Daring Bakers July Challenge: Matcha and Cherry Frasier (Anne's birthday cake)

Jana of 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.

As many times before, I used the challenge to create something for a special occassion. This time, it's a friends birthday I made the fraisier for. And as the cake is supposed to be a suprise, I'm not telling anything until it will have been served on saturday because this particulary friend is reading my blog. I'll give you just a small hint: The flavours are coming from far east, from the country of the cherry blossoms and tea ceremonies.

Right - this was supposed a Japanese Frasier flavoured with matcha and cherries, especially made for my friend Anne's birthday.  For the filling I wanted a subtle and sweet taste, so choose some jasmine tea instaed of the vanilla for the creme anglaise. The ready cake didn't look very pretty  - I omitted the almond paste topping because I thougt it would be to sweet for the matcha, and the fillings did look unpleasantly greyish brown (because of the jasmine tea) but must have tasted really good.
Why do I write 'must have'? Because I didn't get a single crumb of it - the birthday guests were eating faster than I could cut the pieces and some guests even ate more than one ... I am glad it turned out so well - I was a little bit unsure if the combination would work out but it obviouly did. It even tasted better than a second cake I made (which was a delicious red velvet cake with straw- and blueberries and a mascarpone and cream cheese frosting). I guess I have to add frasiers to my birthday cake repertoire - next time maybe a lemon-blueberry one? The pictures I took were mostly made at the party, so the quality isn't that brilliant but they are quite nice shots.

Matcha and Cherry Fraiser
- adapted from the cook book Tartine by Elisabeth M Prueitt and Chad Robertson -

Matcha chiffon cake 
  • 120 g all-purpose flour 
  • 35 g matcha powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 170 g sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 60 ml vegetable oil 
  • 3 large egg yolks 
  • 95 ml water 
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon zest, grated 
  • 5 large egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (you can use 'Weinstein-Backpulver')
Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F (160°C/gas mark 3). Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides of the pan.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, matcha and baking powder. Add in all but 3 tablespoons  of sugar, and all of the salt. Stir to combine. In a small bowl combine the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla and lemon zest. 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 on a medium speed, 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. To unmold, run 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. Refrigerate for up to four days.

Pastry cream filling
  • 250 ml whole milk 
  • 2 tea bags jasmine tea
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  •  2 tablespoons (10 g)cornstarch 
  • 55 gm sugar 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter 
  • 3/4 teaspoon (4 g) gelatin 
  • 1/2 tablespoon (7½ ml) water 
  • 250 ml heavy cream
Pour the milk and salt into a heavy sauce pan. Place over medium-high heat and scald, bringing it to a near boiling point. Add the tea bags and let infuse for about 5 minutes. 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, remove the tea bags; 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 and pass through a fine mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl. 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. 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.

Vanilla-flavoured  sirup
  • 75 gm of sugar
  • 80 ml of water 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
 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. Add the vanilla extract. 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.

Frasier assembly:
  • 1 baked 8 inch (20 cm) chiffon cake 
  • 1 recipe pastry cream filling 
  • 80 ml vanilla syrup 
  • 500g sweet cherries, deseeded and halved 
  • confectioners’ sugar (plus one teaspoon matcha) for dusting 
  • 140 g almond paste (I omitted that)
Line the sides of a 10-inch (25 cm) 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 syrup. When the cake has absorbed enough syrup to resemble a squishy sponge, you have enough.
Arrange the cherries around the sides of the cake pan. Place the cut side against the sides of the pan, point side up forming a ring. Pipe cream in-between cherries and a thin layer across the top of the cake. Place the remaining cherries in the middle of the cake. Cover 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. Lightly dust a work surface with confectioners' sugar and roll out the almond paste to a 10-inch (25 cm) round 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) thick. Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of pastry cream on the top of the cake and cover with the round of almond paste (I just dusted the cake with a mixture of sugar and matcha). 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.

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