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.
Roll on next month!