Croquembouche de Noel

Layers of 9, 7 and 4 inches are needed. To make 9- and 4-inch layers, double following recipe. (Enough batter is left over for a 6-inch layer to be used for Yuletide Angel.)



  • 4 eggs
  • 4 ounces (9 tablespoons) sugar
  • 2 ounces butter, clarified
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) cake flour

Orange Bavarian:

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 8 ounces (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • Rind of three oranges
  • 1 quart half and half

Glazed orange peel:

  • 5 drops red food coloring

Sugar-glazed orange segments:

  • 48 small navel orange segments
  • 1 pound sugar (2 1/3 cups)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (10 servings)

      817 calories; 18 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 159 grams carbohydrates; 11 grams dietary fiber; 130 grams sugars; 12 grams protein; 140 milligrams cholesterol; 80 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

10 servings


To assemble the dessert:

  1. Trim each cake layer so it is one inch smaller in diameter than pan in which it was baked. Then cut enough of each layer off so that the layers are 1/2 inch shorter than their pans.
  2. Line bottoms of genoise pans with parchment. Pour enough Bavarian into each pan to fill 3/4 full, and place layer of cake in each pan, pushing down until top of the cake layer is even with the Bavarian. Weight with flat plate. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. To serve, run spatula around sides and unmold nine-inch layer and place on serving plate. Unmold seven-inch cake on another plate and with wide spatula transfer to top of nine-inch layer; repeat with four-inch layer. Decorate with 12 vertical rows of sugar-glazed orange segments, four segments in each row from top to bottom. Between rows, sprinkle candied orange peel. Arrange meringue mushrooms (see pumpkin cake for recipe) around bottom of cake. If desired, add stars, candles, holly and poinsettias made of marzipan.


  1. Line seven-inch pan with parchment or wax paper; grease and flour sides and bottom.
  2. Whisk eggs and sugar in mixing bowl over simmering water, until lukewarm. With mixer, beat at high speed until tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Lower speed for one minute.
  3. Heat clarified butter; add vanilla. Remove about one cup egg mixture and whisk into butter.
  4. Sift flour over remaining batter in two stages, folding after each addition. Add reserved butter mixture and fold in gently.
  5. Pour mixture into pan and tap twice to release air bubbles.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until sides pull away from pan and center springs back when pressed lightly. Turn out at once on greased racks; cool.

Orange Bavarian:

  1. Beat together yolks, sugar and gelatin until light.

Sugar-glazed orange segments:

  1. Just before assembling cake, cook sugar, water and corn syrup to hard crack stage, 300 to 310 degrees, in two batches. Dip half of segment into sugar syrup; cool, dip other half.
  2. Place segments on oiled pan.

Glazed Orange Peel:

  1. Peel oranges with zester into strips as fine as angel’s hair. Cook in 2 cups water for about five minutes. Rinse under cool water.
  2. Bring water, sugar and syrup to boil; add peel, cook 5 to 8 minutes. Add food coloring. Allow orange peel to cool in syrup. Drain in strainer.

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