Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Le Papillon Cake - Poh's Kitchen

The runner-up in the first series of Australian Masterchef was a beautiful Malaysian-Australian woman called Poh, who specialised, unsurprisingly, in Asian cuisine.    Poh did very well out of her Masterchef exposure, gaining her own TV show on the ABC as well as a book of the same name, Poh's Kitchen.  Unfortunately, Poh's Kitchen was always on my Pilates night, so I only saw one or two episodes as Saturday morning catch-ups. However, as a food blogger, I ran across the magnificent Le Papillon Cake that featured on her show, created by the regular chef on her show, Emmanuel Mollois.  The cake is called "Le Papillon" solely because of the large chocolate butterfly that sits atop it in full flight.

I knew that I wanted to make a Le Papillon, but the long list of expensive ingredients and time that it would consume did not justify making it as an everyday cake.  However, the perfect opportunity to make this cake came up - my lovely friend and taste tester Sandra's birthday was yesterday, and I made Le Papillon for her.

Taking heed from the comments at the end of the recipe, and after a little bit of Googling to see who else had made this cake, I decided to make a modified version by Steph of Little Pot Belly.  She had cut down on all the extravagant quantities of ingredients (which you don't need - there is a fair bit of waste even with Steph's version), and converted the cake from a dome mould to a 9 inch springform pan.  Perfect!  You can find Steph's version of Le Papillon here.  (However, do refer to the original recipe site, which features videos on how to cut the biscuit for a dome cake and how to make the butterfly.)

The modifications that I made were:

  • I made a milk chocolate mousse using melted down Easter eggs instead of a dark chocolate mousse.  This means that my cake was sweeter because the mousse was milk chocolate, but it saved me having to buy a truckload of extra chocolate just for the cake and ensured that some of the many Easter eggs that my kind family and friends gave to me disappeared before   they disappeared down my gullet and reappeared on my paunch.
  • I used crushed cornflakes in the croustillant layer instead of crushed icecream wafers (an idea gained from the comments on the original ABC version of the recipe).
  • I used rhubarb raspberry vanilla jam instead of raspberry, primarily because that is what I had.
  • I coated all of the sides of my cake with crushed up treats.
  • The coating on the side of my cake was crushed Maltesers (like US Whoppers) instead of crushed biscuit and nuts.
Here are some of the steps in pictures:

This is one of the biscuit (jaconde) layers being brushed with chocolate sugar syrup (which you make more of than you use by miles):

This is the croustillant layer after being glued on top of one of the biscuit layers using chocolate mousse:

This is the other biscuit layer being spread with jam:

Here is the first layer of mousse being slathered over the biscuit/croustillant base of the cake:

and after being studded with raspberries:

Finally, here is the frozen cake after unmoulding and prior to being veiled in chocolate nappage and crushed Maltesers:

None of the steps was particularly difficult - it was just time consuming. The only hitches for me were:

  • The milk chocolate partially resolidified on hitting the cold cream of the mousse, giving me chocolate chip mousse.
  • When the butter was added to the chocolate nappage, it didn't all melt, so I had to stir it over a double boiler on the stove to make it smooth.
  • My poor old butterfly melted when exposed to a bright light for photographs, hence it became flat rather than remaining in full flight.

However, as you can see, it was well worth the end result:

 Most importantly, Sandra said she loved it.  Happy birthday Sandra! 


Anonymous said...

Your cake looks absolutely amazing and that filling is to die for! Great cake and what an awesome friend you are for making it!

Jacque said...

Ooh, fancy cakes like this are so special and fun. Great job, it looks fantastic.

Your marbled cake sounds wonderfull too.

Amanda said...

Wow - what a great friend you are. This looks amazing and I'm sure it tasted that way too, but I'll probably never find out for myself. I'm waaay too lazy to fiddle about that much.

natalia said...

Mamma mia THIS is a great work of art ! Bravissima !

Johanna GGG said...

wow that cake looks magnificent - great birthday treat - I would like to watch the show but it has never been a good time for me either - but I think she was one of the best characters of masterchef

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Great job Cakelaw! :) It sound very intricate and I remember seeing Steph's and being very impressed!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Wow. A real labour of love! But, as you say, SO worth it. Spectacular result - well done!

Elaine said...

What a beautiful birthday cake! I love the layer of raspberries in it.

chopinandmysaucepan said...

This cake does not seem easy to make at all but looks like it's a piece of cake for you! :)

Unknown said...

Wow, that looks great. Sandra is so lucky to have someone like you to make it for her. My birthday is next month by the way.... :)
*kisses* HH

Lauren Hairston said...

I love that you melted down your Easter eggs! Too funny! It does appear, however, that they were reborn into something better.

Juliana said...

Wow, so many steps this cake the flavors...lucky Sandra :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow! Your friend was lucky to receive such a special cake. I'd like to tackle something like that someday!

Julia @Mélanger said...

How great is Poh? Love her recipes. This looks wonderful. I've not seen this one before. It's my kind of cake! :)

Ivy said...

I love these kind of cakes which have lots of steps and love the fact that you didn't follow the recipe word by word but used ingredients you already had in your pantry.