July 30, 2008

Filbert Gateau With Praline Buttercream: Daring Baker Challenge July 2008

It’s that time of the month again, when the Daring Bakers take over the food blogging world for a few days with their baked creations. This July, over a thousand (yes, I did say thousand) of us are once again going to overwhelm you (and ourselves) with the sheer variety that comes from imagination and creativity while working on a single recipe.
Our hostess for this month, Chris of Mele Cotte, chose a Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream, from Great Cakes by Carol Walter, for us to bake.





What’s a filbert?
Apparently, that’s another name for a hazelnut. This doesn’t matter much to me for this challenge, because where I live we don’t get hazelnuts. Even if we did, it would probably cost the heaven and the earth put together! So I made do with almonds.
As is usual, we were provided with all the required information along with the recipe. For those who aren’t aware of this, the host(s) for each month tries out their chosen recipe and gives us their feedback and suggestions with pictures so that we are reasonably prepared to meet the challenge.
A printable version of this month’s challenge is available here.

My Filbert Gateau Experience:

I reduced the ingredients to half to make a smaller cake and made the cake in stages, over three days. I like recipes like this.

Sugar Syrup:
I made the syrup required for moistening the cake but left out the liqueur as we don’t use alcohol. I substituted the same amount of unsweetened orange juice to get the orange flavour.

Praline Paste:
I used almonds, which I skinned at home, to make the praline. Everything went as it should have. I couldn’t help sneaking a taste and it was good though a bit sweet (for my taste), but I guess that’s what praline is supposed to be.
Broke up the praline and used my mixer-grinder to powder it. Further processing didn’t turn it into a paste, so I added a little butter. It still refused to become a paste. I couldn’t bring myself to throw this out, so I added this as it was to the buttercream.
We were allowed to use either the given recipe for Swiss buttercream or any other to make the buttercream. I chose to make a cream cheese buttercream as I could avoid using eggs and also make a less sweet buttercream. I used the following recipe and left out the rum.

Cream cheese frosting:
2 ¼ cups cream cheese (I used Amul paneer)
¾ cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
3 tbsp milk



It came out well. I added the praline paste to the buttercream and the result was a very tasty but slightly grainy (from the praline paste) buttercream.

Fruit Glaze:
I used orange marmalade as I felt it would definitely pair well with chocolate and take away a little from the overall sweetness of the cake. Ok, the real reason was that the only preserves/ jam I had, when I was making this cake, was marmalade! But it worked very well with this cake.

Ganache Glaze:
I left out the liqueur, used cream with 25% fat (I don’t get heavy cream here) and substituted honey for light corn syrup (another thing I couldn’t find).think
I didn’t think all this made too much of a difference as my ganache looked and tasted good.

The Cake:
Making this cake was easy. I used almonds instead of hazelnuts (which are not found in the stores here) and skinning them wasn't easy. Getting pieces of almond under your fingernails can be really painful and after doing it a previous challenge as well, I think I’ve had enough of it for a lifetime!
I kept thinking the cake might turn out too delicate to work with, but it was quite sturdy. I used dental floss to cut the cakes into three perfect layers. I couldn’t find cream with enough fat to whip up so left it out when sandwiching the layers.
I won’t go into the details of assembling the cake, as it is given in the recipe, but let me just say that I had no problems till I reached the buttercream decoration!
I had made the cake in stages over 3 days, so my buttercream was sitting pretty in my fridge. I knew I could do this decoration (though my skills here aren’t anything great) so I filled the piping bag and started off.
I encountered my first problem when the little bits of praline in the buttercream partially blocked the nozzle and left some weird looking squiggles on my beautiful shiny chocolate ganache. I could have cried, but that wouldn’t have helped much. So I held back the tears and slowly scraped the buttercream off the cake.
By now the buttercream was slowly softening so I put it back in the fridge. It had to be that the one day I was doing the buttercream piping had to be the hottest day during the monsoon! So I changed to a star nozzle, and tried piping out a design (can it be called this?) while attempting to cover up evidences of the piping that went wrong. Not very successfully as you can see.
Since I was going to serve this cake at my daughter’s birthday get together I was going to add the silver sugar balls she wanted. The next accident happened here. Some of the little balls fell on the buttercream, mostly in the middle, making another mess. There wasn’t too much I could do without making an even greater mess so I left it like that.
So I took a few pictures of the cake. The pictures weren’t very good (the one here was the best of the lot), but by now I was tired and in no mood to set up everything for a good picture. And my daughter’s friends would be over soon.
I had plans to take pictures of a slice, once the cake was cut, but then the ultimate accident happened. After serving the cake out to the girls and ourselves, I kept the remainder in the fridge. However, while the fridge was opened to take out something else, the cake fell out on to the floor!
At this point, I sat down and cried. So no pictures of any slices, which was a pity because for the first time I had managed beautiful layers of cake and buttercream topped with the chocolate ganache. Ah well, there’s always another cake and another time.

Verdict:
A really good nutty cake. The marmalade and the semi-sweet chocolate ganache balanced out the sweetness of the cake.
The kids didn’t seem to be particularly bothered by my poor decorating skills and dug into the cake, only like twelve year olds can. My husband asked for a second helping, which was a good thing as the rest of the cake ended up in the bin!
To see the how beautiful this cake can get, please visit the other Daring Bakers and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.


62 comments:

Sunshinemom said...

That is one stunning cake! What ever did you mean by "The kids didn’t seem to be particularly bothered by my poor decorating skills". I liked the conversions you have made, as I too do not use alcohol in my recipe 'meant for all of us':)

I am out from this month on due to all the ingredient constraints, but am going to be a diligent follower and try out the 'compatible' recipes.

Nags said...

its a real pleasure to follow the daring baker participant sites at the end of every month! i plan to join very soon.

jayasree said...

Its a great bake. Could not find any mess on the cake as u had mentioned, even after reading abt all the mess u hv described. The cake looks pretty.

Oh so, we missed the glimpse of the slice , I think. Sometimes it happens... Bake again to show off the slice.

Rachel said...

Gosh Aparna...I feel bad readin this,"At this point, I sat down and cried". Inspit of your so-called mishaps..I think it looks lovely...

Christy said...

Thank you for the warm welcome!! I look forward to the next challenges. Snazzy blog, and your cake looks really good!!

Passionate About Baking said...

Very pretty Aparna...love the buttercream on the ganache. The kids must have LOVED the cake...it's beautiful!!

Vcuisine said...

Very nice aparna. Interesting to see the creativity in baking. Viji

zorra said...

Poor decorating skills? You are kidding, your gateau is beautiful!

chriesi said...

Beautiful!

culinarytravelsofakitchengoddess said...

That looks stunning!! I love the silver pearls, they're so effective and beautiful.

Cheryl said...

poor decorating skills? I wish I was that good! What a lovely cake.

Suzana said...

oh wow! Aparna, your cake looks gorgeous, despite all the... 'mess'. ;) You did great on the challenge!

Cakelaw said...

This is a very pretty cake Aparna -I'd be proud to have it on my table.

sra said...

My heart goes out to you, Aparna! Hope you had a great, big cry - it would have helped summat! After seeing your and Rachel's posts, I'm lusting after cake!

VEGETABLE PLATTER said...

that looks really delish

Mary Ann said...

I think your decorating is lovely! great job on this challenge

Dharm said...

Your cake looks pretty stunning! What mess are you talking about??!! Great Job my friend!

Dhanggit said...

this is so elegantly decorated!! what a brilliant job you did for our challenge!! love it!

shellyfish said...

This is so beautiful, Aparna! You did a beautiful job & I love your decorating job!

Fearless Kitchen said...

The decorating job was fabulous. The cake looks delightful!

Nangil Girl said...

Hi Aparna, The cake looks awesome!! I used cashews instead of hazelnuts. Couldn't bring myself to buy it when I had cashews :) . I know what you mean about the butter cream being gritty. I had the same effect. I ended up piping too. You should try the swiss buttercream though. It was really good.

JZ @ Tasty treats said...

beautiful creation, aparna!!! the cake is perfect and the substitues have seemed to work perfectly for u! :-)

i know how u feel when ur creation drops to the floor (literally!!!). My first challenge -the braid - ended up on the floor, and I had to put another 2 days of work to make a new one!! :-) But on the whole, you should be a proud baker and a proud-er mommy! :-)

Anonymous said...

Awesome cake - no way that was a mess up!!! The pearls actually look 'carefully careless'!!!

Michelle said...

I like the dragees on your cake and NOW I've got to learn how to make the chocolate leaves!!! So cool and give your cake a very unique personality.

Namratha said...

This looks good Aparna, and oh my tell me about the Praline PAste....I had trouble with mine too, but in the end it was fine. I left out the alcohols too.

maybelles parents said...

You are wrong about your decorating skills.This is a pretty cake--love the dragees.good job.

Mansi Desai said...

that looks great, but sounds like a lot of work!! nicely executed Aparna!:)

Kumudha said...

The cake looks so beautiful!

I love to see blogs with daring bakers challenge. They are so beautiful!

Lore said...

Huh?! Poor decorating skills? Quite the contrary Aparna, you did a very good job!

Ivy said...

Your cake looks beautiful.

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

Hi aparna
you a very brave woman..despite three mishaps you managed the show so well..kudos to your perseverence...accidents sometimes happen but we live in the world of coninual imprpvement, isnt it..so cheer up , girl !

Ann said...

Your cake is just beautiful... as all of your creations are!

Cynthia said...

you did a great job dear, and that's what matters! :)

culinography said...

What a beautiful cake! I love this time of the month! :)

PAT A BAKE said...

Your cake looks so lovely. The glaze was really 'glazing'. Mine was shiny and remained that way for only 2 minutes...i wonder what i did wrong. Gr8 job Aparna..all the best for your future challenges.

Vibaas said...

It looks great!

Erin said...

Your cake looks great. I think you did a great job decorating it.

Vera said...

Aparna, congratulations on the completed challenge! The cake turned out really good!

Y said...

Oh no! It sounds like it just wasn't meant to be! Kids are pretty easy to please though, don't you think? Often with cakes made for them, your harshest critic really is yourself.. that's what I've found anyway :D

Shilpa said...

Your cake looks beautiful Aparna. I don't think it is "poor decorating skills" in anyway.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Aparna, I love how your ganache looks, so shiny and thick! You did such a beautiful job and should be very proud of yourself. What a shame it fell!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your cake looks beautiful! Very well done! I love the decorations!

Cheers,

Rosa

pixie said...

that is a beautiful cake! love the chocolate leaf!

Rebecca said...

I know you didn't like your decoration, but the photograph is lovely; I think the silver balls are cute. Beautiful cake!

Katy said...

I love it! Did you boil the almonds before peeling them? It saves SO much time and annoyance. I made almond genoise too and they only took a minute or two to peel.

Natashya said...

Aparna your decorating skills are great. Your cake looks lovely, I'm glad hubby wanted seconds - that always makes a baker feel good!

breadchick said...

Your decorating skills are just fine! That cake looks lovely.

And well I would have cried too if after all that work and the soft butter cream, it took a leap out of the fridge.

Ruth said...

Your cake is lovely. Its looks great

Lina said...

I remember seeing your cake on the DB forum! It is so gorgeous! Dont be modest about your decorating skills! That cake looks great!

Laavanya said...

Cake looks delish Aparna... I am craving some after seeing everyone's version.

Allergy Mom said...

Oh you poor thing! I can't believe it fell on the floor! (If you have a dog, I'm sure it made your pet's day,though...) The picture is lovely. I'm shedding a little tear for you at losing all that hard work. Libby

Tartelette said...

You did a fabulous job on this month challenge! I love your substitutions and decorations!

HoneyB said...

Your cake looks beautiful to me!

farida said...

YOu did a great job with your cake! Looks fabulous! I skipped this months' challenge:)

Shandy said...

Your cake is perfect! I love how you decorated it and almonds are just as delicious. Great Job =D

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Sounds great! I love your changes and substitutions. I think I would have preferred a less sweet cake.

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

You managed to make it look gorgeous despite your buttercream woes, and I'm positive the layers were perfect even though we don't get to see them!

Hannah said...

Wow, how incredible! Your decorations are so glamorous, what with those silver dragees and all. Wonderful job on the challenge! :)

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Very nice! Must have been lovely also with the cream cheese frosting instead of the buttercream!

una donna dolce said...

we really loved this cake too!

sleepingbearinthekitchen said...

Very very nice job, I am so sure the Birthday girl was more than pleased!!!!

Lauren said...

Ooo, your cake looks amazing!