kitchen_w150x125.jpg The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.
When I saw what this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge was, I knew it was something that demanded a special occasion. Thankfully, May held one of those occasions. My Dad’s birthday!

I decided to make my croquembouche with a Spring theme by decorating it with little violets. I drizzled it with chocolate, as well as using chocolate as the “glue” for my tower. Finally, I veered from the traditional filling of pastry cream and filled them instead with my Dad’s favourite filling, Chantilly Cream (vanilla flavoured whipped cream).

The dessert was very well received. My daughter called it “the best thing I’ve ever made” and my Dad loved it. He’s a cream puff/chocolate/whipped cream kind of guy. And you know what? It wasn’t tough to make at all! I had a few nervous moments as I started construction of the tower, but once the chocolate began to set, it was easy going. I had planned to try the spun sugar decoration on the outside (which admittedly would have made this a lot tougher), but as it was a rainy and humid the day I made it, and I feared a melted mess. Next time!


I’ve included the recipe and instructions for the croquembouche shown here. If you’d like to try the original Daring Baker’s versions, you can find the complete directions of the Daring Kitchen site.

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  1. Very nicely done, the chantilly cream would have been perfect for the weather :)

  2. Very elegant and love you structure, I bet your dad must have loved it! :)

  3. What a great birthday cake for your father! I’m in Ontario too, and had the same rain/humidity issues, so no spun sugar for me either.

  4. Perfect for a special occasion. Love your spring theme. Happy Birthday to your dad.

  5. Thanks Shelley and Muchas gracias, Lara. It was a fun challenge and so delicious!

  6. What a great birthday “cake”, absolutely delicious and sooo beautifully decorated!! Enhorabuena (congrats in Spanish) with your stunning Piece Montée and your dad :-) Regards from Spain!!

  7. What a good daughter, and what a fantastic birthday cake to make your dad. And chantilly cream. YUM. :) Your croquembouche looks absolutely delicious. Great job!

  8. Thanks so much, Renata. My Dad turned 77 this year and in all his 77 years, he’s never a birthday “cake” like this :)

  9. Your Dad must have been delighted to get such a special birthday cake! It’s gorgeous! Say Happy Birthday to your Dad!

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