Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Daring Baker 6 - Filbert Gateau with Praline buttercream

I still haven't had the chance to make last month's Daring Baker challenge, but I've just about squeezed in this months with about half a day to spare.
So here it is - Filbert Gateau with Praline buttercream.

It doesn't look all that pretty, in fact not really like the photo of the original we were shown:

The chocolate ganache and buttercream on top were slightly runny - I'm putting it down to the heat we've been having lately! But this tasted real good. I took it to my good friend Miss.Sarah to try out cos she requested that I bring cake to her nice new apartment and I think she liked it too... for being diabetic she ate quite a bit!

There were a lot of different components to this cake - like previous challenges, but well worth it.
This cake included:
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

I've rearranged the order of the recipe we were given to show what order I did things in.

Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream
From Great Cakes by Carol Walter

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 I used 1 tbsp orange extract instead

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.

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 I left this out
1 tsp. vanilla

Place the egg whites in a large bowl of a electric 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.

Praline Buttercream
1 recipe Swiss Buttercream
1/3 cup praline paste
1 ½ - 2 Tbsp. Jamaican rum (optional) I left this out

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

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.

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. 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.* 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.

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 I substituted honey
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier, Cointreay, or dark Jamaican rum (optional) I left this out
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

Measure out 1 cup of the praline buttercream and set to the side.
Make a card board disc slightly smaller than the cake.
Divide the cake into 3 layers.
Place one layer on top of the card disc.
Brush 3-4 tbsp of the sugar syrup on top.
Spread a quarter inch thickness of buttercream on.
Cover with half of the whipped cream. I left this out
Set another layer of cake on top.
Brush with 3-4 tbsp of the sugar syrup.
Spread a quarter inch thickness of buttercream on.
Cover with remaining whipped cream. I left this out
Moisten cut side of final cake layer with sugar syrup then place on top.
Press the sides gently to align the layers.
Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Lift cake and carve the edges with a sharp knife to get straight edges. I dind't bother
Brush the top and sides of the cake with warm apricot glaze.
Chill the cake in the fridge while you prepare the ganache.
Place a rack over a shallow pan and set cake on top.
Pour the ganache gently onto the cake spreading with a metal spatula.
Leave to stand for 15 minutes.
Decorate the cake using the cup of buttercream that was reserved in a piping bag.
Top with the filbert garnish or like me add some chocolate chips!

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

Check out the results of all the other Daring Bakers. Thank you to Mele Cotte for a great challenge!


  1. Ruthiekins! Your cake looks just great! It certainly was a lot of work but I think it was a delish challenge. Well done You!

  2. Looks fabulous Ruth!! I wouldn't have the patience or the skill to get through such a recipe... but you certainly have inspired me :)

  3. A lot of people had trouble with the heat and buttercream combination. But for what I've been reading the cake tasted really good :)

  4. Ruth well done your cake looks great! I would never have enough patience to do that :-)

    Dell :) xxoo

  5. Wow! That looks great! I have seen a few other attempts at this, and I have to say yours looks better than Jens!

    That is something of an epic cake! I don't think I could do that, I would feel guilty eating it after so much work! Not guilty enough to NOT eat it though!!

  6. Everything looks pretty in your stomach...

  7. Thank you Dharm!!! It really was a lot of work again, but well worth it.

    Hi Joelen, thank you!!!! I usually don't have the patience but I didn't get too angry working on this thankfully!

    Hey Ben, I haven't been able to have a look at others' results yet but you've brought me some great comfort! It really did taste great though!

    Thanks Dell.... you should try sometime, you never know! It's the sort of think you could spread making over a week... if you were organised unlike me!

    Hey Ryan! You make me blush!!!!! I felt guilty for eating it, but not for destroying all that work, but for the extra fat and calories I really don't need! lol

    It sure does That Girl. Mind you I think it looks pretty on Miss.Sarah's plate anyways.

  8. You do realize that this is a crazy overacheiver recipe, right? And that you win mega badass points for completing it, right? When sliced and on a plate, the cake looks mighty fine to me!

  9. YAY YAY YAY Ruth. Well done...wasn't that a looooooooooong challenge? Man, I was tempted to throw the towel in a million times.That's a pretty slice on a pretty plate! xoxoxo

  10. I had buttercream problems too! Made my middle layer slide out so only half the cake had the middle layer. Still looks tasty!

  11. Looks good Ruth. But i have to ask, what are filberts?

  12. I think just about everyone had problems with the heat and this cake! Your cake does look great, though!

  13. Thanks Neen - loving my mega badass points!!!!

    Deeba it really was very loooooong! I hope the next one isn't as long.

    Hi Ashley. It's reassuring that I wasn't alone with buttercream problems.

    Thanks Sio. I was wondering the same - filberts are hazelnuts

    Thanks Deborah - despite the heat being problematic, I was still glad it was warm!

  14. Oh gosh, that looks good! Lordy, that's a lot of work, too! I love looking at the layers on the sliced piece. That praline buttercream with the rum in it sounds divine ... I think I would be licking the spoon a lot when making this!

  15. Ruth it looks great and I can just taste all the different flavours...yummy!

    I have Carole Walters Great Cakes book ;o)


  16. Congrats on your latest DB challenge - it looks like it took some talent to get it all together!

  17. Looks great! I had buttercream issues, too - and it was my pic! yikes!

    Thanks for completing the challenge this month. :)

  18. Nice job Ruth! :) I think you decorations look beautiful! You should be proud!

  19. Paula, you would have plenty of spoons to lick with this recipe!!!!

    Una donna dolce, it sure was!

    Maria, I'm loving the sound of this book... adding it to my wish list!

    Thanks Sarah, it was a tough one this month

    Chris, thank you for a great challenge!!!!

    Thanks Jenn, you make me blush!

    Thank you healthyfood4you!!! Good to "meet" you

  20. Mmm, your cake looks amazing!!

  21. The cake was fun wasn't it! I took mine to my sister's for an event and it was gone in one sitting. Miss Sarah must have been in heaven - although she does know that it's the last thing she should be having.


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