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Mocha Dacquoise Cake And The Winners Of the Giveaway

I usualy try to keep my posts consise, short,  but this one requires a lot of explanation so in advance let me apologize. This was quite an ordeal, the cake did not turn out exactly like I wanted, there were a few bumps in the road, as a matter of fact I had to keep changing things as I went along. The fillings were a disaster, I originally had the idea to use a Mocha Mousse as one of the fillings which sounds good in theory, but in practice not so much. When I put the mousse on the bottom layer and placed another layer on top of it and gently pressed down it oozed out all over the sides, it was not firm enough. The dacquoise although they feel firm in reality are fragile, very fragile. The French Buttercream was a disaster. I beat the egg yolks until tripled in volume and were thick and light in color. I brought the sugar syrup to 265 which is really past the hard ball stage on the thermometer, with the mixer running drizzled the hot syrup down the side of the bowl as directed, two problems with this 1. the sugar syrup when it hits the side of the bowl hardens so I moved it away from the side of the bowl and 2. the beater flung hardened sugar strands everywhere. OMG, it was a mess. I managed to make it adding the butter in pieces until combined. I had sugar candy stuck on the side of the bowl and sugar strands wound around the whisk from when the syrup hit it. Because the syrup was hard ball stage the buttercream was very stiff, which I guess is a good thing because it stays put unlike the mousse. Last minute I also made a buttercream recipe I saw on Food52 from Merrill Stubbs. It is a quick and easy version of a French buttercream using egg yolks, butter, powdered sugar and flavoring of your choice. It takes about 10 minutes to make is silky and thick and really a great frosting or filling. This went in as a filling, it wasn’t quite enough for a thick layer of filling but at this point it was ok. To cover up all the imperfections I frosted with the Chantilly but used my recipe for stabilized whipped cream frosting.

I tried the recipe from Saveur for the Dacquoise and failed pretty badly, not exactly sure what happened. The batter was runny, the dacquoise were like thin crisp mishapen sugar cookies. I know there is supposed to be a crispness but this was more cookie like.  IMHO I think there is too much sugar in the recipe. It’s also possible I over processed the almonds and sugar. The batter spread and didn’t look anything like the photo’s (sorry no photo’s) and video’s I’ve seen of how to make Dacquoise and certainly didn’t look like the one in the Saveur video (the video is included in the link above). Humph… I decided to search for another recipe and found one from Fine Cooking that looked good. It seemed pretty simple, the proportion of the ingredients sounded right and loved that it used hazelnuts and almonds (love hazelnuts).

misshapen, flat and really crisp first attempt

Second attempt, instead of rounds I made a rectanglar cake.  The recipe from Fine Cooking is wonderful, the batter is perfect, holds it’s shape when piped onto the baking sheet, I feel like this will be a success. The batter is super easy, and quick to put together. I have actually become quite good now at the dacquoise. Because one of the layers bit the dust, I quickly made a half a recipe which I can now make without even looking at the recipe and put it on top.

Final Analysis:

Perfect batter, ready for the long bake

Dacqoise

From Fine Cooking

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts

1/2 cup toasted almonds

1 1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/8 tsp kosher salt

6 egg whites

1/3 cup granulated sugar

French Buttercream

7 large egg yolks (about 1/2 cup)

12 oz- 3 sticks usalted butter softenend

2/3 cup strong coffee

1 cup (7 1/2 oz) sugar

 Chantilly

2 cups heavy cream divided

2 1/2 tsp cornstarch

1/4 cup confectioners sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Buttercream

Recipe on Food52 by Merrill Stubbs

6 oz soft unsalted butter

2 egg yolks

2/3 cup confectioners or powdered sugar

1 tbs vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat until thick, silky and spreadable. Thats it, so easy!!

Instructions

Dacquoise

Pre heat oven to 225 degree’s and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Draw three 10×3 rectangles onto parchment paper, turn over and place on sheet pan spray with cooking spray, butter or oil and set aside.

Add the hazelnuts to food processor and pulse just until it is a fine powder, no longer otherwise it will turn to paste. Next pulse the almonds the same way. Place the nut flour in mixing bowl and sift the powdered sugar over and add the salt. Stir with rubber spatula to combine.

In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachement beat the egg whites for 3-4 minutes until there are soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar in 3 additions beating well after each addition and the egg whites are thick and glossy and hold a stiff peak.

Sprinkle the nut mixture on top and gently fold into the meringue until combined. The consistency will be thick and gooey. You can either use a piping bag with a 1/2 inch plain tip or spread the batter in the rectangles 3 inches apart as they will expand.  Place in the oven and bake for approximately 2- 3 hours or until they are firm to the touch. Turn off the oven and let them sit with oven door closed for 6 or more hours. NOTE: Although the recipe does not say to, I rotated the pans every now and then to ensure even browning. I used 2 sheet pans because I was afraid they would run (they didn’t) and the pan on the lower rack browned more quickly. Also the dacquoise were done at just slightly over 2 hours, so I turned off the oven and let them sit for about 6 hours. After turning off the oven I waited about 20 minutes and then gently loosed them. Believe me, it helped greasing the parchment they gave way easily and there was no sticking.

 French Buttercream

In a high sided saucepan over medium heat, add the coffee and sugar, set a candy or deep fry thermometer in the pan and cook until it reaches 265 degrees.

Meanwhile in the clean bowl of a stand mixer whip the egg yolks until tripled in volume and the color has lightened significantly, approximately 8 minutes.

Once the syrup has reached the temperature, remove and slowly pour the mixture into the yolks, whisking on medium low speed. Continue to run the mixer for 20-30 minutes, letting it cool completely. Once fully cooled, add the butter one tbs at a time, whisking until fully incorporated after each addition. The buttercream will thicken noticeably when all the butter has been fully incorporated.

Chantilly

To a small saucepan add 1/2 cup cream, whisk in the confectioners sugar and corn starch. Cook on medium heat until the mixture thickens. Immediately remove from the heat, scrape into a bowl and set aside, stirring frequently until cooled completely.

Place 1 1/2 cup cold heavy cream in mixing bowl and start beating using either whisk attachment on your stand mixer or hand held is fine also, add the cream cornstarch mixture and flavoring of your choice, continue to beat until thick and stiff peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble the cake.

Assembly

The layers were not even at all, some were smaller, some larger, there was some overhang and the layer that had the failed mousse attempt was cracked and broken. Dacquoise is very fragile and does well when filled and covered and refrigerated overnight or longer. Because the layers were uneven in size I trimmed them with kitchen shears as a knife just doesn’t cut it. The pieces and crumbs I pressed into the bottom layer that had some canyon size gaps, mixing with a little of buttercream from the sides of the cake. Talk about kitchen hacks, this cake was hacked every step of the way.

Anaylysis:

Will I ever make this again, maybe. The perfectionist in me wants to keep making it until I get it right but it literally was hours and days of work. The dacquoise I have down pat and it’s really not hard. I don’t think I will ever make the French buttercream again, it’s just not worth the effort and the results did not knock my socks off. I really like Merrill’s shortcut version of a French Buttercream, it tastes almost exactly like it, it’s fool proof, quick and easy. All in all I actually loved the challenge, it didn’t matter that it was a partial fail, I learned a lot and made something with a fair degree of difficulty and it was edible, I learned what to do and what not to do, what works and what doesn’t. Because of that I view this as a success for the simple fact that I did it! Tasting it though, it did kind of knock my socks off, the cake is delicious, the dacquoise retained its crunch kind of a melt in your mouth crunch and I am really glad I used hazelnuts. Ok maybe I will make it again.

The Winners

Selected by feeding everyone’s names into Random.org the winners of the cookbooks are and Annie@Give me meatloaf and Teagan@Teagans Books. Congratulations to you both. Watch for an email, I will need your mailing address so we can get those books out to you asap.

78 Comments Post a comment
  1. Congratulations on such a superb-looking dacquoise after your trial and error because it’s not an easy cake to make! Yours looks so so good and I absolutely love mocha buttercream. Did you know that this cake originates in Dax which is the nearest large town to us in Southwestern France (it’s about 20kms away)?

    May 2, 2017
    • I remember reading that somewhere but had no idea it is so close to where you are, thank you so much. It was challenging but the dacquoise, once I found a good recipe was super easy to make, actually less work than a traditional cake. Thank you again.

      May 2, 2017
  2. Great effort Suzanne And a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!

    May 2, 2017
  3. A really beautiful work, dear Suzanne – how wonderful and certainly exquisite – Happy Birthday to you – Do enjoy – Je vous embrasse avec toute mon amitié – hugs ! france 🙂

    May 2, 2017
  4. What a challenge , it looks beautiful and very tasty. You really outdid yourself. Congratulations and a Happy Birthday to you,

    May 2, 2017
    • Thank you Gerlinde. It was a challenge but now I know what works and what doesn’t so next time it will be much easier.

      May 2, 2017
  5. Happy birthday!

    May 2, 2017
  6. Looks lovely! Happy birthday!

    May 2, 2017
  7. WOW! So impressive, and so much dedication! I’ll never be making this!!!!!

    May 2, 2017
    • Mimi, the dacquoise is really easy, the recipe from fine cooking is so simple and works so well. I bet you could make one, you made the crepe cake this would be a breeze. Thank you so much.

      May 2, 2017
      • Nope. Still not doing it! I’ll just stare at yours! Beautiful photos, btw.

        May 3, 2017
      • Lol, you make me laugh. I feel the same way about the crepe cake, I can see all the layers sliding off into a big mess. You did amazing with that!!!

        May 3, 2017
  8. Wow! I so admire your tenacity for getting this done, bravo! The final result looks delicious, and you deserved every bite of that cake for your birthday. Congrats to the winners too!

    May 2, 2017
    • Thank you so much Kathryn, you know I was only able to take a couple of bites, by the time I finished I was so sick of sweets. Thats one way to cure my sweet tooth.

      May 2, 2017
  9. Suzanne– you are so intrepid!! thanks for sharing all the trials of getting this together!! It makes me feel a little better about all my kitchen glitches! And your end product looks beautiful!! So glad you persevered! You are amazing! hugs friend! xo

    May 2, 2017
    • LOL, trials and tribulations were many thats for sure. Thank you so much Rhonda.

      May 2, 2017
      • Well, it looks great! And now you can say you did it!!!

        May 4, 2017
  10. It’s all about knocking those socks off, baby, and if it tasted good enough to do that, then I say yay! I have a feeling you will try again, Suzanne. 🙂 Enjoy your week.

    May 2, 2017
    • It really was almost shockingly good, Thanks Mary, it almost did knock my socks off if I was actually wearing them. Thank you so much my friend.

      May 2, 2017
  11. Looks incredible!!

    May 2, 2017
  12. It’s Perfect Suzanne!! Happy Birthday!!! 🙂

    May 2, 2017
  13. Suzanne, this is quite the recipe, and effort. Great post! I very much enjoyed reading it and about what you would do differently.
    Also, it looks like I missed a special occasion. Wishing you a Happy Birthday! 🙂

    May 2, 2017
    • You didn’t miss a thing Eartha you are right on time. Thank you so much.

      May 2, 2017
  14. Your cake looks delicious. And I’m curious about the dacquoise as I’ve been meaning to look for a recipe for a single layer for a chocolate slice I’m working on. That recipe sounds very doable. And not overly sweet?

    Sounds like you were making an Italian buttercream as it uses hot syrup (usually around 244F or less). I tried it recently for a French macaron recipe that didn’t work! I’ve gone through five recipes with only the third working – almost. Very thin with a frill that I wouldn’t get excited about! Try reading up on Swiss buttercream instead. I made that last month and found it relatively easy. It’s also the safest to eat. And very delicious.

    Must send those recipes! I have them copied to my HD to email them to you.

    May 2, 2017
    • The dacquoise is super easy and since I messed up a layer with the mousse I quickly halved the recipe and made another single layer. It works like a charm. The first one was a disaster. The recipe for the buttercream uses egg yolks and that hot syrup no egg whites it was such a fail. The easy version I used was perfect and so simple to make. It tastes just like the other one only it’s easy to make a real find. I also tried using the hot syrup method for macron and failed they were flat disks rather than developing feet it didn’t work. I saw another recipe from Martha Stewart that is easy no drizzle of hot syrup and at least in her video they look great. Yes please send me the recipe for the choux pastry!!!! Thank you Johnny. Highly recommend the dacquoise.

      May 2, 2017
  15. I love meringue desserts such as this one and find it looks quite elegant in its rectangular shape, beautiful!!!

    May 2, 2017
    • Hi Marisa, thank you so much, me too, meringue desserts are wonderful and light.

      May 3, 2017
  16. Liz #

    Sounds like birthday greetings are in order 😀 Hope you’ve had a great day. Love how you took a potential fail and turned it into yet another smashing success!!!! Your cake looks amazing.

    May 3, 2017
    • Thank you Liz, I was surprised just how good the cake is. So happy about that.

      May 3, 2017
  17. Happy Birthday and the Mocha Dacquoise Cake looks awesome.

    May 3, 2017
  18. You did an amazing job!!!!! Happy Birthday superstar x x x

    May 3, 2017
  19. After all your hard work, it does look amazing and delicious! Happy Birthday!

    May 3, 2017
    • Thank you, it was a lot of work, what I thought would be the most difficult turned out to be the easiest and that is the dacquoise. The fillings were my downfall.

      May 3, 2017
  20. Suzanne, great post! Amazing dedication – and I love that you shared all the real moments that came along with making this lovely cake! And of course – YAY on the cookbook win – you made my day! 🙂

    May 3, 2017
  21. I’d say you did get it right! This looks incredible. Well done.

    May 4, 2017
    • Thanks Michelle, I tried and even if it’s not that pretty it sure tasted good.

      May 4, 2017
  22. Wow, what an ordeal! I am so glad this one turned out and I really like the shape. Fantastic cake!!

    May 4, 2017
    • It was an ordeal but in the end I enjoyed it. Thank you so much Antonia.

      May 4, 2017
  23. Wow Suzanne, that sounds like quite the undertaking. So happy it worked out in the end. It looks and sounds delicious, love coffee flavoured desserts!

    May 4, 2017
    • Thank you, in the end it was great but the process was exhausting, I learned a lot and when and if I make this again it will not be nearly as arduous. Thank you so much.

      May 5, 2017
  24. OMG, those dastardly evil WordPress gremlins have un-followed me from your blog too! And I nearly missed this glorious dessert. Suzanne, it looks so delicious. Holy Hannah…
    And I won! That’s beyond cool. Thank you so very much. Happy weekend and mega hugs.

    May 5, 2017
    • Evil gremlins, wow, wonder what happens? It has happened to me more times than I can count. Thank you so much, and so happy you won. You should be receiving your book from Food52 directly very soon.

      May 5, 2017
  25. Delicious!

    May 6, 2017
  26. I was exhausted reading your trials and tribulations but that’s because I am not patient enough to bake anything. Thanks for posting so others can learn from your experiments.
    The end result looks tasty,
    Tracey

    May 7, 2017
    • I feel very lucky it turned out so good, thanks so much Tracey. It was a learning experience for sure but now I feel comfortable making it again and I ended up loving the challenge.

      May 7, 2017
      • That’s great. Can you believe that there are humans who don’t love to create food? Crazy, 😋

        May 8, 2017
      • Hard to believe I know, I have so many friends and clients who stay away from the kitchen. I once had someone I sold an apt to they lived there 5 years and when they wanted to sell I went in to find the stove/oven completely untouched, it was a newly renovated kitchen with new appliances and the plastic wrap was still on the stove, etc… Never once in 5 years used the stove or oven.

        May 8, 2017
  27. Hi Suzanne, sounds like your tenacity to get the cake you wanted paid off, looks delicious, never seen a cake like this before.

    May 8, 2017
  28. It looks beautiful, Suzanne! I love the shape and the design on the top- What a project! 🙂

    May 9, 2017
    • Thank you so much I was so happy it turned out so well thank you so much!!

      May 9, 2017
  29. You show such artistry and looks amazing!

    May 10, 2017
  30. Amazing! I am blown away at all your preparation. Looks fabulous. Congratulations to the winners and especially Teagan! Hugs to you all. ❤

    May 11, 2017
  31. Well done, you deserve a medal. The cake looks wonderful and so dreamy when sat on the plate. A quick question, do you bake gluten free cakes?

    May 11, 2017
    • Hi Adele, thank you so much. Yes I do make gluten free cakes. Usually use a gf flour blend, I like King Arthur I also love using nut flours. I made a GF upside down cake and angel food cake that were wonderful.

      May 11, 2017
      • oh, wow, have you posted them on your blog. I must have a look and see.

        May 12, 2017
      • I think I did, it’s been a while will search and see.

        May 12, 2017
  32. I would never dare to try but the result looks worth it for sure. Congratulations to the winners!

    May 11, 2017
  33. You had me at cake…Off to share and drool. 😉

    May 11, 2017

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