As you all know (or maybe not if you’ve only recently joined me), but I am a member of the Daring Bakers. Each month they host a challenge composed of a very complicated dessert that you must bake and post on the 27th of the month.

Unfortunately, last month I was in the midst of packing up my kitchen, so I wasn’t able to complete it. It’s too bad because the challenge was something I’ve always wanted to make, baklava.

But I’m back in the game this month with my brand new, much larger kitchen! It’s so nice to be cooking on the huge counters. I don’t even know what to do with all the space. You should see the mess I made in the process of cooking this. I used 4 bowls and two pots…just because I could!

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.

This recipe was randomly requested from someone at work who happens to be French, but I put off making it because I knew it would take a lot of time. Well who would have thought it would be the recipe for my Daring Bakers Challenge! At least it gave me a reason to dive in and conquer this many stepped recipe.

Me and Frenchie

Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought, and even kind of fun. I got real satisfaction seeing the finished product and knowing that I made that.

I brought it into work and it got compliments. Personally, I thought it was good but probably not worth all the effort I put into it. Maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of cream-based desserts. But if you are, and you have a spare weekend to bake/whip/assemble, then by all means give this a shot! ;)

These recipes have been adapted from the cook book Tartine by Elisabeth M Prueitt and Chad Robertson, the chefs and owners of Tartine, a beloved San Francisco bakery.

Basic Chiffon Cake:

Ingredients:

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

Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F (160°C/gas mark 3).

Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides of the pan.

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.In a small bowl combine the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk thoroughly.

Combine with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for about one minute, or until very smooth.

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.

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.

Removed the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.

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.

Simple Syrup

I chose to flavor by stirring in 1-2 teaspoons of almond extract.

Ingredients:
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
1-2 tsp flavored extract (optional)

Combine the water,sugar, and extract in a medium saucepan.

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

Remove the syrup from the heat and cool slightly.

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

Components:

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

Line the sides of a 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan with plastic wrap. Do not line the bottom of the pan.

Cut the cake in half horizontally to form two layers.

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.

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.

Pipe cream in-between strawberries and a thin layer across the top of the cake. DO NOT USE UP PASTRY CREAM HERE.

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.

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

If desired, knead food gel into the almond paste to get desired color. Lightly dust a work surface with confectioners’ sugar and roll out the almond paste to an 8-inch 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.

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

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

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

17 Comments

  1. It’s beautiful! I like creamy desserts so it would probably be heaven to me. What a nice coincidence that your co-worker requested it, too. I’d like to start working with you. :)

  2. This is so impressive. I love cream-based anything! Such a showstopper too.

  3. Very nice. Those are really big strawberries. Lot of work has gone into this dessert, I am sure it was well worth it

  4. Cream based desserts (with the exception of ice cream..ahem) are also not at the top of my favs list – although I’ll definitely eat it..of course…..strawberries on the other hand….anything berry actually is a piece of my heaven. And I must say…this cake is GORGEOUS. Seriously. Well done Amy!!

    • I agree, ice cream is my exception :) And I do love berries as well. And like you, I’ll eat cream-based desserts even though i don’t even really like them. What’s wrong with me?! hehe

  5. ahhh i am like you – i love the challenge of baking something new! but replicating it is way too much work! lol. :) great job with the strawberry delight!

  6. that looks impressive!! always fun to try something new and daring (ha) ;)

  7. This is absolute gorgeous to look at and I can just imagine how great tasting it must be! So light and fluffy, I’m truly impressed!

    • Thanks, Linda :) My favorite part of the whole thing was the Chiffon cake itself. It was super fluffy! I may make it again for just eating by itself.

  8. What a beautiful dessert! I love cream desserts! Yummy!! :)

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