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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Recipe for Sans Rival Cake - Daring Bakers

On Friday, I spoke of everything in moderation and trying to eat healthy most of the time.  Well, I'm sure you can appreciate that this lovely cake fits in the "occasional treat" category here at Eat Little, Eat Big.  Last month I joined an adventuresome group of bloggers who try monthly challenges to expand our culinary aperture and to get out of our comfort zone.  Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake!

This cake is based on what I perceive to be fairly traditional French pastry principles:  layers of dacquoise (nut meringues) held together with a decadent butter cream frosting.  Using a sharp serrated knife, I sliced the Sans Rival into very thin slices, getting about 24 slices from the cake.  I wrapped each in wax paper and then froze in a freezer bag.   We enjoyed a piece of cake when it was made and then another one later in the week.  I took some pieces to a dinner party where it was well received.   It freezes very well and I'm patting myself on the back here that we didn't eat it all over the course of a couple of days!
Two of the four dacquoise layers

Building the cake

Finished Sans Rival Cake
Catherine gave us options for the cake (adding in cocoa for a chocolate version) but I went with the traditional cashew dacquoise and vanilla flavored butter cream frosting.  I do think chocolate meringues with hazelnut or mocha flavored icing would be awesome.  At the dinner party, we were wondering if you could use Nutella!?

Yield: 12-24 slices (depending on how you slice it)
Time: About 2-3 hours (I used disposable 9" cake tins so I could cook all the layers at once)

  • 10 large egg whites, room temp
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 cups chopped, toasted cashews (divided)
  • Parchment paper, butter and flour for pan(s)

Butter cream frosting
  • 5 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1¼ cup (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract (I would add another 1/2 tsp next time)
  • Raspberries for decorating (optional)

Note: You will need four layers which, depending on how many pans you have, you may have to bake in batches. Be sure to use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch or use disposable pans as I did (still with parchment paper and butter/flour).
  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • 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 1 1/2 cup of the nuts, reserving the remainder to use for decoration.
  • Divide meringue into four equal parts. Spread in pans, evenly to edges. 
  • 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.
  • When cool, trim edges so that all 4 meringue layers are uniformly shaped (serrated knife works best).

Butter cream frosting
  • Beat egg yolks at high speed until the yolks have doubled in volume and are a lemon yellow.
  • While yolks are beating, put the sugar and water in a heavy pan and cook over medium heat, stirring the sides down until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup reaches 235°F on a candy thermometer (or thread stage).
  • With the mixer on high, very slowly pour the syrup down the sides of the bowl into the egg yolks.  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.

  • Set bottom meringue on serving plate with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. 
  • Spread a thin layer of butter cream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of butter cream, meringue, thin layer of butter cream, meringue, and finally butter cream the top and sides. 
  • Decorate with reserved nuts and raspberries (if using).
  • Store in fridge.  
  • To freeze, slice into thin pieces, wrap in wax paper and then place in freezer bag.  Stays fresh at least 2 weeks.  Remove from freezer to come to room temp prior to serving.
I really enjoyed this challenge.  If you are interested in more information about the Daring Kitchen challenges, here is the website.