evenly with the simple syrup. When the cake has absorbed enough syrup to resemble a squishy sponge, you have enough.

4.        Hull and slice in half enough strawberries to arrange around the sides of the cake pan. Place the cut side of the strawberry against the sides of the pan, point side up forming a ring.

5.        Pipe cream in-between strawberries and a thin layer across the top of the cake.

6.        Hull and quarter your remaining strawberries and place them in the middle of the cake. Cover the strawberries and entirely with the all but 1 tbsp. (15 ml) of the pastry cream.

7.        Place the second cake layer on top and moisten with the simple syrup.

8.        Lightly dust a work surface with confectioners’ sugar and roll out the almond paste to a 10-inch (25 cm) round 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) thick. Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of pastry cream on the top of the cake and cover with the round of almond paste.

9.        Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

10.     To serve release the sides of the spring form pan and peel away the plastic wrap.

11.     Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Ingredients for Gluten Free Eggless Sponge Cake

4 oz Rice Flour
2oz Cornflour (corn starch)
4oz Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
100ml Soya Milk
2oz Sunflower Margarine
2 Tbsp Golden Flax Seeds
4 Tbsp Hot Water
1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Strawberry Jam
Chef Jeenas Vegan Whipped Cream
Powdered Sugar for Dusting

How to Make a Gluten Free Egg Free Vegan Sponge Cake

Mix together the rice flour, cornflour, powdered sugar, baking powder and bi carb.
Add the margarine and mix well or rub together using your finger tips.

Gradually keep adding the soya milk to the flour mixture.
Mix well.

Put 2 Tbsp of flax seeds into a grinder and grind to a powder.
Mix 4 Tbsp of hot water into the ground seeds, mix well.
Add the flax mixture to the cake batter and mix well for a few minutes. You should be left with a thick cake batter.

Pour into a greased and floured cake tin.
Place into a hot oven at 180C for 25-30 minutes or until golden and spongy to the touch.
Do not open the oven for at least 20-25 minutes. Once cooked leave to stand for 15-20 minutes in the tin.
Only remove the cake from the tin once it has cooled down enough and will not break.

Once the cake has cooled fully down carefully use a bread knife to remove slice the cake in half.

Spread with jam.Spread Chef Jeenas vegan whipped cream on top of the jam or use cream of your choice. Gently place the lid of the cake on top of the filling. You can gently cover with plastic wrap and keep refridgerated.


3 responses to “Fraiser (Daring Bakers Challenge July 2011)

  1. Wow, I am amazed that you were able to try so many varieties. I have always wanted to try strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar but haven’t yet. It sounds like an interesting combination. Nice job on the challenge!

  2. Such an exotic array of flavours, almost equalling in the number the vast and resplendent array of your shoe collection. You reinvented the Fraisier with such finesse. It is such a light cake it doesn’t seem sinful to indulge in it. It was the perfect treat after the drudgery of cleaning the old apartment. Thank you for making sure my birthday was special even when our living room lay cluttered with boxes waiting to be unpacked. I hope for many more Fraisiers to come in the future!

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