Pecan Sans Rival with Salted Browned Butter Buttercream and Fresh Cranberry Orange Filling-November Daring Bakers

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! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog.

So that was this month’s challenge-I only got to the Sans Rival, though I would have liked to try the Bibingka, which is naturally gluten-free.  You can find the recipe on the Daring Bakers website if you would like to try it.

The Sans Rival is made up of four layers of meringue, into which ground cashews are folded.  The meringue is baked and layered with a buttercream made of egg yolks and sugar syrup.  When I first recieved the recipe, what I found most interesting was that you could make whatever alterations you wanted.  I had been looking forward to a challenge like this, where there are so many options.

Yet I ran out of time-or nearly, and realized that I still had to complete the challenge just last night! I knew the meringue would be easy enough, but I hadn’t made a frosting with egg-yolks and sugar syrup before.  Just as well, I knew for a fact that I wanted to make some interesting alterations to it-so that might make it a bit more complicated.

The one thing I was pretty focussed on to change would be leaving the butter as it was.  I wanted to brown salted butter and then turn it back into a solid that could be absorbed by the eggs.  It actually worked!  But the frosting was quite salty.  I added in some honey, and it balanced right out.

I added pecans to the meringue, and to go with the caramel notes in the frosting, I used half brown sugar in the meringue in place of granulated sugar.  With the meringue, I shaped the layers into squares, just because I didn’t have 4 round cake pans.

When it came time to frost the meringue, I remembered that many other Bakers had said the cake was too rich, adn with 2 1/2 sticks of butter in the frosting, I could see how this would be the case!  So I only used about half of the frosting-spreading it in very thin layers.  But even with thin layers, I feared that the salty-sweet frosting would overpower the whole thing.  The only thing that I thought would cut it would be some of the cranberry-orange relish from the last post.  I had made so much that we still had quite a bit left.  I put a little atop the frosting under each layer-and voila! It was done!

I didn’t try it until today, but I think it improves by sitting as the flavors meld and the cranberries moisten the meringue layers just slightly.  You should really try this recipe and make you own adaptations to it, it’s really a great recipe!

Recipe
Notes:
• Brushing the parchment paper with some oil will help you to peel it off after the dacquoise is baked.
• Do not grind the nuts down to a fine flour/powder. This recipe is better with the nuts in a grainy/sandy grind.
• It is important to peel off the parchment within a couple of minutes of it coming out of the oven. Certainly while it is still warm.
• After I’ve removed the paper, I like to return it into the warm oven to dry out more as the oven is cooling down. You want crunchy layers.

Preparation time:
Batter prep: 20 minutes
Baking: 30-60 depending on layers
Frosting: 30 minutes
Assembly: 15 minutes
Equipment required:
• Parchment paper
• 2-4 9 inch (23 cm) cake pans – you’ll be making 4 layers, so you might have to reuse pans
• Whisk
• Spatula
• Candy thermometer
• Mixer, hand or upright

Sans Rival:
Servings: 12
Photos shown are chocolate version, which is not traditional.
Ingredients
10 large egg whites, room temp
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) cream of tartar
¼ cup (60 ml) (20 gm) (2/3 oz) Dutch processed cocoa (optional and not traditional)
2 cups (480 ml) (240 gm) (8½ oz) chopped, toasted cashews

Directions:
Note: You will need four layers which will mean that you might have to bake in two batches. Be sure to use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.
1. Preheat oven to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3.
2. Line cake pan bottoms with parchment paper and butter and flour the sides really well.
3. 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.)
4. Fold in nuts, reserving enough to use for decoration.
5. Divide meringue into four equal parts. Spread in pans, evenly to edges. If doing batches, use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.
6. 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, it is difficult to remove sometimes when they have completely cooled.
7. When cool, trim edges so that all 4 meringue layers are uniformly shaped. Set aside.

French Buttercream:
Ingredients
5 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1¼ cup (300 ml) (2½ sticks) (285 gm) (10 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
Optional Flavorings: 2 oz (55 gm) unsweetened chocolate, melted, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) almond extract, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) vanilla extract, or any flavor you like
Directions:
1. Put the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until the yolks have doubled in volume and are a lemon yellow.
2. Put the sugar and water in a heavy pan and cook over medium heat, stirring the sides down only until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup reaches 235°F/112°C (or thread stage).
3. With the mixer on high, very slowly pour the syrup down the sides of the bowl, until all has been added. Be careful as the very hot syrup could burn you if it splashes from the beaters. 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.
Assembly:
Set bottom meringue on cake board with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. Spread a thin layer of buttercream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of buttercream, meringue, thin layer of buttercream, meringue, and finally buttercream the top and sides. Decorate with reserved nuts.

Assembly:
Set bottom meringue on cake board with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. Spread a
thin layer of buttercream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of
buttercream, meringue, thin layer of buttercream, meringue, and finally buttercream the top and
sides. Decorate with reserved nuts.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. It is easier to cut cold. May freeze.

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About Madeleine C.

Hi I'm Madeleine and I am an avid cook and baker! Between school, homework swimming, and everything else in my life, I really enjoy cooking! I am 15 (now 16) years old, and have two brothers, both of whom have celiac disease along with my father. For this reason, I often make gluten-free things that will satisfy them as well as those who can readily consume gluten. I enjoy making the complex and the simple, and enjoy a challenge while cooking. That's just about it!