August 8, 2011


Fraisier, the classic French cake, was last month's Daring Bakers' challenge.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to participate due to some prior baking commitments, but I figured better late than never, right?

My interpretation of a fraisier is pastry cream and fresh strawberries layered between chiffon-style vanilla cake, topped with a cream cheese flavored whipped cream and finally covered with a fresh strawberry coulis. 


  • 2 lb. strawberries, cleaned and stemmed
  • 2x 9" rounds of chiffon-style cake
  • pastry cream
  • cream cheese whipped cream
  • strawberry coulis

Place one of the 9" cakes on a cardboard cake round.  Wrap a 3" strip of acetate around the cake, securing with a piece of clear tape.

Take 1 pound of similar size strawberries and cut in half.  Line the perimeter of the cake with the strawberry halves, with the cut side facing out.  Try to fit the strawberries as tightly as possible.

With a whisk, stir the chilled pastry cream until it is smooth.  Spoon half of the pastry cream over the cake and and spread to the edge, being sure to fill in the gaps between the strawberries.  Cut the remaining pound of strawberries in to 1-inch pieces and spoon over pastry cream.  Put remaining pastry cream on top of strawberries and spread to the edge. 

Place the second 9" cake on top of pastry cream.  With an offset spatula spread the cream cheese whipped cream over the cake, trying to smooth out as much as possible.  Pour the strawberry coulis over the whipped cream, tilting the cake as necessary to spread coulis over entire surface.  Chill the cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  Before serving top with additional berries.


Chiffon-Style Cake (recipe from Cook's Illustrated)

1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a half-sheet baking pan (~13" x 18") with a sheet of parchment paper.  Set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tablespoons sugar in mixing bowl. Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water, and vanilla; whisk until smooth.

In clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, 60 to 90 seconds. Stir one-third of whites into batter to lighten; add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. 

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes, but start checking after 25 minutes.  Cool in pan for about 1 hour.  Invert cake on to a clean surface and peel off and discard parchment.  Re-invert cake.  With a sharp knife, cut out two 9" rounds from the cake...snack on the rest of the cake!

Pastry Cream (adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch table salt
5 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold), cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Heat whole milk, 6 tablespoons sugar, and salt in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. 

Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until sugar has begun to dissolve and mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. Whisk in cornstarch until combined and mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.

When milk mixture reaches full simmer, gradually whisk simmering milk into yolk mixture to temper. Return mixture to saucepan, scraping bowl with rubber spatula; return to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until 3 or 4 bubbles burst on surface and mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla. Strain pastry cream with a sieve in to a medium bowl, press plastic wrap directly on surface, and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 48 hours.

Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

1/3 cup heavy cream, chilled
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature   
1 tablespoon sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whip attachment, mix cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until combined and there are no lumps.  Slowly pour in the heavy cream and increase speed to high.  Whip until stiff peaks. 

Strawberry Coulis
4 oz strawberries, stemmed
2 tablespoons sugar
2 sheets leaf gelatin
Soak gelatin sheets in a bowl of cold water for at least 10 minutes.

Puree strawberries in a blender until very smooth.  Pass the puree through a sieve in to a small saucepan to remove any seeds.  Add sugar and cook over low heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture just boils.  Take off heat.

Squeeze excess water from soaked gelatin sheets and then add to the hot puree mixture and stir until dissolved.  Let cool slightly.


  1. i made this in my european cakes and tortes class this weekend. the only difference is that I used green fondant on top instead of the coulis. yours looks great!

  2. A great looking cake! I bet it tasted great.

  3. Your fraisier looks gorgeous! I'm so glad you were able to complete the challenge even though it was a bit after the fact. I love looking at your posts and your sugar cookie recipe is the best ever! I use it all the time for my sugar cookies.

  4. Thank you for your recipe ..I am making this cake for my daughter today :)


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