July DB Challenge: Setting Sail with Fresh Fraisers

27 Jul

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.

A fraiser is a light, moist layered cake, split and filled with sliced strawberries and pastry cream, then topped with a thin sheet of almond paste. When we first read this challenge we automatically thought of making some sort of picture with our exposed fruit. In the end we decided to make a rather large fraiser featuring fruit sail boats made of sliced peaches, blueberries, and strawberries. Since our design was rather large this meant we had to find something extra to fill our cake with since we thought making 3 batches of pastry cream was a bit over the top. We dug around the kitchen and decided to use up some extra pieces of chocolate cake we had in the freezer.


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

STEP 1) Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F (160°C/gas mark 3).

STEP 2) Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides of the pan.

STEP 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.

STEP 4) In a small bowl combine the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk thoroughly.

STEP 5) Combine with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for about one minute, or until very smooth.

STEP 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.

STEP 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.

STEP 8 )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.


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

STEP 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.

STEP 2) Meanwhile, in a stand mixer add the cornstarch and sugar. Whisk to combine.

STEP 3) Add the eggs to the sugar and cornstarch and whisk until smooth.

STEP 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.

STEP 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.

STEP 6) Remove from heat and pass through a fine mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool for ten minutes stirring occasionally.

STEP 7) Cut the butter into four pieces and whisk into the pastry cream a piece at a time until smooth.

STEP 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.

STEP 9) In a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand for a few minutes to soften.

STEP 10) Put two inches (55 mm) of water into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.

STEP 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.

STEP 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.

STEP 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.


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

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

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

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

STEP 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.


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 (or equivalent of any combination of fresh fruit)
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
½ cup (120 ml) (5 oz/140 gm) almond paste (we substituted this for chocolate ganache)

STEP 1) Line the sides of a 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan with plastic wrap. Do not line the bottom of the pan.

STEP 2) Cut the cake in half horizontally to form two layers.

STEP 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.

STEP 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.

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

STEP 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.

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

STEP 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.

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

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

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


This was a fun challenge and overall is was pretty good. Next time we would probably make a simpler fraiser with a less elaborate pattern. Ours was really tall and thus contained a lot of pastry cream. It’s a nice summer desert and something we will likely try again with other variations.

This was also the last challenge that we will be making together for quite some time as Krista has now finished school and moved into her own apartment. Now the real challenge is on….who can make the best desserts on their own??

Bring it on!

-K & N


2 responses to “July DB Challenge: Setting Sail with Fresh Fraisers

  1. Morgan

    July 27, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    That’s so adorable and creative! Nice work 🙂

  2. ericasedibles

    July 28, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Looks great! I love that you even made blue water!! lol Oh I can’t wait to see how the competition heats up when you are doing them on your own 🙂


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