When I saw the challenge for this months Daring Bakers challenge I couldn’t wait to make it. A light, fluffy chiffon cake with a light pastry cream in the middle studded with fresh fruit sounded amazing! Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Baker’s host and she challenged us to make Fresh Fraisiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.
Getting the fresh fruit was the easy part. There was plenty of fruit to choose from at both the farmer’s market and the local grocery store. I wanted to stay with the classic strawberries but added in blueberries and mango as well. I love lemon with any other type of fruit so I made the cake as a lemon chiffon cake. The toughest part of this challenge for me was not the time it took, but the heat both outside my house and inside. On the day I decided to make these, the outside temperature rose to 103 degrees and inside my house was 90 degrees. That’s right my friends, we do not have air conditioning in our house so baking this cake in the heat was torturous.
Other then the heat I didn’t find this cake to be too difficult. The cake baked up easily and smelled delicious. I made it as two individual layers instead of making one caking and cutting it in two. The pastry cream came together and whipped up in beautiful, fluffy mounds. Putting it all together was a little bit challenging. I had some difficulty placing the fruit on the side where I wanted it and getting it to stay there while I piped in the pastry cream.
Fresh Fraisiers with Strawberries, Blueberries, and Mango(adapted from Tartine Cookbook)
Lemon Chiffon Cake:
1 c. + 2 T. flour
1 t. baking powder
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt 1/4 c. butter, melted 3 large egg yolks 1/4 c. water 3 T. fresh lemon juice 1 t. vanilla 1 t. lemon zest 5 large egg whites 1/4 t. cream of tartar
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of two 8 inch pans with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour and baking powder. Add in all but 3 T. of sugar and all of the salt. Mix to combine.
3. In a medium mixing bowl combine the butter, egg yolks, water, lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon zest. Whisk to mix. Pour into the flour mixture and mix for at least 1 minute or until smooth.
4. Place the egg whites in a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until frothy. Add in the cream of tartar and remaining sugar. Mix on medium high speed until stiff and shiny peaks form.
5. Use a rubber spatula and scoop 1/3 of the egg whites into the flour mixture and fold in. Repeat with the remaining egg whites until just combined.
6. Divide the batter into the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
7. To unmold the cakes run a knife around the sides of the pan and remove from the cake pan. Peel off the parchment paper. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Pastry Cream Filling: 1 c. low fat milk 1/2 t. vanilla 1/4 t. salt 2 T. cornstarch 1/4 c. sugar 1 egg 2 T. unsalted butter 3/4 t. gelatin 1/2 T. water 1 c. heavy cream
1. Pour the milk, vanilla, and salt into a heavy saucepan. Place over medium heat and scald, bringing the milk almost to a boil, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, add the cornstarch and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix to combine. Add the egg and mix well.
3. When the milk is almost boiling remove it from heat. With the stand mixer on low, slowly add the hot milk down the side of the bowl.
4. Pour the warm egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until the custard is thick and coats the back of a spoon. Do not boil.
5. Remove the mixture from the heat and pass through a fine mesh sieve into a medium mixing bowl. Let cool for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
6. Cut the butter into four pieces and whisk into the pastry cream until it is smooth.
7. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the surface of the pastry cream. Refrigerate until cold or up to 5 days covered.
8. In a small bowl measure the water and then sprinkle with gelatin. Let sit for 5 minutes.
9. Put a few inches of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Place a stainless steel bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure the bowl is not touching the water.
10. Measure 1/4 c. of the chilled pastry cream into the pan. Heat the cream until it is 120 degrees. Add in the gelatin mixture and whisk until it is smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in the rest of the chilled pastry in two additions.
11. In the bowl of a stand mixer whip the cream until it holds medium stiff peaks. Immediately fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream with a rubber spatula. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
1/3 c. water 1/3 c. sugar 2 t. lemon extract
1. In a saucepan over medium high heat combine the water and sugar.
2. Bring to a boil stirring to dissolve the sugar.
3. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes. Add in the lemon extract and mix well.
4. Put the syrup in a small bowl with a lid and refrigerate until ready to use.
Fraisier Assembly: 2 baked 8 inch lemon chiffon cakes 1 recipe pastry cream filling 1/3 c. simple syrup 1 pound strawberries 1 c. blueberries 1 c. sliced mango powdered sugar
1. Line the sides of an 8 inch springform pan with plastic wrap. Do not line the bottom. Place the pan on the plate that you wish to serve the Frasier on.
2. Place one layer of the lemon chiffon cake inside the springform pan. Moisten the layer evenly with the simple syrup until the cake resembles a squishy sponge.
3. Hull and slice half of the strawberries. Cut half of the mango into thin slices. Arrange half the strawberries, blueberries, and mango around the sides of the pan and pipe cream in between the fruit and a thin layer on top of the cake.
4. Put the rest of the fruit, except for what you need to put on top of the cake, in the middle of the cake and cover with pastry cream. Place the second cake layer on top. Moisten the top layer with the simple syrup.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours. To serve, release the sides of the springform pan, peel away the plastic wrap, and decorate the top with any remaining pastry cream and fruit.