Chocolate Fraisier Cake

Now I have done Fraisier cakes in the past. What I love is the appearance, being this perfectly cylindrical cake with slices of strawberries peeking out from the cream that the layers of sponge are sandwiching. For this rendition, I wanted to go with a chocolate-ish version of it, featuring a fluffy black cacao sponge, a ruby-strawberry ganache, and my usual Bavarian cream and strawberry situation. The idea about using the black cacao was to give the cake a more fragrant scent, while the fruitiness of the black cacao compliments the strawberries nicely. I do prefer to use buttermilk for this sponge as it gives the chiffon cake a lot more body, but if you do not have buttermilk(or 1 tsp vinegar to mix with 3 tbsp milk to make your own buttermilk!), normal milk on its own will suffice as well! Black cacao is so much fun to work with, because the cocoa powder is Dutch processed, resulting in a more intense cacao flavor. Instead of being bitter like your usual cocoa powder, black cacao has a sweeter and more fragrant flavor, much more reminiscent of the cacao fruit/pod that the nibs and powder are derived from!

With the other components, we do have a simple syrup soak for the cake layers themselves – since we need a simple syrup to brush the berries with anyways(so that the exposed-to-air sides of the strawberries will not dry out), the cake soak simply takes the leftover simple syrup and applies it to the rest of the cake. The other layers are Bavarian cream and a ruby-strawberry ganache. For the Bavarian cream, this is a standard for almost all of my cakes. Essentially a silky custardy pastry cream that has whipped cream folded through it, resulting in an ultra light mousse that just melts on the tongue. The other component is a ruby-strawberry ganache. I used two kinds of chocolate in the ganache, being ruby chocolate and Strawberry Inspiration. Ruby chocolate is essentially a white chocolate that went through a different fermentation process, resulting in a bright pink, tart flavor profile instead. I mixed this with Valrhona’s Strawberry Inspiration(strawberry puree that is tempered with cocoa butter to essentially create strawberry-flavored chocolate), to create a fudge-y ganache layer that the strawberries rest on. This cake is a fun take on my usual Fraisier cake, and definitely one for chocolate and strawberry lovers alike!

For the chocolate chiffon cake:
2 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup black cacao powder
3 tbsp milk or buttermilk
2 egg yolks
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

In a bowl, whip the egg whites with sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks. In another bowl, mix together the black cacao, (butter)milk, egg yolks, salt, and canola oil. Sift the flour into the egg yolk mixture then fold the egg whites into that as well. Pour the batter into a lined 1/4 sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Allow the cake to cool down before unmolding and cutting out 2 6-inch rounds and creating the third round out of the scraps.

For the soak:
1/2 cup warm water
2 tbsp granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

Dissolve the sugar and salt into the water. Allow the water to cool down.

For the strawberries:
Roughly 16 same-sized strawberries, leaves removed and cut in half
cake soak

Toss the berries in the cake soak first. Strain the berries out of the soak, reserving the soak for the assembling process.

For the strawberry-ruby ganache:
8oz ruby chocolate
4oz Strawberry Inspiration
1/3 cup heavy cream
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter

In a pot, bring everything to a simmer and stir on low heat until everything is fully dissolved together. Pour the ganache into a bowl and allow it to cool down before assembling.

For the vanilla Bavarian cream:
1 tsp gelatin powder
1 tbsp cold water
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, whipped stiff

Mix gelatin with cold water in a pot first. Add to the pot the milk and bring that mixture to a simmer on low heat. In another bowl, mix together the sugar with egg yolks and salt. Add half of the milk into the egg yolk mixture, then whisk together. Then pour the egg yolk-half milk mixture back into the pot with the milk and whisk everything on low heat for 2-3 minutes, or until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour the egg mixture through a strainer to remove any lumps. Allow the egg mixture to cool down before adding in the vanilla, then the heavy cream.

To assemble:
Line a 6-inch ring mold with acetate. Start by placing down the scrap layer of the cake. Add in 1/3 of the soak. Then line the sides of the cake with the half-cut strawberries, flat side facing outwards. Add in 1/3 of the ganache first, then pour in 1/2 of the Bavarian cream. Repeat these steps again, using one of your normal 6-inch cake rounds in place of the scrap layer. For the top layer, start with the last round of cake, then your soak, then spread on the remainder of your ganache. Transfer to a freezer and allow the cake to set for at least 3 hours before attempting to unmold.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s