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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Strawberry Chocolate Mousse Joconde Entremet - The Daring Baker Challenge

This is my first Daring Baker challenge. Actually, December’s should have been my first challenge but I was away and had no clue about how the Challenge works.

Being a Daring Baker member feels like I am a member of the ‘Secret Society of Baking” as the Daring Baker’s rule indicates that thou shall NEVER discuss the Daring Baker Challenge with anyone before the reveal date, which is on/after 27th of each month. If you do, your membership to the “Secret baking Society” will be revoked.

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.
Joconde imprime is a decorative paste baked into an almond sponge cake (Joconde).  The sponge cake is then cut into various shapes to line and used to wrap dessert in a ring mould.

I felt a bit overwhelmed when I first saw the long list of recipes and processes I had to follow. It all looks quite foreign and too professional for me. I also can’t give this challenge a miss. It will be bad to miss two challenges in a row and my membership to the Secret Society could be cancelled. It felt that it was rather difficult for the first challenge.

In fact, this dessert/method is very doable and I really enjoyed the challenge. Thanks to Astheroshe at blog accro for introducing us to this. If it wasn’t for her challenge, I wouldn’t have thought about ever attempting this dessert myself.

It was also a perfect timing to make a beautiful dessert for my workmate’s pre-wedding celebration (yippee, killing two birds with one stone). I chose to make Joconde/Imprime filled with dark chocolate mousse and topped with fresh strawberries to be in line with her black-white-red wedding theme. Plus, I love cooking whatever are in season. Not only they cost less, they also taste better. And strawberry is totally in season at the moment.

The finished product was seriously impressive. I couldn’t believe I could pull off anything this pretty. Not only it is so beautiful, it also tasted heavenly. Dark chocolate mousse worked really well with sweet yet slightly tart strawberry. It was an elengant dessert and looked celebrative.

All of my workmates keep asking how I did the print/design on the cake. And I kept telling them “This is a secret, if I tell you, I’ll have to kill you” “I can only tell you after 27th January”.

Please do not feel intimidated by the long recipes. I encourage you to give it a go and visit The Daring Kitchen for more information and varieties that the members whipped up for their challenges. They’re all spectacular to look at.  

These are a number of recipes for the composition of Strawberry Dark Chocolate Mousse Joconde Entremet:
1.       Joconde décor paste
2.      Joconde Sponge
3.      Dark Chocolate Mousse with fresh strawberry topping
4.      Making the pattern on Joconde Sponge
5.      How to put the entremet together

Two invaluable tools for this challenge, pastry comb and palette knife.

Strawberry Dark Chocolate Mousse Joconde Entremet Recipe:

Joconde Sponge Recipe
(from Astheroshe of the blog accro)
Make  two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

85g almond flour/meal
75g confectioners' (icing) sugar
25g cake flour or all purpose flour (plain flour) 
3 large eggs (about 150g)
3 large egg whites (about 90g)
10g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar
30g unsalted butter, melted

1. Whip the egg whites and caster sugar until it reaches firm and glossy peak. Put it aside. 2. Sift almond flour, icing sugar, cake flour (or plain flour) together.  (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl).
2. Gradually add eggs (one egg at a time) to almond flour mixture in a bowl of electric mixer fitted with flat beater. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and light.
3. Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Be careful not to overmix.
4. Fold in melted butter.
5. Reserve batter to be used later.

Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste
(from Astheroshe of the blog accro)
Make two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

100g unsalted butter, softened
100g confectioners' (icing) sugar
100g egg whites (about 3 extra-large egg)
110g cake flour or all purpose flour (plain flour)
Food coloring gel, powder or liquid

1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a bowl of electric mixer fitted with flat beater.
2. Gradually add egg whites while the mixer is still running.
3. Fold in sifted flour.
4. Mix in colouring liquid or powder until the desired colour is achieved.

Preparing the Joconde- How to make the pattern:
(from Astheroshe of the blog accro)


1. Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 1/4 inch (5 millimeter) thick onto silicone baking mat or non-stick baking paper with a spatula, or flat knife. Place mat/baking paper on an upside down baking sheet (The upside down sheet makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan).

2. 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.

I used pastry comb to make teh stripe pattern

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

My freezer is rather small so I used the cooling rack as an insert
so that I can stack two trays in the freezer.

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

5. Bake at 180°c (160°c fan-forced oven) for approximately 15 minutes or until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed (I reduced the baking temperature from what suggested in the recipe and decided to stick with common baking temperature for sponge cake).

6. Leave Joconde to cool down slightly. Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Remove baking mat/paper. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)

Strwawberry Dark Chocolate Mousse Recipe

455 g semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chopped into small pieces
375 mm (1 ½ cups) chilled heavy cream
1 gelatin leave or 1 teaspoon unflavoured granulated gelatin
25 mm or 1 tbsp + 2 tsp liqueur of choices (I used 1 tbsp coffee dissolved in 25 mm water instead)
75g sugar
1 large whole egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
300 g fresh stawberry, hulled and cut in half
1-2 tablespoons strawberry jam, warmed

1. Fill a large saucepan with about 7.5 cm of water and place it over high heat, bring to a boil, and immediately remove the pan from the heat.

2. Place the chocolate in the heat-proof bowl. Quickly set the bowl into the pan, and make sure that the bottom is not resting in the hot water, and immediately begin stirring with a wooden spoon. Heat just until the chocolate is partially melted.

3. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to stir until the chocolate is melted completely. Thh chocolate should be liquid but not hot.

4. Place the cream in the bowl of a electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat on low to aerate and then raise the speed and beat until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the whipped cream from the mixer bowl into a clean container. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate until ready to use.

5. Wash and dry the mixer bowl and whip attachment and return them to the mixer.

6. Place the gelatin in a small bowl with cold water to cover and let soak for a minute or two to soften. Drain the soft gelatin and melt it with the alcohol (or coffee mixture). This dilute the gelatin and keeps it from sticking to the bowl when added to the mousse mixture. Set aside until ready to use. 

*Make sure that the gelatin is totally submerged in the coffee texture and completely soften. If not, the gelatin won’t melt and blend in with the mousse texture.*

7. Combine sugar with 25 mm (1 tbsp + 2 tsp) water in a small heavy-bottom saucepan, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture is the consistency of wet sand. Using a wet pastry brush, clean all the sugar crystals from the sides of the pan to prevent the sugar syrup from crystalising during cooking.

8. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook without stirring for about 5 mins, or until the syrup reaches 116°C on a candy thermometer (if you don’t have thermometer, this will take approx 4-5 mins for the syrup to reach this stage). This small amount of sugar will cook quickly, so watch carefully. It is important that the syrup cook undisturbed, as stirring might cause it to crystallise.

9. Prepare the  mixture. Combine the egg and egg yolk in the bowl of the standing mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat on low to blend. Raise the speed and beat on medium until the eggs are thick and pale yellow. Be careful not to overbeat the egg mixture.

10. As soon as the sugar syrup reaches 116°C, carefully and slowly, and with the mixer is  running, pour the hot syrup down the sides of the bowl. Do not let the syrup hit the whip or it may spatter and burn your skin. Beat for a few minutes, or until just warm.

11. Add the reserved melted gelatin mixture and continue to beat until the chocolate mixture is very smooth and thick. It should be a bit above body temperature.

12. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture using rubber spatula.

13. When the chocolate has been incorporated, remove the whipped cream from the refrigerator and using the spatula, fold it into chocolate mixture. At this point, the mousse should be smooth, light and airy, with he consistency of soft-peak whipped cream.

14. Put the mousse aside until ready to use. The mousse can also be made a day before and kept in a covered container in the fridge. However, the mousse texture will be denser/not as light.

Assembling the Joconde Entremet

1. Place a springform pan ring on a large piece of parchment paper laid on a very flat baking sheet. Line the inside of the ring with a strip pieces of parchment paper.

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

3. Decide how high 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.

4. 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.)

5. Make sure your strips are cut cleanly and ends are cut perfectly straight. Press the cake strips inside of the mould, 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 mould. 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.

6. Using the cake ring as a guide, cut one or two rounds of sponge, for lining inside of the dessert.

7. Fill half of the cake ring with dark chocolate mousse. Place the round sponge cake piece on top of the mousse. Fill the rest of chocolate mousse on top of that. If another pieces of round sponge is used, top the mousse with the other round cake piece. 

8. Arrange strawberry on top of the cake.

9. Slightly brush the strawberry with warm strawberry jam for a glossy finish.

10. Chill the finished cake for at least 4 hours so that the mousse will set.

11. Sprinkle shaved white chocolate on top of the cake (optional).

Very beautiful dessert that will sure to impress your friends and family


  1. Looks great, mmmm, Strawberrys and chocolate, good combination

  2. Thanks Robyn.
    Strawberry and chocolate are so perfect for each other.


  3. Welcome to the Daring Bakers! What a great job on your first challenge. I love the look of the strawberries against the dark chocolate mousse! Your co-workers are so lucky to have someone like you in their office to bring them such nice desserts. ;)

  4. Thank you E.K.R.

    I totally love the Daring Baker. It feel like I have joined a culinary school. I have learnt so much from this challenge and enjoyed it too.

    Looking forwards to the next challenge:)


  5. Lovely! You win the prettiest "first-timer" award!

  6. Thank you, Cupcake. That's so sweet. I wouldn't mind the awards, hehehe.


  7. Great! Love the pattern and its color