accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.
I was so excited by this challenge. I have often seen beautifully designed, striped or swirled, sponge desserts in bakery windows and dreamed of creating similar things myself, but I never knew how they were made. Well, now and I know and…I’ll let you in on a secret… it’s not difficult either!
Your simply pipe your design of choice onto a baking tray, place it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up (so that the rest of the sponge mixture doesn’t ruin the design), cover with a joconde sponge, bake, turn it out and ta-da! Beautifully decorated sponge, ready for adding that wow factor to the outside of desserts, gateau’s and mousses etc. Magic!
Joconde sponge is a special flexible sponge which allows you to wrap it around cakes and desserts without it cracking or breaking. This is thanks to its use of very little flour and butter, with ground nuts and eggs making up the majority of the ingredients. This also means it’s fantastically easy to convert to being gluten free – hurrah!
I already knew I wanted to use my joconde sponge to create a chocolate and raspberry gateau to act as my sister’s birthday cake. I decided to use hazelnuts in place of the almonds as I think they taste delicious when paired with chocolate and raspberries. With this in mind I dyed some of my batter with cocoa powder and a little with pink food dye to tied in the chocolate and raspberry colours. I had great fun creating little swirly circles and dots with a piping bag and I love how the finished sponge turned out.
After baking I used the joconde to line a large ring mould which I layered with discs of gluten free chocolate cake, dark chocolate ganache, more cake, raspberry cream, another layer of cake and then a final layer of ganache! How wickedly indulgent! I then dusted it with some edible gold glitter to give it some birthday sparkle.
I didn’t let my sister see the design of the cake until it was time to remove the ring mould. Everyone loved seeing the swirly dotty design of the outer sponge. It really added some wow factor. Cutting into the cake revealed the truly indulgent layers of cake, dark chocolate ganache and raspberry cream. All in all it was a fabulous cake and so delicious that no one would ever know it was gluten free. I’ll definitely be making one again in the future, the decoration possibilities are endless!
Joconde Imprime (GF)
85g ground almonds (I used freshly ground hazelnuts)
75g icing sugar
25g Doves gluten free flour
3 large eggs
3 large egg whites
10g caster sugar
30g unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 200C and line a large 13x18 inch swiss roll tin with silicone paper.
In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.
Sift together the ground almonds (hazelnuts), icing sugar and flour. (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl)
On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light.
Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to nut mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.
Fold in melted butter.
Take one or two scoops of batter and place into small bowls. Set the rest of the batter aside to use later. Colour or dye the small amounts of batter using cocoa powder or food dye so that it provides a contrasting colour to the original batter.
Here is where you can be creative. Fill piping bags with the coloured batter and pipe a design onto a baking tray that has been covered in silicone paper. Make lines, swirls, words, anything that takes your fancy.
Place the decorated tray in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up.
Then, remove the tray from the freezer and quickly pour the Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern.
Bake at 200C until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, around 12 minutes.
Once baked, cover the surface with a sheet of greaseproof and a damp tea towel and leave until cool.
Once cool, turn out onto a flat surface and carefully remove the silicone paper. Your design should now show up against the pale base of the Joconde batter.
Trim the edges off the sponge and then cut into strips and use to line the inside rim of a large or small individual ring moulds, with the design facing outwards. Press the edges together so they will stay together once removed from the moulds. Fill the moulds as you wish and chill for an hour before unmoulding.
I chose to turn my dessert into a chocolate gateau for my sister’s birthday. I layered the inside with discs of chocolate cake layered with dark chocolate ganache and raspberry cream.
Chocolate and Hazelnut Gateaux with Raspberry Cream & Dark Chocolate Ganache (GF)
1 x 8inch chocolate cake (see below)
Dark chocolate ganache (see below)
Raspberry cream (see below)
Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
180g caster sugar
30g cocoa powder
40g sour cream
Preheat the oven to 170C and line two 8inch round cake tins with greaseproof paper.
Simply place all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk together until smooth and well combined.
Divide the batter between the two tins, making one tin have slightly more batter in than the other, about 40 to 60% ratio.
Bake for 22-25 minutes until risen and springy to the touch.
Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire wrack and leaving to cool.
Dark chocolate Ganache
200g dark chocolate
Heat the cream gently in a small saucepan until it just comes to a simmer. Meanwhile, break the chocolate into small pieces and place into a bowl.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and leave to sit for 3 minutes without touching it. Then gently fold/mix the cream into the melting chocolate to create a thick glossy ganache.
Cut the butter into small cubes and stir into the ganache.
20g icing sugar
100ml double cream
Crush the raspberries with the sugar until broken down.
Lightly whip the double cream until it is just starting to form soft peaks.
Add the raspberries, juice and all, and stir to combine. Don’t worry f it looks a little soft as it thickens up in the fridge once assembled.
Use fairly quickly.
Assembling the Gateau
Trim your chocolate sponge layers so that they fit snugly inside the ring mould. (I used the base of a 7inch tin as a guide).
Place the thin cake layer into the mould to form the base of the gateaux. Cut the thicker sponge layer in half, horizontally, to form two thinner layers. Set to one side.
Pour half the chocolate ganache over the base layer sponge and top with one of your cut layers of chocolate cake.
Spread over the raspberry cream and top with the final layer of chocolate cake. It should reach to the top of your ring mould now.
Spread the remaining half of the chocolate ganache over the top, completely covering the cake and top of the joncode sponge.
Decorate as your wish – I dusted the top with edible gold glitter. Refrigerate for an hour before running a hot knife around the top rim of the metal ring mould and removing, leaving the finished gateaux in place.