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Daring Bakers: Sans Rival

Sunday, November 27, 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'd never heard of Sans Rival, but after reading Catherine's recipe and instructions, I realised it was a dacquoise and similar to a marjolaine. I did wonder though why a country with historical ties to the Spanish would have a cake with a French name.
I made up the cake using only five egg whites, baking it in a sheet pan and cutting the cake into three. I used almond meal in the cake. I know the layers are not as crisp as they should be and that is probably due to my not using as much sugar or ground almonds.
The buttercream filling is flavoured with peanut praline. I had made a batch of Microwave Peanut Brittle a few days earlier and processed that into a powder.The outside of the cake, though, is frosted with plain buttercream.
Catherine's recipe for buttercream entails melting sugar to the thread stage. I burn sugar more often than not, so I used a method of making buttercream that doesn't require doing that. It produces an equally delicious, fluffy result.
In keeping with the peanut theme, the top of the cake is garnished with peanut butter crumbs. I actually got the idea from an episode of Man vs Food, where host Adam Richman has a peanut butter cream pie at Yoder's in Sarasota, Florida.
Now, while I welcome chocolate in everything, this time I exercised a little restraint. With the peanut praline and peanut butter crumbs, the chocolate would have taken the already elaborate cake over the top.
Put these components together for a cake that wows
Almond Dacquoise
Adapted from a recipe in The New York Times 
Makes one sheet cake

5 medium egg whites
Large pinch of cream of tartar
¼ cup caster sugar
2 tbsp plain flour 
½ cup ground almonds

Preheat oven at 150°C. Grease a 28cm by 23cm shallow baking tin and line with baking paper. 
With an electric mixer, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar slowly and whisk until stiff but not dry. Fold in the flour and ground almonds. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake for 18-20 minutes until brown.
Remove from the oven and invert onto a cooling rack. Remove the tin and leave inverted with the paper facing up. Cover the cake with a damp tea towel for a few minutes, then remove paper while cake is still warm. Leave to cool completely.
When ready to assemble cake, cut the cake into three equal pieces along the width.

Microwave Peanut Brittle/Praline 
Important note: Made in an 800W microwave oven

1 cup white sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
1 cup salted peanuts
1 tsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda

Butter a cookie sheet. Combine sugar and corn syrup in a 2 quart glass bowl and microwave on High 4 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Stir in peanuts and continue microwaving for 3½ minutes, then stir in butter and vanilla and microwave for 1½ minutes. (Adjust times based on microwave oven wattage.)
Stir in baking soda until light and foamy. Pour onto cookie sheet and spread thin. Cool completely and break into pieces and serve.
To make praline: Place brittle in a food processor and grind until fine.

Buttercream (Pastry Cream)
Makes about 2½ cups

4 egg yolks
½ cup caster sugar
¼ cup plain flour
1 tsp powdered gelatine
1 cup milk
½ cup unsalted butter

Beat egg yolks and sugar together until thick and pale. Gently whisk in flour.
Meanwhile, sprinkle the gelatine over 1 tbsp of water and set aside to bloom.
Heat the milk to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk of the hot milk into the egg mixture, then pour the egg mixture into the remaining milk. Boil, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the gelatine. Transfer custard to a bowl and let cool (the bowl can be placed in the freezer while you beat the butter).
Beat the butter until soft and creamy. When the custard is completely cool, whisk in the softened butter. Keep whisking until creamy and mixture stays on the whisk. Store the buttercream in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Peanut Butter Crumbs
Makes about ¾ cups

½ cup icing sugar, sifted
3 tbsp peanut butter

Place the icing sugar in a bowl and add the peanut butter. Rub in the peanut butter, forming rough crumbs.
Luscious layers
Assembling the Cake
Almond dacquoise (cut into three equal pieces)
2 cups buttercream, divided
¼ cup peanut praline
½ cup peanut butter crumbs
Toasted flaked almonds

To 1¼ cups of the buttercream, stir in the peanut praline.Place one cake layer on the serving platter and spread with the praline buttercream. Refrigerate until firm, about 10 minutes.
Cover the praline buttercream with the second cake layer. Spread with of the praline buttercream and refrigerate until firm, about 10 minutes.
Top the praline buttercream with the third cake layer and spread with the remaining praline buttercream. Spread the sides of the cake with the plain buttercream. Press the flaked almonds onto the sides and sprinkle the top of the cake with the peanut butter crumbs. Refrigerate until firm.


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Other Daring Bakers challenges 


  1. Peanut must have been an amazing addition. Your Sans Rival looks gorgeous and that slice made me drool :o)

  2. Very cool how you incorporated so many other techniques (peanut brittle praline, peanut butter 'crumbs', pastry cream!) into this challenge! This is making my mouth water, and I'm not even a huge peanut fan! Nice job on this challenge :)

  3. Very inventive, lovely cake. Liked the peanut praline and peanut butter crumbs. :)

  4. I bookmarked your post because I can't wait to try that microwave brittle recipe
    I love all the additions and modifications you make
    Great job on this challenge my friend

  5. Wow!! I think your Sans Rival looks great!! I am definitely going to be making the peanut brittle!! :) I love your version of the Challenge!!

  6. Peanut brittle was one of my fave childhood candies but I never thought of making them at home until I came across ur recipe. Thanks a lot!

  7. That looks amazing and I bet peanuts and brittle was a great flavouring! I like the frosting you made too. Now I must go look at the laksa recipe you posted, as it's hard to find here and I need to learn to make my own!

  8. Peanuts brittle was a great choise! Well done!!


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