I was asked yesterday to bake a birthday cake, but was told that the birthday boy doesn’t like cake. Well, what kind of birthday cake is a non-cake, I thought? Then I remembered my bench partner in culinary school talking about a cake, but the way she described it, it was more like a pastry than a cake. We’ve never made it in class before so this is a first time for me. I started pouring through my library of recipe books for the cake recipe. It’s called a Saint Honoré cake.
To my surprise, I couldn’t find any recipe for it in any of my cookbook so I used my friend, Google Search, to find out what the dessert is all about and how to make it. In my search, I learned that the Saint Honoré cake is named after a French patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs.
This dessert is composed of several components, all of which I’ve learned in school so I just had to put them all together. Yeah, I knew it was easier said than done. The bottom layer is made with puff pastry, though in my search, I came across recipes that use pâte brisée or pie dough. I personally love puff pastry so I decided to use puff dough for my creation.
I like making my own puff dough, but if you’re pressed for time and need a good puff dough, skip the Pepperidge puff dough and get the puff pastry made by DuFour Pastry Kitchen. You can find it at Whole Foods Markets.
Next, I pipe a border of pâte à choux paste around the edges of the puff dough. From all the pictures I’ve seen, a Saint Honoré cake seems to be mostly round. This is going to be a rectangular cake since I don’t like wasting puff pastry :). So, since this is a rectangular cake, I decided to pipe more choux paste inside the rectangle so every cut of the cake will come with the choux pastry.
Now bake the prepared base until golden brown, like below. Sorry. It’s a bit ugly, but I figured it’s ok since I’m going to cover it up, uh I mean, decorate it later with cream puffs and caramel.
Use the remaining pâte à choux paste to make mini puffs, to be filled and used later. I like filling mine with bavarian cream.
Next, make the caramel and be careful not to touch the hot caramel. Use the caramel to attach the filled cream puffs to the edges of the baked puff / choux dough.
This next part is my improvisation. The original cake is probably filled with some other custard or cream filling. I filled mine with bavarian cream, piped whipping cream on top using a big rose piping tip, and then sprinkled some shaved chocolate. That’s it!
It’s not pretty but I think it’s going to be good eats! Can’t wait to taste it tomorrow.