Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daring Bakers' Challenge- Entremet

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.

This was my first month participating in the Daring Bakers' challenge, and I have to admit that I found the recipe to be a little intimidating at first.  Upon actually attempting the challenge, I realized that while the Biscuit Joconde Imprime looks complex, it was relatively simple to create.  The biggest challenge for me was the assembly of the entremet.  I chose to fill my entremet with a layer of Biscuit Joconde, a layer of dark chocolate mousse, and a layer of white chocolate mousse.  I underestimated the amount of time that it would take for the layers of mousse to set in the refrigerator, which led to the cake being less sturdy than I had hoped.  In the future, I might attempt this type of dessert again with more stable fillings, but I was pleased overall with the way that my entremet turned out, and enjoyed learning a new baking technique.

I started by creaming together butter and sugar for the Patterned Joconde-Decor Paste.

I added egg whites, flour and cocoa powder to finish the paste.

I used a pastry bag to pipe the paste into a flower pattern on a Silpat, and put it in the freezer to harden.

While the paste hardened in the freezer, I beat egg whites and sugar to stiff peaks for the Joconde sponge.

I beat almond flour, cake flour, confectioner's sugar and eggs into a smooth mixture, which I folded into the egg whites.

Once the paste hardened, I spread the sponge batter in an even layer over the paste.

The sponge after I removed it from the oven

The patterned sponge, after it was removed from the Silpat

I used a springform pan as a mold, and lined the sides with the Joconde

I used leftover sponge to form the base layer of my entremet

I made simple dark and white chocolate mousses to fill the entremet.  I started by whisking together each type of chocolate with heavy cream, which I had brought to a boil.

I then folded the melted chocolate-cream mixture with whipped cream.

I used the dark chocolate mousse to form the second layer of the entremet

White chocolate mousse was the final layer of the dessert

A slice of the completed entremet

Joconde Sponge

¾ cup/180 mL/3 oz/85 g almond flour/meal   (you can also use hazelnut flour, just omit the butter)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 mL/ 2 2/3 oz/ 75 g confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup/ 60 mL/ 1 oz/ 25 g cake flour
3 large eggs (about 5 1/3 oz or 150 g)
3 large egg whites (about 3 oz/ 90 g)
2 ½ teaspoons/ 12 ½ mL/ 1/3 oz/ 10 g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar
2 tablespoons/ 30 mL/ 1 oz/ 30 g unsalted butter, melted

1. Whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar in a clean mixing bowl until it holds firm peaks.  Reserve whipped egg whites for use later
2. Sift together the cake flour, almond flour, and confectioner’s sugar
3. Add eggs to flour mixture and little at a time, beating on medium speed.  Mix until the batter is smooth and light.
4. Fold in one third of the whipped egg whites to lighten the batter.  Carefully fold in the remaining egg whites, but do not overmix.
5. Fold in melted butter

Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste

14 tablespoons/ 210 mL/ 7 oz/ 200 g unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups plus 1 ½ tablespoons/ 385 mL/ 7 oz/ 200 g Confectioner’s sugar
7 large egg whites (about 7 oz or 200 g)
1 ¾ cup/ 420 mL/ 7 ¾ oz/ 220 g cake flour
Food coloring gel, paste or liquid

Cocoa Décor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to 6 oz/ 170 g.  Add 2 oz/60 g cocoa powder.  Sift together the flour and cocoa powder

1. Cream butter and sugar.  Mixture should be light and fluffy
2. Beating continuously, slowly add the egg whites
3. Fold in sifted flour
4. Use food coloring to tint batter, if not making the cocoa paste variation

Preparation of the Joconde
1. Place a silicone baking sheet or sheet of parchment paper on an upside down baking sheet. Use a pastry bag to pipe the Décor paste into a pattern onto the silicone baking sheet  Alternately, you could spread the paste in a thin layer over the silicone baking sheet with a spatula, and make patterns by dragging a pastry comb, spatula, or your fingers through the paste.
2.  Place baking sheet with the paste into the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
3. Remove baking sheet from freezer and quickly spread the Joconde batter evenly over the design.
4. Bake at 475°F/ 250°C until the cake bounces back when pressed, about 8 minutes.  The cake can be baked on the upside down baking sheet, as is.
5. Cool the cake and remove from silicone mat. Flip cake over onto a powdered sugar dusted sheet of parchment paper, so that the pattern is facing up.

Dark and White Chocolate Mousse

4 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
4 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
3 cups whipping cream, 2 cups very cold

1. Bring 1 cup of whipping cream to a boil over medium heat.  Place the chocolate in 2 separate mixing bowls and divide the hot cream between the two bowls.  Allow the chocolates to stand for about 5 minutes, then whisk each until chocolate is melted and smooth.
2. Whip the remaining 2 cups of cream until it holds medium peaks
3.  Fold half of the whipped cream into each of the melted chocolates until they are mixed thoroughly.

Recipes for Joconde Sponge and Patterned Joconde-Decor Paste were adapted from the recipes at
Recipe for the Dark and White Chocolate Mousses were adapted from the recipe for "Four Tiered Chocolate Mousse" from The New French Baker by Sheila Linderman, available for purchase at

Posted by Jennifer

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Coconut Macaroons

I attend school in South Florida, where I'm constantly surrounded by reminders of my tropical environment, such as coconut trees.  In honor of my last semester of class in South Florida, I decided to make something with coconut.  What better way to showcase the flavor of coconut than coconut macaroons?  These macaroons are crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle, with the added flavors of orange and chocolate, which complement the coconut very well.

Combine some of the sugar with flour and set aside.

Cook the remaining sugar, coconut and egg whites over a double boiler, until thickened.  Fold in flour mixture, vanilla extract and orange zest.

Divide the batter into tablespoon-sized mounds and bake until golden brown.

Macaroons can be dipped in melted chocolate, or enjoyed straight out of the oven.

Coconut Macaroons
Makes about 30 macaroons

1 cup sugar (divided use)
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 ½ cups shredded unsweetened coconut
6 large egg whites
2 tsp grated orange zest
2 tsp vanilla extract
Dark chocolate (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper
2. Mix the flour with 1/3 cup of sugar.
3. Combine the remaining 2/3 cup sugar, egg whites, and coconut in a double boiler.  Cook over simmering water, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes.  The mixture should thicken and hold together.  Remove from heat and carefully fold in the flour-sugar mixture, orange zest and vanilla extract.
4. Place the batter in tablespoon-sized mounds onto the prepared baking sheets.  Space the mounds 2 inches apart and shape as needed.
5. Bake macaroons for 20-25 minutes.  They should be a light golden brown on the outside, but still give slightly when pressed on with your fingertip.  Transfer the macaroons on parchment paper to a wire rack to cool.
6.  If desired, dip the bottoms of cooled macaroons into melted dark chocolate and place in refrigerator to allow chocolate to harden.

Adapted from the recipe for Coconut Macaroons from Baking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America.  Available for purchase online at

Posted by Jennifer

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

I'm not a huge fan of cake.  I always have a huge chocolate chip cookie for my birthday instead.  But this particular cake might beat out the big cookie this year.  Don't get me wrong - chocolate chip cookies are still my all-time favorite treat...but this Chocolate Chip Cake is definitely now in the top 5.

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease/flour your baking pans

Set aside 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips to use later

Beat together the cake ingredients

Fold in the remaining chocolate chips and divide between the pans

Once it's done baking, cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then invert to cool completely

Make your frosting

Frost the cake and decorate with the chocolate chips you set aside

Cut yourself a slice and enjoy!
Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package (12 ounces; 2 cups) miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix or vanilla cake mix with pudding
1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix, if using a plain cake mix
1 cup milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Measure ¼ cup chocolate chips and set aside to decorate the finished cake.

Beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs on low speed for 30 to 45 seconds.  Scrape down the bowl, and then beat on medium for 1 ½ minutes.  Fold in the remaining chocolate chips and divide the batter between the two pans.

Bake for 33 to 37 minutes – or until cake is golden brown and the top springs back when lightly touched.  Let cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges with a butter knife.  Invert the cakes onto wire racks, then invert again so they are right side up.  Let cool completely.

To prepare the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on low speed about 30 seconds.  Add cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar slowly, beating on low.  Once sugar is incorporated, add the vanilla, and beat on medium 1 more minute.  Use the frosting immediately.

Place the bottom layer of cake on a serving platter, right side up.  Spread a heaping cup of frosting over the layer, then place the second layer on top, also right side up.  Use the remaining icing to frost the sides and top of the cake.  Go find those mini chocolate chips you set aside earlier, and use them to decorate your cake.  Do this right away, before the icing sets, so they will stick.  Store the cake in the refrigerator.

-Recipe adapted from recipe found in The Cake Mix Doctor Returns! found here:

Posted by Karen

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Anytime I’m asked to bring a dessert to a party, there’s one recipe I always know that I can fall back on: profiteroles.  Who doesn’t love profiteroles?  From the crisp puff of choux pastry to the sweet creamy filling to the decadent chocolate topping, everything about this dessert is scrumptious.  While profiteroles are traditionally filled with vanilla ice cream, I choose to use a sweetened whipped cream instead, so that I can make a platter of them ahead of time for parties.

Add the sifted dry ingredients to boiling water and butter.

Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, beating constantly.

Allow dough to cool slightly before beating in eggs, one at a time.

Divide dough into tablespoon-sized mounds and bake for about 30 minutes, until puffy and browned.

Cut the pastries in half and pipe in sweetened whipped cream using a pastry bag.

Melt chocolate over a double boiler and spoon chocolate over pastries.

The profiteroles are now ready to enjoy!


¾ cup all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch of nutmeg
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 eggs
10 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400°F and butter a baking sheet
2. Sift together the flour, salt and nutmeg.  Heat the butter and ¾ cup water in a medium saucepan until it boils.  Reduce heat to medium-low and add the flour mixture all at once. Cook mixture for about 4 minutes, beating constantly with a wooden spoon.  The mixture should start to pull away from the pan.   Remove from heat, and allow mixture to cool slightly.
3. Beat one egg and set aside.  Add remaining eggs, one at a time, to the mixture, beating well after each egg.  Add the beaten egg slowly.  The mixture should be shiny and should still hold its shape.
4.  Divide the dough into 12 tablespoon-sized mounds and drop onto the baking sheet.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  The pastries should be puffy and browned.  Turn off the oven and allow the pastries to cool with the oven door opened.
5. To make the cream, whip the heavy cream and vanilla until the cream holds a medium peak.  Beat in the confectioner’s sugar.
6. To make the chocolate sauce, melt chocolate in a double boiler, stirring occasionally, until smooth.
7. To prepare profiteroles, split the cooled pastries in half, and use a pastry bag to pipe in the whipped cream filling.  Use a spoon to pour the chocolate sauce over each puff.  Refrigerate until chocolate is firm, and then serve.

Inspired by the recipe for "Chocolate Profiteroles" found in the book Desserts: mouthwatering recipes for delectable dishes, edited by Rosemary Wilkinson.  Buy online at:

Posted by Jennifer