When the Daring Baker Challenge was announced for this month, I thought it would be something fun to try...but I didn't have any "event" to take it to. Then, I figured, why do I need an event? I'll just take it to work and share with everyone there. Um, by the end of the day, the whole thing was gone! I think it was a success.
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. I used one of my days off to make this. All in all it did not take that long...except that I had to make the pastry cream THREE times! All of this was my fault, though.
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks (save the whites!)
⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F (160°C/gas mark 3). Prepare a springform pan...do not spray the sides!
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. 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 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. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack. Unmold the cake by running 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 if used. Refrigerate for up to four days.
Pastry Cream Filling:
1 cup 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
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.
Meanwhile, in a stand mixer add the cornstarch and sugar. Whisk to combine Add the eggs to the sugar and cornstarch and whisk until smooth. 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. 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. Remove from heat. Allow to cool for ten minutes stirring occasionally. 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, 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.
In a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand for a few minutes to soften. Put two inches (55 mm) of water into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. 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. 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. (I acutally heated in the microwave!!!)
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
Combine the water and sugar 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.
Assembly of Frasier
Line the sides of a 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. 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. Dust the top with powdered sugar. 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. Enjoy!