The Daring Bakers Challenge - July 2011 - Fresh Fraisiers!!!

This month has been crazy... I know, I know I've been on vacation so how can things be crazy? I will save the boring excuses for later. I just returned from Mexico late on July 24th realizing I hadn't yet started the Daring Bakers July 2011 challenge... so yesterday, the day before the deadline, I made all of the components then ran out of steam and didn't assemble the dessert. Thus, on the due date (today) I was madly assembling the desserts this morning so I could photograph them this evening and still post within the deadline! How is that for crazy? I have NEVER saved a challenge this late and likely never will again. I should have rebaked my cake... it was gross, but more on that later!

The end result was quite pretty (in my opinion any way) and tasted pretty darn good too. For those of you wondering what I'm crazily rambling on and on about, Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers' host and she challenged us to make Fresh Fraisiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

I'm not going to reproduce the recipe this time because I think you would be better off using the recipes exactly as provided by Jana on her website. So please hop on over to her blog and use those recipes if you decide you want to attempt this delicious dessert.

So, my pastry cream element was AMAZING!!! So delicious and it set up beautifully! I overwhipped the cream a tad bit, but I think that actually helped with the stability of the cream mixture, so in the end it worked out. I doubled the amount of vanilla in the recipe which I think was a good call! It gave it a delightful flavour that stood in with the strawberries very nicely.

The problem lies with the cake in my case... pretty bad!! Instead of following the recipe and the suggested alterations to arrive at a coconut chiffon cake, I decided to make my own creative adaptations to the recipe. A friend had given me some coconut flour which I was very excited to use... so excited in fact that I substituted it 100% for all of the regular flour in the recipe. Rookie mistake!!! My friend had even cautioned me against doing that very thing! Any way, the coconut flour absorbed moisture like crazy, so I just continued adding coconut milk until the batter was what I thought was the right consistency. WRONG!! The cake baked all the way through but was very wet; so wet that I couldn't cut it in half and transfer half back to the springform pan for molding. So to salvage the cake, I cut out shapes to fit in my ring molds and popped them in the freezer to firm up prior to handling them and putting them in the molds. It worked out well, but I still didn't like the texture of the cake for eating, though it was alright as long as all of the other components were included in that particular bite.

Despite my cake issues, the dessert turned out well and tasted delicious! The pastry cream is to die for!! I made some additional parfaits with fresh strawberries and pastry cream and boy were they good! I've already eaten one tonight and I would really like to eat another... but I will restrain myself!

Thank you Jana for hosting a wonderful challenge and introducing us to Fresh Fraisiers. They are so delicious and the perfect summer dessert. I can't wait to try it again and hopefully this time perfect the cake component as well. :)

Happy Baking my Friends!


  1. It looks like a work of art, beautiful.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  2. Cute little Fraisiers, I think next time I will make small ones, love it!

  3. Your fraisier looks delicious, and that's the most important thing :)

  4. Thanks you guys!! I love the size of them so much. Can't wait to try it again. :)