Baking is a bit of an addiction. I started out happy making simple cupcakes and quick breads, but nowadays I'm finding that I want to try and improve my baking, and have the desire to learn how to make fancy and delicate desserts as well as the comforting goods I'm used to baking.
These joconde cakes came about after trying to make a mousse that ended up not being stable enough to hold itself up under pressure (my lemon meringue and raspberry cake). I thought that if I had a wall around the mousse it wouldn't matter if it was stabilized perfectly or not, so I decided to try out making a joconde sponge.
I did have to buy a couple of silplat baking sheets to make this sponge, and even though they weren't cheap, I'm so glad that I got them! The success of these cakes made them worth purchasing, and I foresee many many more joconde sponge cakes in my future.
The lemon chiboust I used in this cake actually is stable enough that the sponge isn't required to hold it up (as you can see in the first image), and it was a lovely contrast to the dark chocolate mousse and ganache layers. I also added a layer of lemon sponge cake, for a bit of a textural difference, and topped the cake off with milk chocolate Chantilly and small baked meringues, for crunch.
The recipes for the chocolate mousse, lemon chiboust, and milk chocolate Chantilly came from Cannelle et Vanille, which is an absolutely stunning blog, both visually and in terms of her recipes. The chocolate mousse in particular is going to replace any other chocolate mousse recipes I have used in the past. Although it is a very bowl-consuming recipe, the results are worth the washing up, and the consistency of the mousse is perfect - not too bubbly (which can occur if whipped egg whites are used) and not too dense.
Joconde cake with chocolate and lemon mousses
Makes one 7 inch and two 4 inch cakes
Meringue cloud cookies
Meringue cloud cookies
Makes an enormous number of small meringues, so halve the recipe if you don't want too many extra.
1/3 C water
1 C sugar
5 egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
- Preheat the oven to ~100C/200F. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium/high heat, and swirl to dissolve the sugar, without stirring. Brush down the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent sugar crystals forming and falling into the syrup. When the syrup reads 112-115C (235-240F) on a candy thermometer, remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside while you beat the egg whites.
- Beat egg whites on low until frothy (approx. 2 min), then add the salt and cream of tartar and slowly increase the speed to medium/high, until soft peaks form (another 2 minutes).
- Continue beating the eggs and add the hot syrup slowly, then add the vanilla. Keep beating until the meringue has cooked, is very thick, shines and tastes like marshmallows (7-9 minutes).
- Pipe the meringue onto baking paper-lined trays and bake for anywhere between an hour and two hours, depending on the size of the meringues. They are ready when they feel completely hard and dry.
- Turn off the oven and leave the meringues in there until completely cool, then store in an air-tight container for 2-3 weeks.
There is a wonderful explanation and recipe over at Baker's Royale, so I will leave the explaining to her.
Recipe from Life's a feast
3 eggs, separated
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 + 1/8 cup (125 g) sugar, divided
Juice of 1 lemon + water to make 1/4 cup (62 ml) total liquid
1/2 + 1/8 cups (80 g) flour
- Preheat the oven to 170C/325F. Line a baking tray with paper.
- Beat the egg yolks and 1/2 cup (100g) of the sugar in a large bowl until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and continue to beat.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add 1/3 of the flour. Once combined, add half of the lemon juice mixture, then repeat, ending with the last 1/3 of the flour.
- Beat the egg whites with a drop of lemon juice until soft peaks. Gradually add 1/8 C (25g) sugar while continuing to beat the egg whites.
- Once the meringue has stiff peaks, fold a third of the meringue into the cake batter. Repeat with half of the remaining egg whites, then fold in the rest.
- Pour the batter into the baking pan and spread it as evenly as possible. The batter should be about 1/2 inch/1cm in thickness.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges of the sponge just start to colour and the sponge bounces back when you press on it gently.
- Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then place on a cooling tray. The cake does not need to be taken off the baking paper until it is required for assembly.
Vanilla simple syrup
1/8 C sugar
1/8 C boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- Combine the water and sugar and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Stir in the vanilla until well combined and set aside.
Dark chocolate ganache
100g dark chocolate, chopped
75g heavy cream
- Heat the cream over medium heat until it starts to bubble, then pour it over the chocolate and whisk until smooth.
Dark chocolate mousse
Recipe from Cannelle et Vanille
2.5 sheets gelatin (Around 3 grams total)
40 grams granulated sugar
10 grams glucose
15 grams water
50 grams egg yolks (about 3 medium)
175 grams dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
350 grams heavy cream
- Soak the gelatin in water for 5-10 minutes while you set everything else up.
- Beat the egg yolks for 5 minutes, or until very pale in colour.
- Combine sugar, glucose syrup and water over medium heat until it reaches 118C/244F, around 3 minutes.
- While beating the yolks, stream in the hot sugar syrup gradually, and continue to beat until the mixture has cooled (around 5 minutes).
- Bring 60g of the cream to a boil, then add the chocolate and stir until smooth (the original recipe says 30g, but I found that just too small an amount to melt the chocolate adequately).
- Whip the remaining cream to stiff peaks.
- Squeeze all the excess water out of the softened gelatin, then place it in a large bowl. Add the melted chocolate and mix well, making sure that the gelatin is completely integrated and the mixture is smooth. Fold in 1/3 of the whipped cream to temper the mixture, then fold in the egg yolks. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream and pour into the joconde.
Recipe from Cannelle et Vanille
100 grams whole milk
100 grams lemon juice
50 grams egg yolks (3 yolks)
12 grams sugar
12 grams cornstarch
3 grams sheet gelatin
100 grams egg whites (3 egg whites)
15 grams sugar
- Soak the gelatin in water for 5-10 minutes.
- Boil the milk and 12 grams sugar in a medium saucepan.
- Whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch and lemon juice together. When the milk has boiled, slowly stream it into the yolks, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook until it starts to thicken and boil. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin and add it to the custard. Whisk well, then transfer to a large clean bowl. Allow to cool slightly.
- Whip the egg whites until soft peaks, then gradually add the 15g sugar and continue to whip for an extra minute.
- Fold a third of the meringue into the custard (the custard should still be warm but not at all hot). Fold in the rest of the meringue until well combined.
Milk chocolate Chantilly
Recipe from Cannelle et Vanille
250 grams heavy cream
90 grams milk chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- Boil the cream and pour it over the chocolate, then whisk until smooth. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 8 hours, but preferably 24 hours, then whip it to stiff peaks, as you would with whipped cream. Because of the addition of chocolate, this cream is quite stable, provided it is used immediately after whipping, and will hold it's shape for at least 24 hours very well. (The small cake in the first image was decorated 24 hours after whipping the Chantilly, which is why the piping has faded a little. The larger cake was decorated immediately after whipping, and the piping held perfectly for a day before the cake was served.
- Lay a large piece of baking paper on the bench and place a piece of plastic wrap on top of it. Put the outside ring of a springform tin on top of the plastic wrap and pull the plastic wrap and baking paper up tightly around the tin. Use a large rubber band to secure the baking paper in place (wrap it around the baking paper on the outside of the springform tin).
- Using a ruler, measure the height of the baking tin and cut the joconde to size. If the sponge is not long enough to go all the way around the tin, that's fine, just cut another piece and place them right next to each other. You want them to be pushing against each other quite firmly, and the edges will stick together.
- Cut another piece of joconde to line the bottom of the cake pan, then wedge that in there too. Now you have a basic shell that ready to be filled up!
- Pour the chocolate mousse into the shell, up to around 1/3 of the height of the tin. Refrigerate this for a couple of hours or freeze it for about an hour, until set.
- Pour over the chocolate ganache and allow this to set too. If the mousse is already cold, it will be almost instantaneous.
- Cut a circle in the lemon sponge and fit it on top of the ganache. Use a brush to soak the sponge with vanilla simple syrup. Because of this step, it doesn't matter too much if you overcook the sponge a bit.
- Fill the cake up with lemon chiboust and refrigerate or freeze for 2 hours.
- It is best to keep the springform tin around the cake until it needs to be served, but providing the mousses have had ample time to set before removing the tin, the cake will hold up very well, even after slicing.
- Decorate with milk chocolate Chantilly and meringue cookies and serve immediately. If you can't serve the cake straight away, decorate it with the Chantilly cream then refrigerate it until required. Top with meringue cookies immediately prior to serving, otherwise they will become soggy on the outside.