Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Dacquoise Fraisier - #TheCakeSliceBakers

"There's nothing better than cake but more cake."





The Cake Slice Bakers are baking towards the last stretch with The European Cake Cookbook - only four cakes to go after this month.  We have visited many parts of Europe via the cakes we have chosen to bake, and each one has been an adventure. I have really enjoyed seeing all of the cakes my fellow Cake Slice Bakers have baked, and how they have interpreted them.







The choices for July were Peach Zefir Torte, Dacquoise Fraisier, Berry Ricotta Mousse Cake, and Strawberry Swiss Roll. This month I though I was totally prepared to bake, but then I discovered that  I had actually purchased all the ingredients for next months cake in error, then had to scramble with choosing a new cake.  Fortunately I had also purchased a large punnet of strawberries so that gave me two choices.  The Strawberry Swiss Roll looked delicious, but I have already made one before, so I decided to challenge myself with the Dacquoise Fraisier.  Little did I know how much the word challenge would come back to haunt me.







In all honesty, as much as I enjoy the cakes in this cookbook, I have struggled in more than one recipe with the directions. Sometimes it is with them not being clear and other times it is with a technique that goes against what my experience tells me is correct. It has been a constant battle as to whether I follow the book says or go with my instinct. With the Dacquoise Fraisier I tried to stay tru to the recipe in the book, but I will give you tips on where I believe it went wrong.  Of course it didn't help that the weather here has been so stinking hot, and my recipe had whipped cream and meringue in it.








First I baked the meringues and they seemed to bake just fine, although I do think that drying them in the oven on a lower temperature for a longer time would result in a much crisper meringue. I then moved onto the cream and off the rails I went. I did not have great success with whipping the cream to stiff peeks and then adding the strawberry mixture and whipping again to stiff peeks. as the recipe stated to do.  I ended up with a less than solid cream mixture, and the only thing I could think to do was to quickly bloom some gelatin and add that to the mix so at least it would set up firmly. It also meant that there was no way I could use this mixture on top of the cake so I had to come up with an alternative.  Also when assembling the cake the recipe calls for 2 cups of strawberries, sliced, but it
also says to "arrange halved strawberries along the edges of the pan, facing outwards" - no where does it mention anything about halved strawberries in the ingredients. I had to guess if the halved strawberries were supposed to be taken from the 2 cups of strawberries before they are sliced, or not. I'm still not entirely sure if I made the right choice, but I did remove 8 of the bigger strawberries from the 2 cups, and then sliced the remaining strawberries. The layers seemed OK, but a little sparse.





The recipe also states "refrigerate the cake for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight". For the love of the baking gods, do not leave this cake in the refrigerator overnight. The refrigerator and meringue do not play nicely together, and you will end up with a soggy strawberry cake that has no crunch whatsoever. How do I know this? Well common sense should be the easy answer, but the fact is that since I had to add gelatin, this meant that the cake spent longer than I wanted it to in the fridge, and then it was too dark to take pictures, so I had no choice but to leave it in the refrigerator overnight.






Once I removed the cake from the springform pan I could see that it had at least set up and had not leaked everywhere - yay for that - but the meringue just looked sad and no longer had any crisp to it at all. Despite all that I kept moving forward and decided to use whipped cream with a little fresh strawberry syrup in it as the topping and some fresh strawberries. This was probably the best part of the cake. Maybe the Dacquoise Fraisier recipe isn't for me, but I could see the components from it being a very delicious dessert if made differently. If I made it again I would make some adjustments to the cream filling and then I would just assemble the cake on a plate just before I was going to serve it so that the delicate meringue crisp could be enjoyed.


Dacquoise Fraisier

Ingredients
Dacquoise Layer ~

  • 8 egg whites
  • 200g (1 cup) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 45g (½ cup) all-purpose flour
  • 245g (l ¾ cups) whole roasted almonds

Strawberry Cream ~
  • 230g (8 oz) mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 115g (½ cup) strawberries, crushed
  • 475 (2 cups) heavy cream, chilled
  • 100g (½ cup)  sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 330g (2 cups) strawberries, sliced
  • 10 extra-large strawberries, for garnish

Preparation
Dacquoise Layer ~
  1. Preheat the oven to 165℃ (325°F).
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; on the back of one sheet, trace two 20cm (8-inch) circle guides and on the second sheet, trace one 15cm (6-inch) circle.
  3. In a very clean mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar on high speed for 7 to 8 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and whisk for 30 seconds.
  5. Place the flour and almonds into a food processor, and pulse the flour and nuts until the almonds become a flour.
  6. Sift the flour into the prepared meringue, folding gently but thoroughly until all the flour is mixed in.
  7. Divide the dacquoise batter onto the traced circles to create two 20cm (8-inch) layers, each 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick, as well as one 15cm (6-inch) layer, also 2.5cm (1 inch) thick.
  8. Bake the layers in the preheated oven for 28 to 30 minutes, until the layers are golden around the edges.
  9. Remove them from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. Once cooled, turn over the layers and carefully peel away the parchment paper.
Strawberry Cream ~
  1. In a small bowl, whisk the softened cheese until smooth, then add the crushed strawberries, mixing again for 1 minute, until the mixture is uniform.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk chilled heavy cream, sugar and vanilla for 3 to 4 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
  3. Add the strawberry and cheese mixture and whisk again for 1 to 2 minutes until stiff peaks form.

Assembling the cake ~
  1. To assemble the cake, use a 20cm (8-inch) springform pan.
  2. Add one 20cm (8-inch) dacquoise layer to use as the base (trimming the edges with kitchen shears, if necessary).
  3. Arrange halved strawberries along the edges of the pan, facing outwards.
  4. Add a generous amount of the strawberry cream and press the cream over the berries, filling the crevasses.
  5. Add a layer of sliced strawberries, another layer of the more cream, then place the smaller 15cm (6-inch) dacquoise layer on top.
  6. Add another layer of cream and sliced strawberries and top with the last dacquoise layer.
  7. Garnish the top with additional cream and whole strawberries.
  8. Refrigerate the cake for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight.
  9. When ready to serve, release the springform and transfer the cake onto a cake stand.
  10. Use a serrated knife to cut the cake.










Each month The Cake Slice Bakers are offered a selection of cakes from the current book we are baking through. This year it is The European Cake Cookbook by Tatyana Nesteruk. We each choose one cake to bake, and then on the 20th - never before - we all post about our cake on our blogs. There are a few rules that we follow, but the most important ones are to have fun and enjoy baking & eating cakes!

Follow our Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages where you can find all of our cakes, as well as inspiration for many other cakes. You can also click on the thumbnail pictures below to take you to each of our cakes. If you have a blog and are interested in joining The Cake Slice Bakers and baking along with us, please send an email to thecakeslicebakers at gmail dot com for more details.

The Cake Slice Bakers also have a new Facebook group called The Cake Slice Bakers and Friends. This group is perfect for those who do not have a blog but want to join in the fun and bake through this book.





Our choices for August 2019 were ~
  1. Peach Zefir Torte
  2. Dacquoise Fraisier
  3. Berry Ricotta Mousse Cake
  4. Strawberry Swiss Roll

Peach Zefir Torte

Dacquoise Fraisier

Strawberry Swiss Roll

Berry Ricotta Mousse Cake
  • Note - this cake was not chosen by any group members

5 comments:

  1. Interesting! I, too, baked this cake and just assumed that it wasn't supposed to have the texture of a pavlova with the meringue having a crisp outside. I actually enjoyed the slight chewiness of the meringue in the cake. Sorry you didn't care for it. It is pretty though.

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  2. For all the challenges, it turned out gorgeous! Your piping is on point!

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  3. I'm sorry it didn't turn out the way it was supposed. I think we've all struggled with the directions in this book. It does sound like something that would be amazing.

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  4. This is super pretty! BTW, I think I have that same pie server in your photo!

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    Replies
    1. I can't remember where I got it - it came with a matching knife - and it is the only one I have :). Unfortunately here isn't a plethora of antique stores etc where I can pick up more here.

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