Sweet Cherry Mousse with Ribbon Sponge and Chocolate Ganache, a Daring Baker’s Challenge

by Irvin on January 27, 2011 · 63 comments

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It’s been a couple of months since I’ve last done a Daring Bakers’ Challenge. For those not in the know, the Daring Bakers’ Challenge is a group of bakers around the world that is challenged to make the same dessert or baked good and post it on the 27th of the month simultaneously. I missed the last couple of months because it’s a fast moving train from the month of October to the New Year in my household and I just didn’t have any time to do anything but the holiday obligatory activities. However I told myself that I would pull myself together for January and do it no matter what! And then I read the challenge for this month, and it fit perfectly into a personal project of mine that I’ve been thinking about forever, but just haven’t had a chance to do yet. 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. My version, was a simple Ribbon Sponge (I really really REALLY need to use up egg whites, I have about 75 egg whites in the freezer, and a Ribbon Sponge is made of all egg whites) wrapped around a sweet cherry mousse and topped with a simple chocolate ganache.

Sweet Cherry Mousse with Ribbon Sponge and Chocolate Ganache

The challenge itself was fun – and less complicated than the recipe looked, though I totally (as usual) made it last minute…yesterday in fact, right after my friend Catherine’s birthday happy hour, and I just hoped it would come out okay. That said this Daring Bakers’ Challenge neatly dovetailed with a personal project that I’ve been wanting to start for awhile: to work my way through the book Professional Baking 5th Edition by Wayne Gisslen. Working on this blog has made me realize, more than ever, that there is so much to learn about baking. Let’s face it, it’s a never ending education. And though I do fancy myself a decent home baker, maybe above average (you, dear readers, can decide for yourself what you think of my baking skills), I know that there are glaring holes in my baking skill set.

Michael Ruhlman giving a demonstration at California Culinary Academy Michael Ruhlman giving a demonstration at California Culinary Academy

I’ve contemplated going to culinary school. Truth be told, it sounds awesome. The chance to bake nonstop for a year or two, within a huge kitchen space (instead of my tiny apartment one), teachers that will answer every question that you have about why your dessert flopped, as well as being surrounded by fellow classmates that have the same passion as you, sounds amazing. But the reality is, I’m not made of money, and I don’t have two years or even six months that I can dedicate to going to school for something I know that I don’t want to do for a living.

And there’s the fact that I’m too old to be working in a commercial kitchen or a restaurant kitchen. I’m not a pastry chef and I don’t think I ever want to be – at least not in the traditional sense of the making a living in a workplace that is so physically demanding (but I have MAD respect for you people in the hospitality industry). But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to learn more and push myself more. Which is what makes the Daring Bakers such a great community. Each month challenges me to make something that I normally wouldn’t make or think of making.

I can’t really afford to go to Culinary school. But I CAN afford to buy the textbook, Professional Baking 5th Edition by Wayne Gisslen. Especially when I found the textbook used up in Powell’s Books when I went to visit my friend Sue there ($29.95 versus $23,000 in tuition?). So slowly, and surely, I’m going to work my way through that book. I’m going to figure out what the glaring holes are in my education, what I need to learn, and I’m going to teach myself.

Professional Baking 5th Edition by Wayne Gisslen

I’m thinking of it as my own Alinea at Home project, but less ambitious (no molecular gastronomy for me). I’m not going to work my way through ALL the recipes. The book is a very dense 750 pages; I’m hoping more for an education, not an endurance test. But I’ll be reading all the chapters and cherry picking the recipes that will give me the building blocks to be better in the kitchen.

And it’s already working. The recipe I pulled from the book was flawless, and better yet, was given to me in baking percentages. I’ve always been scared of using baking percentages ever since I bought a remainder copy of CIA’s professional cookbook back in college on a whim, but it’s a simple formula that professional bakers use, to scale the recipe up or down to whatever size they need. The flour is usually what is set at 100%. Everything else is a percentage of that. The specific Ribbon Sponge recipe called for Flour 100%, Confectioners’ Sugar 100%, Egg Whites 100%, Cake flour 110%. And that’s it. Which means if you use 200g of flour, you need 200 grams of  sugar, 200 grams of egg whites, and 220g of cake flour! Want 33% more batter for a larger pan? Just whip out the calculator. See how easy that is?

Kitchen ScaleOf course, this means you need a kitchen scale, but really if you are serious about baking, you need to invest in one. You can get a cheap one for $20 and they are SO worth it. But I understand that not everyone is going to have one. So the recipe listed below is has volume measurements as well.

I can’t wait to start my adventure of working my way through this book. Don’t worry, not every post on here will be about the book – in fact it will be slow going and there will be plenty other posts about my usual hectic life. The Pro Baking posts will hopefully be interspersed throughout this here shiny new blog incarnation, Eat the Love 2.0. In the meanwhile, all I can say is that I’m super thankful that I got to participate in the Daring Baker’s Challenge for January. It’s been too long. I missed it!

Sweet Cherry Mousse with Ribbon Sponge and Chocolate Ganache

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelley C January 27, 2011 at 7:10 pm

I, too, think culinary school sounds awesome!! :) Maybe one day… How awesome that this challenge aligned with an existing baking to-do for you! I love when that happens. Your ribbon sponge looks really cool, and the entire dessert sounds awesome! Great job.

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Irvin January 29, 2011 at 10:28 am

Thank you! I wish I could find the time and money for culinary school, but in the meanwhile, I’ll just work my way through the book. And keep on doing Daring Bakers’ Challenges!

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Jenni January 27, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Your joconde turned out beautifully. And the cherry mousse/chocolate ganache one-two punch is great!

Professional Baking was my text book in culinary school. If you’d like to hear about the experience, I’m happy to share it with you. :)

Now, cut me a slice of that entremet, please! =D

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Irvin January 29, 2011 at 10:29 am

I would LOVE to hear about your experience of the text book and of culinary school! The book looks awesome. I can’t wait to dive into it more. And come on over! I have some entremet left in the freezer!

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Belinda @zomppa January 27, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Looks like you knocked it out of the park!! I too wish I could go to culinary school….

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 10:17 am

Thanks Belinda! Recently I keep on meeting people who’ve gone to culinary school and it’s kind of killing me. But oh well…

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chef_d January 28, 2011 at 4:02 am

Love your cake, the multi-colored imprime looks gorgeous! That book is totally worth it, have one too and all the recipes are fool-proof!

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 10:19 am

Yay! I can’t wait to dive deep into it. So far, I’ve made two recipes and both have come out great. Thanks!

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Karen January 28, 2011 at 6:28 am

This looks so delicious – and so beautiful! I came over here to congratulate you on your SAVEUR magazine feature. Congratulations!

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 10:19 am

Thanks Karen! the Saveur feature was so wonderful!

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Susan January 28, 2011 at 8:47 am

Hi! I hopped over from the Saveur article featuring your blog (Congratulations on that!) to check things out, and find Eat the Love absolutely delightful. You are so talented and inventive, and I love your enthusiasm and obsessive attention to detail. But there is one big problem – I can’t find the recipe for your tantalizingly beautiful chocolate pom. tart anywhere. It seems criminal to mention the tart, and feature photographs of it, without providing the recipe! Will you be disclosing the recipe sometime in the future?

I am looking forward to seeing if you celebrate Chinese New Years with any delectable treats.

Zai jian!

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 10:25 am

Hi Susan! Thanks so much for stopping by. The Saveur article was awesome, and the people over there couldn’t be more wonderful.

As for the chocolate pomegranate tart recipe, I will probably be featuring it sometime in the future (probably in February depending on my schedule). It’s a pretty simple recipe, but I haven’t gotten around to writing it up yet.

And yes, I hope to have something up for Chinese New Year! We shall see if it works out though. I’m still testing recipes for it.

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Audax Artifex January 28, 2011 at 9:42 am

1stly congratulations on being on the Saveur magazine as their “Sites we Love” that is fabulous well done and I agree with Susan above where is the recipe for that tasty looking dish.

Your entremet is so so cute I love the colour and the way you did the smearing of the pattern and the final flavour combination sounds so delicious and tasty. Well done I love your obvious love of baking and way-to-go with your home education that is the way I did it!

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

P.S. I was wondering what happened to you good to hear it just was the holidays.

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 10:31 am

Thanks! I’ve always said that I loved Saveur magazine, but (of course) now I love them even more! Yay! And as I told Susan above, I’ll be posting the recipe!

And yes, the holidays were just insane for me. I was bummed I had to miss the Daring Baker’s back to back. But I’m glad to be back!

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Lesley Miller January 28, 2011 at 7:22 pm

This is such a creative recipe, Irvin! I don’t know if my version would turn out as pretty as yours but I’m certainly inspired. Also- you updated your site! It looks really nice. :)

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 10:36 am

Thanks Lesley! I had fun making the entremet and I had fun (sort of) updating my site. Well not really, but it’s fun now that it’s done! Ha! Thanks for the compliment.

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S. B. Hadley Wilson January 28, 2011 at 8:55 pm

That looks DELICIOUS!

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 10:37 am

Why thank you. AJ seemed quite pleased with it.

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Erin Johansen January 28, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Hi Irvin,

You did Oregon Fruit quite proud on this recipe! It is spectacular and we are honored and humbled to be used in such an ambitious undertaking! I am also a culinary school wanabe but way too old for another career. I will be following your progress faithfully! One of my co-workers suggested I try to adapt the challenge with Oregon Fruit and here you were doing it for me! Most gratefully, Erin, aka The Queen of Tarts
http://www.blog.oregonfruit.com

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 10:39 am

Ha! Thanks for sending me those samples. I haven’t had a chance to play with a lot of them, but you’ll be seeing a recipe I did with the canned boysenberries coming up pretty soon too!

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Ruth Ellis January 29, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Beautiful! The sheen on the top of the ganache is just perfect? I’ve never seen liquid gel colouring – just liquid which is hard to get vivid colours from, and paste, which is sometimes tricky to mix in evenly to batter etc – what brands make it?

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 10:45 am

The brand I use is called Spectrum and it’s made my Ateco (I think). I love them, as it only takes a drop or two to get those really super saturated colors, something you can’t get with liquid (I’ve actually never tried to use the paste before). A little bit goes a long way!

You can buy a 12 piece set of them at Amazon.

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astheroshe January 29, 2011 at 4:29 pm

you did a GREAT JOB!

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 10:45 am

Thank you!

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Sara January 29, 2011 at 6:15 pm

I totally failed my DB challenge but I have all the intentions to try it again! Your entremet came out fantastic! I like the idea of the sweet cheery mousse in particular. Great job!

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 10:53 am

The sweet cherry mousse actually turned out less sweet than I thought. I had to add in the confectioners’ sugar in the end to pump it up. But it turned out tasty. Yours with the ice cream looked great, even if you think of it as a “total fail”! I loved your notes on the sponge!

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Maria Beatrix January 29, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Hi, Irvin
Your joconde looks so pretty and the filling made me crave.
I loved your Professional baking project. I went to a culinary school and I must say that NOT all my questions were answered:(. I still have lots and lots of things to learn.

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 10:56 am

What? Not all your questions were answered? Isn’t that the point of culinary school? Just kidding. No, no, I’m sure learning is something that is never ending. I just decided to use the Professional Baking book to give me a bit of a structure, and to force me to learn something that I normally wouldn’t!

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marcellina January 29, 2011 at 10:18 pm

WOW, your Entremet is gorgeous! I love the smear of bright colours! I too, have many eggwhites in my deep freezer that I need to find a home for. The recipe you used would have been ideal.
Thanks for you comment on my blog because now I found your blog which is brilliant!

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 10:58 am

Oh good, I’m so glad that I’m not the ONLY person with many egg whites in the freezer! I did feel like I was cheating just a little bit with this month’s daring baker since I didn’t do the recipe with the almond flour, but any chance I have to use up those egg whites, I jump at.

Which means I’ve been making a lot of meringue based frostings lately. Ha! Thanks for stopping by!

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Emma January 29, 2011 at 10:26 pm

I love the colours, so beautiful! I’ve had similar dreams of learning to cook/bake professionally, but like you don’t have the money or time! So I’m taking a few classes here and there in local cookery schools :)

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 11:00 am

I should look into taking some individual classes! That would probably be way more economical for me. And thank you for the compliment! It was super fun to make and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

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The Daily Palette January 30, 2011 at 12:15 am

How many times exactly I scrolled back up, I don’t know! But I’m doing it again. Your creation is what desserts should be: SEXY. Cupcakes are pretty, but this mousse/cake goodness you made is GORGEOUS and very SOPHISTICATED!

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 11:07 am

LOL. I love that you think of it as SEXY! Ha! Thank you so much, and thank you for the tweet!

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Lisa January 30, 2011 at 1:41 am

::thud::

I know that tastes as fantastic as it looks. what a work of art.

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 11:19 am

Thank you! I don’t know if I would call it a work of art, but it was definitely fun to make (and eat).

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Priya Srinivasan January 30, 2011 at 3:56 pm

OMG!!!! This looks fabulous, Excellent, fantastic, Divine!!!!! Wish i can do like this!!!!

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 11:20 am

Thanks so much!

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Diana January 30, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Wow that’s really beautiful! I need to get a kitchen scale. I definitely consider myself a cook not a baker. Going through a textbook is a really good idea! Maybe I’ll do that to expand my baking skills one day.

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 11:22 am

You DEFINITELY need to get a scale! They are so worth it. It will transform your baking AND it has the extra bonus of less things to wash. No more washing a million measuring cups. As much as I like cooking, I LOVE baking (obviously). The scale really changed everything. Well, that and the KitchenAid mixer!

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annelies January 30, 2011 at 8:04 pm

That dessert is like a work of art. Truly, Irvin. Pollock would be proud. :) I think your baking challenge is going to be a good one and look forward to accompanying you on the journey… and if you need a taste-tester along the way, just holler.

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 11:24 am

Ha! I may have to take you up on that one Annelies. I could always use someone to taste my experiments.

And I was thinking more Lee Krasner, than Jackson Pollock. ;)

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Brian @ A Thought For Food January 30, 2011 at 9:01 pm

This, quite simply, a work of art. But not just in baking… but in patience. How… HOW… did you find the patience to make this gorgeous dessert!?! I am beyond impressed.

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 11:36 am

When I start making a dessert, it actually becomes pretty zen like in the kitchen (though if you were in the kitchen while I was baking you probably wouldn’t notice as I am quite the mess maker). I don’t really think of it as patience as much as getting in the moment and just flowing with it…

The patience came when I had to freeze the sucker, and then realized I had not lined the baking ring, and I had to hope that it would unmold and not stick! Luckily it did!

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Phuoc'n Delicious January 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm

I LOVE the funky colours of your joconde sponge! I’m so borrowing this idea when I make my next fancy cake! That touch of gold on your cake adds that element of elegance and the flavour combo sounds amazing. Absolutely fabulous!

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Irvin January 31, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Thanks! When I was doing it, I was super scared it would come out garish. Which it sort of did, but I went with it, and the gold dust/gold leaf help bring out of the gaudy (at least I hope it did).

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Evelyn January 31, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Hey!
I love your dessert. I wish I had the confidence (and ability)to be so artistic!
You did a beautiful job and I just wanted to reach out and grab a slice.
Wonderful!

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Irvin February 27, 2011 at 1:31 am

Thank you Evelyn! It didn’t take much confidence. I was just smearing colored batter around! But it was super fun to make!

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sandie January 31, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Lovely to look at and sounds really tasty as well. It was a fun read. Thanks for stopping by and looking forward to future correspondence.
Best- Sandie

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Irvin February 27, 2011 at 1:31 am

It was super tasty. Thanks for stopping by as well!

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Aparna January 31, 2011 at 7:54 pm

75 egg whites! How did you get there???
I can understand the thing about pros and cons of culinary school. I’m thinking of doing a short term course ( acouple of weeks) in a pastry kitchen if someone will have me. :)
I love your marbled joconde, its a great idea. And i definitely think you’re an above average baker, your entremet looks quite professional to me.

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Irvin February 27, 2011 at 1:33 am

Oh don’t get me started on the 75 egg whites. I’m slowly working my way through them, but some how, for every three or four egg whites I use up, I end up using more egg yolks for custards, puddings, and random baked goods that require more egg yolks. *sigh*. One of these days I’ll make it through them all though.

And thank you for the compliment! I’ve thought about doing a short term course as well. Perhaps one of these days I will.

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Lisa January 31, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I am in love with your joconde..I mean..in love as I wished I had gone in that direction. It’s like a mural of beauty, but how many murals are filled with cherry mousse? I think just yours, so I would love to eat your art :)

that said, LOVED reading the Top Chef entry, so, so true and so on the money! Some forget it’s a competition and let others help..LOL Just makes me shake my head.

Love your blog!

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Irvin February 27, 2011 at 1:34 am

Thanks so much Lisa! I have to admit, it was not only super fun to make, fun to look at, but fun to eat as well!

And yes, Top Chef. I actually don’t watch the show much – except for the Just Dessert spin off, but everything my sister wrote is so true!

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Rosa February 1, 2011 at 9:59 am

Wow, your entremet is mindblowingly fabulous! I really love the pattern, colors and flavors you chose. You are very talented!

Cheers,

Rosa

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Irvin February 27, 2011 at 1:35 am

Awww! Thanks Rosa! I have to admit I was pretty pleased with how it turned out.

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Jessica @ bake me away! February 2, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Dang, this is a work of art!! Not only is it stunning, it sounds so tasty. I need to check out that book! And holy cow…75 egg whites!! I’ve been having the opposite problem of too many yolks.

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Irvin February 27, 2011 at 1:37 am

You and me have to get together than! I’ll use some of them there egg yolks! You can have my egg whites! Win win situation.

The book is great. I highly recommend it. It takes some getting used to as it’s written for professionals and it assumes a certain level of skill set already (the instructions are sparse but informative) but I have yet to make anything out of it that hasn’t come out exactly as they described!

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Paula February 5, 2011 at 9:02 am

I can`t stop looking at this! It`s absolutely divine and I want to try this…

Have a great time,
Paula

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Irvin February 27, 2011 at 1:37 am

Thanks Paula! I’m flattered! It really was super fun to make.

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Meagan April 21, 2011 at 9:25 am

I’m currently in culinary school and we use the same text book and it calls for acetate paper to put inside the cake ring before you put in the outside layer of sponge cake. Did you use the acetate? Or did you use something else? Do you think that the acetate is neccesary?

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Khan February 11, 2013 at 2:26 am

Hello!!!
Could you please tell, what is the size of your cake tin that you have spread your cake batter?

You have said to freeze the colored cake batter for 15 min, and leave the uncolored cake batter covered in plastic wrap. Wont the uncolored cake batter that is outside, deflate in 15 min?

I would like to make this recipe, I have tried making it before, everything went well but unfortunately everything fall apart. I could not peel off my cake, off the parchment paper.

Thanks,
Khan.

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Khan February 11, 2013 at 2:39 am

oh, what I meant to say is, I have tried making joconde imprint recipe following a different recipe. I have not tried, this specific recipe that you have provided. This recipe seems just a tad bit easy. Bit like marble cake, the part where you take out the cake batter and mix in the colors. I would love to make this cake. AGAIN!!! :)

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