The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.
With a fancy-pants title composed of dessert techiques I had never heard of I was pretty sure that this was going to be a difficult challenge. But making one of these delicious treats is way more straightforward than it appears. Basically this dessert is made of:
- A thin sponge cake that you line a spring form pan with.
- Any delicious filling that you want to fill it with. (I chose kahula chocolate mousse and whipped cream)
The result is both delicious and impressive.
To make the sponge cake you first make a paste that you can use to pipe a design with. It can be tinted any colour so I used some coco powder to make it chocolate. I wanted the cake to look like birtch tree bark so I just piped random uneven lines. You can make stripes, hearts, swirls... the list goes on.
The piped design goes into the freezer to harden while you make the sponge batter. Then you spread the sponge batter over the frozen paste and pop it in the oven.
The cake bakes in 6 to 12 minutes. I didn't have a silicon baking sheet so I used parchment paper instead which worked just as well. My cake didn't stick at all when I carefully flipped it over onto another piece of parchment which had been sprinkled with icing sugar to prevent sticking.
While the sponge cools you prepare your filling. Other members of the Daring Bakers used mousses, ice creams, cakes, gelled fruit juices, marshmallows, and lots of interesting flavor combinations. I decided to make a Kahlua chocolate mousse with semi sweet chocolate and top it off with whipped cream.
I lined a spring form pan with plastic wrap and then cut a piece of paper into a strip that fit around the inside of the pan but leaving a bit of room at the top for the mousse to peek out of the cake. I then used that paper as a template to cut a strip of cake to line the pan with. I did the same for the bottom of the pan and cut a circle of cake out to be the bake of the dessert.
It was easier than I thought it would be to press the cake into the springform pan. I put the bottom in first and then pressed the strip along the sides and especially where the ends joined. This cake is really flexible and it creates a good seam. Plus once you fill and the filling sets it will hold the cake together as well.
Then the mousse got poured in and it went into the fridge to set. I let it set overnight and unmolded it in the morning.
For the next layer I made a stabilized whipped cream. It tastes and feels exactly the same as regular whipped cream but it has a small amount of gelatin whipped into it. The gelatin prevents the water in the whipped cream from 'weeping' or separating which is what happens when whipping cream sits too long. It keeps its form better than regular whipped cream and you can even use it to ice cakes with instead of icing.
..and eating it. That part is fun too.
I made a mini joconde for this challenge, cake was only a little bit bigger than a cupcake but I'm already planning a much bigger one with multiple layers in it for an upcoming birthday.
This is something that I would have never tried to make if it hadn't been presented to me through the Daring Bakers. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily it came together and I have to thank Astheroshe for picking such an awesome recipe and technique for us.
Many people found the original amount of paste that the recipe made to be waaay way too much. I cut the recipe down to 1/4 using my mad math skills (actually I just halved the amounts, then halved them again)
This makes enough paste to decorate a regular cookie sheet.
3.5 tbsp butter
1/4 cup + 1/8 cup icing sugar
2 egg whites
4tsp + 1/4 cup flour
To make chocolate decorating paste replace 2 of the 4 tsp of flour with coco powder
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand)
- Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
- Fold in sifted flour.
- Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation
- Line a cookie sheet with either a silicon baking mat or a piece of parchment paper help down with a few dots of the paste. Spread or pipe the paste on in any design you want
- Place tray in freezer to harden while you make the sponge
I made half this recipe because I was using such a small spring form pan that I wanted the sponge to be thinner. If you are making a larger dessert then use the whole recipe because you will need a thicker sponge. A half recipe will bake much faster than a whole one so keep your eye on it. Mine baked in just under 6 minutes
¾ cup/ 180 ml/ 3oz/ 85g almond flour/meal - *You can also use hazelnut flour, just omit the butter
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 ml/ 2⅔ oz/ 75g confectioners' (icing) sugar
¼ cup/ 60 ml/ 1 oz/ 25g cake flour
3 large eggs - about 5⅓ oz/ 150g
3 large egg whites - about 3 oz/ 90g
2½ teaspoons/ 12½ ml/ ⅓ oz/ 10g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar
2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/ 1oz / 30g unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 475
- In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.
- Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour. (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl)
- On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light. (If using a stand mixer use blade attachment. If hand held a whisk attachment is fine, or by hand. )
- Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.
- Fold in melted butter.
- Spread over the chilled paste and put in the oven. The cake will bake in anywhere from 6 to 15 minutes. Once the edges are slightly browned and the sponge bounces back when slightly pressed it is done.
- Cool. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from the parchment or mat.
- Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Remove parchment or mat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing. (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)
While the cake cools you prepare your filling(s) of choice and line a spring form pan with plastic wrap. Cutting out pieces of paper that are the same size as the inside of your pan will make it easy for you to cut pieces of cake out to the line the pan with.
Press the bottom into the form first and then the strip that lines the side. Make sure to press the edges together to make a seal and help the dessert keep its form. Then you're ready to fill it with whatever you choose!
Sponge that isn't used right away can be wrapped up tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap and frozen for later use.