21 April 2011

Marjolaine Cake

I became more intrigue with delicate cakes after my last adventure with Spiced Chocolate cake a'la Bon Appetite. As I mentioned in the blog post, I did not quite enjoy the flavor of the cake; I realized I like light, airy cakes with delightful surprise among its layers. Having checked Joepastry.com posts, I figured out I should try making Marjolaine Cake. But I needed an occasion to justify spending hours on it.....

It turned out that March was not only my birth month, but also the birth month of three baristas at Guerilla around the corner. Not only that, they have consistently made me perfect lattes! (If it wasn't up to my standard, I sent it back :P). So, I promised them I would make a cake for all four of us.

As other delicate cakes, I spread the baking/making process over three days. The first evening, I made the praline: caramelized sugar poured on top of roasted hazelnuts and sliced almonds, cooled, and then ground. I also made the chocolate ganache with creme fraiche (joepastry's idea!). The second day, I baked the cake... uhm, meringue to be exact. This meringue is better known among bakers as Dacquoise cake: Stiff egg whites mixed with ground nuts (i.e. almonds and hazelnut), sugar, and a little bit of flour. The third day, I made the Italian butter cream before I assembled the cake. For Marjolaine cake, the butter cream is divided into two: one portion was mixed with the praline, and the other was mixed with vanilla pods. The layer starts with meringue, followed by ganache, meringue, praline butter cream, meringue, vanilla butter cream, meringue, and topped off with ganache as finishing cover. I still find it difficult doing a proper finishing touches. The cake did not look overly impressive.... To let the flavor settled, I kept it in the fridge overnight.

Did I say the cake did not look overly impressive? It didn't. Mainly because I still need to improve my decorating skills. But flavor-wise, it was heaven on earth. (Masha Allah!!). The light Italian butter cream (yes, it is considered "light" because no egg yolks were in the cream) complemented the airy meringue very nicely. Not only that, the caramel/hazelnut/almond praline introduced a complex flavor to the whole experience; its gritty texture added a punch to the smooth, soft, silky cream.

Now I can't really decide if I like Marjolaine better than Opera Cake. However, making the dacquoise was much easier than gioconda because it doesn't require fat (butter) which is always problematic as it fat flattens the aired egg whites.....

Here's a picture of my half-eaten cake. M. did the strawberry rose. I'm waiting for a better picture from S.'s hi-tech camera.


  1. mangolassie (aka Georgia)April 25, 2011

    Upik, please start your baking company and open a shop in NYC. I think you Marjolaine looks beautiful -- those perfect layers.

  2. mangolassie: I sabotage myself: not convinced I can manage a pastry shop.... Ayayayayyayay....

    apambarabai aka U