Joconde Recipe

This highly useful almond sponge cake is said to be named for the Mona Lisa (more on that later). The main difference between it and other sponge cakes is that it has whole eggs beaten into it, and not just whites.

6 room-temperature egg whites
1 ounce granulated sugar
8 ounces sliced blanched almonds, ground to powder in a food processor
8 ounces powdered sugar, sifted
6 large eggs
2.5 ounces all-purpose (AP) flour
1 1/2 ounces clarified butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two half-sized sheet pans (jelly roll pans) with parchment and brush with melted butter.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, whip the egg whites to soft peaks, add the sugar, and continue to whip to stiff peaks. Scrape the meringue into a bowl.

Wash the bowl of the mixer and dry it, and switch to the paddle attachment. Beat the almonds, powdered sugar and eggs on medium until they’re light and increased in volume, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer down to low and add the flour, stirring just until it disappears.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the meringue. Lastly, fold in the clarified butter.

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans, spreading it as evenly as possible over the two pans. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until the layers are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and place the pans on the stove top. Cover each with a sheet of parchment, then flip the pans over on the countertop, thus turning the layers out. Carefully peel off the top layer of parchment, turn it over, and put it back on top of the layers until they’re cool.

The layers can be refrigerated for one day or frozen up to a month.

This entry was posted in Joconde, Pastry Components. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Joconde Recipe

  1. Mina Farahani says:

    HI,thanks from your useful site,i have a question:whats the exact size of a jelly roll pan or half-sized sheet pan?
    Thank you

    • joepastry says:

      Hello Mina! The dimensions of that pan (in the States) is 18 inches by 13 inches.

      - Joe

  2. AGS says:

    Hi Joe,

    Is it possible to convert this to a chocolate joconde? If yes, how much cocoa powder should be used?

    Many thanks

    • joepastry says:

      Hello AGS!

      I’ve been meaning to put up a chocolate version, since there are a couple of tricks to the conversion other than just adding cocoa. I’ll try to do it soon!

      - Joe

  3. Khan says:

    Hello,
    Can I replace ground almond with ANY other ingredients? In my country I could not find ground almonds anywhere. I would love to make this cake but if i totally omit this ground almond, will it effect the overall outcome/structure of the cake? For example, the taste and appearance. 8 ounce is almost a cup, it is a big amount of ground almond and I am thinking, it is a major component of the cake. Will it be a complete disaster if I totally omit this ingredient? For example, the cake will not rise, the cake will taste funny and look funny.
    Thank You!

    • joepastry says:

      Hello Khan!

      You can substitute any kind of nuts except for peanuts. Also dried legumes can be used to make up the volume if necessary. Almonds are not essential. Just keep in mind that the flavor of the ingredient will have a strong influence on the flavor of the cake. Dried bread crumbs are another option.

      Good luck and get back to me on the results! Cheers,

      - Joe

      • Khan says:

        Hello! I have tried making joconde. Your recipe is by far the bestest joconde recipe. All the recipes I tried from your blog turns out great. I could not find almond flour neither could I find almond meal. What I did was, I boiled the almonds and took off the skin, dried the almonds then put it in a food processor and ground them up, swift them before putting them in the cake. It seemed to have worked but I know that if I were to make macaron, I will be needing good quality almond flour. My cake batter looked EXACTLY like yours. The place where I could not get it right was, I could not peel off the parchment paper from the cake. It was a mess. I was happy with the cake batter, the cake itself, when it came out of the oven, and the taste. I was devastated when I could not pull off the parchment paper from the cake. My cake literally fall apart and instead of making an elegant opera cake, I sadly have to peel off my cake and eat it off from the parchment paper.

        Thank You for sharing your wonderful recipes with the rest of the world!

        • joepastry says:

          Wonderful and terrible news, Khan! I’m very sorry to hear what happened. Try more lubrication next time and maybe a little flour as well. But thank you for your very kind words. I’m very happy to do what I do!

          Also you can make macarons with ground almonds. That’s how I made mine for the blog, since I know not everyone has access to almond flour. The look a little bumpy but they work very well!

          Cheers,

          - Joe

  4. Morven says:

    Hi Joe- great website, most intelligent and articulate recipe blogger I’ve found to date! Hubby is allergic to almonds and I wondered if I could lightly toast pine nuts and grind them?

    • joepastry says:

      Hi Morven!

      Thank you very much! Pine nuts will be a little soft, but they’ll work I think. Let me know how it goes!

      - Joe

  5. Charles says:

    Hello! I’m looking forward to doing this recipe in the coming days! One question, though: You call for 1 1/2 ounces of clarified butter. I wonder, is that by weight or volume?
    - Charles

    • joepastry says:

      Hi Charles!

      Wherever you see ounces on the site it’s weight.

      Best of luck with the project — pleases let me know how it goes!

      - Joe

  6. Ann Shannon says:

    Could you convert oz. to Tablespoons, teaspoons, or cup measures, as appropriate…. I would love to try this recipe, but live in the US and am only familiar with US measurements.

    Also, is this the same as an Italian Almond cake?

    Thanks!

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Ann!

      Sometimes ingredients like these are a little hard to covert to volume measures (especially when you don’t have them in your kitchen at the moment). I’ll see what I can do…though in the interim I’ll add that digital scale can be had at any large grocery store for under twenty bucks — and is a great investment! ;)

      - Joe

  7. hello wonderful instructions, and I would love to try this recipie and add it to my pastry line, I do have a question, I have a 4 rack convection oven I use in my bakery, your bake temp says 425 F. When I bake my cookies or cakes, I always go 25 degrees lower than a home oven i bake my cakes and cookie at 300-325 would I have to lower my overn temp for this recipe also. thank you, Jane at singleton’s kitchen
    cakesbysk@aol.com

    • joepastry says:

      Hi Jane! It sounds like lowering it a some would be a good idea at least to see what happens. Since joconde is so thin it bakes fast, and fast baking as I’m sure you already know is good for retaining moisture. A longer, lower-heat bake will start to dry it out. So I’d say lower the heat a little and see how satisfied you are with the result. If you feel like you need to fiddle, by all means do!

      Hope that helps!

      - Joe

  8. radhaks says:

    Hi Joe – Want to make your opera cake recipe this weekend for a French dinner party I’m attending. Will be the first time I make this cake – so I’ve been checking around various sites/recipes. My question is whether you think this recipe for jaconde would work with less (powdered) sugar? With the opera cake calling for sweet coffee syrup, buttercream, chocolate ganache – I feel it might all be so super sweet! I usually cut sugar from recipes by as much as 1/2 of amounts noted with great success, but for this wanted to check in first – would hate to mess it up on such time-consuming cake that cannot go wrong!. Thanks much!

    • joepastry says:

      Hello!

      Yes you can reduce the sugar, though I wouldn’t go as much as half, maybe by about a third. That should get you where you want to go without changing the texture too much.

      Have fun and let me know how it goes!

      - Joe

      • radhaks says:

        Joe – thank you for your quick response (btw – sugar reduction turned out perfect!) and your amazing site!! I love the detailed instructions & pics – very helpful! This was a great hit with all – although I think I could improve the layers a bit. I didn’t have gold leaf, so decorated with chocolate covered espresso bean. Was a lot of work and would only make this again for a very special occasion – unless I can spread it out over a few days. Overall – very successful and great recipe!

        • joepastry says:

          Great to hear! And yes indeed it is a lot of work, especially if you attempt the whole thing in a day or a weekend. As I often say, these sorts of big projects are best spread out over many days. The build itself should have it’s own day, so you’re not so knocked out that you can relax and have fun.

          So glad it worked. Send pictures next time!

          - Joe

  9. Katzies says:

    Dear Joe,

    by now I have used this recipe so many times and I am at a tipping point to go crazy :) .

    Can you please, please, please scale up this recipe so that it can fill up two US standard jelly roll pan cake (17.5 x 12.5 inches)? I know this recipe is the same as Dorie Greenspan’s Opera Cake published in Splendid Table website (but your direction is much clearer!), and in there, the recipe calls for a pan of 12.5X15.5 inches (31×39 cm). I have searched high and low for two pans this size, no luck.

    I usually have to stretch my batter so that they can (barely) fill the extra space. My joconde ends up thinner than what I think it should be, and the edges not really filled up. On other occasion, I use the recipe sans butter, so that I still have the volume to stretch it. For once, I am hoping to make a batter that does not push my adrenaline when I pour it to the pan.

    Thank you, Joe.

    Desperately yours,
    Katzies
    ps alternatively, what is the formula to scale up recipe, considering the difference in pan sizes? Thank you, Joe!

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Katzies!

      Sorry for the delay. This recipe does two jelly roll pans, but the joconde is very thin. So the question is: how much thicker do you want it?

      My suggestion would be to take the recipe up by 50% and see how that works for you. The nice thing about baking recipes is that you can scale them up or down pretty much endlessly and they’ll still work. Just use 9 egg whites, 1.5 ounces granulated sugar, etc., etc., and you’re there!

      Have fun and let me know how it goes! Cheers,

      - Joe

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