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July Daring Bakers: Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

July 30, 2008

It’s that time again…time for the July Daring Baker’s Challenge!

This month, the recipe was chosen by Chris of Mele Cotte — a hazelnut gateau with praline buttercream. The recipe had all the trappings of a good challenge; lots of techniques wrapped into one recipe: swiss buttercream, a genoise, making caramel, glazing with ganache, and piping buttercream for decoration. I had a few small bumps along the way, but overall, it turned out pretty well, and tasted quite delicious, too!

The genoise is made with ground blanched hazelnuts, egg yolks mixed with sugar until ribbony, and egg whites whipped into soft peaks. The original recipe made a 10-inch cake, but since it’s just the two of us eating the cake, I opted to use my 5-inch cake pans (again.) Theoretically, halving the recipe should have given me just enough for the 5-inch pan…but I think I might have somehow overbeat the egg whites a bit, because it rose up like a volcano out of the pan and down the sides a bit. Oops.

Well, I didn’t have enough hazelnuts left to bake it again, so I figured I’d just press on and excavate the cake from the pan (you’ll also notice that the top sunk a bit, which tells me I didn’t do something exactly right when making the genoise, but it just meant that one of my layers was a bit thinner than the others.)

More blanched hazelnuts were coated in a homemade caramel, then dried into a brittle and pulsed into a powder before being folded into the swiss buttercream. I added a little coffee to the buttercream, since that flavor goes so well with hazelnut, and it was super tasty!

The cake is split into three layers, and each layer is spread with a sugar syrup. I chose to flavor my sugar syrup with strong coffee also. Buttercream is spread on each layer along with some whipped cream, then the entire cake is glazed with a dark chocolate ganache. This was a good technique to learn: pouring the ganache from a height of 10 inches above the cake and smoothing it minimally with a spatula creates a smooth top surface that looks quite pretty. The sides of my cake, on the other hand, were not a pretty sight. When it came time to trim the perimeter of the cake to make it smooth, the texture of my cake was on the crumbly side and little bits kept falling off. Again – at this point I wasn’t going to make it over, I just figured I’d go with it.

I tried to make a sunflower-like decoration on the top of my cake; I used Wilton tip #352 – this was actually my first time doing any kind of piping decoration (other than the straight writing tip), so I was a little nervous and practiced first on some parchment. All in all, I was pretty happy with how it came out — I’d like to think it wouldn’t be considered a Cake Wreck!

Want to see what the other Daring Bakers did? Check out the DB Blogroll. Want to make this cake yourself? Check out Chris’s blog! Thanks to Chris for a fun and educational challenge!

18 Comments leave one →
  1. July 30, 2008 5:30 am

    Absolutely beautiful! I’d have never guessed there was a disaster midway through.

  2. cookingupafamily permalink
    July 30, 2008 7:53 am

    WOW you cake looks wonderful. i think it great and good job on the piping.

  3. July 30, 2008 8:40 am

    Lovely pics – I wouldn’t guess you were a piping newbie – congrats on another daring bakers success!

  4. July 30, 2008 11:15 am

    Goshy, that flower decoration is beautiful. I am impressed. By that stage, my cake was lucky to get ANY buttercream on it 😉 You recovered from your cake flop so nicely, though. *pat on the back* Great job, Amy!

  5. July 30, 2008 12:52 pm

    Love the sunflower piping!

  6. July 30, 2008 7:47 pm

    Wow–you turned that cake upset in the oven into a masterpiece…such stunning decorating!

  7. E for KC permalink
    July 31, 2008 4:52 pm

    I, too, quite liked the piping, and the cake looks delicious.

  8. July 31, 2008 6:47 pm

    Um, for real, that cake with the sunflower piping is the most gorgeous one that I’ve seen yet on the blogosphere. Congratulations!

  9. July 31, 2008 10:04 pm

    Wow! That gateau looks divine. I’ve been inspired to delurk and say that I like what you’re doing here. I look forward to reading future posts.


  10. August 1, 2008 12:05 pm

    Pretty cake!!!

  11. August 2, 2008 3:41 pm

    NO – not a cakewreck at all! I think the decorations turned out great and I love the coffee flavoring – nice job!

  12. August 3, 2008 2:02 pm

    Ooo! Your decoration is gorgeously beautiful! I love it!

  13. August 3, 2008 5:48 pm

    Thank you, everyone! 🙂

  14. August 3, 2008 8:27 pm

    What a gorgeous sunflower – I can’t believe it was your first time piping !

  15. August 4, 2008 3:06 am

    How cute!

  16. August 4, 2008 7:05 pm

    Amy- I still haven’t gotten over your lemon blueberry cake and another dessert. Impressed with your sunflower. You are one creative and talented gal.

  17. August 5, 2008 3:00 am

    The top of your cake is very pretty and sort of different from the others I have seen. But I really love the cake out of the oven, don’t you just hate when that happens? I do hope you ate all the scraps that fell, I always do. I am up at this indecent hour because I am new at blogging at it takes me hours to make a post.

  18. February 24, 2015 12:53 pm

    mmm yummy this sounds lovely. Thanks for sharing this.


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