This month brought another challenge to my kitchen thru the Daring Bakers.
You may be curious what exactly a Sans Rival is. It sounds like some sort of enemy. Luckily, this wasn’t a 10 hour long process, but instead a fairly simple dessert.
A Sans Rival cake is a popular Filipino dessert. “Sans rival” means “without rival” and any Filipino will argue with you that this is true. Although it’s one of the most popular desserts in the Philippines, its origins are certainly French. In the 1920’s to 30’s there were many Filipinos who went abroad to study. A good number went to France and learned many French cooking techniques which they then brought home. A Sans Rival is made with layers of dacquoise, typically using crushed cashews, with very rich French buttercream frosting. The dacquoise is allowed to bake and dry to a crispy layer so that there is the crunch of pastry and nuts with the buttery, silky frosting.
As usual, however, it didn’t come out exactly as planned. While the flavors were delicious, I somehow didn’t get my meringue to completely crisp up. It was still tasty but we had to eat the center portion with a fork and knife :)
I did a slight variation on the original recipe. While the host, Catherine, already altered the traditional recipe by adding cocoa powder to the meringue, she kept the original cashew nuts as the flavoring for the frosting.
Because I made the meringue chocolate, I thought what better nut to pair with it but peanut! I used chopped peanuts around the outside and also substituted peanut butter for part of the butter in the buttercream frosting. I have to say that the frosting was an awesome combo…definitely a great idea, if I do say so myself. I seriously couldn’t stop sticking my finger in and eating it straight up.
If you do nothing else but make this peanut butter buttercream, you won’t be sorry. I think I may make a double batch of it to top a regular old chocolate cake.
Blog-checking lines: 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.
• 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 removing the paper, return it into the warm oven to dry out more as the oven is cooling down. You want crunchy layers.
•I halved the below recipe and rather than cooking the meringue in cake pans, I piped it into four 6-in circles on parchment lined cookie sheets
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 peanuts
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.(Note the more finely ground for folding into meringue. The coarsely ground for is decoration of finished cake.)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 Peanut Butter Buttercream:
(recipe by Me)
5 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
2 sticks (10 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
Put the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until the yolks have doubled in volume and are a lemon yellow.
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 peanut butter 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 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.