This final challenge is supposed to be a test of skills, combining texture, flavor, and techniques. Contestants were using different kinds of cake–Jaconde, Dacquoise, Genoese–adding layers of mousses and jellies and glazes. Sometimes 6 different flavors at once…seemed a bit excessive, but this was the semi-finals and you gotta pull out all the stops to make it to the finals! Decoration and chocolate work and encased fruits, oh my!
I know this is getting down to the finals of finding the Best Baker, and I’m not at that level, so I know that my attempt will take a lot longer and be simplified. Now it doesn’t help that my dishwasher is having issues, and my son is in the school play and rehearsals are interrupting my time, and my daughter is on the golf team so practices and tournaments and driver’s ed, and two birthdays are in the same week and…..AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!
So yeah, it’s been a little stressful.
However, I decided that today I was going to start this project.
First to find a recipe for cake. There are a few out there, but they have different cook times depending on the various kinds of tins you put them in. Here’s Paul Hollywood’s recipe for a summer fruit cake here; and of course, there are the large Genoese cakes used to make sandwich cakes here. But I thought I’d look up the one that Mary Berry did for the Masterclass which is here, the Double Chocolate Mousse Entremets using a jaconde sponge.
The first part of this recipe is mixing up the chocolate icing which you paint out your designs in the pan. You could cut this in half and still have a lot left over, depending on how you use it. My mixer bowl seemed too small to do a half-size amount, so I went ahead and made it according to the directions. I bet if you use a hand mixer instead of an upright one, you could make that happen. I threw out my hand mixer long ago!
So here we are…mixy mixy mixy. Butter, sugar, two egg whites, then fold in flour and cocoa powder. It creates a THICK paste. I had a really hard time squeezing it out of the decorating piping thing (white an purple tool pictured below). I ended up just spreading all the goo onto parchment paper in the 9 x 13 (Swiss roll) pan, then used a butter knife to scratch a design out of it. Then stick it in the freezer for a few minutes while you wash out your bowl and make the jaconde batter.
I had never made one of these before–it uses almond flour instead of wheat all-purpose flour for the bulk of it. Pretty simple batter, although it involves a few steps (and cleaning your bowl between steps…I really want to get at least one more bowl and maybe another whisk attachment):
- 2 egg whites
- 10 g sugar
- 60 g almond flour
- 60 g powdered sugar
- 2 whole eggs
- 20 g plain flour
- 20 g unsalted butter (melted)
Once you finish the jaconde batter, you take your pan out of the freezer and pour it over the chocolate paste. Then bake for just 5-7 minutes at 400 degrees F.
Assuming that this would not be enough, I baked another jaconde cake, starting completely over, including making another set of chocolate paste. This time, I thinned the chocolate paste out with a couple tablespoons of water and put it into a pastry bag. That seemed to work much better! I ended up only using a small fraction of what was in the bag by doodling some quilt-like stipples over the parchment and threw the rest out. Seemed kind of a waste, really, but I had no plans to use it for anything. Next time, I’ll have to make a double batch of jaconde and just a single batch of the paste.
Once they are completely cool, you cut them to shape and add your filling. In my case, for the filling, I decided to make chocolate mousse, a recipe for which I found here, or you could use the one that Mary Berry did for her Double Chocolate cakes, but she had both white and chocolate mousses. I just wanted chocolate so I used the first one.
Since I didn’t have any of those cool round flutes to assemble the fancy filled cakes with the stripes on the outside, I decided to make Jaconde Mousse Sammies. Simple, yet effective. (We’re coming in on berry season, so hopefully future efforts will have more fruits involved to not only give more complex flavors but bright colors!)
I couldn’t find my round cookie cutter (crazy–I must have 200 cutters, but none of them are ROUND), so I grabbed a wine glass and used that. Simple and effective! It’s thin, perfectly round, and easy to pry the cake out of. I was able to get 9 rounds out of each cake.
I put a big dollop of mousse on each chocolate cake bottom, and then set the squiggly tops on them.
Perfect little Jaconde Mousse Sammies. I wanted to put more mousse on the top and maybe do some chocolate work to decorate, but I didn’t want to cover up the squiggles! Maybe next time.
Then while I was away at a medieval arts event today, two friends popped by and ate some. I’m awaiting their verdict–rumor is that they preferred the less-chocolatey sponge.