Joconde is a light and airy sponge cake recipe that is easy to make and so versatile.
Joconde is a great cake to use for the latest trend, alphabet cakes. You can’t just use any type of cake because it will dry out. You can leave joconde out in the open air and it won’t dry out which is perfect for alphabet cakes.
Alphabet cakes are the cake version of the cream tart which is tart dough shaped into letters or shapes, filled with diplomat or pastry cream (sometimes buttercream) and decorated with fresh fruits, flowers or candies.
What is Joconde Biscuit?
Biscuit Joconde is a light almond sponge cake, which is known as La Joconde in French, it is named after the Mona Lisa. I made joconde a lot in pastry school. We used it to make opera cakes, sponge cakes and little desserts filled with mousse or buttercream.
Because joconde is so versatile, you can also make some elaborate stenciled designs using Joconde. To color joconde, take out 1/3 of the cake batter and add some cocoa powder to it or some food coloring. You can stencil this color onto the parchment paper or silpat. Then bake that for 5 minutes just to set it. Add the rest of your batter on top of the stencil and bake for 8 minutes until the edges just start to brown.
You can make some really cute desserts with stenciled joconde. Cut off the browned edges of your cake and then cut your joconde into thin strips. Line the inside of a large cookie cutter with the strip. Then cut another circle out of the striped sponge with a round cookie cutter to fill the bottom of the cutter. Then you’ll want to fill the center with some mousse and refrigerate until set. Topping the simple dessert with a chocolate butterfly makes this dessert seem a lot more complicated than it is!
Another fun design was making chocolate joconde and cutting out some circles with a cookie cutter. Use a slightly smaller cutter to remove the center and insert the same sized circle of the striped joconde. You can then put a little piped buttercream in the center and you have a nice little treat! Great for a baby shower. Almost looks like zebra print to me.
Using joconde to make a cake is not a new thing but the way cake decorators have been using it is forever changing. Other than little pastries and opera cake, I only knew of using joconde for cake from Robin M Cakes. Robin makes really cook cake designs using joconde. She stencils, tapes and uses a variety of other techniques to create her amazing cake designs. You can learn more about how to make these amazing cake designs from her online cake tutorials.
photo: Robin M Cakes
Alphabet Cake Made With Joconde?
A lot of people ask me what is the best cake to use to make an alphabet cake. You might be tempted to just use the regular cake that you would use for stacked cakes but wait! The problem with that is those cakes dry out super fast! Alphabet cakes have raw edges (not frosted) so it’s important that you use a cake that is up for the job.
The great thing about joconde is that it’s literally made to be exposed to the air. How in the world did the French discover this technique? I have no idea but it’s genius. If you follow this technique, you’ll have a great moist sponge for a ton of different desserts.
I decided to break out my old pastry school cookbook and make a joconde cake for a gender reveal alphabet cake. This cake probably feeds about 10 so if you want your cake to feed more, you might have to use bigger templates. Someone told me that she buys giant wooden letters from the craft store for her templates and I thought that was kind of genius.
You could also use the big cardboard letters from the craft section.
To make your alphabet cake using Joconde, you’ll want to bake your cakes ahead. I bake my cakes 24 hours in advance so that they have plenty of time to chill and for the sugar to dissolve into the cake. When you first handle the cake, it can be a little delicate so if you put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes it’s a bit easier to handle and less prone to cracking.
First print out your letters and cut them out. I try to use a font that is pretty thick like helvetica bold. If you need the letter to be really big, try using league gothic which is pretty thick but more narrow so you can print the letter out on two pieces of paper, tape them together to form one large letter. If you need a huge letter you’ll need to bake two cakes.
For the colored surprise center, I colored some easy buttercream blue using gel food coloring. I like electric blue food coloring from Americolor because it’s a really pretty pastel. Other blues look a little green or purple when it’s really light which is no bueno for a gender reveal cake. I piped a thick line down the center of the letter with a piping tip that is about an inch thick. I then piped white buttercream all around the blue in big dollops so that when you put the top layer of cake on you can’t see the colored buttercream.
The top of the cake is decorated with more dollops of buttercream, french macarons, fresh berries, meringues, candies and fresh berries. The best part is you can decorate with whatever you want as long as the colors meld with the them you’re going for. When you cut inside you can see the gender revealed! You can see this full mess of an alphabet cake demo on my facebook page LIVE
I totally love this cake because it’s so cute and easy! I vow to make this as my own gender reveal (or ask my friend to make me one) if I ever get pregnant again! Plus it just looks SO yummy!
If you love this cake you may want to check out the cream tart tutorial which has been named the trendiest new cake design of 2018
If you’ve made a trendy cream tart or alphabet cake, be sure to post your pics to the comments so I can see them!
How to make joconde without almonds?
Some people have been asking me about what you can use in place of almonds in this recipe. I have heard that you can use ground sunflower seeds although I have not tested this substitution. You can read more about what to use to replace almond flour in recipes here.
- 7 oz (198 g) almond flour
- 6 oz (170 g) powdered sugar
- 2 oz (57 g) cake flour
- 5 large (5 large) eggs
- 6 whole (6 whole) egg whites
- 1 oz (28 g) sugar
- 2 1/2 oz (71 g) melted butter
- First you need to preheat your oven to 425ºF/230ºC.
- Sift together your almond flour, first measurement of sugar and flour so you don't have any lumps.
- Then you should blend in the 5 whole eggs into the flour until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, whip egg whites to soft peaks and slowly add in the second measurement of sugar. Continue whipping to firm moist peaks. If they start crumbling you have over-whipped your egg whites and there isn't any way to save them.
- Then fold your meringue into mixture until just combined. Make sure you don't over mix it or get too rough and break down all the air you built up in your batter or you'll have a very flat cake.
- Slowly whisk in the melted butter.
- Finally, spread the mixture onto your prepared silicone mat or parchment paper in a jelly roll or shallow sheet pan (13"x18)" and bake for 8 minutes. Make sure you don't over bake your cake.
- Once your cake is cooled, sprinkle a thin layer of granulated sugar over the surface of the cake and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit overnight in the fridge. The sugar will dissolve into the cake as a result, the cake will stay moist even if it's exposed to air. Cool huh!
- Tip for chocolate version: or a chocolate You will need to replace 35 grams of flour with 25 grams flour + 15 grams cocoa powder.