Welcome to the Smith Sisters 2nd Daring Bakers Challenge! Hosted by Chris of Mele Cotte. Click on the picture below to find the entire Daring Bakers Blogroll! (Question for the seasoned DBers, how on earth do you choose which blogs to browse? So very very very many people and only 24 hours in a day!) If I must recommend one other roundup besides the Smith Sister listed above, I’d check out Sass and Veracity. I love her, Sass and Veracity! And holy hell what a gorgeous cake she made!
July Challenge: Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream from Great Cakes by Carol Walter.
Oh boy. A cake a cake a cake a cake! I wanted a cake! Wait, a Gateau is a cake right?
What I didn’t want was this many pages of instructions! The recipe itself wasn’t exactly easy to follow. Not a fan. For example in order to make Praline Buttercream you need.
1 recipe Swiss Buttercream
1/3 cup praline paste
1 ½ – 2 Tbsp. Jamaican rum (optional)
(See other recipes that follow for Swiss Buttercream and Praline Paste. Grrrr.)
Anyhow, I wanted to make this cake as close as I could to the letter, but I didn’t have a food processor and knew I needed one for this recipe.And I couldn’t find a 10″ pan anywhere, but in this package of Springform pans. I know so sad right? These challenges are helping me outfit my kitchen as a Proper Baker! Of course having a KITCHENAID MIXER would help the most, but you know…
Other items I purchased, a teeny tiny bottle of Grand Mariner and a small bottle of Dark Jamaican Rum.
And the other URGENT item needed to complete this challenge?
I had a raincheck from Target for $79.99. DO YOU KNOW WHAT JULY IS LIKE IN WESTERN NEW YORK? How about 90 degrees and 90% humidity? I would not have started this cake without, finally, finding a wee air conditioner (small enough to go room to room with me.)
(Note Lil Bear Ron Hawkins iPod and penguin speakers, very important to have good music while baking!)
The toasted hazelnuts smelled SO GOOD. I didn’t go crazy and shell my own I bought a giant bag of chopped ones. Cheating? Maybe, I dunno
First time playing with clarified butter.
And oh how light and fluffy and wonderful my batter turned out!
I added Orange Zest instead of Lemon Rind since I used orange marmalade and mandarin oranges on top AND IT SMELLED LIKE HEAVEN! (I made the mistake last month of baking my danish braid while cooking other things. I wanted to reap the rewards of the smells this time, so I only made the cake.)
In the oven it went. Unfortunately, halfway through baking I smelled something burning. Putting the pan on the lower 3rd of the oven was a BAD IDEA. Next time I will trust my judgment and put it in the middle. I feared the burning smell was the cake. I had maybe 10 minutes left but chose to take the cake from the oven and take a knife to the sides to make sure it wasn’t sticking. It wasn’t. But I think it made the fluffy love fest a little flat.
The 10′ pan already made my cake thin, but after it went flat? I had no choice but to half it in order to get layers. My folding of the nut mixture into the amazingly light and wonderful batter was nowhere near a fold but a plop and stir. Bet this had something to do with my flat cake but really, how the heck are you supposed to fold nut gook into layers of heavenly smelling batter? Oh wait. I goofed. I added the butter to the nut mixture and then tried to fold! (Just rereading now, it was very late when I was baking this!!! 2am methinks? OOPS!)
Anyhow, here’s the cake. It sat in my refrigerator for a few days.
A FEW DAYS LATER! Must finish last steps.
I mixed together the Swiss Buttercreme, which smelled delicious and was fluffy and wonderful. No problem with it turning out. I ended up licking the beaters. MMMM!
On to the praline paste, the brittle was easy to make. It formed a nice powdery mixture.
I mixed all the other sauces: the orange marmalade and water, the sugar syrup and the chocolate ganache and was ready to assemble. Of course I went in order and made each step not realizing I was supposed to make the chocolate AFTER the cake was in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Praline Dust (not paste) added to Swiss Buttercreme= Praline Buttercreme! Walla!
This is what my half cake looked like after layering the buttercreme and throwing the orange marmalade on top. Mmmm. Did I mention the buttercreme is rumaliciously delicious?
The recipe now suddenly calls for layers of whipped cream on top of the buttercreme, but since the recipe for whipped creme was not included in the many, many little recipes I chose to opt out. Besides, I didn’t buy enough cream!
Cake in the fridge for 30 minutes…but my chocolate ganache was already mixed and waiting! Would it last the 30 minutes? Ok, more like 20 who am I kidding?
Time to pour! Again, I was impressed it turned out shiny and exactly as it should! My only oops happened because I was impatient (me, never!) and instead of letting the cake cool, I decided to decorate while the chocolate was still drippy. Um, I didn’t take a picture of that mess! And no, you don’t want to see the back side of the cake where my oranges and creme sllllllid down the side. I tried to make it look pretty anyhow, and this is what I came up with. I should have attempted the pasty bag and piping, I just ran out of time and whimped out. Ashamed, yes.
A half hearted decorated-Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercreme.
Actually, despite the few goof ups, I really enjoyed making this cake and I will certainly try it again sometime.
Verdict? Delicious! I only had a few bites but the texture of the gateau and the smoothness of the buttercream really, really, really goes well together! Mark enjoyed it. I caught him with a 2nd piece shortly after the 1st! My few bites had a *kick* to it though, maybe too much alcohol? (I think it’s in 4 different parts of the recipe and anyone who knows me knows I’m generous with the pour.) Mine was certainly an adult cake.
I will use two 8″ pans instead of one.
I will add additional layers of the orange marmalade and one of Nutella.
And I will actually try to DECORATE the cake with a pastry bag.
Delicious cake! (And oh, so many eggs! My God how I love eggs, but I was in awe with how many were used.)
After reading though challenges I’ve learned something new and found myself surprised that hazelnuts in many places are hard to find and very expensive. The one vanilla bean I used last month was pricier than my large bag of chopped hazelnuts. And this is a nut I use quite frequently in recipes too, I adore them and thank God I live somewhere they are within my budget and reach. I grew up with a hazelnut tree (we called it our treehouse it was more of a large, sturdy bush) in the backyard, realizing far too late in my childhood that the nut was so much more than something to throw at my brother.
Oops, one last oops. I just read “Refrigerate uncovered for 3-4 hours to allow the cake to set. Remove the cake from the refrigerator at least 3 hours before serving.” Um yeah, didn’t do that. Oops.
And now for the recipe: (Any items in bold were mentioned in my post…)
Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream
From Great Cakes by Carol Walter