The fanciest cake I have ever made, a layer of cheesecake, topped with mousse cake, all wrapped around with a thin vanilla sponge cake with chocolate swirls baked into it. Topped with chocolate swirls and chocolate covered strawberries. Delicious and incredible.
Last month I joined The Daring Kitchen and this was my first Daring Bakers challenge.
Huh? What’s that? The Daring Kitchen is basically a cooking lovers online club where each month somebody hosts a challenge and everybody makes that recipe and then posts about it on their blog. The idea is to get you cooking things outside of your comfort zone and to help you experiment with various techniques and ingredients, to gradually make you a better cook. This month’s baking challenge was a biscuit joconde imprime/entremet.
The joconde is a decorative design baked in to a light sponge cake which you then cut out to form the sides/layers of your cake. An entremet is a dessert with different layers. Does that sound complicated? Well it certainly was.
Definitely the most difficult thing I have ever made.
And when did I decide to do this? When I was home cooking for my mom’s birthday – I thought it would make for a great birthday cake.
First you make the joconde decor paste (which I added cocoa to instead of food coloring) and you spread it out on a silpat and make a design out of it. A silpat is essentially reusable parchment paper – which I asked my mom to buy but she never found it so I used plain old parchment. Maybe this was mistake number 1. Mistake number 2 was that a dumped out alllll of the joconde decor paste instead of just using a little of it.
So instead of a super thin batter design mine was probably 1/2 inch in thickness. Mistake number 3 was that seeing as how my decor paste was double the instructed thickness I should have put it in the freezer for more than the instructed 15 minutes.
Mistake number 4 – after removing decor paste from the freezer I dumped out all of the joconde sponge (which is a light color batter meant to fill in the spaces on the silpat to create the contrasting colors which create the design) over the decor paste and it was way too much. S
o it start dripping everywhere. I’m trying to clean it up while Nika – my already hyperactive dog – is liking it off the floor – simulatenously giving herself both a sugar high AND salmonella. : / Mistake number 5 – I decided that I would trick the batter out of dripping by shoving it in the oven and hoping that it would cook and solidify instaneously. Yea that didn’t happen. Instead…that batter dripped down into the oven – filling the entire house with smoke and setting off the smoke detectors.
Everyones running around, doors and windows are being flung open, mom’s warning gma that the fire truck could very well be on its way. And then the icing on the cake – I open the oven door (which by the way is gas not electric) and the batter that has dribbled down has actually caught on fire and gma and I are now trying to put out the flames before mom sees. This whole experience was definitely unforgettable.
Most importantly – the joconde sponge was not ruined – the design I was going for no longer existed though. : ( Oh well, must make do (since I certainly wasn’t starting all over again). For the cake layers each daring baker was to come up with their own ideas. I decided on a Nilla Wafer cookie crust, vanilla cheesecake, joconde sponge layer, chocolate mousse, whipped cream, chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate spirals. In the end the cake was a success and absolutely delicious, but it most certainly was a ton of work.
- 14 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1½ cups and 1½ tablespoons confectioners sugar
- 7 egg whites
- 1⅓ cup cake flour, sifted
- ¼ cup cocoa, sifted
- ¾ cup almond flour
- ½ cup and 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
- ¼ cup cake flour
- 3 eggs
- 3 egg whites
- 2½ teaspoons white sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 40 Nilla Wafers, processed in food processor
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 24 oz cream cheese, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1⅓ tablespoon butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons kahlua
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- Beat butter and sugar until smooth.
- While continuing to beat slowly add egg whites.
- Fold in sifted flour and sifted cocoa.
- Joconde Sponge
- Recipe from Chef John O at the International Culinary School in Atlanta, GA
- Beat egg whites and sugar until firm peaks form (make sure bowl is clean and dry)!
- In separate bowl sift together almond flour, confectioners sugar and cake flour.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating over medium speed, until just incorporated. Mix until smooth.
- Fold in one third whipped egg whites and then remaining egg whites. Do not over mix.
- Fold in melted butter.
- To Make the Pattern:
- Place silpat (or parchment paper) on upside down baking sheet. Spread decor paste ¼ inch thick and then using pastry comb or your fingers to create designs or put decor paste in piping bag and create designs that way.
- Place in freezer for 15 minutes.
- Pour joconde batter over the design, covering it completely.
- Bake at 475 degrees F 8-15 minutes (do not over bake)!
- Flip cooled cake onto parchment paper sprinkled with confectioners sugar (so it doesn't stick).
- Vanilla Cheesecake
- Recipe adapted from
- All Recipes
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Combine Nilla wafer crumbs and butter and press into the bottom of a 9 inch spring-form pan. Refrigerate while making the batter.
- Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each, until just incorporated. Pour mixture into spring-form pan.
- Bake for 40 minutes turn oven off and leave cheesecake in oven for 45 minutes. Remove, allow to cool down at room temperature and refrigerate overnight.
- Chocolate Mousse
- Recipe from
- Joy of Baking
- Place chocolate chips in stainless steel bowl.
- Over medium heat bring to a boil heavy cream and butter. Pour boiling mixture over chocolate chips.
- Let stand 5 minutes then combine/stir until smooth.
- Leave mixture at room temperature for 45 minutes-1 hour then beat until smooth and creamy.
- Whipped Cream
- In a metal bowl combine heavy cream, vanilla, sugar and Kahlua. Beat over low speed, then gradually increase speed, continuing to beat until soft peaks form and mixture is thick. Be careful not to over beat (basically taste it every now and then and when its delicious and you just want to eat it by the spoonful you’re done).
- Cake Assembly:
- Cut a 2 inch wide strip out of the joconde cake (long enough to wrap inside a 9 inch spring form pan).
- With the spring-form pan locked place the joconde strip along the inside perimeter - making sure that the ends are slightly touching but not overlapping.
- Place the cheesecake inside the spring-form pan. (You will need to trim the sides of the cheesecake to make sure it fits inside the pan with the joconde strip)
- Cut out circle out of joconde cake to place on top of the cheesecake layer -- doesn't matter if its not perfect, just cut pieces and place them next to eachother.
- Spread chocolate mousse on top. Refrigerate so that mousse solidifies.
- Spread whipped cream on top. Refrigerate.
- Garnish with chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate swirls, and melted chocolate drizzled over the cake.