• Wed, Jul 30 2008

Here It is…Daring Bakers Challenge..and WHAT a Challenge!

 Daring Bakers

This one was a challenge!

First, I have to say how much I appreciate being part of the Daring Bakers.  I definitely get out of my comfort zone a lot and bake things I would not normally bake.  The ingredients can sometimes be pricey (this challenge cost me over $20.00) but I can usually plan ahead to pull a few dollars here and there from other places.

Do I stress? Yes! 

daring bakers

I told you I had been busy? Well I grocery shopped July 29 until 5 p.m…came home and started the challenge…to be revealed the 30th!  SO, here is is, 11:32 p.m. CST , my kitchen is a pit…but I did it and it feels really good.

I do this for me.  I hate when it comes down to the last minute, and I considered bowing out…deadlines, articles, cookbooks looming..Oh MY! But I did it..and I am proud..even with some of the difficulties I had.

First, I could not find hazelnuts so I used pistachios.  We don’t drink alcohol so I used a coffee flavored sugar syrup rather than rum.  I only was able to achieve two layers rather than three..which was a good thing because I would have needed to make more buttercream if I would have had three layers!

daring bakers

Other than that..I went totally by the recipe. :)

Some of the praline paste did not get as small as it should have and the buttercream kept getting stuck in the large decorating tip I was using.

I cut the cake prematurely to get the pictures, which I shot under a fluorescent light that is under the kitchen cupboard.  So, it is a little messy..I may get better pictures tomorrow when we eat it…

I did sneak a bite of the piece I cut… for blogging purposes you know…and it was incredible.  YUMMY! Worth every minute!

daring bakers

I know now that I need more practice with my genoise.  The Opera cake did not rise as much as I would have liked, either.  So I will be making this one again…and again…and again….

Be sure to check out the rest of these amazing cakes by the Daring Bakers.  Xtreme sports for foodies. :D

Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream
From Great Cakes by Carol Walter

1 Filbert Genoise
1 recipe sugar syrup, flavored with dark rum
1 recipe Praline Buttercream
½ cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 recipe Apricot Glaze
1 recipe Ganache Glaze, prepared just before using
3 tablespoons filberts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Filbert Genoise

Because of the amount of nuts in the recipe, this preparation is different from a classic genoise.

1 ½ cups hazelnuts, toasted/skinned
2/3 cup cake flour, unsifted
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
7 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar, divided ¼ & ¾ cups
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. grated lemon rind
5 lg. egg whites
¼ cup warm, clarified butter (100 – 110 degrees)

Position rack in the lower 3rd of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 10” X 2” inch round cake pan.

Using a food processor, process nuts, cake flour, and cornstarch for about 30 seconds.  Then, pulse the mixture about 10 times to get a fine, powdery mixture.  You’ll know the nuts are ready when they begin to gather together around the sides of the bowl. While you want to make sure there aren’t any large pieces, don’t over-process.  Set aside.

Put the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, and beat until thick and light in color, about 3-4 minutes on med-high speed. Slowly, add ¾ cup of sugar.  It is best to do so by adding a tablespoon at a time, taking about 3 minutes for this step.  When finished, the mixture should be ribbony.  Blend in the vanilla and grated lemon rind.  Remove and set aside.

Place egg whites in a large, clean bowl of the electric mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed, until soft peaks. Increase to med-high speed and slowly add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, over 15-20 seconds or so.  Continue to beat for another ½ minute.
Add the yolk mixture to the whites and whisk for 1 minute.

Pour the warm butter in a liquid measure cup (or a spouted container). * It must be a deep bottom bowl and work must be fast.*  Put the nut meal in a mesh strainer (or use your hand – working quickly) and sprinkle it in about 2 tablespoons at a time – folding it carefully for about 40 folds.   Be sure to exclude any large chunks/pieces of nuts. Again, work quickly and carefully as to not deflate the mixture. When all but about 2 Tbsp. of nut meal remain, quickly and steadily pour the warm butter over the batter.  Then, with the remaining nut meal, fold the batter to incorporate, about 13 or so folds.

With a rubber spatula, transfer the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with the spatula or back of a spoon.  **If collected butter remains at the bottom of the bowl, do not add it to the batter!  It will impede the cake rising while baking.

Tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. You’ll know the cake is done when it is springy to the touch and it separates itself from the side of the pan.  Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes.  Invert onto a cake rack sprayed with nonstick coating, removing the pan.  Cool the cake completely.

*If not using the cake right away, wrap thoroughly in plastic wrap, then in a plastic bag, then in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If freezing, wrap in foil, then the bag and use within 2-3 months.

Sugar Syrup
Makes 1 cup, good for one 10-inch cake – split into 3 layers

1 cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. dark rum or orange flavored liqueur

In a small, yet heavy saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the liqueur. Cool slightly before using on the cake.  *Can be made in advance.

Praline Buttercream
1 recipe Swiss Buttercream
1/3 cup praline paste
1 ½ – 2 Tbsp. Jamaican rum (optional)

Blend ½ cup buttercream into the paste, then add to the remaining buttercream.  Whip briefly on med-low speed to combine.  Blend in rum.

Swiss Buttercream
4 lg. egg whites
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
1 ½ -2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier or liqueur of your choice
1 tsp. vanilla

Place the egg whites in a lg/ bowl of a elevtric mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until the whites are foamy and they begin to thicken (just before the soft peak stage). Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of simmering water, making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Then, whisk in the sugar by adding 1-2 tablespoon of sugar at a time over a minutes time. Continue beating 2-3 minutes or until the whites are warm (about 120 degrees) and the sugar is dissolved.  The mixture should look thick and like whipped marshmallows.
Remove from pan and with either the paddle or whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and sugar on med-high until its a thick, cool meringue – about 5-7 minutes. *Do not overbeat*. Set aside.

Place the butter in a separate clean mixing bowl and, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed for 40-60 seconds, or until smooth and creamy. *Do not overbeat or the butter will become toooooo soft.*

On med-low speed, blend the meringue into the butter, about 1-2 Tbsp. at a time, over 1 minute.  Add the liqueur and vanilla and mix for 30-45 seconds longer, until thick and creamy.

Refrigerate 10-15 minutes before using.

Wait! My  buttercream won’t come together! Reheat the buttercream briefly over simmering water for about 5 seconds, stirring with a wooden spoon. Be careful and do not overbeat. The mixture will look broken with some liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Return the bowl to the mixer and whip on medium speed just until the cream comes back together.

Wait! My buttercream is too soft! Chill the buttercream in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes and rewhip. If that doesn’t work, cream an additional 2-4 Tbsp. of butter in a small bowl– making sure the butter is not as soft as the original amount, so make sure is cool and smooth. On low speed, quickly add the creamed  butter to the buttercream, 1 Tbsp. at a time.

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 6 months. If freezing, store in 2 16-oz. plastic containers and thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for several hours.

Praline Paste
1 cup (4 ½ oz.) Hazelnuts, toasted/skinless
2/3 cup Sugar
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment and lightly butter.

Put the sugar in a heavy 10-inch skillet.  Heat on low flame for about 10-20 min until the sugar melts around the edges. Do not stir the sugar. Swirl the pan if necessary to prevent the melted sugar from burning. Brush the sides of the pan with water to remove sugar crystals.  If the sugar in the center does not melt, stir briefly. When the sugar is completely melted and caramel in color, remove from heat. Stir in the nuts with a wooden spoon and separate the clusters. Return to low heat and stir to coat the nuts on all sides.  Cook until the mixture starts to bubble.  **Remember – extremely hot mixture.** Then onto the parchment lined sheet and spread as evenly as possible. As it cools, it will harden into brittle. Break the candied nuts into pieces and place them in the food processor.  Pulse into a medium-fine crunch or process until the brittle turns into a powder. To make paste, process for several minutes. Store in an airtight container and store in a cook dry place.  Do not refrigerate.

Apricot Glaze
Good for one 10-inch cake

2/3 cup thick apricot preserves
1 Tbsp. water

In a small, yet heavy saucepan, bring the water and preserves to a slow boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. If the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the saucepan, add water as needed.

Remove from heat and, using a strainer, press the mixture through the mesh and discard any remnants. With a pastry brush, apply the glaze onto the cake while the cake is still warm.  If the glaze is too thick, thin to a preferred consistency with drops of water.

Ganache Glaze
Makes about 1 cup, enough to cover the top and sides of a 9 or 10 inch layer or tube cake

**Ganache can take on many forms.  While warm – great fudge sauce.  While cool or lukewarm – semisweet glaze. Slightly chilled – can be whipped into a filling/frosting. Cold & solid – the base of candied chocolate truffles.

6 oz. (good) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, like Lindt
6 oz. (¾ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier, Cointreay, or dark Jamaican rum (optional)
¾ tsp. vanilla
½ – 1 tsp. hot water, if needed

Blend vanilla and liqueur/rum together and set aside.

Break the chocolate into 1-inch pieces and place in the basket of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Transfer into a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Heat the cream and corn syrup in a saucepan, on low, until it reached a gentle boil.  Once to the gently boil, immediately and carefully pour over the chocolate.  Leave it alone for one minute, then slowly stir and mix the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate is melted and incorporated into the cream. Carefully blend in vanilla mixture. If the surface seems oily, add ½ – 1 tsp hot water. The glaze will thicken, but should still be pourable. If it doesn’t thicken, refrigerate for about 5 minutes, but make sure it doesn’t get too cold!

Assembling Cake

Cut a cardboard disk slightly smaller than the cake.  Divide the cake into 3 layers and place the first layer top-side down on the disk. Using a pastry brush, moisten the layer with 3-4 Tbsp. of warm sugar syrup. Measure out 1 cup of praline buttercream and set aside.

Spread the bottom layer with a ¼-inch thickness of the remaining buttercream.  Cover with ½ of the whipped cream, leaving ¼-inch border around the edge of the cake.  Place the middle layer over the first, brush with sugar syrup, spreading with buttercream. Cover with the remaining whipped cream.

Moisten the cut side of the third layer with additional sugar syrup and place cut side down on the cake.  Gently, press the sides of the cake to align the layers. Refrigerate to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Lift the cake by sliding your palm under the cardboard. Holding a serrated or very sharp night with an 8-ich blade held parallel to the sides of the cake, trim the sides so that they are perfectly straight. Cut a slight bevel at the top to help the glaze drip over the edge. Brush the top and sides of the cake with warm apricot glaze, sealing the cut areas completely.  Chill while you prepare the ganache.

Place a rack over a large shallow pan to catch the ganache drippings.  Remove the gateau from the refrigerator and put it the rack. With a metal spatula in hand, and holding the saucepan about 10 inches above the cake, pour the ganache onto the cake’s center.  Move the spatula over the top of the ganache about 4 times to get a smooth and mirror-like appearance.  The ganache should cover the top and run down the sides of the cake. When the ganache has been poured and is coating the cake, lift one side of the rack and bang it once on the counter to help spread the ganache evenly and break any air bubbles. (Work fast before setting starts.) Patch any bare spots on the sides with a smaller spatula, but do not touch the top after the “bang”.  Let the cake stand at least 15 minutes to set after glazing.

To garnish the cake, fit a 12 – 14-inch pastry bag with a #114 large leaf tip. Fill the bag with the reserved praline cream.  Stating ½ inch from the outer edge of the cake, position the pastry tube at a 90 degree angle with the top almost touching the top of the cake. Apply pressure to the pastry bag, moving it slightly toward the center of the cake.  As the buttercream flows on the cake, reverse the movement backward toward the edge of the cake and finish by pulling the bag again to the center. Stop applying pressure and press the bag downward, then quickly pull the tip up to break the flow of frosting.  Repeat, making 12 leaves evenly spaced around the surface of the cake.

Make a second row of leaves on the top of the first row, moving the pastry bag about ¾ inch closer to the center.  The leaves should overlap.  Make a 3rd row, moving closer and closer to the center. Add a 4th row if you have the room. But, leave a 2-inch space in the center for a chopped filbert garnish. Refrigerate uncovered for 3-4 hours to allow the cake to set. Remove the cake from the refrigerator at least 3 hours before serving.

Leftover cake can be covered with foil and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Images:Marye Audet

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  • http://nicyandsmoothy.blogspot.com Szkrabeka

    Wow! Now that’s an achievement. I was stressed while baking it 2 weeks ago, and being in such a hurry would make it mych worse! Great job you’ve made!

  • http://home-gourmets.blogspot.com/ Suzana

    Looks lovely, Marye!

  • http://bigblackdogs.blogspot.com/ Michelle

    I’ve been having some problems with the leaf tip lately but your cake looks fabulous.

    Great job!

  • Marye

    Szk-Apparently I do well under pressure!
    Suzana- thanks!
    Michelle- I didn;t have a large enough leaf tip

  • http://5typesofsugar.blogspot.com Christy

    Whoa! I cannot imagine starting that cake on July 29, to be posted by July 30. It would just drive me insane. It’s no mean feat, and I salute you for that! It looks so good!

  • http://dad-baker.blogspot.com Dharm

    Your cake is just lovely Marye! 20 bucks huh, well it sure as hell cost me a heckuva lot more!! just the hazelnuts alone cost me that much.. but oh well, its all part of the fun and learning! Great job again!

  • http://www.cococooks.blogspot.com courtney

    I admire you getting it done. I love pistachios!

  • http://www.aayisrecipes.com shilpa

    Wow…your cake looks fabulous.

  • Marye

    Christy- I do not recommend it ..I am bleary eyed andslurping coffee by the gallons this morning..
    Dharm, you guys cost of living is higher than here..and I couldn’t find hazelnuts anyway.
    Courtney- the pistachios worked well, they have a similar texture and sweetness

  • http://www.dreamflowerknitting.blogspot.com Monica

    WOW!! That sure is pretty!!! You did an amazing job, as usual…. :-)

  • http://www.redactedrecipes.com/ Ann

    Your cake looks fabulous!

  • http://almondcorner.blogspot.com/ chriesi

    How cute!!!

  • http://noblepig.com/ noble pig

    So glad you did it! Looks wonderful and good sub with the pistachios.

  • http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com kat

    what an interesting idea to use pistachios. I had the same issues with piping, your cake looks beautiful though

  • Marye

    Thanks Monica
    Ann- it tastes it too!
    Cathy- I like how it worked with the pistachios
    Kat- Yeah, I don;t have a food processor and the blenderr didn’t get the praline consistantly broken up.

  • http://www.eatfordinner.blogspot.com giz

    You did this on the 29th and posted it on the 30th and you’re still here to talk about it. You must be some kind of superwoman. It was a real challenge with a wonderful end product but there’s nooooo way I could have done this the day before a reveal. I’d be in an institution by now.

  • Marye

    LOL! Giz..I finished at midnight…and as far as needing to be institutionalized? The vote is still out on that one!

  • http://www.leftoverqueen.com JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen

    It looks great Marye! I really should have only done 2 layers too! That was one of my many fatal mistakes!

  • Marye

    Jenn, it was a touch challenge, I think..which made it all the more fun.

  • http://jenyu.net/blog/ Jen Yu

    Marye! After all of that stress and look how gorgeous your cake is. Lady, that is one fine looking cake. It stressed the mess out of me too, but at least we did it – that’s why we’re DBers :) Awesome job, hon.

  • http://www.foodnewsandreviews.blogspot.com laurie

    Marye, I think using pistachio’s made a great tasting cake as well as the delicate green color! I saw your comment over at the Queen’s..I too dressed in Pistachio at the academy’s! You did a great job under the pressure of time!

  • http://www.barbarabakes.blogspot.com/ Barbara

    I love the close up picture of your cake! I’m impressed you were able to put it together so quickly!

  • Marye

    Jen, you too!
    Laurie- maybe we should get t-shirts?
    Barbara- thanks!

  • http://www.butterandsugar.org/blog/ jillian

    Great looking cake. Your ganache has super shine! I am always late night baking too!

  • http://feedingmaybelle.blogspot.com maybelles mom (feeding maybelle)

    Oh, I think yours is lovely. I kind of wished I had subbed pistachios, you cake is so moist and tasty. Good Job.

  • http://wwwbunnysovencom.blogspot.com/ bunny

    I did the same thing marye! i did mine yesterday too!! LOL!! I wish my ganache looked as good as yours does! Beautiful Cake!!

  • http://ahalf-dozeneggs.blogspot.com Gina

    Wow! I’ve seen one other reveal so far but she didn’t include the recipe. I’m in awe!!!! I’d be in a sniveling, blubbering ball under the table if I’d had to do that the night before a “deadline”. Beautiful cake! Just beautiful!!

  • http://www.cookingupafamily.com Courtney

    your cake looks great for last minute!! Yes this recipe was not a cheap one but it was worth it, tasted great!

  • http://www.shellyfish.wordpress.com Shellyfish

    Great last minute job!! I also found this challenge to be a wee bit expensive, though it was delicious!

  • http://glutenfreemommy.com Natalie

    Beautiful cake! Mine only made two layers and I even used a smaller pan!

  • http://www.allthingsjennifer.com Jennifer

    I can’t believe you did this all in at the end of the wire! Amazing job, the cake looks beautiful. I will be practicing along with you on the geniose…

  • http://www.crackinggoodegg.blogspot.com kj

    Now that’s dedication. Great job!!

  • http://www.beautifullayers.com Lorrie

    wow! your cake is so pretty, you did a great job!

  • http://www.bitinggoodness.blogspot.com pixie Olivares

    that is a gorgeous cake! it cost me quite a bit, way more than $20! Hazelnuts are expensive here plus I made a mistake and bought dried apricots instead of apricot preserves. But yours looks so pretty it seems worth the expense!

  • http://www.bakingobsession.com Vera

    Put this cake together in one day is quite an achievement! And it turned out great!

  • http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com Bellini Valli

    Your gateau looks amazing Marye:D

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  • http://www.andreasrecipes.com Andrea

    Extreme sports for foodies is right. Being a Daring Baker is like being in the Baking X Games! You pulled it off and your cake looks wonderful.

  • http://www.cookiedoc.blogspot.com Claire

    PIstachio…wow! I had the same issue with the praline, though I think I didn’t process it long enough. Yours looks great!

  • http://www.daisylanecakes.blogspot.com/ JacqueOH

    Mmmm, pistachio sounds wonderful… I also like the color it gives.

    Great job, you really came through in a pinch.

  • http://celiacteen.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    Ooo, I love pistachio! Your cake looks absolutely beautiful!

  • http://www.clumbsycookie.blogspot.com/ clumbsycookie

    Great! Last minute is best sometimes, it came out beautiful!