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.
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.
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|
|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.
|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.|
What's your favorite bakery treat?