Sans Rival with Kahlua Coffee Buttercream

You might’ve noticed I’ve been going a little crazy over dacquoise desserts lately!  In recent weeks I’ve made dacquoise cookies and an almond dacquoise cake.  So three guesses what I made for my birthday last weekend?  Yup, another dacquoise cake!

I got my inspiration from a Filipino cake called Sans Rival, which is actually based on the French dacquoise.  The difference is that the sans rival dacquoise is made of cashews instead of the usual almonds or hazelnuts.

This isn’t your traditional sans rival.  I didn’t feel like grinding up cashews, and I had almond flour, so I just made the dacquoise out of almonds.  But I did add cashew pieces in between the layers.  And just like in a classic sans rival, I used French buttercream, but I flavoured it with coffee and Kahlua.  I wanted a really strong coffee taste so I used quite a bit of espresso powder.  The buttercream was sooo good!!  I had to stop myself from eating spoonfuls of it!

OMG this cake was 5 layers of amazing deliciousness!!!  With each bite, you get a mouthful of textures and flavours – crispy and chewy dacquoise, crunchy roasted cashews, and smooth and creamy melt-in-your-mouth buttercream!  True to its name, Sans Rival, which is French for “unrivalled”, this cake is like no other.  I’m tempted to say it’s the best cake ever…LOL!!




150g almond flour
150g sugar divided into 90g and 60g)
8g (about 1.5 tablespoons) cake flour
6 large egg whites, room temperature

Kahlua Coffee Buttercream (adapted from Baking Like a Chef):

3/4 cup sugar
60 ml water
6 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups (340g) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
2 Tbsp Kahlua

Filling and decoration:

1-1/2 cups roasted, crushed cashews*

*To roast cashews: Preheat oven to 350F. Place cashews in a single layer on a baking tray, and bake at for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally; be careful not to burn them. When done, let cashews cool, and then place handfuls of them in between 2 sheets of parchment or wax paper. Use a rolling pin to crush them. You want small pieces but not so fine that it becomes a powder.



1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Create a template for the dacquoise by placing a 6″ cake ring or springform pan on a piece of parchment paper, and use a dark marker to trace around it. Place template on one side of a baking sheet, then line baking sheet with a second piece of parchment paper on top (make sure template is dark enough to be seen through the second sheet of parchment paper). After piping the batter, carefully slide the template to the other side of baking sheet and pipe second disc. Remove the template from underneath before baking and repeat the procedure on 2 more baking sheets.

Alternatively, you can create template on parchment paper and then flip it over and use the other side for baking.

3. Sift the almond flour, 90g of sugar and cake flour together into a bowl.

4. To prepare the meringue, wipe down the mixing bowl and whisk attachment with a little bit of vinegar or lemon juice. Beat the egg whites for 1 minute on medium speed until foamy. Then increase speed to medium high and gradually add the 60g of sugar, while continuing to beat until the egg whites reach stiff peaks (it should be glossy; do not overbeat).

5. Add in the almond flour mixture all at once. Using a spatula, quickly and gently fold the dry ingredients into the meringue. Do not overmix.

6. Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip. Pipe the batter in a spiral pattern by starting in the centre of the outlined circle and working outwards. Lightly dust with icing sugar. Repeat on the other 2 baking sheets. You will need 5 discs (you can use any remaining batter to pipe more discs or cookies, and then freeze them).

7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops of the dacquoise are golden (if your oven doesn’t distribute heat evenly, rotate the baking sheet halfway so the dacquoise discs bake evenly).

8. Turn oven down to 275F and bake for another 30 minutes to dry out the dacquoise.

9. Remove from oven, cool for a couple of minutes, then carefully peel the parchment paper from the discs, and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

Kahlua Coffee Buttercream:

1. Beat egg yolks and vanilla extract for about 8 to 10 minutes at high speed, using an electric mixer.

2. Meanwhile, combine water and sugar in a heavy bottom saucepan over low heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar syrup reaches soft-ball stage (240 F/115 C).

3. Turn the mixer down to low speed, and while continuing to beat the yolks, slowly and carefully pour the sugar syrup into the yolks. Continue beating the mixture until it reaches room temperature (the bottom of the bowl will also no longer feel warm).

4. Using a teaspoon, add in small dollops of the butter, making sure to mix well after each addition.

5. Dissolve espresso powder in the Kahlua and add into the buttercream. Beat on low speed to mix. Then continue beating for 5 more minutes on medium speed until mixture is smooth and creamy. 


1. Place one dacquoise disc on a plate or cake board (Tip: spread a little bit of buttercream on the plate/cake board first so that the cake stays in place).  Using an offset spatula, evenly spread on about 1/2 cup of buttercream.

2. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of crushed cashews over the buttercream. Place the second dacquoise disc on top, and repeat the same procedure for the rest of the layers.

3. Once all the layers are assembled, cover the sides and top of the cake with buttercream (make sure to set aside enough buttercream for decorating the top of the cake, if desired).

4. Cover the sides of the cake with crushed cashews, and finish decorating the cake as desired.  

5. Place cake in the refrigerator to chill before serving.

Note: This cake freezes really well, so if you have leftovers, place it in an airtight container and freeze for for up to 3 weeks. Take it out of the freezer the night before and place in the fridge to thaw.


7 responses to “Sans Rival with Kahlua Coffee Buttercream

  1. Pingback: Coffee Walnut Cake with Kahlua Buttercream | Divinely Delish·

  2. I’m going to attempt this on the weekend. May I pls ask if you know how many grams the egg whites need to be? I’m in Australia, I’m not sure if our eggs are all the same weight. Or does it matter??

    • Hi, I used large eggs which are about 56g in Canada, with the shell. So I’d say 1 white would be about 36g. But to be honest, I’ve made this cake several times and I’ve never weighed the whites, and its always turned out great.Thanks for stopping by! Good luck with the recipe, hope you like it!

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