Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fresh Mango Fraisier Cake

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Fraisiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

I anticipated a recipe involving fresh seasonal fruit for my first Daring Bakers challenge. Though I was mentally prepared, when I read this 8 page long challenge for the first time I was a little freaked out. Somehow, after a few reads through the recipe and some brainstorming, I was ready and willing to take it on.

I gather that a fraisier is a traditional french birthday cake made with genoise cake, strawberries and pastry cream mousse. It's all layered up with exposed fresh fruit and is very beautiful and very fancy. I'll post the photos that were included in the challenge so you can imagine how scared I was, as a former non-baker, to make one of these:

(these are Jana's cakes!)

I guess my biggest fear was that the cream in the middle wouldn't hold up the layers if I didn't make it right. Plus, the patriotic theme kind of scared me until I remembered I could bake whatever I wanted.

The recipe is really long and there are many components to make, then a whole assembly process. The host of the challenge, Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes, encouraged some kind of a "fresh" take on the fraisier, so here's what I came up with:

Coconut lime chiffon cake soaked in star anise and mint syrup, ginger pastry cream mousse, and fresh mango for the exposed fruit and the filling.

Because I LOVE Thai and Vietnamese food and when I make it (or something that resembles it), these are the flavors I use. All I need are chilies and fish sauce and I'll be set!

I will say, this cake tasted pretty good. Nothing was overpowering and the different flavors didn't bury the taste of the mango at all.
Here's my recipe (adapted from Jana's recipe, which was adapted from the cookbook Tartine by Elizabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson)

Coconut Lime Chiffon Cake


1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks
1/8 cup water

1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lime zest
5 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F
  2. Line the bottom of a 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides of the pan.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Add all but 3 tablespoons of the sugar, and all of the salt. Stir to combine.
  4. In a small bowl combine the oil, coconut milk, egg yolks, water and lime zest. Whisk thoroughly.
  5. Combine this with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for about one minute, or until very smooth.
  6. Beat the egg whites 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 3 tablespoons of sugar and beat on a medium-high speed until the whites hold firm and form shiny peaks.
  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.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Removed the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.
  10. If necessary, run a knife around the sides to loosen the cake from the pan. Invert the cake and peel off the parchment paper. Refrigerate for up to four days.

Ginger Pastry Cream Filling:


1 cup whole milk
4 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 teaspoon gelatin

1/2 tablespoon water

1 cup heavy cream


  1. Pour the milk into a small saucepan and add the sliced ginger. Heat gently over medium heat until close to a simmer. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes (mild ginger) to one hour (strong). Strain the milk and discard the ginger.
  2. 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.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl add the cornstarch and sugar. Whisk to combine.
  4. Add the eggs to the sugar and cornstarch and whisk until smooth.
  5. When the milk is ready, gently and slowly while still whisking, pour the heated milk down the side of the bowl into the egg mixture.
  6. 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. Whisk constantly or you may have a lumpy mess!
  7. Remove from heat and pass through a fine mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Cut the butter into four pieces and whisk into the pastry cream a piece at a time until smooth.
  9. Cover the cream with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Bring to a chill in the refrigerator, for up to five days.
  10. In a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand for a few minutes.
  11. Put two inches of water into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.
  12. Measure 1/4 cup of the chilled pastry cream into a bowl that will sit across the sauce pan with the simmering water, without touching the water.
  13. Heat the cream until it is 120F. Add the gelatin and whisk until smooth. Remove from the water bath and whisk in the remaining cold pastry cream in two batches.
  14. With a whisk attachment, whip the heavy whipping cream until it holds medium-stiff peaks. Immediately fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream with a rubber spatula.
Mint and Star Anise Simple Syrup:


1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup water

1/8 cup fresh mint

1 whole star anise


  1. Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring gently. Remove from the heat when the sugar has just dissolved.
  3. Cool slightly. Add mint and star anise and let soak at room temperature for up to one hour.
  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.

Fraisier Assembly:


1 baked chiffon cake
1 recipe pastry cream filling

⅓ cup simple syrup

2 fresh mangoes

Powdered sugar for dusting

½ cup marzipan (almond paste)

Coconut flakes


  1. Line the sides of a spring form pan with plastic wrap. Do not line the bottom of the pan. (I baked the cake in a 9 inch cake pan, but used a 6 inch spring form. I used the spring form ring without the bottom as a template to cut a six inch circle from my cake)
  2. Cut the cake in half horizontally to form two layers.
  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.
  4. Slice mango in thin rectangles (mine were about the size of canned bamboo shoots) to arrange around the sides of the cake pan. Use a spatula handle or popsicle stick to evenly space the slices.
  5. Pipe cream between the mango plus a thin layer across the top of the cake.
  6. Chop your remaining mango into one inch pieces and place the pieces in the middle of the cake. Cover the mangoes with a good sprinkling of coconut flakes and all but 1 tbsp. of the pastry cream.
  7. Place the second cake layer on top and moisten with the simple syrup.
  8. Lightly dust a work surface with powdered sugar and roll out the almond paste to a round the size of your pan, 1/16 inch thick. Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon of pastry cream on the top of the cake and cover with the round of almond paste.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  10. To serve, release the sides of the spring form pan and peel away the plastic wrap.
  11. Cover the top of your cake with coconut flakes. Fancy up your cake with fruit and powdered sugar however you like.
  12. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

I really can't believe I made this cake without a problem! Three months ago I was ruling out any recipe that involved more than six ingredients or separating egg whites from yolks, and folding in whipped cream or whites was a deal breaker for sure. Yet this was not so bad. Typing up this 47 page blog post on the other hand...I'd rather be in the kitchen :)


  1. Wow I love your flavour combo! Sounds so light and refreshing :)

  2. Thanks! That's funny because it tasted light but holy crap I bet there are a lot of calories packed in there!

  3. Wow - what a stunning dessert. The infused syrup sounds particularly delicious :o)

  4. Superb job on your first challenge! amazing flavor combinations. Welcome aboard

  5. For your first DB challenge and as a self-professed novice baker, you knocked it out of the park! Looks gorgeous and I bet it tasted even better - those flavours sound amazing together :)

  6. Welcome to Daring Bakers! I too am often intimidated with my first read through of the challenge but usually after one or two times of reading it through it becomes more manageable. Nice job on the challenge!

  7. Your cake looks really great! The coconut flakes on top looks good.

    This was my first challenge too - but unlike yours, mine turned out to be a bit gooey :D. But since it was yummy, it had a lot of takers :)

  8. You did great on your first challenge. Trust me, I freaked out even more when I found out my first challenge was French Bread and the challenge was certainly more than 8 pages..hehe! Love the flavours in your fraisier, very well complimented.

  9. Your Frasier is perfect! I love the tropical take on the flavours! Congrats on your first time out of the gate!

  10. Your cake looks fantastic! Definitely daring with those flavors.

  11. I love these flavors! I almost went coconut lime on the chiffon cake too, but then I wimped out and went with good old vanilla. You did a great job with the challenge! I'm especially impressed that it was your first one. Welcome to the group. :)

  12. What a great flavor combination. Great job on the challenge.


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