custom cakes/cookies

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Matcha-Hazelnut Sponge with Lemon Curd & Matcha Marzipan Flowers

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.

A joconde imprime (French Baking term) is a decorative design baked into a light sponge cake providing an elegant finish to desserts/torts/entremets/ formed in ring molds. A joconde batter is used because it bakes into a moist, flexible cake. The cake batter can be tinted or marbleized for a further decorative effect.

Entremets (another French baking term) is an ornate dessert with many different layers of cake and pastry creams in a mold, usually served cold, much like a trifle but molded to be free-standing versus layered in a glass bowl.

All seems intimidating, but if you work through the layers in stages, it's really not that big of deal. I sketched out a plan in advance. The idea for mine started with wanting to use up some "leftovers" in my "pastry" fridge. Believe it or not I had on hand fresh lemon curd (recently made to use up 8 extra yolks), homemade marzipan (a gift I was working on for my dad), matcha tea (from my good friends at Arbor Teas), hazelnut meal (a bag that seems perpetually full no matter how much has been scooped from it), and crystalized lilacs (maybe only a dozen left from the original batch of 200).

I wasn't sure if the flavors of the dessert I was crafting in my head would meld well, but I was excited for the vibrant colors--a bolt of the tropics smack in the middle of a snowy and frigid winter. Since this dessert needed to travel to a weekend brunch, I took the safe route and layered them in juice glasses like a trifle. A true entremet with joconde is free-standing. Nonetheless, now having tasted the finished dessert, I can say yes, green tea, lemon, hazelnut, almond, butter and sugar all seem to work nicely together to put a warm smile in your belly.

Joconde Sponge

This Joconde/spongecake requires attentive baking so that it remains flexible to easily conform to the molds. If under baked it will stick to the baking mat. It over baked it will dry out and crack. Once cooled, the sponge may be cut into strips to line any shape ring mold.

YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” jelly roll pan

3 large egg whites (90g)
2½ teaspoons (10g) white granulated sugar
¾ cup (85g) almond flour/or hazelnut meal - *omit the butter if using hazelnut
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (75g) confectioners' sugar
¼ cup (25g) cake flour
3 large eggs (150g)
2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted


In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.

Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour into the just emptied mixing bowl, no need to wash out egg whites.) On medium speed with the paddle attachment, 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 almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix. Fold in melted butter, if using.

Reserve batter to be used later.

Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste

YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” jelly roll pan

14 tablespoons (200g) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups plus 1½ tablespoons (200g) Confectioners' sugar
7 large egg whites (200g)
1¾ cup (220g) cake flour

Food coloring gel, paste or liquid (optional)

COCOA or MATCHA Décor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to (170g). Add (60 g) cocoa powder or Matcha green tea. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to creamed mixture.


Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously until emulsified. Fold in sifted flour. Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa or matcha variation.

Preparing the Joconde- How to make the pattern:

Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 1/4 inch thick onto silicone baking mat with a spatula, or flat knife. Place mat on an upside down baking sheet. The upside down sheet makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan.

Pattern the décor paste – Here is where you can be creative. Make horizontal /vertical lines (you can use a knife, spatula, cake/pastry comb). Squiggles with your fingers, zig zags, wood grains. Be creative whatever you have at home to make a design can be used. OR use a piping bag. Pipe letters, or polka dots, or a piped design. If you do not have a piping bag. Fill a ziplock bag and snip off corner for a homemade version of one.

Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer. Freeze hard. Approx 15 minutes.

Remove from freezer. Quickly pour the Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the Décor paste.

Bake at 475ºF until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approx. 8-15 minutes. You can bake it as is on the upside down pan. This is a very quick bake, so watch carefully.

Cool briefly. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from mat.

Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Remove silpat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)

Preparing the Jaconde for Molding:

Trim the cake of any dark crispy edges. You should have a nice rectangle shape.

Decide how thick you want your “Joconde wrapper”. Traditionally, it is ½ the height of your mold. This is done so more layers of the plated dessert can be shown. However, you can make it the full height.

Once your height is measured, then you can cut the cake into equal strips, of height and length. (Use a very sharp paring knife and ruler.)

Make sure your strips are cut cleanly and ends are cut perfectly straight. Press the cake strips inside of the mold, decorative side facing out. Once wrapped inside the mold, overlap your ends slightly. You want your Joconde to fit very tightly pressed up to the sides of the mold. Then gently push and press the ends to meet together to make a seamless cake. The cake is very flexible so you can push it into place. You can use more than one piece to “wrap" your mold, if one cut piece is not long enough.

The mold is done, and ready to fill.

Entremet- Filling:

Lemon Curd
makes 1 full cup

4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 2 TBS sugar
3 fl oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 TBS, unsalted butter softened
pinch of salt
2 tsp finely shredded lemon zest

In a heavy, non-corrosive saucepan whisk the yolks and sugar until well blended. Stir in the remaining ingredients except the lemon zest. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon and reaches 170 F. Do not allow it to boil or it will curdle. Pour immediately through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on any remains with the back of a spoon to extract as much curd as possible. Stir in the lemon zest and cool. Pour into an airtight container and press a piece of plastic to the surface of the curd before sealing. The curd will continue to thicken when refrigerated.

Matcha Marzipan

1 tsp matcha powder
6 TBS marzipan

On a wooden surface, knead matcha into Marzipan until completely incorporated. Roll out to desired thickness to cut shapes or sculpt into character. Keep tightly wrapped in plastic until ready to use, to prevent drying out.


Lisa said...

Wow, what a dessert! Love those little flowers you made. You are amazing. I have a huge sweet treat linky party going on at my blog right now and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link this up.

Three Birds Jewelry said...

ummm- yum!!!!

kitchen pantry organizers said...

This looks absolutely yummy!