12.29.2010

Homemade Flour Bakery Hazelnut-Almond Dacquoise

Flour Bakery Hazelnut-Almond Dacquoise

It's hard to pick a favorite pastry or dessert at Flour Bakery + Cafe, but after working there for a year and sampling everything, I can say without a doubt that if I could only ever get one thing there again, it would be the hazelnut-almond dacquoise.

The dacquoise is a French cake composed of layers of hazelnut-almond meringue, chocolate ganache, and espresso buttercream, and it is just heavenly. While it is very rich, it's also very light at the same time. The chocolate, hazelnut, almond, and espresso flavors meld beautifully, and each layer presents a different texture. The meringue is soft and crunchy, the ganache is thick and smooth, and the espresso buttercream is light and buttery.

Flour Bakery Hazelnut-Almond Dacquoise

I actually never made the cake itself while working at Flour, but I did finish (pour ganache over, pipe on, and decorate) a number of them during my time there. I was excited and nervous about making the different components and assembling them myself. Making the different components is fairly simple, but assembling the cake takes a bit of patience. Give yourself plenty of time to do it.

The recipe is three pages long, and I can't begin to recreate it for you here, but if you have the cookbook or access to the recipe, these pictures will help guide you through the steps. (If you don't have the book, you can purchase it online.)

Note when you look through the pictures that I made one regular size dacquoise and one longer, skinnier one. I made the long, skinny one to bring on Christmas Eve for my aunt's birthday and the regular size one for my family to keep at home and enjoy over the weekend.

Flour Bakery Hazelnut-Almond Dacquoise

Hazelnut-Almond Dacquoise In Pictures

Jeff drew three 10-by-3-inch rectangles on parchment for me to fill in with meringue.
For the second cake, he drew three 14-by-2.5-inch rectangles. 

I mixed the ground hazelnuts and almonds, confectioners' sugar, and salt
into the whipped egg whites and granulated sugar.

Then I piped the meringue and filled in the rectangles Jeff drew.

Meringue rectangle ready to be baked

All three layers of meringue ready to be baked

Chocolate ganache
When I make chocolate ganache that I want to be thick and ready to be piped, I only heat half of the cream, pour that over the chocolate, whisk it until the chocolate is all melted, and then whisk in the remaining cold cream. This cools the chocolate more quickly.

Espresso buttercream

Meringue layers that have been baked and then left in the oven overnight to dry

For each cake, I cut a piece of cardboard to the size of the meringue, wrapped it in parchment,
smeared a tiny bit of ganache on it, and secured the bottom layer of meringue to it. Then I piped
lines of chocolate ganache the length of the meringue.



Then I placed the next layer of meringue on top of the chocolate ganache layer.

Next I piped rows of espresso buttercream the length of the meringue.

And then I topped each cake with the final layer of meringue.

Using a baby offset spatula, I completely covered both of the cakes with the remaining
espresso buttercream, making sure to fill in all gaps.


And then I placed both cakes in the fridge for about an hour. This gives the buttercream a chance to harden, so it won't just melt when the chocolate ganache is poured on top.

To finish the cakes, I reheated the chocolate ganache to get it to a pourable consistency and then
poured it around the edges and down the middle of each cake.


I swiped any excess ganache off the top using a large offset. And then I covered any exposed buttercream, as in the picture of above, with more ganache.
You don't have to go too crazy with this because the sides of the cake get covered with toasted, sliced almonds too.
The final touch is to top the cake with evenly spaced hazelnuts.
Ideally, you cut slices of the cake by cutting between the hazelnuts.
(And the hazelnuts and almonds should be toasted a bit longer, but I was running out of time and the oven was being really slow.)

Because this was a birthday cake, after the ganache cooled and firmed up,
I melted some white chocolate and piped a message on the cake.


And then the best part: cut, serve, and eat.

Everyone loved the cake -- especially the birthday girl! While it does seem like a lot of work, if you have the time and the patience, you can do it. And it will definitely be worth all the effort.



What's your favorite bakery treat?

36 comments:

Joanne said...

Whoa SO did not realize you work at Flour! I adore that place!

And I didn't realize they have a cookbook. Need to buy.

This dacquoise looks absolutely amazing. I am so utterly wholeheartedly impressed.

Alicia said...

You're amazing. I can't believe that you did not 1 but 2!! of these.

After you mentioned that it was your favorite, I read the recipe and though - sounds delicious, but I'll NEVER make that.

Of course yours looks stunning!

Taryn said...

These are beautiful! So impressive. When I worked at Flour I had the dacquoise for my cake talk, and I always imagined it would be near impossible to make. Yours looks absolutely perfect!

Melissa said...

Of all the yummy things you post here, I think this makes my tummy growl the most! Does Flour (or you) deliver??

Elizabeth said...

I am so in awe. I tried the dacquoise for the first time at the Flour book party. I didn't think I would like it but I loved it. It had the most amazing flavor and texture. Yours looks stunning. Lucky birthday girl!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

You are seriously AMAZING. Seriously. I'm in shock that you made something so gorgeous at home. And yay to Jeff for playing sous chef (sort of)!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

OMG Megan you make the best desserts ever!! I ddin't even know Flour had something like this, now I want to go there and buy a whole cake haha. I had a wonderful walnut meringue over the weekend and I've been wanting a similar dessert since. This looks perfect!

Lizzy said...

You amaze me. I wish I could bake like you!!! I did get the kitchen aid mixer so maybe that will help me make some delicious delights like you!

Daisy said...

This is by far the most impressive thing you have ever baked. (maybe?) oh my gosh, I'm in complete awe of every single step. You described the cake beautifully and took great photos. Heidi is one lucky birthday gal!

Jennifurla said...

Perfection, you made it looks easy!

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

You are seriously amazing. This is stunning and sounds delicious.

MelissaNibbles said...

You put in a lot of work! It definitely looks worth it. I want a slice!

Diana @ frontyardfoodie said...

DROOL! That looks so incredible! I'm going to make that for the next birthday in my family! You have a gift sister.

brandi said...

that looks INCREDIBLE!

Ingrid said...

I'm not a chocolate lover but I'd love a slice! Kudos on a job well done.

Hope your Christmas was the merriest! Happy 2011!
~ingrid

Elina (Russian Bites) said...

OMG, Megan. This is incredible. I remember DROOLING over the pictures in the Flour bakery cookbook. I am now convinced I must make it. Thanks for all the process photos, they really make me understand better what this will entail.
Btw, I've never seen this at the actual bakery. Do they sell it by the slice?

Emily said...

This is absolutely gorgeous!! I love the layers and your presentation is stunning. (PS - my birthday is in September. hehe)

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Oh my GOD this looks too pretty to eat! It's just perfect!

Megan said...

Thanks, guys! :)

Elina - Flour does sell it by the slice... but maybe not at Fort Point (or last I knew Fort Point stopped selling it by the slice), and then people can also order whole cakes of any size.

Reeni said...

This is stunning Megan! And it looks incredibly decadent and delicious!

Jen said...

What a beautiful cake. Thanks for all the pictures throughout the process. If this is your fav from working at Flour, it's got to be good.

Natalie said...

whoa talk about impressive! that is a SERIOUS cake!

Kerstin said...

Gorgeous - I'm completely impressed! My friend ordered the Flour cookbook for me for Xmas but I have to wait a few months for it because it's on backorder - booo, seeing posts like this make it harder to wait!

Shannon said...

wow, i totally want to make this! what a feat, but looks totally worth it :)

Slcheckoway said...

Did you make both cakes with one recipe? I just made the dacquoise meringue layers today using one recipe (6 egg whites) and it seems like too much meringue. The dacquoise layers are in the oven until morning, so we shall see...

DeliciousDish said...

I either doubled the recipe or did 1.5 times. It wasn't a single recipe. Good luck. It's a fabulous cake. Hope my process pictures are helpful.

Slcheckoway said...

Thanks for your reply to my post. Your pictures and descriptions are really helpful. I took the meringue layers out of the oven this morning (after 12 hours) and they are great. I did not have difficulty trimming the layers evenly. I will be finishing the Dacquoise today and will let you know the results.

Shellie said...

I finished the Dacquoise last night. It looks great and each component tasted great. I will be serving it at a birthday party tonight and will get to taste it then. Thanks so much for your pictures and narrative. They really helped.

DeliciousDish said...

I'm so glad it came out well! Everyone will love it!

Shellie said...

Now I can saw that not only is this a beautiful cake, but it is also the most delicious dessert I have ever tasted. Everyone at the party agreed that it is the best dessert they have ever tasted, too. They have even had my Paris Opera Cake, which is amazing, however everyone loved the Dacquoise the best. Lots of time required, but totally worth it. Thanks again for your great photos and narrative. Next time I make this, I will double the recipe and make two, one for the special occasion, and one to keep in my freezer for special guests (including me and my husband)!

DeliciousDish said...

If you freeze it, just make sure you do it before you pour the chocolate over and add the almonds. Then when you're ready to eat it, take it out of the freezer, finish it while it's still frozen, and leave it in the fridge to soften until you're ready to have it. It was my absolute favorite thing at Flour.

Shellie said...

Hi again Megan:
After the great success of making the Dacquoise, I am planning to make chocolate napoleon. I am planning to use Michel Richard's puff pastry recipe and am looking for a good authentic French recipe for the chocolate pastry cream. Any suggestions for that or for making the Napoleons? Thanks.

DeliciousDish said...

I actually made that puff pastry a couple years ago. My posts were not so great then, but there are at least some step-by-step photos that might help. http://megan-deliciousdishings.blogspot.com/2009/09/puff-pastry-for-vols-au-vent.html
As far as the pastry cream… I've never made a chocolate pastry cream and don't think I've come across one. Just checked a couple of my baking books with no luck. If you find a good recipe, definitely let me know!

Shellie said...

Thanks Megan. I will check out some recipes and let you know how the chocolate pastry cream turns out.

Shellie said...

Hi Megan:

I finally made the chocolate Napoleans. I ended up using Pierre Hermes "inverted puff pastry" recipe and his chocolate creme patisserie recipe. The puff pastry was a big effort, but was delicious. Next time I will try the Michel Richard's puff pastry recipe that you used for vol-au-vents. If you would like either or both of the Pierre Hermes recipes, just let me know and I'll post them for you.

I am getting ready for a Thanksgiving feast at my house and am wondering what you are planning to serve. do you have any favorites for Thanksgiving? Thanks.
Shellie

Heidi said...

I made my first Chocolate Espresso Dacquoise just the other day as an experiment before making a "real" one for a party. While it does take a bit of work and concentration, words cannot describe how delicious it was. I saw your blog and laughed out loud when I saw your message piped on the birthday cake - since my name is Heidi! Some things are simply meant to be.