Joconde Imprime with Bumble Bee Mousse Entremet

Pirate Dreams
Posted on 06/27/2012 by cakecrumbs

I've been wanting to try a joconde imprime for years. I'd always been a bit intimidated by it, so I filed it under O for "one day" and never gave it any serious thought. But when this months theme challenge was "layers", I knew it was high time I gave this a go. I'd been looking for an excuse to do another honeycomb topper anyway and had been searching for the perfect dessert to do it with.

I knew I wanted the joconde to be patterned with chocolate stripes, but it was the entremet I couldn't decide on. There were just so many options. I'd tried a dessert with chocolate mousse and layers of honeycomb before, but the honeycomb dissolved and the beautiful layers I'd imagine became one disjoined, albeit delicious, mess. I was chatting to my boyfriend about this first world dilemma when he said, "What about bumble bee mousse?"

I felt like I was in my very own Old El Paso commercial. 


Bumble bee mousse is something I make quite often, so it should have been the obvious choice.  It's alternating layers of chocolate mousse and vanilla custard. I started making it years ago after my boyfriend and I visited my local pub for dinner one night. They often have a new once-off dessert on the specials board, and this night it said bumble bee mousse. He asked what it was and the moment he heard "banana custard" he just had to have it. We shared one and, while it was lovely, I really felt the banana flavour overpowered everything. While he was busy nomming, I was busy thinking about improving this dessert.

I took photos of the first time I attempted it years ago with the intention of blogging, but apparently I never did. This is the glassy version, topped with cream and chocolate bees.

Time to ramp up the difficulty. 

In case you're not yet aware of what a joconde imprime is, it's basically a decorative layer of paste baked into a thin layer of joconde sponge: the end result is called a joconde imprime. It forms a decorative outer layer of entremets (desserts) that are usually formed in ring moulds. 

The first step is making the décor paste. I went for chocolate, using dutch processed cocoa to get that lovely dark colour. 

One it's baked, it becomes a juggling act of trying not to burn yourself and turning the sponge over onto a dusted surface before it completely cools. If it's too cool you'll have trouble peeling the mat back. 

It was at this point my sister approached me with my dad on the other end of the phone, asking if now was a good time to talk.

"This is the worst possible time in my life anyone could ever talk to me."

What can I say? I'm melodramatic in the kitchen. 

So when it worked, I danced around my kitchen laughing à la Smeagol when he finally rids himself of Gollum. The image of that scene in my head brought on even bigger fits of giggles. 

I was excited, yo.

Yesterday I unmoulded them and tada! They worked. 

I topped each with a chocolate honeycomb topper and fondant bees, just for fun. 

Any excuse to make these guys. I also marbled the chocolate for the topper this time. The newer/outer rings of honeycomb created by bees are often lighter than the base, so I decided to use this concept but in a much more random way. 

And finally, the moment of truth: cutting the joconde. Much to my relief, the layers were perfect. I was worried about the custard not setting due to the lack of gelatin, but it was fine. While it still has a bit of give, it's not enough that it comes pouring out from between the chocolate mousse layers. 

This dessert can be made in advance (minus the toppers) and frozen until required. Avoid leaving it in your fridge for more than a few days as that tends to make gelatine-based desserts go rubbery, and the joconde sponge will go stale. 

If you're a lover of dark chocolate, it's definitely better aesthetically. We're milk chocolate lovers in my household, so the mousse is milk chocolate.

You will only need half the quantity of mousse given here. This is my go-to recipe for moulded desserts and fills all four of my ring moulds, so while I didn't need this much, extra mousse never goes astray in my house and I poured the excess into ramekins. Decide first if you want leftovers. Also, if you plan for your décor paste to be thinner than mine or only wish to pipe with it, you could safely halve this recipe. In that case, double the joconde sponge recipe.

Here's how I did it:

Joconde Imprime with Bumble Bee Mousse Entremet


Cocoa Décor Paste
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
100g icing sugar
100g egg whites (approximately 3 large eggs), reserve egg yolks
85g cake flour (1 cup cornflour per cup of plain flour can be subbed)
30g dutch processed cocoa powder 

Joconde Sponge
45g egg white (approximately 1 large egg), reserve egg yolk
5g caster sugar
40g almond meal
40g icing sugar
15g cake flour
15 unsalted butter, melted

Vanilla Custard
1/4 cup (30g) custard powder
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
1 1/2 cups (375ml) milk
20g butter
1 egg yolk

Chocolate Mousse
1 tsp powdered gelatin
1 tbsp tepid water
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
175g milk or dark chocolate, chopped
300ml thickened cream


Cocoa Décor Paste
  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add egg whites a little at a time, beating continuously. Fold in sifted flour and cocoa.
  2. Spread a thin layer of paste (around 5mm thick) onto a silicon baking mat (mine is 26 x 40cm). Pattern your paste as desired; freeze.

Joconde Sponge
  1. Preheat oven to 250°C (475°F). 
  2. Whip the egg white and caster sugar to firm, glossy peaks. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift almond flour, confectioner's sugar and cake flour together. Gradually beat in reserved egg yolks. If mixture appears too loose, beat in an extra whole egg. 
  4. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites to lighten the batter, then fold in the rest until just combined. Fold in melted butter.

Joconde Imprime
  1. Ensure your décor paste has set. If it is not solid, the pattern may shift. Once the paste is solid enough, pour sponge mixture over the top and spread evenly.
  2. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 8 minutes. The sponge will cook very quickly, so keep a good eye on it. Sponge is baked when it bounces back when touched lightly.
  3. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Invert cake onto baking paper (so your pattern is facing upwards) that has been dusted with cornflour or icing sugar; remove silicon mat. Once completely cool, cut away burnt/dry edges. Cut joconde imprime to desired size and use to line a prepared mould. 

Vanilla Custard

  1. Blend custard powder and sugar with 1/3 cup of the milk in a small saucepan until smooth and well combined; stir in remaining milk.
  2. Place over medium heat and stir until mixture boils and thickens; remove from heat. Add butter and egg yolk; stir until smooth and combined. 
  3. Pour a layer of custard into the joconde moulds and freeze whilst preparing the mouse.
Chocolate Mousse
  1. Place gelatine and water in a heatproof glass and stand in a small saucepan of simmering water. Stir until mixture becomes clear; set aside.
  2. Heat milk until warm (a minute in the microwave will do it); pour in gelatine and stir. 
  3. Put chopped chocolate into a bowl; pour milk/gelatine mixture over the chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted. 
  4. Whip cream to soft peaks. Fold 1/3 of cream mixture into the mouse to lighten; fold in the rest of the cream in two batches until just combined. 
  5. Pour mouse over top of custard. If creating alternating layers as I did, return moulds to the freezer and keep mousse warm while waiting for the other layers to freeze. 

If you're planning on tackling this dessert for yourself, I have step-by-step photos and instructions for making the joconde imprime in the original post, as well as a few more busy bees.
sushidog 27th-Jun-2012 01:30 pm (UTC)
Wow, that looks amazing; I've never heard of joconde imprimé before, so I have learned something new today!
Love your honeycomb toppers, too; bubblewrap?
cakecrumbs 27th-Jun-2012 01:53 pm (UTC)
Yesss, sure is. I love bubble wrap. It's perfect for decorating with chocolate.

Thanks, too! I'd never heard of it either until I saw someone make one on a blog (I can't even remember where) about 3 years ago. They did it as a full cake with the most gorgeous accents. It was pink and white and so pretty.
applepips16 27th-Jun-2012 01:30 pm (UTC)
OHMYLAWD. This looks absolutely amazing. And delicious too. :)
cakecrumbs 27th-Jun-2012 01:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks. xD I've frozen three of them for the weekend but me and my sister shared the spare tonight. Tasted better than I could have hoped.
sapphire_kittum 27th-Jun-2012 02:01 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh, that looks incredible! I love the layers, the honeycomb topper and the fondant bees. It's all absolutely stunning. How long did it take to make?
cakecrumbs 27th-Jun-2012 02:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much. :)

I think it took about 5 hours all up, not including drying time for the fondant bees (and having to re-make them when 5 of them were destroyed haha). I also had fondant leftover and already coloured from a previous batch... so perhaps 5 hours not including the bees.
woobeans 27th-Jun-2012 02:36 pm (UTC)
i've always wondered how it's done! now i know! thanks!
cakecrumbs 27th-Jun-2012 02:51 pm (UTC)
Yay! Glad I could help!
growly 27th-Jun-2012 03:40 pm (UTC)
I would never attempt this (I ruin even simple things, I stick to box cake xD) but it's sooooo adorable! Buzz buzz buzz. Thanks for sharing!
cakecrumbs 27th-Jun-2012 04:20 pm (UTC)
Naw, thanks for such a lovely comment. The process turned out not to be as difficult as I imagined it to be. I thoroughly expected this to fail. I may be underestimating the experience I've gained in the kitchen over the last couple years, but you never know - you could surprise yourself. ;)
turple_purtle 27th-Jun-2012 03:43 pm (UTC)

Holy crap. This is the most impressive thing I've seen in a while. =)
cakecrumbs 27th-Jun-2012 04:20 pm (UTC)
Oh thank you so much. That's really sweet of you to say.
tsuki_no_bara 27th-Jun-2012 04:09 pm (UTC)
it looks deceptively simple in the first pic, especially to someone who doesn't know what joconde imprime is. i mean, i thought it was basically a chocolate sponge cake baked in a tall ring mold (or cut with a tall ring mold...) with powdered sugar lines dusted around it or something. but no, it's way more complicated and SUPER impressive. it looks so yummy, too, and i love the bee toppers.
cakecrumbs 27th-Jun-2012 04:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) They do look very simple at first. I think that's why I was so drawn to them - they just look so simple and elegant. While I was researching recipes/tips on these, I lost hours looking through Google Images at different designs people have done. All the professional ones have no bubbles in them and look so perfect, I've no idea how they accomplish that.
si_anenome 27th-Jun-2012 04:40 pm (UTC)
Lovely! I have made these at work, but never felt ballsy enough to do it at home. Good job!
cakecrumbs 28th-Jun-2012 04:23 am (UTC)
Thanks! I imagine it would be a little easier in a professional kitchen.
vettecat 27th-Jun-2012 05:44 pm (UTC)
Wow! Great job!
cakecrumbs 28th-Jun-2012 04:23 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
layers_of_eli 27th-Jun-2012 05:46 pm (UTC)
It's so beautiful!! Joconde imprime has been in my "one day" file, too! I have to try it!
cakecrumbs 28th-Jun-2012 04:24 am (UTC)
Thanks. :) You definitely should! It gets the adrenaline going! Or maybe that's cause I'm a stress-head haha. But it's a lot of fun.
uberjackalope 27th-Jun-2012 05:55 pm (UTC)
Wow. I'm speechless. These look A.MAZ.ING. And what a process!!!
cakecrumbs 28th-Jun-2012 04:25 am (UTC)
Thanks so much. :] It was definitely involved haha.
mummy_owl 27th-Jun-2012 08:31 pm (UTC)
Very, VERY impressive cake! I live in France where fancy cakes are in every baker's window but that is superb - well done! :-)
cakecrumbs 28th-Jun-2012 04:37 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you. I'd go crazy over there. We have one cafe near me that has lovely fancy cakes and every time I'm there I go nuts with inspiration. I just wanna bake it all.
fallendebre 27th-Jun-2012 08:42 pm (UTC)
This is amazing and beautiful and not at all in my skillset but I still want to eat it. And wish I could make it. Kudos!
cakecrumbs 28th-Jun-2012 04:43 am (UTC)
Thanks! Don't worry, it wasn't in my skill set before I attempted this, either! I had to do a number of things I hadn't done before, but if you pay careful attention to what you're doing, it chugs along well enough.
marlinchen 17th-Jul-2012 02:15 am (UTC)
I'm actually really confused how you got those lighter rings with the chocolate sponge. I keep rereading and it still makes no sense to me. What I'm getting is that you just pour the paste over the sponge once, and it somehow comes out like that with multiple rings??

I'm confused. Maybe you just know exactly how to do this, so you assume that we'll understand it too (and leave out some details - I know I do this a lot), or I am just totally missing or skipping something. Help!
cakecrumbs 17th-Jul-2012 02:35 am (UTC)
The stripes I got are achieved using a decorators comb (I can't remember if that's in this post, maybe it's only in the step-by-step on my blog - apologies if that's the case). The comb I used is pointed, so that gives the thin stripes. If you use one with flat teeth, you'll get bigger stripes.

You basically spread the paste out in a thin layer and make a pattern in it (using whatever you like - comb, a fork, a skewer, your fingers, whatever works) or you can pipe it onto your surface. You freeze that, and when the sponge batter is poured on top, it seeps into the cracks/spaces.

Let me know if that's not clear enough and I'll try to explain better!
cpsings4him 3rd-Aug-2012 11:53 am (UTC)
Oh, my word! HOW adorable ... and I highly suspect, delicious!

This seems way over my head, skill-wise, since there were lots of times I didn't even recognized the words you were using, but I so enjoyed seeing this! :D LOVED the mental image of you going all, "SMEAGOL is FREE!!!!" in the kitchen! :p
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