One of the best challenges of my life… Joconde Imprime/Entremet

Several months ago, in July, I mentioned to my husband that I would like to join the monthly the Daring Bakers‘ challenges. After giving it some thought though, I decided to wait on that. But I kept watching the others… What were they baking? Did it look difficult? Was I going to be  OK if I ever join?

At the end of November, I figured I was seasoned enough to do good time management and I applied. My husband said I had been taking on a lot lately and I should have given it some more time… then I opened my big mouth and said the famous last words… “Oh honey, how difficult can it be? Seriously… will be a piece of cake!”

Boy, it was the most challenging piece of cake I have ever done!!!

First of all, I had not heard the name before so when I read it for the first time, a series of thoughts went through my mind:

” What the heck?!”

“You say whaaatt?”

“And then you do whaatt??”

“Oh, I am so screwed!”

After a panic attack, I planned, planned, and planned, baby!!! Because if you do not have everything in hand, you are really going to have a heck of a time in the kitchen, cursing, banging trays on the counters, cursing again… And as of this first baking challenge, I would like to introduce you my new motto: Everyone , this is “Mise en Place” !  “Mise en Place”, this is everyone!

Blog-checking lines: 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.

Thanks Astheroshe! What a great way to start 2011!

By simply writing the recipe here, I would not be doing you a favor. If you are serious about taking this on, here is the recipe with all the things and tips you need… One thing that was great about the Daring Bakers, all the seasoned bakers and Astheroshe were there to help us for the whole month. That really made it easy and took the mystery out of  the piece.

You start with making the decor paste, come up with your design and freeze it for about 30 min. I used the chocolate joconde decor paste and tried to replicate the border you see to the left of my post.  I know it is not the handiest work I have done! I do not have steady hands! But thankfully, Jay kept printing the enlarged figures until my unsteady hands were not a big deal for the scale!

While the decor is freezing,  sponge cake is made with almond flour and cake flour. As soon as you take the pan out of the freezer, pour the batter, and bake. It bakes very quickly, so you have to take it out of the oven as soon as it is done (8 min or so). If  you overcook it, it gets dry and cracks when you are trying to put it in the mold. Once baked, peel it from the tray, cut it into strips and put it along the walls of a 9-inch springform pan.

Then you prepare a base and one, two or three fillings. This is where you can go crazy with the creativity. I was amazed with the other participants and what they came up with. I baked Nutella Cake in a 9″ by 13″ pan to get it thin enough to be the base. Cut a circle out of it and placed it on the bottom of the springform pan.

Then, instead of going with a simple filling, I told myself that if I was going down, I was going down with style! So, I followed Martha’s recipes for Mocha Bavarian Cream and spread chocolate ganache on top.

I was tired,and tired at the end… Did I mention tired? But it was a fun project. Pushed me out of my comfort zone and I learned something new.

And I would like to thank the snowy and icy weather for making the commute dangerous enough so that I had to stay at home and complete my first challenge. Can’t wait for February challenge!


  1. by Gokce
    5:37 am
    Jan 27, 2011

    Looks gorgeous!

  2. by Pinar
    6:43 am
    Jan 27, 2011

    OMG! I want that piece. Now :)

  3. by Ilke
    7:29 am
    Jan 27, 2011

    Pinar and Gokce, when are you guys coming over? Starting a pot of coffee now :)

  4. by Rich
    7:50 am
    Jan 27, 2011

    Wow. They don’t call it a challenge for nothing, do they? That is some seriously impressive work, and it look like it paid off – that looks wonderful!

  5. by Anitha
    8:17 am
    Jan 27, 2011

    Ilke – this looks sooo professional. Keep it up woman!!

  6. by Ilke
    8:26 am
    Jan 27, 2011

    @Rich… Yeah, I will be careful next time when I am too eager to sign up for challenges!
    Thanks Anitha… We’ll need to work on our kale chips next I guess :)

  7. by Handan
    10:36 am
    Jan 27, 2011

    Looks Beautiful !!!

  8. by Buket
    12:41 pm
    Jan 27, 2011

    Canim, sen asmissin, bravo artik soylenecek soz de kalmadi.

  9. by Jennifer
    12:54 pm
    Jan 27, 2011

    Wow! You weren’t kidding about the process! Not sure my lack of patience could handle creating something like this. But it looks fantastic so you’ll have to make it again and have us over. Haha!!

  10. by Mutlu
    3:03 pm
    Jan 27, 2011

    I want it all :-p

  11. by Kim
    12:17 am
    Jan 28, 2011

    Welcome to daring bakers! You did a fabulous job on your first challenge! I love your piped design and the layers look delicious (I do love chocolate). Nice job!

  12. by Jennifer
    4:03 pm
    Jan 28, 2011

    Leaving another comment to tell you that I gave you an award which you totally deserve!!!

  13. by Sumru
    5:19 pm
    Jan 28, 2011

    Iste ben buna sahanesin derim marifetli arkadasim

  14. by Lora @cakeduchess
    12:58 pm
    Feb 1, 2011

    Ilke-this is gorgeous! I love your decoration and it does match perfectly your blog design on the left…simply lovely. It must have tasted so good!! Great job:)

  15. by Monet
    10:03 am
    Feb 3, 2011

    You did such a STUNNING job with this cake. I saw quite a few of them last week, and this is one of my favorites. I love the vines that you did…just beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

  16. by Josh
    3:50 pm
    Feb 11, 2011

    This looks ridiculously amazing. Words cannot express. Found you through The Red Spoon, will definitely be following your blog!

  17. by Ilke
    6:50 pm
    Feb 11, 2011

    Thanks Josh! It took a ridiculously amazing time as well :)

  18. by Kathy C.
    2:57 pm
    Apr 13, 2011

    That looks absolutely amazing! Seriously!
    You have inspired me to cook more!

  19. by Ilke
    9:41 pm
    Apr 16, 2011

    Thanks Kathy! When I read your posts, it gets me organized :)


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