Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host, and she challeneged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicous Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog.
To get us started, Catherine explained, “A Sans Rival is made with layers of dacquoise, typically using crushed cashews, with very rich French buttercream frosting. The dacquoise is allowed to bake and dry to a crispy layer so that there is the crunch of pastry and nuts with the buttery, silky frosting.” Dacquoise? Sounds complicated. Silky frosting? Sounds delicious!
I had an absolute blast making this cake. Now that I have managed to successfully whip egg whites into peaks of all sorts, I enjoy watching them transform from liquid to lovely, cloud-like puffs. I baked in batches since I had only two round cake pans, and I made one batch without the chocolate and one batch with the chocolate. I had a bit of difficulty getting the meringues as crisp as I liked, so as suggested, I put the layers back in the still hot oven after removing them from their pans. This extra bake time definitely helped create a crisp texture.
French Buttercream, why have I waited so long to make you? Was I intimidated by your sugar syrup? Or was it the large amount of egg yolks that required beating? Please forgive me for the misunderstanding, because both steps were too easy to have avoided you for this long.
Now that I have made French Buttercream, it pains me to think of all of the confectioners’ sugar frostings I have used elsewhere on the blog. This buttercream is so rich and decadent that it fits perfectly with the crisp dacquoise layers, just like Catherine said it would. I flavored my French Buttercream with vanilla, and I decorated the top of my Sans Rival cake with additional chocolate frosting since my cake consisted of both white and chocolate dacquoise layers.
I had a bit of a difficult time cutting into the cake (it felt like I was crushing the layers), but the slices turned out okay. The cashews I used to decorate the sides made the cake taste a bit salty, so I would suggest buying unsalted nuts. Wondering what to do with those 5 extra egg yolks? Make more French Buttercream! Or bake up some egg bagels or egg yolk cookies.
This was a really fun challenge; it took some time to pull all the steps together, but none were overly difficult. I wanted to try the Bibingka, but I was under the influence of intimidation during my second Daring Bakers’ challenge. Plus, there was something about the salted eggs and the lovely yellow color of the Bibingka that reminded me of Easter and spring. By then, I should be up for the second part of this challenge. Enjoy!
- Sans Rival
- 10 large egg whites, room temp
- 1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) cream of tartar
- ¼ cup (60 ml) (20 gm) (2/3 oz) Dutch processed cocoa (optional and not traditional)
- 2 cups (480 ml) (240 gm) (8½ oz) chopped, toasted cashews
- French Buttercream
- 5 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (60 ml) water
- 1¼ cup (300 ml) (2½ sticks) (285 gm) (10 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
- Optional Flavorings: 2 oz (55 gm) unsweetened chocolate, melted, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) almond extract, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) vanilla extract, or any flavor you like
- Preheat oven to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3.
- Line cake pan bottoms with parchment paper and butter and flour the sides really well.
- In a large clean, dry glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium until foamy (2 mins.).
- Sprinkle with cream of tartar.
- Gradually add sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, continuing to beat now at high speed until stiff shiny peaks form. (about 7-10 mins.)
- Fold in nuts, reserving enough to use for decoration.
- Divide meringue into four equal parts. Spread in pans, evenly to edges. If doing batches, use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the meringue from the
- baking pans while still hot; allow to cool slightly. Peel off the parchment paper while it is still warm, it is difficult to remove sometimes when they have completely cooled.
- When cool, trim edges so that all 4 meringue layers are uniformly shaped. Set aside.
- To make the French Buttercream, put the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until the yolks have doubled in volume and are a lemon yellow.
- Put the sugar and water in a heavy pan and cook over medium heat, stirring the sides down only until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup reaches 235°F/112°C (or thread stage).
- With the mixer on high, very slowly pour the syrup down the sides of the bowl, until all has been added. Be careful as the very hot syrup could burn you if it splashes from the beaters. Continue beating on high until the mixture is ROOM TEMPERATURE (about 15 mins).
- Still on high, beat in the soft, room temperature butter a tablespoon at a time.
- Add flavoring after you beat in the butter.
- Refrigerate the buttercream for at least an hour, and whip it smooth just before you use it.
- Assembly: Set bottom meringue on cake board with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. Spread a thin layer of buttercream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of buttercream, meringue, thin layer of buttercream, meringue, and finally buttercream the top and sides.
- Decorate with reserved nuts.