The Great South African Bake Off

Hazelnut, vanilla, and caramel buttercream Japonaise

Recipe by Michaela from The Great South African Bake Off


The Great South African Bake Off - Past series

BBC Lifestyle


Hazelnut Japonaise (x2 for ingredients):

  • 180g ground hazelnuts
  • 1 cup caster sugar, plus 4tsp caster sugar
  • 4tbsp corn starch
  • 6 egg whites
  • ½tsp cream of tartar

Vanilla Bavarian cream:

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream
  • 1tbsp powdered gelatin
  • 3tbsp milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1¼ cups whipped cream

Caramel sauce:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup cream
  • Pinch of salt

Buttercream icing:

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • ½ cup fresh cream
  • Homemade caramel sauce

Preparation method

Hazelnut Japonaise:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Draw two 20cm circles onto parchment and place on trays.
  3. Grease parchment paper extremely well.
  4. Blend together the hazelnuts, 1 cup of sugar and the corn starch.
  5. Beat the egg whites until foamy, and add the cream of tartar.
  6. Continue beating until whites form soft peaks.
  7. Gradually add the remaining 4tsp sugar, and beat until the meringue is glossy.
  8. Lightly fold the hazelnut mixture into the meringue.
  9. Spread the meringue onto baking tray within the circles drawn.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the meringue is set.
  11. Allow to cool.
  12. Using a metal spatula, slowly lift the meringue from the parchment paper.

Vanilla Bavarian cream:

  1. Put the split vanilla bean in the cream and slowly bring to a boil.
  2. Turn off the heat and let sit for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds.
  4. Add the vanilla seeds to the cream and discard the pod.
  5. Sprinkle the gelatin into the milk, and set aside.
  6. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together.
  7. Warm the cream mixture back up and slowly whisk into eggs.
  8. Place mixture over simmering water, and stir until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  9. Remove from heat and add milk and gelatin mixture.
  10. Place bowl in ice bath, and stir until at room temperature.
  11. Fold in whipped cream.

Caramel sauce:

  1. Place sugar in medium-size saucepan.
  2. Leave sugar to melt and brown in colour.
  3. Add butter to melted sugar, and stir until all the butter has combined with the syrup.
  4. Add cream to syrup – be careful though, the sauce will rapidly bubble.
  5. Remove from heat and add a pinch of salt.

Buttercream icing:

  1. Combine the butter, icing sugar and cream together in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add more icing sugar to thicken (if necessary).
  3. Pour about ¼ cup caramel sauce into buttercream mixture.
  4. Adjust flavour according to your preference.


  1. Place one meringue layer on a cake display tray.
  2. Pipe a layer of Bavarian cream onto meringue.
  3. Place another layer of meringue, and then another layer of cream.
  4. Place the last meringue on top of cream layer.
  5. Use a palette knife to spread buttercream onto the cake. Make sure to cover the sides.
  6. Pipe plain whipping cream on top to finish.
  7. Place ground roast hazelnuts along the sides of the cake.

The following recipe was created and written by the accredited contestant of The Great South African Bake Off. BBC Worldwide accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of ingredients, method or content.