(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.)
I’m never good at artistic Daring Bakers recipes, so I put this one off until the end of the month. The idea was simple – make a decorated sponge cake to wrap around a filling. The recipe called for almond flour in the cake, so I figured a cherry mousse would be the perfect filling.
And if the center was going to be cherry, then the design on the cake should also be cherries.
I started by mixing up a half batch of the Joconde Paste. It was very simple – some butter, some sugar, a lot of eggs, and a bit of flour. I used my good gel candy colors to get a bright red and green:
Piping it was fun and easy. I laid out two long rows of cherries for the “wrappers”, and a few more because I had more room left.
They went in the freezer for 15 minutes to solidify, so they wouldn’t get distorted when I poured the cake over them.
The sponge cake was easy, too. Cake and almond flour, more eggs (the entire recipe took 13 eggs, 10 of them whites only, so I have 10 egg yolks in the fridge waiting for a use), a bit of sugar.
The eggs got beaten into a foam, then folded back into the batter. I was careful not to deflate the eggs, but my sponge came out a bit thick. A bit more melted butter would have helped, but I didn’t realize it was too thick until it was baked – and by then, I was out of eggs.
My pretty piped cherries flatted a bit after baking, and Mike thought they looked more like Christmas tree lights. I just don’t have the artistic gene.
I used some small Corning Ware bowls for molds. My sponge was thick enough that a biscuit-sized version wouldn’t have had enough room for filling, but I thought a springform-pan sized one might lack structural stability.
I cut the wrapper too short on the first one:
But I got the second one right. I think if the sponge had been warmer, the ends would have stuck together better, but they did okay even cold. I should have used a ruler and pizza cutter to get the edges more straight.
I filled the center with a basic cherry mousse – some whipped cream and a bag of chopped frozen cherries. It would have been improved with a bit of almond extract. You can see that the wrapper came a bit unstuck, but it held together.
This wasn’t really part of the challenge, but I took some of the random bits and make little “sandwich cakes” with them. These little ones would have made great finger food for a party, maybe with a very firm pastry cream inside.
All in all, it was a fun challenge. Next time I’ll make sure to spread the sponge thinner, and think more carefully about how the backside of the decorations will come out.
Or maybe I’ll just wait for the holidays, and then the Christmas tree light design will be perfect!
( see the cake recipes )
( see the mousse recipe )