Today, I'm sharing how to make an amazing biscuit Joconde sponge. It is lightly chewy, tender, and moist. The beautiful texture matches well with complex cakes such as mousse cakes, layered cakes, custom entremets, etc.
🧡 I love the Joconde sponge because:
- The soft and rich texture works perfectly as a thin layer.
- It has nice flexibility - You can bend it easily to set it up on the sides of cake rings.
- The amazing almond flavor adds another layer of depth to the cake.
- It gets baked quickly - and it cools down in a short time!
💬 It is most known as a sponge for an opera cake. The classic cake can't be completed without this unique sponge!
In this post, you'll learn essential baking tips such as:
- What is Joconde sponge?
- How to make it so tender and light
- How stiff the meringue should be
- Tips for folding the batter
... and so on.
Let's get started!
📌 What is Joconde sponge?
It is an almond sponge made by mixing the almond & egg mixture and meringue.
It is not as fluffy as regular sponge cakes, such as a genoise sponge cake, since it contains a lot of almond flour and less flour. It's moist, tender, rich, and slightly chewy.
It's not too fluffy nor dense, and the neutral presence matches so well with complex desserts such as layered cakes, mousse entremets, etc.
In French, it's called "La Joconde," derived from the famous painting "Mona Lisa." (It's the feminine form of her married name, Giocondo)
📌 What's In Joconde sponge?
The almond and whole egg mixture:
- Powdered Sugar
- It dissolves quickly in liquids.
- Almond flour
- It gives this sponge a rich and moist texture.
- Whole eggs
- It does the primary role of letting the cake rise in the oven.
- All-purpose flour
- It helps to sustain the body. A small amount is added to make a tender sponge.
- It adds richness to the texture.
- Egg white
- Ensure no oil and liquids are mixed in egg whites and tools so the meringue whips well.
- Granulated sugar
- It helps to stabilize the meringue. Sugar is essential to create a moist texture.
📌 How to make Joconde sponge
The 8 steps:
- Mix almond flour and powdered sugar.
- Add whole eggs and mix.
- Heat the mixture with a water bath.
- Whip it until it gets very pale.
- Whip the egg white to make meringue.
- Mix the meringue and the whole egg mixture.
- Add flour and fold until you don't see it.
- Add melted butter and fold until it's evenly incorporated.
- Spread it onto pans and bake at 410 F | 210 C for 6 - 7 minutes.
📝 More Tips With Images
Now, let me share detailed tips on each step, which are all crucial for making Joconde sponge successfully.
- Preheat the oven to 410 F | 210 C
- Set parchment papers on two half-size sheet pans. (You can also use one full-size sheet pan or four quarter sheet pans.)
- Prepare all the ingredients ahead so that we can move smoothly after this.
Step 1: Mix almond flour and powdered sugar.
Let's start making the almond & egg mixture!
First, mix powdered sugar and almond flour in a bowl:
It's not a crucial step, but I like to sift them to eliminate the lumps of flour beforehand.
Step 2: Add whole eggs and mix.
Add whole eggs to the flour:
Mix it with a whisk until it looks even:
Step 3: Heat the mixture with a water bath.
Heat it with a water bath until it feels comfortably warm. (95 - 104 F | 35 - 40 C)
💡 By doing this, the eggs get whipped a lot better.
⚠️ Ensure that the hot water is not touching the bowl directly to prevent eggs from getting cooked.
Remove the bowl from the heat once it’s heated enough.
And use the hot water to melt butter beforehand:
Step 4: Whip the mixture.
Start whipping it while it’s warm:
Continue whipping until it looks very pale:
💬 That means it contains lots of air, creating a lighter texture for the sponge.
Touch the bowl and check: Stop whipping it when it feels nothing (room temperature).
Set it aside.
When should we start whipping egg white?
Whip the whole egg mixture and egg white at the same time when you can or whip from the whole egg mixture. But do not start by whipping egg white.
That is because meringue is more unstable and starts separating quickly if you leave it for some time. Even if you re-whip it, it's not quite the same when it's already separated too much.
Step 5: Make meringue.
Now, we are making meringue.
⚠️ Ensure that all the tools and ingredients are dried without oil, liquids, or chemicals such as soaps. - They prevent the egg white from getting whipped well to make stiff meringue. Egg yolks contain oil, so separate them carefully!
(If you use the whisk you used for the whole egg mixture, wash them off and wipe them well.)
Once the meringue looks bubbly like hand soap, add half of the sugar and continue whipping:
Add the rest of the sugar when it looks fluffy:
⚠️ I recommend not adding all the sugar at once because it prevents the egg white from whipping well when it's added in the beginning.
Continue whipping until it looks fluffy. The tip should curl like this:
💡 Meringue starts separating in a short time. Use it right away as soon as it's made!
Step 6: Mix the meringue & whole egg mixture.
Pour all the whole egg mixture into the meringue:
And continue folding until about 75% is blended:
Step 7: Add flour and fold.
Next, add sifted all-purpose flour:
And continue folding until you don’t see any flour.
Step 8: Add melted butter and mix.
Use warm melted butter.
⚠️ The butter gets hard as you mix if it's not warm enough.
Add one big scoop of the batter to it and mix. And pour it back into a bowl:
Continue folding until it's evenly incorporated.
👩🏻🍳 Stop right after it's evenly blended. The batter gets runnier when over-mixed, leading to a heavier cake.
Step 9: Spread onto pans and bake!
Pour it into trays immediately and spread it evenly:
I used two half-size sheet trays for an opera cake this time. You can also use a different size or shape for your specific desserts.
💃🏻 Move as quickly as possible to put them in an oven before the meringue inside start collapsing and losing its volume.
Bake at 410 F | 210 C for 6 - 7 minutes until the surface looks golden brown.
The sponge bounces back gently when you touch it.
When you use two racks in an oven, switch the positions toward the end to bake them evenly. (At least with my oven, they don't get baked evenly when I don't rotate!)
Let them cool on a rack:
📌 How to make Opera cake
Check out this post to learn how to make the classic opera cake with this biscuit Joconde sponge. I'm sharing how to make it step by step.
📌 Frequently Asked Questions
Wrap it tightly to prevent it from getting dry, and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also freeze it for up to about 2 months.
In sponge-making, the word "Biscuit" describes how to make a sponge: Whipping egg yolk and egg white separately. We often call it "the biscuit method." (Sometimes, you don't whip the yolks, or we use whole eggs instead of the yolks, etc. There can be slight differences like that on each recipe.)
With the "Genoise method," on the contrary, whole eggs are whipped together to make a sponge.
Biscuit Joconde is not too fluffy or dense; The neutral presence matches so well with complex desserts such as layered cakes like Opera cake and classic entremets such as a mousse cake. The almond flavor matches so well with chocolate desserts as well.
It is an almond sponge cake made from almond & egg batter and meringue. It's tender, slightly chewy, and moist - It's often baked thin to enjoy the texture. The most well-known cake using this sponge is Opera cake.
The sponge is called "La Joconde" in French, derived from the famous painting "Mona Lisa." It's the feminine form of her married name, Giocondo
📌 VIDEO: Learn how to make it visually!
Watch this video to learn how to make the biscuit Joconde sponge visually in this Opera cake tutorial!
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📌 Printable Recipe
💬 If you loved this recipe, please share your feedback on this post! I always love hearing how you enjoyed it with your friends and family.
Biscuit Joconde Sponge
- Hand mixer or Stand mixer with a whisk
- Pod (for water bath)
- 2 half-size sheet pans or 1 full-size sheet pan
- Parchment paper
- Cake palette
- 3.5 oz Powdered Sugar ⅔ + ⅙ US cups
- 3.5 oz Almond flour 1 US cup
- 5.3 oz Whole eggs about 3 eggs
- 4.9 oz Egg white about 4 large eggs
- 2.47 oz Granulated sugar ⅓ US cup
- 1.2 oz All-purpose flour 4.5 tablespoon *Level the surface.
- 0.5 oz Butter (melted) 1 Tbsp
- * Preheat the oven to 410 F | 210 C* Set up parchment paper on sheet pans.* Prepare hot water in a pod.* Melt butter (You can use the water bath.)* Sift all-purpose flour.
The whole egg mixture
- Mix almond flour and powdered sugar.3.5 oz Almond flour, 3.5 oz Powdered Sugar
- Add whole eggs and mix.5.3 oz Whole eggs
- Heat the mixture with a water bath until it feels comfortably warm: 35 - 40 C | 95 - 104 F
- Whip it until it looks very pale.
- Whip egg white to make meringue. (Fluffy but not too stiff. Check the image.)Add the sugar dividing into 2 times. (Do not add all at once at the beginning.)4.9 oz Egg white, 2.47 oz Granulated sugar
- Fold the meringue and the whole egg mixture until about 75% is blended.
- Add sifted all-purpose flour and fold until you don't see any flour.1.2 oz All-purpose flour
- Add melted butter and fold until it's evenly incorporated.0.5 oz Butter (melted)
- Spread onto 2 sheet pans. (Or bake with any pans you like)Bake at 410 F | 210 C for 6 - 7 minutes until the surface gets nice golden brown.* Adjust the time and temperature depending on the oven, the size of a pan, the thickness of the sponge, etc.* Switch the positions toward the end when using 2 racks in the oven.
How to store it:Wrap it tightly to prevent it from getting dry, and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also freeze it for up to about 2 months. ** For best results, measure ingredients with a scale. All recipes are designed with weighed ingredients using grams/ounces. Cup measurements are provided for your convenience. **
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