24 July 2009

Risotto with Roasted Vegetables

This is one of those endlessly adaptable recipes that is great to have in your arsenal in case company shows up at a moment's notice. It's quite good enough for that. Hopefully, though, they'll give you more than a moment's notice, since this takes about an hour. That's not too bad, still, for company and all.

Anyhow, please make this. And please feel free to use your favorite mix of vegetables. Asparagus and artichokes would be lovely, for example. I toyed with the idea of adding some crispy pancetta to mine, but I left it out for the sake of simplicity. It wouldn't have been a bad addition, and neither would chicken or even some medium-rare grilled steak. Let your imaginations run wild. Please, though - do tell me what you come up with!

Risotto with Roasted Vegetables

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, cut into strips 1-2 inches long and 1/2 cm wide
3 yellow squash, cubed
1 head cauliflower, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
4-6 cups chicken stock, simmering
1 cup fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss together half of the garlic, the red pepper, squash, cauliflower and 2 tablespoon olive oil. Spread over a baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, and the oregano. Roast for 45 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the risotto. In a large pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with the remaining olive oil. Add the onion and the remaining garlic with a pinch of salt and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the rice and stir until the grains are fully coated with the fat and appear mostly translucent with a small pearl of white in the middle.

4. Add the wine and cook until it has mostly evaporated. The rice should begin to seem creamy almost immediately.

5. Begin adding the chicken stock in 1/2-1 cup intervals, cooking each time until it has absorbed most of the way and the rice seems fairly gelatinous and creamy. The best way to tell when it is done is to taste it - when the texture is to your liking, it's done! As you make more risotto, you'll get a feel for it.

6. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese and remaining butter - these will bring the risotto to its final, creamiest texture. To serve, ladle the risotto into bowls and spoon the roasted vegetables on top. Enjoy!

22 June 2009

Coconut Pecan Icing (for German Chocolate Cake)

My dad's all-time favorite cake is German chocolate cake, and since today was his birthday, I made him some. Aren't I a great daughter?

Anyways, I never really liked it myself because of the icing - the stuff in the can is just awful, and recipes for it tend to be hit or miss. So this past Christmas, my mom and I tried out a recipe for caramel sauce that we added some coconut and pecans to, and it turned out fantastic - really fantastic. Eating-it-out-of-the-pot-with-a-spoon fantastic.

This is it.

Coconut-Pecan Icing

3/4 cup butter
1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups brown sugar
a pinch of salt
2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
2 cups chopped pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. This is very important. Make a german chocolate cake. You can make it from a box, it's OK. Trust me, when it's covered with this icing, no one will care. Besides, it's tough to beat boxed cake mix for tastiness and ease. Go ahead. Give in to the box. I won't tell anyone.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, evaporated milk, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a vigorous boil and let boil for about 5 minutes.

3. Add the coconut, pecans, and vanilla and stir well.

4. Let cool to room temperature. The cake should cool at about the same rate, so you should be golden - just hope the icing survives! If you have icing left, ice the cake. Enjoy. Hope you still have cake left tomorrow to enjoy some more.

16 June 2009

I'm Back! I Brought Some Mongolian Beef with Me... Can You Forgive Me?

Let me just say.... I have missed you all so much, it's kind of ridiculous. And let me tell you, there's been loads going on. Let's see.....

..... I graduated from college!

..... I moved to New Orleans and back in with my parents for the time being.

..... Actually, that's about it, but those were big changes.

Anyways, I'm back. At least, I hope I'm back. And I've missed you guys a bunch, so hopefully I've learned my lesson and I won't leave again. I've been reading quite a bit, so I have lots of books for you, and I have lots of recipes to try out and share with all of you lovely folks.

So lets get this show on the road, shall we?

Mongolian Beef
adapted from this recipe

3 teaspoons cornstarch
3 teaspoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons rice wine
3 tablespoons water
3 pounds beef (any fairly well-marbled cut will do, I used flank steak), thinly sliced
1 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
4 bunches scallions, white parts finely chopped, green parts cut into 2-inch pieces
1 inch ginger, grated
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
salt, pepper and sugar to taste

1. Whisk together the cornstarch, water, rice wine, and 3 teaspoons of soy sauce. Marinate the beef slices in this mixture for 30 minutes.

2. Pour the cup of soy sauce (yes, a whole cup) into a small saucepan and put said saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and reduce the soy sauce to a quarter cup. When it has reduced, add the sugar and stir to combine. Meanwhile, continue with the recipe. This was a substitution for the sweet and dark soy sauce (2 tablespoons and 1/2 teaspoon, respectively) called for in the original recipe. If you have those, by all means, use them.

3. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add one-third of the beef and stir-fry until browned and about half-cooked. Remove from the pan. Repeat with the rest of the meat, adding more oil as needed.

4. Heat the final tablespoon of oil over medium heat and add the garlic, ginger, and the white parts of the scallions. Saute until aromatic and softened, about five minutes.

5. Return the meat and all of the collected juices to the pan. Add the oyster sauce and the reduced soy sauce to taste to the pan. Turn off the heat, then add the green parts of the scallions. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and sugar. Serve over steamed white rice. Enjoy!

22 July 2008

Short Break

I apologize (again) for the unannounced absence. I'll be taking a short break from blogging due to some family things I need to focus on right now. I should be back in the middle of August.

02 July 2008

Weekend Reading #2: The Known World

The Known World, by Edward P. Jones, tells the story of slavery in pre-Civil War Virginia from a slightly unusual perspective: that of slaves owned by free blacks. The writing is beautiful and the story is incredibly touching. I encountered a slight difficulty in reading it, though - through the middle 150 pages or so, the story dragged. This is through no fault of Mr. Jones - introductions had to be made an events had to occur that would render the last third of the novel possible and believable. However, there was a time that I wasn't sure that I could finish the book.

I did finish it, though, and I'm very glad that I did. The last hundred pages or so made the entire struggle worthwhile. I finished the book in a single sitting. It went quickly and I was very satisfied with the book as a whole. I've heard complaints that the book drags through the middle and then rushes through the story at the end, and I can certainly see where those complaints are coming from. I think the pace was very effective, since the events were happening for the characters so quickly that they couldn't get a handle on what or why they were happening and what the final results would be.

Overall, I highly recommend the novel and I'm eager to read more of Jones' work.

30 June 2008

Daring Bakers: Danish Braid

This month's Daring Bakers challenge is hosted by Kelly of Sass & Veracity and Ben of What's cooking? and the have selected the Danish Braid recipe from Sherry Yard's The Secrets of Baking.

When I saw this challenge, the first thing that I thought was that it was a good thing I made croissants back in March - otherwise I would have been shaking in terror. Post day snuck up on me this month and I wound up rushing through the recipe, but that was the only problem that I encountered. I said yesterday that no matter how good this turned out, it wouldn't be worth making again just because the dough was almost impossible to work with. I was happily proven wrong. Not only did the dough become easier to work with with each fold, it was also extraordinarily delicious. I made a cranberry and orange filling and an orange-vanilla glaze, and I was blown away by the results. Not only will I make it again with this same recipe, I'll definitely play around with it as well.

Danish Braid with Cranberry-Orange Filling

For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.

1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.


1 cup orange marmalade
5 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Combine the marmalade and cranberries in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When the cranberries start popping, add the sugar. Bring to a boil, then make a slurry with the water and cornstarch. Add to the cranberries, stir well and return to a boil. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Makes enough for 2 large braids

1 recipe Danish Dough
1 recipe filling, jam, or preserves

For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

Egg Wash
Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.

Proofing and Baking
1. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.


3-4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Triple Sec

Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Add the vanilla and enough triple sec to make a drizzle-able glaze. Drizzle over the cooled braid.

27 June 2008

Cherry Torte

I am currently frantically trying to finish the book that I'm currently reading, so in lieu of posting my review today, I'll post a delicious cherry torte recipe instead. I'll post the review as soon as I finish the book.

I cannot claim this recipe as my own. I got it from my mom and made only slight changes. She got it from somewhere else - though I'm not sure where. It is, however, extremely easy and absolutely delicious. I made it recently for the first time in years and I was blown away by the tastiness.

Cherry Torte

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
1-2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2-3 cups pitted and halved cherries (enough to cover the pan you're using)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F and butter a 9-inch round pan.

2. Cream the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs, salt, and vanilla and mix thoroughly.

3. Add the flour and mix until just combined.

4. Spoon the batter into your buttered pan. Arrange the cherries, cut side down, on top of the batter. Sprinkle with about a quarter cup of sugar.

5. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes to an hour, then allow to cool to room temperature.

6. Serve and enjoy!

13 June 2008

Weekend Reading #1: The Road

The Road was recommended to me last fall by Maud Casey, who I was lucky enough to have as a Creative Writing Professor. I was skeptical at first, primarily because it's really not my kind of reading and I rarely go into a book that I know will leave me depressed. However, I was almost instantly proven wrong.

There aren't many books that I read in a single sitting these days - I just don't have the time. Once I started on Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece, though, I was determined to finish it. To stop reading would have been to abandon his characters, and that wasn't something that I was willing to do. I couldn't leave McCarthy's world, because the pace of the book made me believe that if I put the book down, something terrible would happen while I was away.

The novel opens with a father and son walking through the desolated countryside of an unspecified location, believed to be the American midwest. The word as we know it has ended suddenly and murder, looting and cannibalism has become the most common way to survive. They cannot survive another winter in their location, and they are moving south. McCarthy writes that the man and his son are "each other's worlds entire," and they keep each other alive though their journey south.

The Road is bleak, harrowing, and excruciatingly painful to read. Overall, though, it is a hopeful look at what good people can rise above, no matter the circumstances they find themselves in. McCarthy writes monster stories, but he makes people - ordinary people - the monsters. Through all the pain and the suspense, this book was truly a delight to read.

A housekeeping point:

Even though life got in my way and it took me a long time to post this first review, it was great fun to write. Of course, I'll be back on food early next week (I have a fabulous recipe I'm sitting on), but these reviews should be a weekly event from now on. I think it would be fantastic if we bloggers could take this idea and run with it. So here's what I'm thinking: If you would like to participate in Weekend Reading, please post an original review of a book you've read sometime during the week, and send me an email at cookingandbooking AT junebug DOT org by midnight on Friday, with your blog name, a permanent link to your review, and your name. I'll post a recap on Saturday morning. Hopefully we can really get this to take off and get some people reading!

04 June 2008

Squash and Zucchini Tart

One of my favorite flavors of summer is squash. I just can't get enough of it - all year long, really, but in the summer the flavor just goes to a whole different level and the squash is incredibly sweet. So, I'm always on a quest to find new things to do with it. When I saw Deb at Smitten Kitchen's Ratatouille Tart, I was intrigued. However, I'm neither a huge fan of tomatoes or of eggplant, so it wasn't really my thing. So, on simplifying it, I came up with this delicious squash and zucchini tart.

Squash and Zucchini Tart

1 tart shell, blind-baked (I used this recipe, and I doubt I'll ever use another)
2 each yellow and green squash
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

1. Either by hand or using a mandoline, thinly slice the squash. You will probably have some slices left over after assembling the tart - they'll be delicious on a salad.

2. In a small saucepan, combine the olive oil, butter, and garlic over low heat until the butter is just melted. Turn off the heat and let sit while the tart shell is baking.

3. When the tart shell has cooled to room temperature, brush it lightly with the oil and butter. Working from the outside in, lay the squash slices in the shell, slightly overlapping each one. I used three rings plus a few pieces for the center, but your mileage will vary depending on the size of your squash.

4. Brush the squash lightly with the butter and oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

5. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes. Serve and Enjoy!

28 May 2008

Daring Bakers: L'Opera

This month's Daring Baker's Challenge is hosted by Ivonne, of Creampuffs in Venice, Lisa of La Mia Cucina, and cohosted by Fran of apples peaches pumpkin pie and Shea of Whiskful, and they've chosen this delicious, amazingly wonderful and absolutely worth the time it takes to make it Opera Cake. This month's challenge is dedicate to Barbara of winosandfoodies.

As I mentioned, this cake is amazing. I'm extremely proud of how mine turned out. Traditionally, L'Opera is made with chocolate and coffee flavors, but we decided to stick with light colors in honor of Livestrong Month and Barbara. My cake was flavored with orange and vanilla. Other than that, the only change I made to the recipe was just to make four layers instead of three. Will I make it again? Absolutely. I'll probably try other flavors as well.

And don't you dare forget to check out the rest of the wonderful concoctions the Daring Bakers have come up with at the blogroll!

A Taste of Light: Opéra Cake

This recipe is based on Opéra Cake recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets and Tish Boyle and Timothy Moriarty’s Chocolate Passion.

For the joconde

6 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tbsp. (30 grams) granulated sugar
2 cups (225 grams) ground blanched almonds
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
6 large eggs
1⁄2 cup (70 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. (11⁄2 ounces; 45 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1.Divide the oven into thirds by positioning a rack in the upper third of the oven and the lower third of the oven.

2.Preheat the oven to 425◦F. (220◦C).

3.Line two 121⁄2 x 151⁄2- inch (31 x 39-cm) jelly-roll pans with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.

4.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a handheld mixer), beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy. If you do not have another mixer bowl, gently scrape the meringue into another bowl and set aside.

5.If you only have one bowl, wash it after removing the egg whites or if you have a second bowl, use that one. Attach the paddle attachment to the stand mixer (or using a handheld mixer again) and beat the almonds, icing sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and voluminous, about 3 minutes.

6.Add the flour and beat on low speed until the flour is just combined (be very careful not to overmix here!!!).

7.Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond mixture and then fold in the melted butter. Divide the batter between the pans and spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of each pan.

8.Bake the cake layers until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch. This could take anywhere from 5 to 9 minutes depending on your oven. Place one jelly-roll pan in the middle of the oven and the second jelly-roll pan in the bottom third of the oven.

9.Put the pans on a heatproof counter and run a sharp knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Cover each with a sheet of parchment or wax paper, turn the pans over, and unmold.

10.Carefully peel away the parchment, then turn the parchment over and use it to cover the cakes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.

For the syrup

1⁄2 cup (125 grams) water
⅓ cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
Zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons Triple Sec

1.Stir all the syrup ingredients together in the saucepan and bring to a boil.

2.Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

For the buttercream

1 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup (60 grams) water
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
13⁄4 sticks (7 ounces; 200 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon orange extract

1.Combine the sugar, water and vanilla bean seeds or extract in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves.

2.Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 225◦F (107◦C) [*Note: Original recipe indicates a temperature of 255◦F (124◦C), however, when testing the recipe I found that this was too high so we heated to 225◦F and it worked fine] on a candy or instant-read thermometer. Once it reaches that temperature, remove the syrup from the heat.

3.While the syrup is heating, begin whisking the egg and egg yolk at high speed in the bowl of your mixer using the whisk attachment. Whisk them until they are pale and foamy.

4.When the sugar syrup reaches the correct temperature and you remove it from the heat, reduce the mixer speed to low speed and begin slowly (very slowly) pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl being very careful not to splatter the syrup into the path of the whisk attachment. Some of the syrup will spin onto the sides of the bowl but don’t worry about this and don’t try to stir it into the mixture as it will harden!

5.Raise the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the eggs are thick and satiny and the mixture is cool to the touch (about 5 minutes or so).

6.While the egg mixture is beating, place the softened butter in a bowl and mash it with a spatula until you have a soft creamy mass.

7.With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding in two-tablespoon chunks. When all the butter has been incorporated, raise the mixer speed to high and beat until the buttercream is thick and shiny.

8.At this point add in your flavouring and beat for an additional minute or so.

9.Refrigerate the buttercream, stirring it often, until it’s set enough (firm enough) to spread when topped with a layer of cake (about 20 minutes).

For the white chocolate ganache/mousse

7 ounces white chocolate
1 cup plus 3 tbsp. heavy cream (35% cream)
1 tbsp. Triple Sec
Zest of 1 orange

1.Melt the white chocolate and the 3 tbsp. of heavy cream in a small saucepan.
2.Stir to ensure that it’s smooth and that the chocolate is melted. Add the tablespoon of liqueur to the chocolate and stir. Set aside to cool completely.
3.In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form.
4.Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate to form a mousse.
5.If it’s too thin, refrigerate it for a bit until it’s spreadable.
6.If you’re not going to use it right away, refrigerate until you’re ready to use.

For the glaze

14 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1⁄2 cup heavy cream (35% cream)
1 teaspoon orange zest

1.Melt the white chocolate with the heavy cream. Whisk the mixture gently until smooth.
2.Let cool for 10 minutes and then pour over the chilled cake. Using a long metal cake spatula, smooth out into an even layer.
3.Place the cake into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.

Assembling the Opéra Cake

(Note: The finished cake should be served slightly chilled. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 day).

Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

Working with one sheet of cake at a time, cut and trim each sheet so that you have two pieces (from each cake so you’ll have four pieces in total): one 10-inch (25-cm) square and one 10 x 5-inch (25 x 121⁄2-cm) rectangle.

Place one square of cake on the baking sheet and moisten it gently with the flavoured syrup.

Spread about three-quarters of the buttercream over this layer.

Top with the two rectangular pieces of cake, placing them side by side to form a square. Moisten these pieces with the flavoured syrup.

Spread the remaining buttercream on the cake and then top with the third square of joconde. Use the remaining syrup to wet the joconde and then refrigerate until very firm (at least half an hour).

Prepare the ganache/mousse (if you haven’t already) and then spread it on the top of the last layer of the joconde. Refrigerate for at least two to three hours to give the ganache/mousse the opportunity to firm up.

Make the glaze and after it has cooled, pour/spread it over the top of the chilled cake. Refrigerate the cake again to set the glaze.

Serve the cake slightly chilled. This recipe will yield approximately 20 servings.