It’s been quite a long time since I’ve played around with a joconde. I have a terrible habit of getting stuck on one idea: I’ll bake almost nothing but that for weeks, and then forget it ever existed for a year. So when my birthday rolled around and I had the opportunity to make whatever I wanted with no restrictions, I decided it was time to return to this awesome cakey medium.
So far I’ve mostly used decorating combs for making patterns in the joconde paste. I’ve been wanting to use the sponge as more of a canvas for unusual designs. You always see them with uniform designs on the sides, but I wanted something a bit more picturesque. I had a number of food stencils, but all were a bit bland for what I was thinking. I hit up my favourite cake decorating store and started rummaging through the stencils until I finally found something that was more ‘me’.
The last and only other time I used a stencil for the decor paste I had a white background. I didn’t really like the way that looked, so I decided to play with the recipe and make it white on chocolate instead. I got so excited about experimenting that this is apparently the only picture I remembered to take.
But I’ve explained this process step-by-step in the past if you need a photo reference. The only difference here is that instead of spreading it straight onto the silicone mat, you put a food-grade stencil down first.
All the sponge recipes I used in this cake were for plain sponge. I could have dug around for chocolate recipes I suppose, but I’m extraordinarily lazy like that. Instead I used my base recipe and added a chocolate paste to it. I had no idea if this would wreck the baking process or not, but it all went fine thankfully.
The hardest part about making a joconde is deciding what to put inside. A lot of the time you see them full of a single dessert, like mousse. Now, I wouldn’t say no to a whole mousse cake, but I thought the other recipients may not share my gratuitous love for chocolate mousse. To break up the entrement a bit, I decided to add a couple layers of chocolate genoise sponge. The lovely thing about this sponge is that it shrinks slightly when cooking, so it becomes the perfect size for this process.
I used a tin identical to the one it was baked in and layered it with the joconde imprime. I cut the genoise sponge in half, and put the slightly domed half on the bottom layer with the dome facing inwards.
Then I covered it in chocolate mousse.
I allowed that to set for 2 hours, then added the second half of sponge on top before returning it to the fridge to set completely.
The next morning I set about making the crunchy layer. This was a layer I adapted from the Lolly Bag Cake, omitting the sprinkles and popping candy in an attempt to make this one a bit more refined. I started by making the pailleté feuilletine, which is just crushed up crêpes dentelles. You can grab the recipe for that here if you’d rather not buy it.
I made up the chocolate hazelnut ganache and the folded all that pailleté feuilletine through. Here it becomes really hard to not eat the entire bowl right then and there because it is so good. But I promise you it’s worth the wait, cause it tastes even better when set.
Last of I decided I needed a fruity layer, preferably something on the bitter side to balance out all that sweetness and chocolate. What better fruit than raspberries?
They funny thing about all of this is that I was completely making it up as I went along, unsure of what quantities I should be using or if it would all fit. When I poured the raspberry mousse in it filled it right to the very top. I had originally wanted it so the raspberry mousse would be seen over the top of the joconde, but the design of the stencil meant I couldn’t make it as short as I intended. It makes this whole thing look way more calculated in approach than it actually was.
Last of all, I covered it in a layer of dark chocolate ganache and started decorating it. I piped some white chocolate on top and added some fresh raspberries, lavender macarons and some chocolate blossom shapes I made a bit more interesting with a chocolate transfer sheet.
The stencil decoration around the side turned out a lot better than I expected.
In all the other instances I’ve used the decor paste it’s appeared externally over a very small area. In the larger sections of these birds, the sponge ended up becoming slightly concave. This might just be the effect of having a large area of the decor paste, I’d have to experiment to find out, but I really loved the extra dimension it gave to the birds.
I couldn’t wait to slice it open. But I had to. I went out with my boyfriend and his family to a restaurant for a really lovely Indian dinner, and when we finally returned home to it I was almost in too much of a food coma to contemplate eating it. Almost.
I finally cut it open to see if this experiment had worked and was delighted to find all the layers had behaved.
We all had different layers that were our favourites. My sister loved the chocolate mousse part the most, while Cameron and his mum loved the raspberry part and the hazelnut crunch better. I just loved everything.
|Chocolate, Hazelnut and Raspberry Joconde
|Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste
100g (3.5oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
100g (3.5oz) icing sugar
100g (3.5oz) egg whites (approximately 3 large eggs), reserve egg yolks
110g (3.9oz) cake flour
1 tsp dutch processed cocoa
1 tsp boiling water
45g (1.6oz) egg white (approximately 1 large egg), reserve egg yolk
5g (0.17oz) caster sugar
40g (1.4 oz) almond meal
40g (1.4 oz) icing sugar
15g (0.5 oz) cake flour
15g (0.5 oz) unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp dutch processed cocoa
3 free range eggs
85g (2.75oz) caster sugar
115g (3.5oz) plain flour
40g (1.4 oz) butter, melted
1 tbsp dutch processed cocoa
1 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp powdered gelatin
1 tbsp tepid water
1/2 cup (125ml/4.2fl oz) milk
175g (6.2oz) dark chocolate, chopped
300ml (10fl oz) thickened cream
Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch
120g (4.2oz) dark chocolate
150g (5.3 oz) hazelnut paste*
150g (2.1 oz) pailleté feuilletine*
1.5g (0.05 oz) ground Murray River pink salt [can use sea salt]
35g (1.2 oz) vegetable oil
*you can make both these ingredients from scratch as show here
500g (17.6oz) fresh or frozen raspberries
2 tbsp lemon juice
60g (2oz) caster sugar
2 tsp powdered gelatine
180ml (6fl oz) cream
1 free range egg white
60g (2oz) caster sugar [extra]
200g (7oz) dark chocolate, chopped
100ml (3.4fl oz) cream
20g (0.7oz) butter, chopped
Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch