Sans Rival – Daring Bakers Challenge November 2011

November 27th, 2011

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.

I can’t believe how close the Christmas and New Year holidays are. This year I was so sure I was going to make a fruit cake – not for myself, but for some of the special people in my life who do like or love fruit cake… I had grand plans of soaking the dried fruit in alcohol for weeks before making the cake and then allowing the taste to mature. I’m not even sure if this is the right way of going about making a fruit cake – so would love any tips from readers who can point me in the direction of some great (and maybe some that are also quick) tasty fruit cake recipes.

If I don’t get around to making fruit cake, I think there are already orders in for custard filled profiteroles with toffee. Hopefully a new Christmas tradition for our family – I know I love it.

I’m also hoping the next daring bakers challenge will be a non time consuming one, due to every weekend being filled with social activities, and days filled with work I want to get done before the quick break.

Luckily for this challenge, I decided to make it as soon as possible, and am glad I did, as the weekends filled up fast. I decided to make the chocolate Sans Rival, and found it to be lovely, but quite rich – it worked well with some vanilla ice cream to cut the richness.

The meringue was very difficult for me to get right, as I only have two spots for trays in the oven, and needed to make 4 layers – I did these on trays rather than cake pans, as I didn’t want to wash up between each bake. I also think I made the buttercream on a particularly hot day, causing a bit more of a butter taste than I would prefer.

You can also see in the background a bouquet I made from flowers from my garden, including a “red” hydrangea, sweet peas and some roses I planted back in July and have now been flowering beautifully.

Thanks to our host for this month, I understand how much effort must go into organising these challenges.

Sans Rival

Servings: 12

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 cashews (about 2/3 finely ground, and 1/3 chopped for decorations)

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 Buttercream:

5 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1¼ cup (300 ml) (2½ sticks) (285 gm) (10 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
Optional Flavorings: 2 oz (55 gm) unsweetened chocolate, melted, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) almond extract, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) vanilla extract, or any flavor you like

1. Put the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until the yolks have doubled in volume and are a lemon yellow.
2. 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 flavoring 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.


  1. Swapna says:

    You Sans Rival came out perfect!

  2. marcellina says:

    I’m sorry I don’t get around to your blog as often as I would like – you are a marvelous baker! Your Sans Rival looks fabulous as do your flowers – such gorgeous colours! I always make a boiled fruit cake ( I have a great recipe, if you would like it) and prefer to use Captain Morgan rum which gives great flavour. Have a blessed Christmas!

  3. Cakelaw says:

    Your Sans Rival cake turned out well. Love your flowers too. Good luck with the fruitcake.

  4. katie says:

    Wow your Sans Rival looks amazing. Mine was a bit ‘rustic’ Your chocolate buttercream looks so smooth and silky.

  5. Mary says:

    Yours sans rival looks gorgeous, but since it is now winter here I am really impressed with the flowers! Only 6 more months till we see some here…

  6. Jeanne says:

    I’ve never made a fruit cake, so I can’t help you out there. But this Sans Rival cake looks gorgeous!

  7. Kim says:

    Wow, beautiful flowers and Sans Rival! I too feel like every weekend fills up quickly this time of year so it is difficult sometimes to squeeze these challenges in. Your profiteroles sound like they will be delicious. Nice job on the challenge!

  8. Beta Gal says:

    Both the cake and the bouquet look beautiful. You must have had such a lovely garden to enjoy this past Spring

  9. Your recipe looks fab. The result looks wonderful too. Do drop by my space sometime. I did my first ever dessert recipe and I hope you like it!

  10. Karen says:

    I have had great success with the recipe on the side of the sunbeam mixed dried fruit packet. I changed the alcohol to tokay (because we like it) and I add some extra glace cherries. I think the recipe is pretty flexible, but also very quick and easy. Everyone who likes fruit cake seems to like it.

  11. muppy says:

    that meringue mix looks great, very delicious 🙂

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