Archive for January, 2011

Joconde Imprime

Wow. What a great challenge this month for the DB’s. The host this month was Astheroshe from the Blog, accroShe chose an excellent french dessert, “Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entrement“. Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? AND it looks even fancier! Don’t be intimidated by this though. A Joconde is simply an almond based sponge cake that is imprinted with a design. It is then cooled and placed into mold, then usually filled with a mousse or bavarian cream type filling, but can also be filled with cheesecake, ice cream, semifreddo,pudding, daquoise, etc…  While there were multiple steps involved I was pleasantly surprised at how relatively easy it came together. Oh, and how beautiful it is to look at!!! this is definately a wow factor dessert. I filled mine with a layer of dark chocolate cherry mousse, then a layer of sponge, followed by a layer of toasted coconut mousse. I topped the whole thing off with a layer of orange/grand marnier gelee. It was the perfect ending to the dinner party I hosted over the weekend. Lot’s of “did you really make that?” type of comments. I was actually quite impressed, if I do say so myself.

A few things to keep in mind when taking this on. Think about what you want to make your pattern with. You can use a cake comb or just go to the hardware store and use a comb sold for laying tile adhesive. You could a stencil like I did,  find something around your kitchen that might make an interesting pattern, or use a piping bag and freehand a design. The sponge is very moist and pliable so it is easy to cut and place into a mold. I will say though that it cooks up very fast. My sponge cake was done in 7 minutes flat. Do not walk out of the kitchen while it is in the oven, it will be done before you know it. You must also flip your cake out no more than 2 minutes after it comes out of the oven or else it will not release. I learned that the hard way and had to bake a second sponge… arghhh!

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. You will be making two different batters; a joconde decor paste for the design (this is also called pate a cigarette batter), and the almond flour based joconde sponge batter. Make the decor paste first and after you have your design/pattern laid out on your silpat, place the sheet in the freezer while you make the sponge batter. I also cut the decor paste recipe in half (this is reflected below) since the original recipe yielded way too much as well as switched the order in making it so it would be easier to follow.

Other than that, have fun!!!!!!

Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste

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

7 tablespoons/ 105 ml/ 3 1/2 oz/ 100g unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup plus2 teaspoons/ 192 ml/ 3 1/2 oz/ 100g Confectioners’ (icing) sugar
3 large egg whites – about 3 1/2 oz / 100g
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon/ 210ml/ 4 oz/ 110g 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.


  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. While this is in the freezer prepare the sponge batter

      Joconde Sponge

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

      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/


      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. Remove the sheet with the decor paste design from the freezer. Quickly pour the Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the Décor paste
      7. 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.
      8. Cool. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from mat.
      9. 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.)

      You can use any type of mold you want such as a springform pan, a trifle dish, ring molds, pvc pipe cut to size, or just acetate cut and taped together.

    4. 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.


    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.)
    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.


2 cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate, melted
4 tablespoons maraschino cherries, chopped
2 Tablespoons maraschino cherry juice

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, lightly beat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream until whipped; set aside.
In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks until fluffy, 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring remaining 1/2 cup cream and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. With the mixer running, add hot cream mixture to egg yolks in a slow, steady stream.
Gently fold in chocolate and whipped cream followed by the maraschino cherries and juice.
Fill your joconde mold about 2/3 the way up with the chocolate mousse. You will have some leftover (just spoon into small glasses for a treat later). Place a layer of sponge on top of this and place in the refrigerator while you make the coconut mousse.


1 (13- to 14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 can (398 ml) coconut milk
About 1/4 cup whole milk
2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (from two 1/4-ounce packages)
1/2 cup well-chilled heavy cream
4 large egg whites
3/4 C toasted desiccated coconut

Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and 1 cup coconut milk in a large bowl.
Pour remaining coconut milk into a 1-cup glass measure and add enough whole milk to bring total to 1 cup, then transfer to a small saucepan.
Sprinkle gelatin over milk mixture in saucepan and let stand 1 minute to soften, then heat over moderate heat, whisking occasionally, until gelatin is dissolved (do not let boil). Whisk into sweetened condensed milk mixture in large bowl until combined. Quick-chill by putting bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stirring occasionally until mixture is the consistency of raw egg whites, about 10 minutes. Remove bowl from ice bath.
Beat cream with an electric mixer until it holds soft peaks, then fold cream into coconut mixture gently but thoroughly.
Using cleaned beaters, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks, then fold into coconut mixture gently but thoroughly. Gently fold in the toasted coconut. It is now ready to place on the mold. Spoon in into the mold so it goes over the top of the sponge cake by about 1 inch. Place in the fridge until set, about 2 hours.


3/4 cup orange marmalade
1/2 c water
2 tsp gelatin
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Place the marmalade and the water in a saucepan and heat over low heat until runny. Pour through a strainer to remove the rind bits. Place back into the saucepan and add the gelatin. Over very low heat, gently stir until the gelatin mixture is completely dissolved. Stir in the Grand Marnier. Let cool to room temperature and then carefully pour over the coconut mousse layer.

After the cake is completely set, 3-4 hours total, carefully release it from your mold and take away the parchment.

Video: MUST WATCH THIS. This is a very good demo of the joconde and filling the entremets:

Coconut mousse adapted from:  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Coconut-Mousse-238416#ixzz1CIEU2t19

Chocolate mousse: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/eric-snow-chocolate-mousse

Read Full Post »

I was asked by a friend of mine to create some cupcakes for her daughter’s 7th birthday. She was taking the kiddies to see “The Wizard Of Oz”  with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra  playing the soundtrack. Since the birthday girl was already going to be wearing ruby red shoes and half of them were boys (I didn’t want something too girly), I came up with this design. It is a red velvet cupcake with a shot of buttercream injected into the middle. It is covered with a thin layer of raspberry jam and then decorated with homemade fondant.

Makes 12 cupcakes

filled with buttercream and covered with a thin layer of warmed jam

1  1/4 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
1 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I use Fryes)
1/2 teaspoon salt 
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups vegetable oil
1 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set Aside.

In  your mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and oil. Beat in the egg and the vanilla.  Add the red coloring and mix together for 3 minutes.This ensures that the coloring is evenly distributed. Add the flour in 2 batches , alternating with the buttermilk (what this means: add half of the flour, mix until it is incorporated, then add the buttermilk, mix ing until it is incorporatd, then add the remaining flour). In a seperate little bowl, mix together the baking soda and the vinegar (this will foam) and add it the batter. Beat together for 10-15 seconds.

Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups. Fill each one 3/4 of the way up – no more, or else they will crown over the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes (mine were done in exactly 15 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a rack for at least  15 minutes before removing the cupcakes.  Frost as desired. These will keep for at least 3 days in a covered bin and freeze very well for 2 months.

must be made at least 1 day in advance of using
75 ml water
1 tbsp + 1 tsp gelatin granules (one envelope, such as Knox)
6 ounces of light white corn syrup
1 1/2 tablespoon glycerin
2 Tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 pounds confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
5 ounces of melted chocolate (I like to add the chocolate as it gives your fondant a delicious depth of flavour, but it is optional)do not use candy based couverture or baking wafers unless they are real chocolate. I use Callebaut or Ghirardelli.

Put the gelatine,water, glycerine,veg. shortening and corn syrup into a small saucepan and very gently warm it until the gelatine dissolves and it is clear. Never let it come to a boil.

In a very large bowl, pour the mixture over the confectioners sugar and mix well. It will still be very soft. Knead in the chocolate, if using. Place the mixture into a ziploc bag and let it set up overnight. The next day, if needed, you can knead in some extra confectioners sugar until it is the consistency you want. At this point you can color your fondant if you wish. Please use gel colorings for this.





cake recipe loosely adapted from: Red Velvet Cupcakes – Martha Stewart Recipes

Read Full Post »

Macadamia Nut and Coconut Bars


Extravagant. That is the word to describe these. Lots of Macadamia nuts, coconut, butter and brown sugar. Divine could certainly also be used to describe these. Be warned, you will not be able to stop at one….

 This will make 32 bars

Bottom Layer

1/2 C (4 oz) unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon
1/2 C packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour

Beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until mixed. Beat in the egg and salt, and then, on low-speed, add the flour and beat only until incorporated.

Line a 9 x 13 inch pan as described earlier in Creole Pecan Bars. Then take the 1 tablespoon of butter and put it in the pan. Place the pan in the oven until the butter melts. Then, spread the butter all over the bottom and sides of the pan with a crumpled piece of plastic wrap and put the pan in the freezer or fridge until you are ready to put in the base.

Scatter the mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan and spread it our with your fingertips (It will be necessary to reflour your fingertips often).Form an even layer.

Bake for 15 minutes, until set. Remove the pan from the oven but do not turn it off.

Top Layer

1 1/2 C (7 oz) salted macadamia nuts
2 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 C packed light brown sugar
2 C (6 ounces) packed sweetened shredded coconut

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, vanilla, and sugar until thoroughly mixed. Beat in the sifted ingredients. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the coconut (reserve the remaining coconut) and the nuts.

Use a spoon and place the mixture evenly on top of the bottom layer (It’s okay if it is still warm from baking). With the back of the spoon, spread it into a smooth even layer (it will be thin). Sprinkle on the balance of the coconut.

Bake for 25 minutes, until it is a nice golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Then flip it over, using another cookie sheet, peel off the foil, then flip it back over.

Place it in the fridge for at least 3 hours or in the freezer for an hour before cutting into slices for a clean cut.

Source: Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies

Read Full Post »

                                                                                                                         HAPPY NEW YEAR!

For the past 3 or 4 years, every time I come home to New York for the holidays, I always seem to take out the Martha Stewart Christmas Cookbook. I have made several of the items over the years but have always wanted to try this one. I thought it would be great for a Christmas night dessert. The problem is, it’s a frozen dessert, and my relatives all live at least 30 minutes away, so I have always just turned the page and looked at other things to try. Well.. this year, my mom had her friends over for a New Years Day luncheon and the lightbulb went off in my head (!), and I thought this would be perfect. After a lunch of an Asparagus and potato frittata, mixed seafood salad, cold jumbo shrimp with caper-lemon mayonnaise, and San-Francisco sourdough rolls, we dug into the gingerbread roll. The cake deluxe, but the filling…Oh my! It is a calvados scented semifreddo that is just heavenly. It was served with a spiced cranberry coulis on the side. I though it would be the perfect ending to celebrate  the start of the New Year. And it was.

Get the recipe here

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: