Thursday, 27 January 2011

Daring Bakers' Challenge No. 3 - Jan 2011 - Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet.

Oh wow - you really have to go the Daring Kitchen Home Page and look at the gallery of photos of all the entremets made by the daring bakers this month.  So many stunningly creative ideas and beautifully presented desserts.

The January 2011 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of blog Accro.  She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

Well, this was a challenge too far for me, I'm afraid.  I am not patient enough or precise enough and with the kids running around getting bored of me fickering with my sponges, mousses and jellies, I ended up with a bit of a failure.  However, I am impressed with myself for giving it ago after my initial reaction was to have this month off and I have also learned loads from my mistakes this time round which may mean I might pluck up the courage to have another go!

I decided to do a chocolate orange concoction and so started off with making the Joconde Imprime with a chocolate design. I wanted to do the boys' names so I started by having to draw them backwards with the chocolate Joconde-decor paste.

I froze this then spread over the joconde sponge layer and put in the oven.  Mistake number one - I used a flat baking sheet with no sides and the sponge mixture started to slide off the side of the baking sheet in the oven until it set in the heat.  I therefore ended up with the first parts of the names looking okay and the ends just being a mushy mess.  Hee hee.  It's okay - my kids can't read anyway.

I can see, though, that the contrast between the chocolate decor paste and the plain sponge is really effective.  If I try this again, though, I would like to do something in colour - some of the bakers did absolutely stunning designs with beautiful, bright colours - really impressive.

I then layered up my entremet with layers of chocolate sponge (just used Delia's basic sponge recipe), a milk chocolate mousse and a white chocolate orange mousse.

I then got to my next mistake which was the jelly but by this point I wasn't really caring that much anymore.  The first jelly I left to set too long and found it solid and we were getting to the end of the day when the kids were playing up and I get stressed on a normal day.  So, the next time I did it, I knew it wasn't set enough but I poured it in anyway, and of course it just soaked through the sponge and out the bottom of the cake pan.

So, all in all, this is not a beautiful dessert but it is a great lesson - I think I could do much better next time.

Recipe - 

Joconde imprime /entremets. A joconde imprime (French Baking term) is a decorative design baked into a light sponge cake providing an elegant finish to desserts/torts/entremets/ formed in ring molds.

A joconde batter is used because it bakes into a moist, flexible cake. The cake batter may be tinted or marbleized for a further decorative effect.

This Joconde/spongecake requires attentive baking so that it remains flexible to easily conform to the molds. If under baked it will stick to the baking mat. It over baked it will dry out and crack. Once cooled, the sponge may be cut into strips to line any shape ring mold.

Entremets (French baking term)- an ornate dessert with many different layers of cake and pastry creams in a mold, usually served cold. Think Trifle in a mold vs. a glass bowl.

A joconde imprime is the outside cake wrapper of the Entremets dessert.

Read through the whole recipe first. This looks more difficult than it is. Very simple ingredients. The baking and execution is the challenge - the assembly can be the most time consuming.

Joconde Sponge
YIELD: Two 1⁄2 size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan
3⁄4 cup/ 180 ml/ 3oz/ 85g almond flour/meal - *You can also use hazelnut flour, just omit the butter
1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 ml/ 22⁄3 oz/ 75g confectioners' (icing) sugar
1⁄4 cup/ 60 ml/ 1 oz/ 25g cake flour (I just used plain)           
3 large eggs - about 51⁄3 oz/ 150g
3 large egg whites - about 3 oz/ 90g
21⁄2 teaspoons/ 121⁄2 ml/ 1⁄3 oz/ 10g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar
2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/ 1oz / 30g unsalted butter, melted

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.

Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste
YIELD: Two 1⁄2 size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan
Ingredients (Should halve this recipe next time)

14 tablespoons/ 210ml/ 7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened
11⁄2 cups plus11⁄2 tablespoons/ 385ml/ 7oz/ 200g Confectioners' (icing) sugar
7 large egg whites - about 7 oz / 200g
13⁄4 cup/ 420ml/ 73⁄4 oz/ 220g cake flour (or use plain 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.

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.

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.
3.                  Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer. Freeze hard. Approx 15 minutes.
4.                  Remove from freezer. Quickly pour the Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the Décor paste.
5.                  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.
6.                  Cool. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from mat. 7.            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:
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 1⁄2 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.
3.                  Cut PVC pipe from your local hardware store. Very cheap! These can be cut into any height you wish to make a mold. 2 to 3 inches is good. My store will cut them for me, ask an employee at your store. You can get several for matching individual desserts. Cling wrap and parchment line, as outlined above.
4.                  Glass Trifle bowl. You will not have a free standing dessert, but you will have a nice pattern to see your joconde for this layered dessert.

Preparing the Jaconde for Molding:
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 1⁄2 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
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.)
4.            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.
5.            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.

Entremet- Filling Options:
It is nice to have a completed dessert so you can unmold and see the Joconde working. Fill with anything you desire. Layers of different flavors and textures! However, it needs to be something cold that will not fall apart when unmolded.
Mousses, pastry creams, Bavarian creams, cheesecakes, puddings, curds, jams, cookie bases, more cake (bake off the remaining sponge and cut to layer inside), nuts, Dacquoise, fresh fruit, chocolates, gelee.


  1. Well, I for one am very impressed, just the writing backwards thing would have felled me. I have never seen one of these before. I think for a first attempt it is fantastic and it looks delicious.

  2. Thank you Kath. It did taste good! I wrote their names on the other side of the parchment then turned it over to give me a faint guide.

  3. Wow! That looks amazing :) That's hard core cakery!

  4. Hi Peapod!
    Yes, a bit too hardcore for me. I was making all sorts of excuses about having distracting children and not being able to neglect them for long enough to complete this properly but then other Mums (some with newborns like C Mom Cook - ) have just put me to shame! Oh well.

  5. I think it is pretty good AND VERY YUMMY! I could have that slice eight now!! Love the idea of handwriting!

  6. Thanks Renata - you are always so encouraging.

  7. I think your dessert looks fabulous. I love your idea of trying to write your boys names into the sponge. I don't envy you trying to write backwards though!

  8. Genius idea with the parchment, see I would never have thought of that...

  9. i'm hugely impressed but I want you to know I will never ever try this... too much hard work... i'd have eaten the cake before I even got around to writing something on it!... well done you tho x

  10. I think it looks great, and I am sure it was absolutely delicious. This was definitely a learning challenge, for sure! I love that you put your boys' names right in the cake - I am sure they loved it.

  11. Wasn't this fun??! Yours looks so yummy. I love the names!

  12. I really like the idea of piping names for the imprime. And white chocolate and orange sounds yummy!

  13. Your cake looks great. I was one of those mom's who used the kids as an excuse so I am doubly impressed you got it done.

  14. Writing backwards? Making molds out of PVC pipe? This is surely baking for James Bond-style cooks! I think it looks exquisite - especially bearing in mind that most patissiers don't work with small children underfoot (or execute this sort of thing in their time off from their busy, stressful jobs). I take my hat off to you (backwards)!

  15. I have to return the sentiment - WOW! Beautiful entremet and love the writing!

  16. Lisa - thanks but just not in your league at all.
    Everyone - check out Lisa's blog to see her AMAZING entremet!