Daring to Make Frasier Cake

I’m a bit late for the July Daring Bakers challenge. Is there a Tardy Bakers club? The challenge was to make Frasier cake.

The Story

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine. Turns out Frasier cake is not named after one of my favorite TV shows about a fancy psychologist named Frasier. It’s actually just a fancy French dessert.

This was also my second Daring Bakers challenge. The first one, making baklava, did not go smoothly. This was my chance for a comeback, much like Frasier (the TV show) was Kelsey Grammer’s comeback after Cheers.

Before this challenge, I had never heard of Frasier cake. When I found out it was basically a chiffon cake, with cream and strawberries in the middle, I was thrilled. I always have wanted to make chiffon cake. It seemed similar to angel food cake, which I’ve made before.

Then I discovered the challenge didn’t stop with the cake. There was also pastry cream and simple syrup to make. Then I decided to make my own almond paste too, for which I think I should get extra credit. The almond paste was the icing on the cake.

It took about a week to make all these components and put the cake together. Unlike my first Daring Bakers challenge, the results were even edible. Ken wouldn’t touch the baklava, but he wouldn’t stop eating this cake.

For the record, I did make the cake by the challenge deadline. I was just late in writing this post about it.

The Moral of the Story

This story comes with two morals:

  1. If at first you don’t succeed, try again.
  2. Better late than never.

About the Recipes

I used four different recipes to make this cake: 1) Orange Chiffon Cake, 2) Orange Simple Syrup, 3) Vanilla and Orange Pastry Cream, and 4) Almond Paste. For each recipe, which are noted at the end of this post, you will notice a theme. We had a bag of oranges in the refrigerator at the time of the challenge. All but one recipe, the almond paste, included the featured ingredient.

The Cast of Characters

It’s all about the oranges. Frasier cake is traditionally made with strawberries, but it is the oranges that stand out in this version.

The Play-by-Play

This baking game has four quarters: 1) making the cake, 2) making the simple syrup, 3) making the pastry cream, and 4) making the almond paste. The play-by-play breaks down each quarter.

First, make the cake.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, oil, egg yolks, water, orange juice and zest.

In another bowl, whip the egg whites until foamy, adding sugar until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter and pour into a tube pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Invert the pan to cool the cake completely.

Loosen the sides of the cake from the pan with a knife. Then remove it from the pan.

Second, make the simple syrup.

Boil 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup orange juice until the sugar dissolves.

Let cool and pour the syrup into a measuring cup.

Third, make the pastry cream.

Boil milk, sugar, vanilla, orange juice and zest. Whisk in sugar. Remove from heat.

Combine the yolks and cornstarch. Slowly add the egg mixture to the milk mixture.

Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture coats the back of the spoon.

Strain out the zest, cover with plastic wrap and chill a few hours until firm.

Fourth, make the almond paste.

Pour a kettle of boiling water over the almonds and let rest for a minute.

Strain the almonds from the water, and peel the skins off each one.

Grind the peeled almonds in a food processor.

In a saucepan, bring to a boil sugar, honey and water. Add the sugar mixture to the ground almonds, grinding until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for a few hours.

Now for the grand finale; assemble the cake.

Cut the cake in half, put one half in a spring form pan lined with plastic wrap, and brush with some of the simple syrup.

Place sliced strawberries around the sides of the pan, and cover with pastry cream.

Top with the second layer of cake. Brush with more syrup and pastry cream.

Roll the almond paste, and place on top the cake. Chill the cake before serving.

Garnish the chilled cake with fruit and whip cream.

Recipe: Orange Frasier Cake

For the complete list of ingredients and instructions, see these recipes:

Preparation time: 1 week

Number of servings (yield): 8

My rating ★★★★☆ 1 review(s)

The Footnotes

  • About the chiffon cake: I wouldn’t change a thing from the Orange Chiffon Cake recipe in The Fannie Farmer Baking book. I love that book.
  • About the simple syrup: It really is simple. I started with the recipe provided for the challenge, which was 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup sugar, and replaced the water with orange juice.
  • About the pastry cream: Mine wasn’t as firm as I would have liked. It ran a little when I first cut into the cake. The pastry cream recipe provided with the challenge included gelatin, while the orange one I found on Food Network did not. I think the gelatin may help it set up better.
  • About the almond paste: Blanching the almonds to make your own paste takes time, but it’s worth it. If you are up for the challenge, here is a great tutorial for making your own almond paste from About.com.
  • About the strawberries: When it came time to put the strawberries in the center of my cake, I macerated them in orange juice first to keep with my orange theme.


Have you ever made a Frasier Cake? If so, how did it go?

If not, do you have a favorite character on Frasier (the TV show) to share instead? I can’t decide between Niles or Eddie.

Published by Lori

I'm the "girl" in Girl Meets Oven.

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