Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Fraisier - Strawberry Bavarian Cake

I have to say this has to be the most delicious Daring Bakers Challenge so far. What's not to love about the the combination of strawberries, cream and a soft spongy cake. But all the components of this recipe were exceptionally delicious. No wonder it comes from one of my favorite baking books, Tartine. The cake is not only tasty it is also a showstopper and would impress your guests at any party.

I changed the instructions for the pastry cream a little bit since I found it had a few unnecessary steps. I also used strawberry preserves instead of the syrup. The chiffon cake by itself was already very good, and could be used as a base for many different fillings. I was lucky to be able to pick my own strawberries for the cake, for the last time this year since the season is now over. I am planning to make the cake with other fruits soon, maybe with blackberries, but I think it would be good with all kinds of fruits.

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.

Fraisier - Strawberry Bavarian Cake

Chiffon Cake

120 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
140 g sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
60 ml vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks
95 ml water
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. lemon zest, grated
5 large egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to moderate 160°C (325°F).

Line the bottom of an 22 cm (8.5-inch) 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 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.

Pastry Cream Filling

250 ml whole milk
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp. cornstarch
40 g sugar
2 egg yolks
30 g unsalted butter
2 sheets gelatin
250 ml heavy cream

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.

In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and sugar until combined. Add the egg yolks to the sugar and cornstarch and whisk until smooth.

When the milk is ready, gently and slowly while whisking, pour the heated milk down the side of the bowl into the egg mixture.

Pour the mixture back into the warm pot and continue to cook, while whisking constantly, over a medium heat until the custard is thick, just about to boil and coats the back of a spoon.

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

Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water for about 5 minutes. Squeeze of the water and add to the still hot pastry cream. Stir until dissolved.

Cut the butter into four pieces and whisk into the pastry cream a piece at a time until smooth. Cover the cream with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

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.

Fraisier Assembly

1 baked 22 cm (8.5-inch) chiffon cake
1 recipe pastry cream filling
4-5 tbsp. strawberry preserves
800-900 g strawberries
140 g marzipan
a few tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2-3 drops red food coloring

Cut the cake in half horizontally to form two layers.

Put the bottom layer on your serving plate. Warm up the strawberry preserves to make it more spreadable. Spread the preserves on the bottom layer. Now put a cake ring around the cake and line the inside with some plastic warp.

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.

Hull and quarter your remaining strawberries and place them in the middle of the cake. Cover the strawberries entirely with the pastry cream.

Place the second cake layer on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Knead together the marzipan with a few tablespoons of confectioners' sugar and the food coloring. Knead as long as the color is equally uniform. Use as much confectioners' sugar as you need to get a nice smooth marzipan which you can easily roll out. Roll out the marzipan to a round to fit your cake. It's easiest to roll out the marzipan between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Cover the cake with the marzipan round.

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 2 days.

Enjoy and Guten Appetit!

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