27 July 2008

My first Daring bakers challenge

The Daring bakers are a Internet baking group with around 1000 members, founded and organised by Lis of La mia cucina and Ivonne from Cream puffs in Venice. Once a month a Daring baker member sets a challenge for the group who then bake and blog it.

I have followed the Daring bakers for almost a year now, I love reading different views on each challenge, what worked for some and didn't for others, I finally took the plunge and joined the group, stepping out of my comfort zone and into new challenges I never would have usually attempted.

This months challenge was a Filbert gateau with praline butter cream set by Chris at Melecotte, you'll find the recipe by clicking on the link.
Now I know the point of joining the Daring bakers was to be challenged but when I looked at this recipe, I nearly fainted :) after reading all 6 pages of it a few times I realised it wasn't so bad, just a lot of steps. This cake, from Carol Walter's 'Great cakes', consists of a filbert genoise, laced with syrup sponge, layered with praline buttercream and whipped cream, covered in a delicious chocolate ganache then decorated with more butter cream.
Once I'd separated the different recipes I set about baking this cake.

The cake itself was a breeze to make, Processed hazelnuts were mixed into a mixture of beaten egg yolks and egg whites, baked and split into three layers, I loved splitting the cake, I have never attempted this before and tackled this by making out the layers with cocktail sticks and sawing threw the cake with a serrated knife.
Things started to get difficult when it came to the buttercream, unlike usual buttercream (butter and icing sugar) this recipe called for egg whites whisked over a bain marie so the sugar dissolved, then blending the butter into the mixture. The praline paste, made by covering hazelnuts in a sugar caramel, setting it, then pulverising it in the food processor, is , at the last minute, mixed into the buttercream.

My buttercream was a nightmare it would not come together at all, I tried everything to resurrect it but that probably just made matters worse, lol. In the end I gave up and stuck the very liquid buttercream in the fridge to firm itself up.
The cake is assembled by layering it up with sponge, sugar syrup, buttercream, whipped cream, sponge and so on , the top is covered with a apricot glaze then adorned with the most heavenly, glossy chocolate ganache. After it's stint in the fridge the buttercream looked a lot firmer, it was fine for layering the cake, although as it was quite liquid it was absorbed into the cake making it a little less photogenic, it tasted absolutley divine, but would it stand the piping for the final stage of the cake.....in a word, no! It did firm up but as soon as I piped the butter cream onto my perfect ganache it flopped, and slid off the cake, here my darling OH stepped in and marbled the buttercream through my ganache in a very artistic manner, it looked very pretty actually.

My first challenge exhausted me, starting off very positive, I was nearly in tears by the buttercream stage, but I think I pulled it off, and my, the finished cake was more than worth it, this cake was delicious, moist, creamy, the ganache was gorgeous and the nightmare praline butter cream made the cake for me, absolutely divine. I will definitely incorporate the praline in to a safer buttecream recipe another time, and a family member asked for the recipe, which always proves it's a winner.

Thank you to Chris at Melecotte for hosting this months challenge, check out her blog for the recipe and her cake, and check out the Daring baker blog roll for more Filbert gateaux.

Roll on next month!


maybelles parents said...

oh, i am sorry about the BC. But, it looks nice and you made it through.

JillyB said...

Well done! That looks a fabulous cake.

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

Well done on taking the plunge! Sorry to hear it wasn't an entire success, certainly sounds very, very delicious though :)

Kelly-Jane said...

You did a great job on your first challenge, buttercream can be a bit tricky, I'm sure you'll get another go at making buttercream!

Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Daring Bakers!!!

Well done on your first challenge, sorry to hear you weren't too pleased.

George x

Gloria said...

I think to be your first challenge, is a difficult recipe!! but really look beauty and yummy! Really I dont participated in Daring Break because always Im afraid if is not good! you are so brave!! xxGloria

Coby said...

I'm with Gloria on this - what a brave girl you are to start with such a challenging recipe:) Well done you! So many of the steps you describe make me nervous just thinking about them;) Your finished cake is more than impressive!:)

Lunch Buckets said...

I would love to have seen the look on the face of the family member that asked for the recipe when you handed over the 7 or so pages :) Welcome to the group!

Maria said...

Well done on your first DB challenge and you really have done a wonderful job, the cake is delish!


una donna dolce said...

congratulations on completing your first challenge!

Linda F said...

Fantastic looking cake Erica, well done!

Oh my! Apple pie! said...

Thank you! Yep, this cake stressed me out, well, the buttercream did, but thats part of being a Daring baker I suppose. It tasted absolutely fabulous though, well worth it!

silverrock said...

The cake looks so chocolatey and delicious... I wouldn't mind having a slice right now :P Great job on your first DB challenge

Rosie said...

Welcome to DB and your cake looks amazing sweetie - well done :)

Rosie x

J.Danger said...

Buttercream can make it our break it! Looks delicious though- consider it a practice run for next time.