Special equipment: 2 (10 by 2 inch) deep cake pans
Steaming pears: In a medium saucepan add about 3 inches water, the sugar, cut lemon slices and the lemongrass (lemon serai). (The lemongrass is optional.) Bring the water to a boil. Fit a steamer basket over the boiling water, add the pears and steam until tender. Remove the pears, drain, and coarsely grate. Press out any excess liquid for one hour before using, or substitute very well-drained, grated canned pears. Set aside.
Ginger Syrup: Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan, simmer together until the sugar dissolves, cool completely, then add the ginger wine and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour 2 (10 by 2 inch) deep cake pans and line the base with parchment.
Sift together the flour, powdered ginger, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
Beat the butter, oil, vanilla, sugars, and treacle until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the remaining ingredients in the order given. Mix 2 minutes on medium speed using a stand mixer.
Pour the batter into the pans that have been greased floured and parchment lined.
Bake 45 minutes in a 350 degree F oven, remove and cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then pour over the ginger syrup. Turn out onto a cooling rack when almost cold.
Assembly: Level cakes if necessary. Secure the wax paper to the cake board with royal icing. Place the meringue dacquoise on wax paper. Smooth on a layer of washed cream, chocolate ganache, and the ginger marmalade to the meringue disk. Top with one of the cakes. Repeat the layers of washed cream, ganache, ginger marmalade, and the second meringue disk, top that with washed cream, ganache, and ginger marmalade, then add the second cake. Trim the meringue disks if necessary. Coat the entire cake with washed cream, then strained ginger marmalade. Cover tightly and securely with plastic wrap for 24 hours. Chill in the refrigerator. Remove the wrap and cover with white chocolate rolled fondant.
This cake can be made and assembled for decorating 5 days before a wedding; in fact the maturing process improves the combination of flavors.
Draw 2 (10-inch) circles on parchment, place on an oven tray.
Whip the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Add the sifted powdered sugar in three stages mixing well between each addition then add the vanilla. Fold. Add the nuts followed by the sifted dry ingredients with a light hand. Spoon into the circles, level and bake 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until a light golden brown.
Heat the first 4 ingredients gently in a double boiler. Puree in the food processor then strain. Add the ginger wine after completely cooling.
Whip the sugar, butter, honey, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Remove the bowl from mixer. Cover with chilled water swirl and squeeze through the fingers for a minute, drain the water thoroughly and re-beat until light and fluffy. Repeat six times until the mixture is pure white and the sugar is totally dissolved. This keeps very well covered in a cool place for a day or two without refrigeration. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Melt chocolate over hot, not boiling, water, add the cream, pecans, and ginger, last, after cooling add the ginger wine. Stir well and allow the mixture to thicken.
White Chocolate Rolled Fondant: For every 2 pounds of either commercial or homemade rolled fondant melt either 2 cups of high ratio cocoa butter white chocolate or chocolate couverture (compound) and pour into the rested fondant then knead until thoroughly incorporated. If flaking occurs, microwave in 5-second increments until the fondant warms then any rough shards will disappear. Leave to rest overnight before using. This results in a wonderfully soft easy to manage rolled fondant. Warm in the microwave for a few seconds before kneading to use. If using couverture add 1/2 cup sifted Dutch-processed cocoa to the melted chocolate and knead well. Roll out on sifted cocoa.
Recipe copyright Kerry Vincent, Food Network Challenge Judge 2010