Marcella Robin makes the most fabulous wedding cakes from entremets and her latest efforts have stirred me into a flurry of sponge-action.
I could wax lyrical about the sponge cake in all its forms, so combining art with sponge cake, along with a fruity bavarois, a crunchy dacquoise and a creamy chiboust makes me want to skip with joy! Armed with my Silpats and offset spatulas, it was time to renew my friendship with la biscuit joconde.
La biscuit joconde is a sponge cake made with finely ground almond meal and whole eggs (the yolks and beaten egg whites) and can be used for the sponge layers in entremets (gateaux desserts) as well as an outer layer which encloses the entremet – like wrapping paper. The joconde is often decorated with an imprimé (design) to enhance the presentation of the dessert.
The first step is to make the imprimé which is made from a cake batter (paté à décor) that you colour. You use the paté à décor to draw or stencil onto silicone baking mats to create the cake’s design. Next, you make the biscuit joconde which you spread in a thin layer, ever so gently, over the imprimé on your baking tray. Finally, you bake it and the design is cooked directly into the joconde layer. Once cool, the joconde is cut to line a cake ring which you then begin to fill.
To help me brush up on my skills, and to learn some tips from a master, I invited M. Pierre-Antoine from Private Chef to take me through a biscuit joconde 101. Pierre -Antoine is a trained pastry chef with enormous experience at some very fine establishments and, luckily for me, is now based in Brisbane. We conferred about the ingredients and equipment we would need and spent a great afternoon together chatting about all things patisserie, experimenting with designs and baking thin layers of almond sponge. I look forward to sharing some of my designs and entremets with you in my blog posts along the way.