The Daring Bakers’ July, 2011 Challenge – Fresh Fraisiers

So I made Chocolate-Cherry-Coconut Mini Fraisiers for my first challenge. I struggled whether to do it as a classic strawberry fraiser since some people think that’s the only kind that counts. But strawberries here are pretty much past their prime so I thought why make something if the ingredients aren’t as fresh as possible. So I thought about what was in season and considering my fridge is overflowing with cherries that seemed to make the most sense. Me being, well, me I just couldn’t do a plain cherry fraisier. So again I thought about what goes with cherries and immediately chocolate comes to mind. Then it occurred to me other people might be thinking the same thing and I didn’t want to fit in, I like to stand out. Good or bad I wanted this to be a bit different. So I thought what else would taste good with chocolate and cherries and since I am wacky for coconut it seemed like the best choice. That is how the idea came to fruition.

This was my second challenge with the daring kitchen but my first as a baker.  Every month we get a challenge to do. Each  month we have a member host. They always come up with great ideas.

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

So thanks to Jana for this wonderful opportunity to do something different. I did tweak it a bit. We don’t like almond paste or fondant and I did not see the point in making something we would not eat. So I did a home made whipped cream frosting for the top instead. For those of you interested in original recipes Jana gave us please go HERE.  For those interested in the Daring Kitchen please go to “”. 

Here is the recipe I used for mine. I have to say it’s a bit of work. I don’t usually go to this much trouble to make cake. It was worth it though. Quite tasty, the cake itself is light and moist. I made cupcakes with the excess batter and they were delicious.

Chocolate-Cherry-Coconut Mini Fraisiers:

Basic Chocolate Chiffon Cake:

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon lemon zest, grated (you could leave this out, it did not add anything to it)
5 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar


Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Line the bottom of your mini pans or one large pan with parchment paper. Line the sides with parchment as well. Original recipe says to leave it ungreased but that made me nervous.

In a large bowl, stir flour, cocoa and baking powder together. Add all but 3 tablespoons of sugar in plus all the salt. Stir.

In a small bowl mix the butter, egg yolks, water, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk well.

Combine the dry ingredients and mix for one minute.

Put egg whites into a stand mixer and beat on medium with whisk attachment until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat on medium until the whites hold soft peaks. Slowly add remaining sugar, beat on medium until whites hold firm and form shiny peaks.

With a spatula scoop about 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture and fold gently. Gently fold in remaining whites until well mixed.

Pour the batter into pans or pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes for minis or 45 to 55 minutes for large pan. Toothpick inserted should come out clean when done.

When done remove the cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

To unmold run a knife around the sides, this will loosen the cake from the pan. Remove spring form sides at this time. Invert the cake and peel off the parchment at this time. You can refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Simple Syrup Recipe:


1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water


Combine both ingredients in a saucepan.

Bring to a boil and let sugar dissolve.

Remove from heat and cool.

Transfer to a container and set aside for assembly of the fraiser. You can keep syrup in the fridge for up to a month.

Pastry Cream Filling Recipe:


1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon gelatin
1/2 teaspoon water
1 cup heavy cream


Pour milk, coconut extract and salt into a saucepan over medium heat and scald, bringing it near boiling. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a stand mixer whisk sugar and cornstarch.

Add eggs to the sugar/cornstarch and whisk until smooth.

When milk is done, slowly add to the stand mixer while whisking it into the egg mixture.

Pour the mixture back into the warm pot and return to oven over medium heat until custard is thick. Should just about come to a boil and coat the back of a spoon when it is ready.

Remove from heat and pass through a fine mesh sieve. I forgot this step. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Cut the butter into pieces and whisk into the pastry cream one piece at a time. Should be smooth when done.

Cover the cream with plastic wrap or parchment, press down so no skin develops. Can chill in fridge for up to 5 days.

In a small dish sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand. 

Measure 1/4 cup of the chilled pastry cream and pour into a glass or stainless bowl. Sit this over top of the saucepan but not touching it.

Heat the cream until it is 120 degree F. Add the gelatin and whisk. Should be smooth when done. Remove from the water bath and whisk remaining cold pastry cream in.

In a stand mixer whisk the cream until it holds medium-stiff peaks. Immediately fold in whipped cream to the pastry cream with a spatula.

Whipped Cream/Frosting Recipe:


2 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons confectioners sugar


Pour whipping cream into a stand mixer and whip until stiffening.

Add sugar slowly and keep whipping.

Add confectioner sugar slowly and keep whipping.

Done when fluffy.

Fraisier Assembly:


baked chiffon cake
pastry cream, prepared
simple syrup, prepared
1 pound cherries, pitted and halved
1/4 cup flaked coconut
confectioners sugar for dusting
2 chocolate pieces, shaved
whipped cream/frosting


Line the sides of your pan with parchment or waxed paper. (tip-wetting your parchment makes it easier to manipulate)

Cut the cake in half so you have two layers.

Place one half in pan. Pour half your simple syrup over top. 

Arrange your cherries around the sides of the pan, cut side out.

Pour or pipe pastry cream to hold in place and fill over the cake a bit.

Add a thin layer of cherries on top. 

Add a layer of pastry cream. (hold a little back)

Add your flaked coconut.

Place the second layer of the cake on top. Moisten with simple syrup.

Put the rest of the pastry cream on top.

Sprinkle on some confectioners sugar.

Add a layer of whipped cream.

Add a layer of shaved chocolate.

Cover with plastic wrap on an upturned bowl and stick in fridge for 4 hours.

Top with cherry and garnish bottom of plate with coconut.

You can also toast real coconut and place on top of cake. This is optional.

So I played with my camera for a couple of days to try and see what I could do. I just do not have the knack for outside photos. I seem to get too much light. I need to do some more research. But I thought I’d show you what I’ve been up to. I was doing alot of playing with settings and experimenting so some are good, some not so much. 

So hope you enjoyed my adventure into fraisiers. Was tons of fun. Can’t wait until the next challenge.

So tomorrow is bringing something that will blow your mind. I cannot wait to show you. 

Okay folks it’s not 3:30 am so I am off to bed. Before I go what do you think of the new blog design? Is it okay? I know I still need some tweaking and a header but feel free to offer your opinions. After all I do appreciate my followers so much, did I tell you all how much I adore you today? Well I do. Yup, big sweet adorable love for all  my readers. It makes me happy you come to see me and my antics. So thank you.

Toodles and smoochies. xx 

Photos missing due to a G+ incident. Will be restored soon.




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  1. Pretend Chef says

    After seeing this dessert I am more interested in The Daring Kitchen than I was before. Thank you for the reminder to check it out. This looks so beautiful. I'd love to make this for someone special. Yummy!

  2. Kim Bee says

    @Pretend Chef- You are so welcome. It's fun for me as it makes me think outside my comfort zone. With kids I tend to make the same old same old, so this wakens up the taste buds for sure. Such a pretty and tasty meal. Hope you make it for someone. I'm sure they'd appreciate it.

  3. Erin says

    Love reading about everyone's challenge this month! And they are all so pretty! Like that you changed up the fruit!

  4. Mommy LaDy Club says

    I love the new blog design! Looks great. Hey, would it be alright if I post one of your recipes on our CEO page, and link back to your post? I like gathering them from blogging friends:)

  5. Kim Bee says

    @Erin- Thanks. I had fun with this. I'd never made one before.

    @Courtney- Thanks. Too many people had the pink, needed to change it up. Sure, I'm okay with that.

  6. Carolyn says

    I think cherries and chocolate go so well together and it was a much better idea to do cherries, than out-of-season strawberries. These look great!

  7. Kim Bee says

    @Carolyn- Thanks so much. I really enjoyed this one.

    @Kate- Thanks. I am just getting frustrated with my pics. I just can't get them good enough for foodgawker or tastespotting. Need to do some research and figure out what I am doing wrong. Got the cooking down, it's the images that kill me. lol

  8. Junia says

    this is beautiful! wow. i love the cherries that you used here :D. i've been in love with how much flavor, color, and beauty they bring to baked goods :)

  9. Kim Bee says

    @Junia- Thank you so much. I adore cherries. I can't help myself. They are just so yummy.

    @Christine- Thanks. You're welcome to visit for cake any time.

  10. Ann says

    I keep looking at the Daring Kitchen and I say maybe one day….but I'm glad you did it….delicious! Looking forward to your next post and I LOVED the hint!

  11. The Shiksa in the Kitchen says

    Kim, I've been out of town this week in NYC, I'm just back now and catching up with all my food blogging friends… my dear, you have been busy busy busy! Absolutely lovely mini frasiers. I'll take two, please! 😉

  12. Kim Bee says

    @Ann- I was so terrified as I do not do fancy cooking. But so far it's fun. I have to do my third soon and it's again something I have never done before. I have actually never eaten before. Stay tuned cuz this is going to be an interesting

    @Tori- Hey lady! Glad you're back, and hope you had fun, fun, fun. NYC is a foodie dream. Okay so I have checked a bunch of stores and no Sjarchi at any of them. Even the high end market, this area is awful for supplies. I called another store in the city and they have it so going in tomorrow or monday. So you will see me post your lovely recipe sometime in the next couple of days. I am so excited to try it. I need to move somewhere more foodie friendly! You can have 2 fraisiers for sure. Missed ya!

  13. The Harried Cook says

    Wow! You've done such a fabulous job with this one… Sounds like a LOT of work went into this one… I am so impressed! Love the pictures and the cake itself is perfect! :)

  14. Wilde in the Kitchen says

    I wish I had more time this month to do this challenge, it looks like so much fun! Great work on your cherry frasier!

  15. Curry and Comfort says

    Wow! This dessert looks so delicious. It looks like something served at a fancy restaurant. I would definitely order it. Great job!

  16. Peggy says

    You did an amazing job with this challenge! Your fraisier is definitely unique and sounds delicious =)

  17. claudia lamascolo!/pages/Whats-Cookin-Italian-Cuisine/134093198841 says

    Wow this is amazing work… great job!

  18. Adora's Box says

    I love this!!! A bit like black forest but with yummy coconut and fresh cherries. Thanks for showing your photos. I am freaking out with taking photos and sometimes they turn out really bad.

  19. Dee at Deelicious Sweets says

    See! I'm reading your blog posts all backwards. I knew you changed stuff up on me :) I think it looks great! Oh, great cake too. Looks like a TON of work so kudo's for all of your patience :)

  20. Kim Bee says

    @The Harried Cook- Thank you so much. It was so much work but turned out so good.I was wicked nervous on this one.

    @Wilde in the Kitchen- Summer is hard to find time to do this stuff. Plus the heat. I may save my skips for next summer so I don't have to heat the house up. Thanks for the compliment and stopping by.

    @Curry and Comfort- Wow, thanks so much. I have a hard time with the pretty aspect of cooking so that meant alot to me.

    @Peggy- Thanks. I was hoping to stand out a bit. Now if I can just be on time for the next one. lol

    @FamilySpice- There is still a slice left, yours for the taking.

    @Claudia- Thank you my dear. I was going to email you. I want to set up a FB page for the lunatic site but unsure whether to set it up as personal or business. Any thoughts or advice?

    @Adora's Box- Thank you. I was hoping it would be a winner. Sure tasted good. I struggle with photography. Old equipment, bad lighting. Trying to study up and improve. It's hard as it's such a personal thing. What appeals to me might not appeal to others. It's a hard balance to find.

    @Dee- You are cracking me up tonight. I read your email and a bit ago and laughed out loud over the your piping wouldn't blow thing. I mean just chortling so loud Kiana came in to see what I was laughing at. Thanks for the compliment. I need a picture or logo still. I want to hire someone to do an animation of me. But apparently they don't work for food only. Shucks!

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