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a nutty tea dacquoise

July 18, 2012

This week I turn the grand old age of no-longer-“mid-20s” and to celebrate I’ve decided to make my own birthday cake(s).

A variety of factors led me to do this, including:

a) my friends were too intimidated by the blog to make one for me;

b) I tend not to like shop bought cakes;

c) the cakes I do like from the shops are too pricey for my meagre budget;

d) I couldn’t quite accept the boy’s offer to make one for me (especially as he doesn’t actually like cake); and

e) my mum made mine last year (and I’m pretty sure her cake baking duties should have ended some years before that, perhaps at my entry into “late teens”).

I did think to replicate the triple chocolate wonder for myself, but faltered at the sheer recency of it all (and the fact that the very same recipe had been used for yet another friend’s birthday just the weekend before mine).

So to the drawing board I went.

If you’ve been following my travels on instagram you may have noticed that I spent the best part of an afternoon cooking up and shelling some chestnuts that I’d picked up from our local greengrocer. I’d never actually worked with them before, so tried a couple of different methods (and spoke to a couple of good, chestnut-peeling-skilled folk) about how best to approach them. I also consulted one of my favourite birthday presents in recent history – a copy of Larousse Gastronomique that was gifted to me some years back.

It’s a giant doorstop of a book with definitions or just about any cooking term, ingredient or key culinary method one might want to read up on, and for the first time in a long time, I managed to tear myself away from the pictures of fish (complete with common and scientific names) for long enough to look up:

1. how to make a sweet chestnut puree with the nuggets I’d recently extracted;

2. how to make a traditional dacquoise; and

3. how to make a creme de boutre using flavoured sugar syrup.

(Of course, I played with the recipes a bit because I’m just not great at sticking to them).

The result? A not-very-very-tricky-at-all-but-really-quite-time-consuming-and-dish-consuming-cake-washing-up-wise.

Also, you’ll need a stand mixer and a thermometer.

And some patience.

(But oh, look at how pretty the layers are! I’m going to put this in the “worth a shot for a special occasion pile”).

Also, it’s for my birthday so it had to be a bit fancy, right?

a nutty tea dacquoise

you will need:

1x almond & hazelnut dacquoise recipe
1x tea creme au beurre recipe
1x chestnut cream recipe (with tips on peeling chestnuts too!)

how to do it:

1. Take an 18cm springform tin and line the base with greaseproof paper. Cut a plastic overhead transparency sheet in half lengthwise and use sticky tape to join the two ends together so you have one long strip. Pop the strip into the springform tin so it forms a collar around it.

2. Place one dacquoise disc into the base of the springform tin. Top with 1/3 of the chestnut cream and spread evenly so that it covers the disc. Alternatively, use a piping bag to pipe the cream on in circles.

3. Place a dacquoise disc on top of the chestnut cream and push down slightly so the cream spreads out and fills any gaps. Top with 1/2 of the tea creme au beurre.

4. Repeat until you have used all of the chestnut cream and the creme au beurre, finishing with a dacquoise disc on top.

5. Chill for a couple of hours before unmoulding and serving with a dusting of icing sugar on top!

almond & hazelnut dacquoise

you will need:

8 egg whites
1 pinch salt
220g sugar
100g almond meal
50g hazelnut meal
75 hazelnuts chopped finely

how to do it: 

1. Whip the egg whites with the salt until it forms stiff peaks. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until it is smooth and glossy. You can tell it is done by taking a pinch of the mixture and rubbing it between your thumb and finger. If you can’t feel any distinct sugar granules anymore, you’re done.

2. Carefully fold in the almond meal, hazelnut meal and chopped hazelnuts.

3. Trace 17cm rounds on the back of some baking paper. You will need seven of them in total.

4. Turn the baking paper over (so the pencil markings are on the back) and split the mixture evenly between the circles. Spread the meringue mixture out with a palette knife so they fill the circles without going too far over the lines and are relatively even on the top.

5. Bake the dacquoise layers in a 170C fan forced oven for 20 minutes, rotating the trays half way if you are using two layers.

6. After removing them from the oven, wait about 10 minutes then peel the baking paper off the back of the layers and set on a cooling tray to cool.

tea creme au beurre

you will need:

1 english breakfast tea bag
100ml hot water
3/4C sugar
6 egg yolks
100g butter, chopped into small pieces

how to do it:

1. Combine the tea bag and water and brew until the tea is strong and black. Remove the teabag and measure out 75ml of the tea. Discard the rest.

2. Add the 75ml of tea to 3/4C white sugar in a small saucepan. Heat until its temperature reaches 120C. By this stage, the sugar will have all dissolved and the liquid will be quite thick. Take the sugar mixture off the heat so the bubble subside.

3. While the sugar syrup is heating, whip the egg yolks until they are pale yellow, fluffy and creamy.

4. Pour the sugar syrup into the egg yolks in a thin stream, with the mixer on slow so that the sugar syrup doesn’t splatter everywhere. Once all the syrup has been added, crank the mixer up to high and beat for 3 mins.

5. Turn the mixer down to a medium speed and add the butter in a couple of small pieces at a time. When the butter is all added, beat until there are no noticeable clumps.

 

This post is part of the July Sweet Adventures Blog Hop themed “Nuts About Sweets” and hosted by Nic of Dining with a Stud.


  • #1
    July 18th, 2012

    Happy birthday :D!!!! What a gorgeous cake to celebrate with. Thanks for joining the hop 🙂

  • #2
    July 18th, 2012

    This cake looks amazing!! I love a good dacquoise, will definitely have to give this one a try sometime. Oh and Happy Birthday!

  • #3
    July 18th, 2012

    Happy birthday! The layers look awesome! Well done!

  • #4
    July 18th, 2012

    I love the idea of celebrating the passing of years by trying something challenging and new. You’ve inspired me to give dacquoise a shot. Happy Birthday!

  • #5
    July 18th, 2012

    Stunning cake with amazing flavours, worth the washing up and mess. Just a shame it was for your birthday. Happy birthday gorgeous 🙂

  • #6
    July 19th, 2012

    WOW this sounds delicious. I love to make my own birthday cake too.

  • #7
    July 19th, 2012

    Hope you have a lovely week celebrating your birthday. I’m sure it’ll be delicious. This looks fabulous Shez. I feel so learned now, had no idea what a creme de boutre was, infusing tea into it sounds amazing.

  • #8
    July 19th, 2012

    Oh my goodness! This is the BEST birthday cake! YUM! Happy birthday to you!

  • #9
    July 19th, 2012

    Shez – this looks incredible – it’s such a pretty cake and I love the flavours you have used. Happy Birthday!

  • #10
    July 19th, 2012

    Gorgeous and slightly ridiculous as always – love it! Happy Birthday, hope it was a brilliant one 🙂

  • #11
    July 20th, 2012

    Happy Birthday, Shez! xx What an awesome birthday cake you made for yourself. You’ve got some great talent there and I love your flavour combinations.

  • #12
    July 24th, 2012

    Oh. My. Goodness. What a cake!! Dacquoise is something I’ve never tried but have been meaning to give it a go for a while now. You have given me inspiration! Hope you had a fab birthday 🙂

  • #13
    sara james
    March 8th, 2014

    i love what you bake, i think the way of baking cake with you is the easiest way i have ever seen. Thanks for all the videos.

  • #14
    sara JameS
    March 8th, 2014

    Happy birthday Shez i have the cake, i should bake myself a birthday cake too next time. I love the way you bake cakes. Thank you

Shez