Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chocolate-Coffee Joconde Cakes


I did not expect to fall hopelessly in love with the cute boy who wandered into my life five years ago today. I never imagined I would move 500 miles away from my family to be with him; I certainly never envisioned we would become our own little family of two. Five years ago, Mike and I were just two college students sitting on a futon, passing a Friday evening with an easy, comfortable conversation, oblivious to all other people packed in around us.

As you might imagine, a lot has changed over these past five years. There have been fights and moments I wasn’t sure we would make it. We have both grown into the adult version of ourselves, a tough transition that somehow only brought us closer together. But through everything, the fights, the smiles, the tears, the kisses, a deep love and respect for each other has always prevailed. Tonight we will celebrate the past years that have laid the foundation for the fun, easy relationship we are now so fortunate to share.


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.

While this is not the easiest dessert to create, the process is shockingly similar to making any relationship last: with time, patience, and care even the most difficult moments lead to a beautiful end result. This result just happens to be the perfect dessert to share, snuggled up close with your special someone.

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Chocolate-Coffee Joconde Cakes
active time 1 hour 45 minutes
total time 6 hours 45 minutes
makes 6 4½-inch cakes

Using quality chocolate and coffee beans are essential to achieving a bold flavor in this dessert. I used Guittard chocolates and Stumptown Guatemala finca el injerto bourbon coffee beans. For individual cakes, I used mini-springform pans, but in the future I would likely use a taller cake mold in order to include more mocha bavarian cream in the final cake.

Espresso Syrup
½ cup freshly brewed coffee
¼ cup water, room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar

Milk Chocolate-Coffee Creme Anglaise
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons coffee beans, coarsely ground
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 large egg yolks
¼ cup + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 ounces milk chocolate, melted

Pate a Cigarette Batter
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 large egg white, room temperature
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons cocoa powder, sifted

Chocolate Sheet Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons table salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup grapeseed oil
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Joconde Cake
3 eggs, room temperature
1¼ cups almond flour
3 tablespoons bread flour
½ cup + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 egg whites, room temperature

Chocolate Ganache
2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
8 ounces milk chocolate

Mocha Bavarian Cream
6 tablespoons cold water
2 envelopes gelatin
2 cups milk chocolate-coffee creme anglaise (included above)
3 cups heavy cream, whipped to medium peaks

Preparation Instructions
Espresso Syrup
Bring coffee, sugar, and water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Let cool. Syrup can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Milk Chocolate-Coffee Creme Anglaise
Bring cream, milk, coffee grounds, and salt to a simmer in a pan. Remove from heat. Cover and let steep for 45 minutes.

Prepare and ice-water bath. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan and then return to a low simmer. Add 1 cup cream mixture to yolk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Pour in remaining cream mixture, whisking to combine. Return cream-yolk mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture coats the back of a spoon and registers 180°F, about 2 minutes. Pour through a sieve into a bowl and set in ice-water bath. Let cool, stirring often. Creme anglaise can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature and whisk before using.

Pate a Cigarette Batter
In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and confectioner’s sugar on medium-high speed until very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in egg white until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add flour and cocoa powder, beat until combined and no visible lumps of dry ingredients remain, about 1 minute on medium-low speed.

Chocolate Sheet Cake
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a half-sheet tray (or two quarter-sheet trays) with non-stick spray and line with parchment.

Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, grapeseed oil, and melted butter. Pour liquid ingredients into sifted dry ingredients. Paddle on medium speed until just combined. Pour in boiling water and paddle until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Pour batter into prepared pan(s), smoothing top with an offset spatula until an even layer is created. Firmly rap the pans on a hard surface to bring any air bubbles to the surface. Bake until edges just begin to pull away from sides of the pan, center is set, and a toothpick inserted into the center emerges cleanly, about 14 minutes.

Allow cakes to cool in pans for about 5 minutes. When pans are cool enough to handle, gently invert cake out of pan, remove parchment paper, and turn right side up to allow to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Joconde Cake
Line one half-sheet tray or two quarter-sheet trays with parchment, then place monogram pattern under the parchment as a guide. Pipe pate a cigarette batter (recipe above) onto parchment, tracing pattern. Transfer to refrigerator until firm, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°F. Using a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat eggs, flours, ½ cup sugar, and salt on medium speed for 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add melted butter. Raise speed to high and beat for 5 minutes.

In a clean mixing bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy. Gradually whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and beat until still, but not dry, peaks form. By hand, lighten batter by folding in one-third of stiff egg whites until mixtures are homogeneous. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites in two batches.

When piping has set, carefully transfer each piece of parchment with piping to clean, room temperature trays prepared with non-stick spray. Pour batter into prepared pan(s) over the piping. Gently spread the batter evenly across the pan, taking care not to touch the piping. Rap tray(s) firmly on counter to remove any air bubbles.

Bake until tops are pale golden brown and bottoms are set, but still pale in color, lifting corner to check, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool in pan(s) for 5 minutes. Run tip of a pairing knife around cake edges. Sprinkle tops generously with sugar to prevent sticking and invert cakes onto wire rack set over a piece of parchment paper. Let cool for 3 minutes, then carefully peel off parchment. Let cool for 10 minutes more, then trim cake into desired strip size. Use immediately or store. To store, lay cake strips, piped sides down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Chocolate Ganache
Prepare an ice-water bath. Bring cream to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat. Place chocolates in heatproof bowl. When cream is simmering, pour liquid over chocolate, allow to stand for 1 minute, and whisk smooth. Place bowl into ice-water bath, whisking often and allow mixture to cool and thicken, about 5 minutes. For piping, immediately transfer half of the ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch plain round tip [note: I used Ateco #802]. Refrigerate remaining ganache.

Mocha Bavarian Cream
Prepare an ice-water bath. Put the cold water into a heatproof bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water in an even layer, and whisk gently to remove lumps. Let soften, about 5 minutes.

Set bowl of gelatin over a pan of simmering water and whisk until dissolved. Add half of the creme anglaise, whisking to combine, then whisk in remaining creme anglaise. Place over the ice-water bath and whisk constantly until cooled and beginning to thicken, but do not allow to become lumpy. Remove from the ice-water bath. Whisk in one-third of the whipped cream, then fold in remaining whipped cream in two batches. For piping, immediately transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch plain round tip [note: I used Ateco #806].

Assembly Instructions
Line interior of each mold with a strip of joconde cake cake, piped side facing out. Trim strips to fit exactly into the mold if needed; the ends should meet. Brush interior of joconde strips with coffee syrup. Cut chocolate sheet cake into circles sized to fit snugly in between the joconde strip. Cut chocolate cakes circles in half horizontally, creating two even layers. Fit the bottom layer of chocolate cake into the molds, crumb side up, and brush with coffee syrup.

Pipe a layer of ganache onto chocolate cake rounds, and smooth with a small spoon. Pipe Bavarian cream onto ganache layers, filling each mold about two-thirds full. Pipe another layer of ganache onto Bavarian cream, then top with a chocolate joconde round. Refrigerate until cream is firm, at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.

About 30 minutes before serving, rewarm remaining ganche in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Warm until ganache is melted and free of lumps, remove from heat, and allow to come to room temperature. When ready, the ganache should be thick, but still pourable.

To serve, unmold cakes and place on a wire rack set over a piece of parchment. Using a small spoon, pour just enough glaze on each cake to cover the top; do not let it drip down the sides. Let stand until set, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.


  1. What sweetness!!! beautiful idea for St Valentine's Day! :-D

  2. love love love!!!!!!!!! ... i'm inspired with this blog.cakes on line

  3. I love your post, your story, your honesty, your photos, and especially your finished dessert. You did a beautiful job with every aspect of this. Really awesome job.

  4. Beautiful...infact even I have used the same mocha bavarian cream in mine ;-)

  5. Your entremets are adorable! I love how tiny they are. Nice work on this challenge!

  6. Lovely work on the joconde. Love the aerial photos of the construction, too. Yum.

  7. That is beautiful! Love the little cakes and the "love" writing ont he side. And your photos are gorgeous!

  8. What a super sweet post! Both the words and the cake! Your relationship gives me hope that I will someday meet someone who will become as special to me as Mike is to you.

    And this cake is gorgeous. Truly. Beautiful.

  9. oh my goodness! these sound delicious and LOOK amazing! what talent! i love the designs in the cake and how the camera picked up the texture of the cake. beautiful!

  10. This is the most beautiful cake I've ever seen. You did an amazing job. And I love your photos!

  11. Lovely! This is such a quintessential French cake! The "love" embossing is great!!

  12. Oh my goodness!! These are some of the most beautiful little cakes I've ever seen! So impressed!

  13. love the writing and the photos - beautiful :)

  14. I can feel the love you bring to your relationship and to your baking! These desserts are beautiful, and so is your story! Thank you for sharing both!

  15. I know I am redundant but I love this... amazing... I have never ever seen this technique but can't wait to try it. Plus I know how it is with those Mikes once you get them talking they will never be quiet, I married one too :)

  16. Beautiful and cute! I love your photos and your wonderful entrements. Great job!

  17. Beautifully done! All that chocolate looks delicious.

  18. wow that is so cute! just like ribbons around the cake. good job!
    Thanks for inspiration :)

  19. Yummy! So beautiful and delicious at the same time. It makes my mouth waters in an instant!

  20. I just LOVE your love entremet it is so cute and the flavour combination is stunning great work it sounds so delicious.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  21. HERMOSO simplemente HERMOSO
    that cake is a work of art! simply amazing!!!
    I have seen many entries in this challenge and yours just blew me away......Great job.

  22. sweet end lovely recipes
    goreoeus pics too

  23. you are incredible, perfect work,
    i want to try it for my sweety for valentin's day,


  24. I love Valentine's Day desserts, and yours looks so, so delicious! You should really consider submitting this to Recipe4Living's Valentine's Day Recipe Contest! You could win a GreenPan Stainless Steel Todd's Perfect Gourmet Cook Set!

  25. For the Joconde cake:
    "Let cook for 10 minutes more, then trim cake into desired strip size."

    Should that say cool?

  26. Hi Alma: Thank you so much for catching that - I have corrected the recipe above!

  27. Hello! A baking tray is too big to get inside a freezer. Can I decorate in small parchment paper and then freeze it? THEN on a BIG TRAY, Lay a parchment paper on it. After the decoration cools, bring out the small parchment papers from the fridge. Without even removing the parchment paper, assemble them on the BIG TRAY CONTAINING the parchment paper and then pour the cake batter over it. Can I do that? I hope I can explain to you what I am trying to say.

    Also, how thick should the joconde spread aka joconde sponge (not the decorated spread) should be, after it has been spread on to the tray?

    Also, how thick should the decoration should be? I would like to pipe my decoration. How small or big should the piping nozzle should be?



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