I wanted to create a romantic dinner for my husband on News Year’s Eve, I had neglected him during the crazy holiday months. I became extremely busy a week prior to Halloween and did not have much time to dedicate to him until after  New Year’s Eve. He never complained and even became the “dishwasher” which allowed me and Sydney to continually bake. I now wish I had someone to help us with the clean-up daily (it actually saves half the time).

Unbeknownst to him during the week prior to the last holiday of the year I worked on our New Year’s Eve dinner, more to the point the dessert I would serve him. I was fabricating and delivering gateaux cakes to two of my clients, it was easy to bake an extra one for us. I adore my clients, generally they let Sydney and I will choose the perfect dessert for their event or occasion. I wanted the New Year to enter with an elegant bang, and endless possibilities for everyone.

All I told DF was to meet me in the dining room at 8:00 pm dressed nicely. Sydney had plans so I knew we would be alone. DF and I every year promise each other we will slow down, take time to “feed” our marriage. Please don’t get me wrong I am not complaining, we just happen to be workaholics. This year is the year I am not only going to make the promise, but actually bring the promise to provision.What better way to start than New Year’s Eve.

As an early Christmas present ( during the beginning of December)  Sydney had given me the book “Pastries in Europe,” after reading the entire book (definitely a must for the pastry library) I was inspired by the elegant pastries and began working on some recipes and food presentation, Sydney has an incredible artistic eye.

A Trio of delight

Gateaux by definition is  any  type of various elaborate cakes, generally layered with a filling (a mousse, or coulis) and beautifully decorated. Joconde sponge cake seemed appropriate  and festive. Now we knew what type of cake we were going to bake. Our attention now turned to the fillings in between the layers, and I wanted something different form L’Opéra Cake or the Snowflakes Petit Fours. We had mascarpone and créme fraiche  and I had previoiusly developed a recipe for filling the Rose-Stawberry Macaron. I love when I can find different ways to use recipes in multiple pastries.

Raspberries happened to be at the grocery store while they were out of strawberries, easy enough to swap and tweak the filling recipe. I generally prefer using fresh organic fruit, however if the grocery store had been out of raspberries, strawberries, or red currents I would have bought frozen berries.

Joconde Paste

Wanting more of a “wow” factor we kept going back to the raspberries. I had seen a gelatin fruit puree and love the look, so we put our brains to work and decided to add gelatin to the raspberry coulis and form it into disks that would lay over mousse. I still wanted the gateaux to have a little more “umph.” Joconde paste around the cake was a perfect choice, just enough without going gaudy. The vision was for elegance.

I made the Joconde paste a tad different than most, I took my Joconde recipe tweaked it and used cake flour, chose a pattern, froze the pattern, using a sharp blade cut through the frozen pattern, placed it back in the freezer for about 2 hours, and poured the prepared Joconde batter for the cake layers over the top. The idea is to have a pattern embedded on the sponge cake.

The band is Joconde paste

Gateaux Aux Framboise

The Joconde Paste

113 grams/ 7/8-cup icing sugar, sifted

113 grams/1/2 -cup butter, softened

100 grams/ about 3 large egg Whites

113 grams cake flour, sifted

Cooper Food Coloring, or powder food colorant (the color is of choice)

This recipe make 1/2 sheet jellyroll pan.

Line a jellyroll pan with silpat and set aside.

Cream the butter for about 1 minute in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, then sift the icing sugar into the butter and cream until smooth (no lumps). Remove the bowl from the standing mixer whisk by hand with a balloon whisk  the egg whites one at a time (if you put the egg white liquid in a measuring jug it easier to control), now add the four in 3 batches, with the second addition of flour add 4-6 drops of food coloring or a dash of colorant powder. Continue whisking until a paste texture forms and all the color is evenly distributed.

With an offset spatula spread a thin even layer of paste, making sure to cover the entire silpat. Here is where pretty much your artistic person has car blanche; you can use a stencil,  free form a design with a knife, or I used a fondant matt placed in the freezer, used a sharp blade cut the pattern, and placed the paste back into the freezer.  Place the decorated Joconde paste in the freezer for about 2 hours.

The Joconde

9 large egg whites, at room temperature

30 grams/ 4 tablespoons granulated sugar

225 grams/ 2-cups blanched almonds

225 grams/ 2-cup toasted hazelnuts

450 grams/3 3/4-cups icing sugar, sifted

6 large egg yolk

6 large eggs

156 grams/ 1 1/2cup cake flour

56 grams/ 4-Tablespoons clarified beurre noisette

56 grams/4-Tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 218ºC/ 425◦F. Line two 15½ by 12½ inch sheet pans (½ sheet jelly roll pans) with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.

Using a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade, process the almonds and hazelnuts to a very fine cornmeal-like texture.

In a bowl of you standing mixer with the paddle attachment, on low speed mix the almond/ hazelnut flour, icing sugar, and cake flour, just until combined. Increase the mixer to medium-low speed, beat 1 egg yolk at a time making sure each egg is beaten for a couple minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides, then beat in each whole egg one at a time. It is imperative that each egg is added and beaten for a couple of minutes. Once all six eggs are incorporated continue to beat, on medium speed for 4 minute insuring that as much air as possible has been incorporated.  The mixture should be pale yellow in color and voluminous. Set the batter aside, or if you do not have another mixer bowl scrape the batter into different bowl

In a very clean bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites and egg white powder on medium speed to aerate. When the egg whites begin to form soft peaks slowly add the granulated sugar and whisk until the peaks are stiff and glossy. Keep a carefully eye on the egg whites they can very quickly turn from satin shiny glossy peaks to gloomy dry and an over mixed nightmare. (If this happens don’t panic, however you will need to repeat the process with six more egg white).

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond /hazelnut mixture, in two batches. Take about ½ cup of the batter and fold into the melted butter, this method keeps the butter from falling to the bottom of the bowl, and then fold the melted butter back into the batter (making sure it is completely incorporated into the batter).

Remove the Joconde paste from the freezer. Carefully pour  1/3 of the batter on the Joconde paste and the 2/3 divide equally between the 2 half prepared jellyroll pans, smoothing it into an even layer. DO NOT press down or the batter will loose volume and the cake will be tough. Bake the cake layers until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch, about 5 to 8 minutes (every oven is different so keep a close eye on it).

Remove from the oven and invert the cake onto a cool sheet pan or a wire rack, peel off the parchment paper and cool completely. One of the cakes will have the pattern embedded on it.


Framboise Sugar Syrup

119 grams/ 1/3 -cup water

100 grams/ ½ -cup sugar

¼-cup crème de framboise

Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a heavy bottom saucepan; cook till the sugar is dissolved. Pour the syrup into a glass-measuring jug and add the Framboise when the syrup has cooled. Brush each layer of the cake with the Framboise syrup.


Raspberry Crème Fraiche cream:


125 grams/ 5/8-cup Crème fraiche, very cold

31 grams/ 1/8-cup mascarpone cheese

23 grams/ 2-Tablespoons powder sugar

1-teaspoon Framboise

2 (56 grams) egg whites

Pinch of salt

10 grams/ 3/4 -Tablespoons of super fine sugar

Place the bowl of a standing mixer along with the whisk attachment in the freezer ½ hour before preparing the filling.

In the very cold bowl place cold crème fraiche begin to whip to a very soft peak and add mascarpone cheese. Continue to whisk on medium high, slowly add powdered sugar till stiff peaks form, be careful to not go to far and break the filling. Add the Framboise, and whip for a few more minutes. Set aside.

In a copper bowl whip the egg whites (on medium low speed), and a pinch of salt till foam appears, and then increase speed to medium. When medium peaks start to form slowly add sugar and increase speed to medium high and whisk till firm peaks form.

Fold the egg whites into the crème fraiche cream.

Raspberry Coulis Mousse:

Prepare a jellyroll pan with a silpat and set aside.

500 grams/ 2 1/8-cup fresh raspberries


100 grams/½-cup granulated sugar


59 grams/¼-cup water


1-cup (12 ounces) seedless raspberry jam


20 grams/5 sheets gold gelatine leaves


1½-Tablespoon Framboise liqueur


Place 1/2 of raspberries, the granulated sugar, and ¼ -cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.In the meantime, soften the gelatine sheets in very cold water for 5 minutes, then ring the excess water off and add the gelatine into the hot raspberries and stir.

Pour the cooked raspberries gelatine, the rest of fresh raspberries, the jam, and Framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth.

Pour the coulis on the silpat and spread with a metal spatula in 1/4 thick and place in the freezer till set.

Prepare a jellyroll pan with a silpat and set aside.


White Chocolate Glaze:

400 grams/14 ounces Valrhona white chocolate, coarsely chopped

82 grams/6-Tablespoons heavy whippin cream

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


With a sharp knife cut the patterned Joconde into 4 equal strips, the thickness is determined by how thick you want your cake pattern to cover the cake.

You will need 4- 4x 3 cake rings lined about 1 inch higher with parchment paper.

Take the Raspberry Coulis Gelatine from the freezer.

Using a sharp knife cut four circles with 4 inch diameters, place one strip on the Joconde paste cake (or the patterned sponge) around the prepare cake ring, layer the bottom layer with one of the Joconde circles. Using a pastry brush, generously soak the cake with the framboise syrup, spread raspberry créme fraiche over the biscuit circle, place a circle of raspberry coulis gelatine, layer with another Joconde biscuit, generously brush framboise syrup, spread créme fraiche, place a circle of raspberry gelatine. Continue this method till there are four layers ending with a Joconde bisciut. Using a long metal cake spatula, place a generous amount of the raspberry coulis, smooth out into an even layer. Place all four of the cakes into the freezer for at least 1 hour and transfer to the refrigerator until ready to serve.

DF and I had a romantic night, coincidently my husband had the same thought and brought home a 2004 Taittinger Rosa.

By the way my two clients were extremely happy with their gateaux, I think I accomplished what I needed to!

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