Whew this month has been a trip. I’ve been doing outpatient medicine, and my job is basically to talk to people. ALL sorts of people.  So far:

-An elderly lady with the same life history as my grandmother. She was born in East Prussia (a country that no longer exists!) And managed to evade the Russians by escaping to Germany during WWII.  Even more interesting though is that after the war her and her family escaped from East Germany to West Germany by sneaking across the Berlin Wall!

-An 80 year old man, healthy as a horse! who spends his time traveling all over the world (he showed me every picture from his most recent cruise) and growing orchids. He brings a few to the doctor every visit. I got a beautiful orange one. He also insisted on calling me doctor 🙂

But anyway, I’m starting to get as long winded as my patients. Let’s talk about the challenge at hand: Biscuit  Joconde Imprime/Entremet, or…Dinosaur Cake!

This was a lesson in blind faith.

Did you ever play that game as a kid where you stand on a table or a deck and fall backwards and trust 6 friends with scrawny arms will catch you?  And then they do?

I had that same feeling when making this cake. You start by piping a design, then over the next few days…you cover it, bake it, trim it, invert it, mold it, fill it…not even getting to make sure it looks ok and at the very end you unwrap it and hope it doesn’t fall to pieces!

You can do it though, you just gotta have faith.

Blog-checking lines: 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.

Joconde Sponge

YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

Ingredients:
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 *See note below
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

*Note: How to make cake flour: http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2009/09/how-to-make-cake-flour/

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour. (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl)
  3. 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. )
  4. 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.
  5. Fold in melted butter.
  6. Reserve batter to be used later.

Egg whites are miraculous.

Note: I decided to make this hazelnut-chocolate by adding 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and substituting ground hazelnuts instead of almond meal. I also opted to keep the butter even though I substituted hazelnuts.

Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste

YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

Ingredients
14 tablespoons/ 210ml/ 7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups plus1½ tablespoons/ 385ml/ 7oz/ 200g Confectioners’ (icing) sugar
7 large egg whites – about 7 oz / 200g
1¾ cup/ 420ml/ 7¾ oz/ 220g cake flour
Food coloring gel, paste or liquid

COCOA Décor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to 6 oz / 170g. Add 2 oz/ 60 g cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to creamed mixture.

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand)
  2. Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
  3. Fold in sifted flour.
  4. Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation.

Note: I did not use food coloring, I just left it white. Also I recommend making half a batch.

Who wants to cover this beautifully piped decor paste with cake batter?!

Preparing the Joconde- How to make the pattern:


  1. Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 1/4 inch (5 millimeter) thick onto silicone baking mat with a spatula, or flat knife. Place mat on an upside down baking sheet. The upside down sheet makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan.
  2. Pattern the décor paste – Here is where you can be creative. Make horizontal /vertical lines (you can use a knife, spatula, cake/pastry comb). Squiggles with your fingers, zig zags, wood grains. Be creative whatever you have at home to make a design can be used. OR use a piping bag. Pipe letters, or polka dots, or a piped design. If you do not have a piping bag. Fill a ziplock bag and snip off corner for a homemade version of one.

Note: As you can tell I chose to pipe the design. I drew my pattern on paper, then taped them underneath the parchment paper so I would have a guide to piping the dinosaurs. After the paste was frozen, I pulled out from under the parchment before baking.

Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer. Freeze hard. Approx 15 minutes.

Remove from freezer. Quickly pour the Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the Décor paste.

  1. Bake at 475ºF /250ºC until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approx. 15 minutes. You can bake it as is on the upside down pan. Yes, it is a very quick bake, so watch carefully. NOTE: took only 7 minutes for me…watch VERY carefully!
  2. Cool. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from mat.
  3. Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Remove silpat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)

Preparing the MOLD for entremets:

You can use any type of mold. I would suggest:

This is where it starts to look like an art project…

  1. Start with a large piece of parchment paper laid on a very flat baking sheet. Then a large piece of cling wrap over the parchment paper. Place a spring form pan ring, with the base removed, over the cling wrap and pull the cling wrap tightly up on the outside of the mold. Line the inside of the ring with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping top edge by ½ inch. CUT the parchment paper to the TOP OF THE MOLD. It will be easier to smooth the top of the cake.
  2. A biscuit cutter/ cookie cutter- using cling wrap pulled tightly as the base and the cling covering the outside of the mold, placed on a parchment lined very flat baking sheet. Line the inside with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping.

  1. Trim the cake of any dark crispy edges. You should have a nice rectangle shape.
  2. Decide how thick you want your “Joconde wrapper”. Traditionally, it is ½ the height of your mold. This is done so more layers of the plated dessert can be shown. However, you can make it the full height.
  3. Once your height is measured, then you can cut the cake into equal strips, of height and length. (Use a very sharp paring knife and ruler.)

  1. Make sure your strips are cut cleanly and ends are cut perfectly straight. Press the cake strips inside of the mold, decorative side facing out. Once wrapped inside the mold, overlap your ends slightly. You want your Joconde to fit very tightly pressed up to the sides of the mold. Then gently push and press the ends to meet together to make a seamless cake. The cake is very flexible so you can push it into place. You can use more than one piece to “wrap “your mold, if one cut piece is not long enough.
  2. The mold is done, and ready to fill.

*Note: If not ready to use. Lay cake kept whole or already cut into strips, on a flat surface, wrap in parchment and several layers of cling wrap and freeze.

Filling options

I haven’t included recipes for filling the cake because I believe it’s more fun to come up with that on your own.

Mine included dark chocolate raspberry mocha cake…

Raspberry mocha mousse…

 

In three layers…

Topped with chocolate ganache

And raspberry jam

I wished I had more time to decorate the top, but sadly I did not. I think it turned out ok anyway 🙂

 

It’s a piece of cake!

 

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