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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Daring Flan

The Daring Bakers strike again! Once again, this growing group of enthusiastic bakers has tackled another challenge. This month the gauntlet was thrown down by Chris of Mele Cotte. She chose Filbert Gateau with Praline Butter cream from the book Great Cakes by Carol Walters.

I'm starting to get the hang of organizing these multi step challenges. This cake recipe had five distinct components to assemble.

1) Hazelnut Praline
2) Sugar Syrup
3) Butter Cream Icing
4) Cake
5) Chocolate Glaze
6) Apricot Glaze

Did I say five? I meant six. Yep, that organizing thing is coming along nicely.

The praline was the most worrisome component for me. Sugar is slowly melted in a pan until golden; then toasted, skinned hazelnuts are added to the hot sticky mixture. I watched this like a new baby taking his first steps. It took time but the result was worth it. Chris warned us how hot the mixture would be... but I wasn't expecting a stickiness that grabbed my spatula in a tug of war.My personal goal was to make a great looking cake and I let nothing stand in my way. Look carefully at the picture - see anything? From the top, there is the apricot glaze on top of a lovely layer of hazelnut genoise followed by some hidden whipped cream, a layer of butter cream icing and...... a flan?

Yep, my cake was augmented with a store bought flan. Due to extenuating circumstances, my cake did not have enough height to divide into three layers. I desperately wanted three layers so I rushed out to buy one "peel from the package and slap down" flan. A slap down flan has the texture and taste of a kitchen sponge. But... if a kitchen sponge is soaked in orange sugar syrup and it's rubbing elbows with enough butter cream, hazelnut, apricot, chocolaty goodness to sink a ship, the kitchen sponge taste and texture fade to the background.

No one really needs to know ...

Butter cream icing is much easier to make in cool weather. I beat the tar out of my butter cream but the heat constantly worked against me. The butter cream kept melting and sliding around. Since I've made buttercream before, I just shrugged it off as a learning experience.

This cake was devoured (kitchen sponge and all) in two days with the help of friends and neighbours. My mistakes with this cake were eclipsed by the sheer quality and taste of the ingredients. Would I make this cake again? Yes, but in cooler weather.

Thank you Chris for providing another great learning opportunity! The full recipe can be found at Chris' site Mele Cotte.

Check out the other Daring Bakers and their lovely creations.

NB. My genoise was gluten free but alas the flan was not...

18 comments:

Christy said...

Wow, that cake looks great!! If you hadn't told us I would so have thought that you made that flan!! It looks so right on the cake!!

Courtney said...

your cake and flan :) turned out great. good idea i would have never thought to do that.

Michelle said...

I never considered flan in a cake before but what a fabulous idea. Your cake looks great!

Veron said...

I must say you are so creative with the flan. Such lovely decor and sprinkling of hazelnuts!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your cake looks fine! I bet it tasted great with the flan!

Cheers,

Rosa

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I would have had NO idea! What a great job you did - your cake looks beautiful!

Jen Yu said...

Gluten free? Wow, you amaze me! That looks so incredibly delicious and beautiful... AND it's gluten free?! You are awesome :) Great job.

Ann said...

I've never heard of a peel and slap-down flan! Cool concept! And fabulous cake!

Jenny said...

Now we need to get you using my organizational method for this kind of stuff - taped to the pantry doors with lots of colors as notes! :-)
Looks good, flan and all.

Pat said...

You get stars for creativity! It was my first challenge and it was hot and humid when I made the cake but it came out well and was GOOD!! :-)

Glad to meet you and all the ohter Daring Bakers!

Lorrie said...

I never would have guessed what secrets your cake holds :) It looks great!

Deborah said...

I'm still working on the organizational part of each challenge! Great job, and great job improvising!

Ruth said...

What a great idea I never would have known if you didnt say. The cake looks great!

Christina said...

I wish I had tasted your cake! The flan sounds interesting with all the other parts.

Christina ~ She Runs, She Eats

kellypea said...

Great looking cake with all those lovely hazelnuts sprinkled around! And if you hadn't said anything about the flan, would anyone have noticed? Instead of having to run to the store to get that layer, do what I was thinking...Cut smaller rounds from the large one, then layer. Could work. And thanks for giving me a great view of the apricot glaze I forgot. Beautiful!

Lisa said...

Ha HAA!! Your cake have secret weapon! Very sneaky!! We like!!

Lauren said...

Flan or not, your creation looks wonderful!!

emma said...

That looks fabulous! I love pralines but am always too lazy to make them. But isn't flan an Spanish custard dessert? I've never heard it applied to a cake product before. Maybe I am just showing my lack of culinary expertise.:)