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
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...