Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Daring Bakers - Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream


Have you felt a strange sense of deja vu as you have been surfing around the food blogs today, finding that everything looks the same but different at the same time? If so, your instinct would be right - today is Daring Bakers reveal day! This month's challenge is hosted by Chris of Mele Cotte, who has selected a wonderful Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream, a recipe by Carole Walter. Chris loved the beauty of this cake, and kindly decided to share it with all of us.

Once again, I was initially overwhelmed by the length and intricacy of the recipe, but it was definitely no more difficult than the Opera Cake from May this year. Once again, I learned quite a bit as I completed the challenge, despite the fact that I would call myself an experienced home baker. I learned (a) that a hazelnut is also called a filbert; (b) if your buttercream looks like watery scrambled eggs, don't give up - just keep beating it! (unlike the advice from an unrelated Internet food forum, where a contributor helpfully told the world at large that if your buttercream separates, it is irretrievable); (c) how to make praline and praline paste; and (e) how to make your own nut flour. This is a great "grab bag" of learnings to take with me to the next challenges and my own baking.

The filbert gateau was not really as complex as it first looked - it was just a matter of patience and time. I spread the cake making over two days, toasting and skinning the nuts and making the cake on day one, then completing all the other steps (making praline and praline paste, Swiss butter cream, whipping cream, sugar syrup, apricot glaze and chocolate ganache) on day two.

I pretty much stuck to the flavour combinations in the original recipe - I used hazelnuts, my buttercream and sugar syrup were flavoured with rum and I used an apricot glaze.

My cake rose nicely, almost to the top of the tin. However, unfortunately, it took much longer than the 35 minutes quoted in the recipe to bake - in all, mine took 55 minutes to bake completely. At 45 minutes, I assumed, wrongly that it would be done, and pulled it out of the oven - at which point the lovely domed middle of the cake sunk!!! It recovered somewhat when I put it back in the oven to continue baking, but it remained slightly sunken in the middle. This made cutting the cake into three even layers quite a challenge.




The praline was a joy to make - it was all I could do not to just eat it. It reminded me of World's Finest Chocolates fund-raising peanut brittle from primary school:




The praline was then processed into a paste in the food processor:


This paste was then used to flavour a Swiss buttercream. The buttercream gave me the greatest headache in this challenge, because it seemed determined to stay watery and curdly. However, after panicking a bit (there's a lot of eggs in this buttercream that I didn't want to waste!), and reading the unhelpful hint on the Net that it was irretrievable, I then turned to the trusty Daring Bakers forum and the posts from the Yule Log challenge in December, where I remembered that a lot of people had trouble with the buttecream separating. There I found comfort - the simple advice was just to keep beating the buttecream! And beat it I did, until magically, it came together:


I took the cake to work for Brad's birthday, hence my photograph of the cut cake is not great, but you get the idea:



I liked the taste of the rum and the praline in the cake (from the syrup). I also loved the ganache on this cake, which had a gorgeous shiny mirror finish. However, I found that my buttercream was too thick to pipe easily (hence my pretty average decorations), and I did not enjoy the overall taste as much as the similar Opera Cake. That said, it was a lovely cake, both visually and to eat, and was appreciated by the troops.

Thanks to Chris for hosting this month's challenge and choosing such a lovely recipe, which you can find on Chris's site . You can check out all the other Daring Bakers creations
here.

37 comments:

Y said...

I didn't know hazelnuts were called filberts either! Ya learn something new with every challenge, eh :D

Tammy said...

well done on completing the challenge! I didnt get to it this month and to be honest one of the reasons why I didnt put it at the top of my to do list was that i thought it was too similar to the opera cake (as well as being the third DB layer cake in 5 months!) Hopefully next month's challenge will be something a little different!

Nikki Miller-Ka said...

This is my 1st time here and I hope to come back not during Daring Baker's time, too. I'm glad the gateau turned out for you!

maybelles parents said...

I agree that it wasn't as difficult as first thought. and, I am glad you thought it was lovely.

Passionate About Baking said...

You caught me nodding in agreement right through reading your post girl! A daunting callenge...my buttercream broke up BIG time too...but we did it! YUM, great gateau...& glad the troops loved it!!

Chris said...

Yeah! Looks wonderful! And, you know my attempts at the buttercream totally flopped, so I am so pleased it worked for the masses. :)

KJ said...

I much prefer this cake to the opera cake. Individual taste is a funny thing :) Great job.

Dharm said...

Great Job here! The fact that you are from Melbourne means you are a friend already - I studied there ages ago and love Melbourne heaps! Your cake turned out great - Good On ya!

Foodie Froggy said...

Beautiful cake,really...

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Fantastic. I'm going to have to try that. Filberts? Praline? Got my name written all over it... ;-)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your cake looks great! I also prefered the Opera Cake, although I very much like the flavor of Praline and chocolate... Well done anyhow!

Cheers,

Rosa

Aparna said...

Your cake is looking pretty good.
I'd nver heard of filberts till now!
And yes, I'm on a visual overload of gorgeous nut and chocolate gateaux.:)

zorra said...

Well done! I prefer the fil(i)bert. ;-)

Ross Hill said...

Hi there,

You might be interested in meeting restauranteur Paul Mathis at The Hive next week - details at http://www.thehive.org.au.

Cheers, Ross

Dhanggit said...

your filbert cake turned out so yummy!! great job !!can i now have a slice please :-)

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Looks beautiful! I think you did a great job! :)

Natashya said...

Great job on the cake!
How wonderful to have a birthday gathering to share it at.

Lore said...

You're one daring baker Cakelaw! I'd be overwhelmed by such a gateau recipe, but it sure looks like your effort paid off. Hats off to you :)

Laurie said...

Every Step looks perfect!

Kelly said...

I too had problems piping great designs since little pieces of nut kept getting stuck in the tip. Good job!

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

Your cake turned out wonderfully! I love the simplicity of it!

Ivy said...

Great job. I did know that hazelnuts are called filberts either.

Prudence - Cake Chica said...

A job WELL done!! Hats off to you!

Odette said...

Your cake looks yummy! :)

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

dear cakelaw
you did very well and i admire your perserverence and patience..the cake has come out very well.

Lina said...

I just realized right now that hazelnuts are fliberts. haha. I was wondering the whole time I was making the cake what filberts was. I thought it was just the name of the person that thought this recipe up. duh! hahah. Anyways, Congrats on a successful challenge!

Laura said...

When I first looked at this recipe I thought a filbert was some type of raisin or prune and thought it would make for a icky cake-- but alas I found out a filbert was a hazelnut and was pretty tasty! Great job on your cake!

Mochachocolata Rita said...

wow well done! what a challenge! i will only start to try the pralines hehehe

natalia said...

Ciao cakelaw: nice gateau ! You were very good keeping traks of all the steps I was so into the cake I forgot to do it. I'm waiting for our next challenge we'll see.. good day

linda said...

Your cake looks wonderful!
Didn't know about filberts either, thought they were slithered hazelnuts.
My buttercream behaved this time but when making the Yule log it separated twice...and I rescued it twice too :) Advice: never give up on buttercream ;)

Stephanie said...

Nice job on the cake!

That praline paste is addictive, for sure. We did manage to save some, and are thinking of using on a sundae!

sleepingbearinthekitchen said...

It looks wonderful, even your "starry blobs" as you referred to them. We did learn an awful lot on this one, which of course is the great thing about being part of the DBers!!! Congrats

Bearskitchen said...

Hi,

We're a pair of fans of cooking that are always checking for new and interesting recipes to try and to post on our blog.
We'we found your blog in one of our checks for new desserts (I'm absolutely nut about chocolate)so you'll understand why we've found so interesting this recipe of Daring Bakers - Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream. Now we're ready to try it and with a little of luck to make ours to look as delicious as yours.
Here we like to leave you our blog's adress and we invite you to give it a look.
http://members.lycos.nl/bearskitchen/

Greetings from the Netherlands.

Nick & Carolina.

Elle said...

A classic cake and very pretty. Isn't it interesting how the buttercream acts that way? Not sure why just continuing to beat it works. I kept some of the buttercream plain (no praline) for piping, even though I couldn't tell from the recipe if that was what to do. The ganache sure was gorgeous! Nice cake!!

Mary said...

Your cake looks perfectly lovely!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Nice cake to show up all you've learned! I had never heared of filberts too!

Lauren said...

Your cake looks wonderful! I love your decoration, it's so cute!