Saturday, February 5, 2011

Brasilia, Nougatine, Sirup au Rhum, Glaçage au Caramel, Crème Caramel au Beurre

Chef Karen's Brasilia

I cannot for the life of me find any information on this sexy cake online! Not that it's a total mystery, I've come across it before in one of my cookbooks: oddly enough, the Le Cordon Bleu Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen.

Here's what I know about the Brasilia: it's an incredibly rich buttercream cake, and like all such cakes, best enjoyed in small doses: 4cm is the maximum altitude we're aiming for here. Thin layers of jaconde (baked yesterday) are soaked in rum syrup, sandwiched between rich coffee buttercream and covered in a shiny bronze coat of caramel glaze. Maybe that's the story: dedicated to them sexy bronze Brazilians sunbathing along the coasts of Rio De Janeiro?

Rum-soaked jaconde, coffee buttercream and glaze...sounds familiar? It  brings to mind the Gateau Opéra we made in Intermediate, doesn't it? Though without any chocolate ganache, the Brasilia has a more pronounced coffee and caramel flavor that makes it a gorgeously outstanding cake in its own right.

Dry Caramel Bubbling Away & Blitzed

It's dry caramel you get when you boil sugar and glucose together without adding any water. Once all the sugar has dissolved, cream and sugar are carefully added and the mix is cooked to 160'C. Remove from the heat, add gelatin and blitz to incorporate. The glaze is then set aside to cool until it is ready for use.

Check Out The Gloss On The Glaze!

Caramel Buttercream

Ah yes, the dreaded buttercream. Boil water and sugar to 160'C (dark caramel stage), add water, cream and coffee extract and cook again to 120'C. In a mixing bowl, whip up some egg yolks, slowly drizzling in the caramel while a-beating until the mixture is lightened up and cooled down.

This cooling-down step is vital before we add the butter: we don't want to melt the fat, but incorporate it into the caramel to form a smooth and spreadable buttercream.

Building The Brasilia

See what I mean when I said this reminds me of Gateau Opéra? Melted chocolate is slathered onto the base of a jaconde and chilled to set. This keeps the syrup from soaking through and creating a soggy mess. The jaconde is then liberally brushed with rum and sugar syrup, layered with buttercream and the whole process is repeated 3 times over. 

The cake is chilled again to set the buttercream, least it melts when the slightly warm glaze is poured over. It is now ready to be garnished with more buttercream and nougatine. This ain't a simple cake to make, and I'm thoroughly loving every bit of the process!

Brasilia Slices To Be Garnished

Chef Luigi Rolling Out The Nougatine

Perfect For Hi-Tea

I took a bite off a petit four-sized cake and could taste the coffee and caramel only so vaguely - blame it on the flu-numbed taste buds. The other thing I picked up was the incredible sweetness of it all. For sure I will be tweaking this recipe a bit when it's my turn in the kitchen.

3 Chefs & A Party

Chefs Karen, Gert and Luigi are some of the most affable instructors on campus. Seeing them together on the first week of school, working and laughing away, was quite a sight.

More Preserved Peel, More Sugar In..Hum Drum

My Brasilia Slices

Close Up

Check out my Brasilia! You'll notice my slices are more strongly colored than Chef Karen's. You should know me well enough by now to guess what I did with my take on the cake. 

I halved the sugar and tripled the rum in my soaking syrup (No Apologies!), tripled again the amount of coffee extract in the buttercream and cooked my caramel glaze a tad longer for a richer color and flavor before adding the soaked and softened gelatin sheets.

Having learnt my painful lessons on nougatine in the last class, I made it this time round with more care and less fuss, and sliced it into triangles which, along with a coffee bean, went on to grace my Brasilia slices in a simple and very classy finish. I'm really proud of it. :)

& A Little Extra For Later


  1. Looks great. Although I'm not a butter cream fan, the coffee & rum super-sized option looks good.

  2. I'm glad you like it. Good to know at the very least you're a coffee fan at heart. :)

  3. Fantastic! That looks so amazing! I love how gorgeous that brasilia looks - edible art!

  4. Thanks Forager! It was as good to make as it was to eat! Heehee.