It’s the 27th of January. What does that mean, besides the fact that February is right around the corner? It means that it’s time to post about the January Daring Bakers’ Challenge, which was, well, a visually impressive challenge.
I freaking made a cake with hearts on the outside! For Valentine’s Day! And there’s pink! Isn’t that a sight!
Bragging aside, 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. You should check out the .pdf file of her full instructions, because I’m just going to go over the interesting parts here.
Joconde Sponge Ingredients
¾ cup almond flour
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
¼ cup cake flour
3 large eggs
3 large egg whites
2½ teaspoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks; set aside. Sift together almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, and cake flour, then add the eggs one at a time on medium speed until smooth and light. Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites and then fold in melted butter. Set aside.
Then I moved on to make the pink paste that would yield those beautiful hearts on the outside of the dessert.
Joconde-Décor Paste Ingredients
7 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cups powdered sugar
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup cake flour
Few drops red food coloring
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then gradually add egg whites; beat continuously. Fold in sifted flour and tint batter with red food coloring until pink.
Now for the fun part: making that design happen. First, I sketched out lines of hearts on parchment paper cut to fit a 10 inch by 15 inch jelly roll pan.
Then, using a pastry bag and fine piping tip, I filled in the design with my tinted décor paste.
I moved the paper onto the pan and slid it into the freezer for 15 minutes, and then poured about 2/3 of the batter onto the piped design. I poured the remaining batter into a 9 inch springform pan lined with parchment paper to give the final product a cake-like bottom, and baked both at 475ºF for about 10 minutes. I flipped the jelly roll pan over onto parchment paper prepped with powdered sugar, and allowed the cake to cool slightly before peeling back the top layer of parchment paper to reveal my heart design.
Even though the instructions said to bake for 15 minutes, 10 minutes actually slightly overbrowned this. Jessica over at Bake Me Away! noted that the overbaked portions simply look like zebra stripes and I ought to pretend this was the look I was going for.
That aside, I pressed ahead, cutting out the cake into strips 2 inches thick, which I’d sketched out on the parchment paper to ensure that hearts weren’t broken (woka woka woka).I removed the thin bottom cake layer from the springform pan, put the pan out on my balcony so that the freezing cold temperatures could quickly cool it, and lined the pan bottom and sides with parchment paper and plastic wrap so that I could use it as my entremet mold. I put the prepared cake bottom in the pan, and then lined the sides with the precut strips, pressing the cake edges together to achieve a continuous outer layer of cake.
After finishing “the hard part,” I filled the cake with lemon white chocolate mousse.And doesn’t it look like it needs more white chocolate?
Yes, I do believe it does. So: Raspberry white chocolate ganache.
Raspberry White Chocolate Ganache Ingredients
12 ounces chopped white chocolate (Callebaut)
¾ cup heavy cream
6 ounces pureed and strained raspberries
Heat cream and white chocolate over low heat until chocolate is just melted, remove from heat and stir smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature, periodically stirring, then add the raspberries. Chill slightly before spreading over lemon white chocolate mousse layer.
Allow entire cake to chill overnight, then impress everybody around with the beautiful design on the outside and the tasty layers inside.
In case you were keeping track, there’s a pound and a half of white chocolate and almost a quart of cream in this thing.
Just a little on the rich side. Best to enjoy small slices. Often.
Have you previously wondered how entrements desserts were made?