Sorry, sorry, sorry, it seems a long time ago since I last wrote up a recipe, my allotment has been taking up most of my time, but that is no excuse!! So here it is, the next letter in the alphabet.
This recipe has been taken from a book I recently bought called The Baker’s Daughter by Louise Johncox and has quite a few recipes that I haven’t heard of before. Looking through it, there are certainly lots and lots of recipes I want to try.
The easiest way to describe this little cake is they consist of two nutty macaroon biscuits which are sandwiched together and covered with buttercream which gives you two contrasting textures. Once I’d made and tried one they actually reminded me of an earlier recipe I baked a while back now from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible – Hazelnut Meringue Cake. Although not that similar when you look at the filling, I could see myself making a ‘big’ Japonaise one day instead of little individual cakes.
- 140g egg whites (approximately 8 eggs)
- 225g caster sugar
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 110g ground almonds
- 330g icing sugar
- 175g softened butter
- 4 tsp coffee extract
- 25g dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas Mark 2. Grease 2 baking trays.
- Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Add half the caster sugar a spoonful at a time, then add the almond extract.
- Sift the ground almonds and the remaining caster sugar together in a separate bowl (this did take quite a time and I had to use a spoon to stir the mixture in the sieve to get it all through, but it does produce a very fine mixture.
- Fold this into the meringue mixture.
- Place the mixture in a piping bag and using a 1cm nozzle pipe small spirals about 4cm in diameter (I drew circles on a sheet of greaseproof paper, turned it upside down and piped the spirals on this. The meringues do expand whilst cooking, so allow a space in between each one. The biscuits are meant to be flat. (The mixture makes around 35 biscuits).
- Put in the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes – until the biscuits are golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix in the cubed butter to form a smooth paste. Finally add the coffee extract.
- Take 5 of the cooled biscuits and place into a bag. Using a rolling-pin crush the biscuits to make crumbs. Pour the crumbs onto a plate.
- You can either pipe the coffee buttercream onto half of the biscuits or use a spatula to spread the buttercream. Whatever you find easier. Place the remaining biscuits upside down onto the buttercream to create a sandwich. Press down to achieve a uniform thickness. The layer of buttercream should be 1-2cm thick.
- Using a palette knife spread the remaining of the buttercream around the sides of the biscuit and roll each sandwich in the crumbs.
- Coat the top with more buttercream and sprinkle the top with some of the crumbs.
- Finally melt the chocolate and spoon a dollop of chocolate onto the centre of the biscuit for decoration (I decided to pipe the chocolate across the top of the cakes instead).
I’ll admit these little cakes were quite fiddly to make, but they were delicious and certainly looked stunning. Reading through the book you can easily adapt the flavour of these by making different buttercream – chocolate ones sound nice – just add 1 tablespoon of cocoa instead of the coffee extract. Again, vanilla ones can be made by adding a few drops of vanilla extract rather than coffee. The list is probably endless.