Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Daring Bakers - Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

Being a Daring Baker turned out to be more fun than I expected. Actually, if I were having any more fun, it would probably be against the law. I started my journey with this month's challenge early. I would get the cake (genoise) done and freeze it and just take my time. When it came out of the oven - a materpiece - this is a walk in the park. I'll go shopping and when I get home, I'll just wrap it up and freeze it. While putting my groceries away, I took out a 2 litre container of milk that heaven only knows how, slipped out of my hand and dropped ... right on my masterpiece. Goodbye masterpiece - hello crumbs for a yet to be named dessert.

This month's challenge is hosted by Chris from.....ta daaaaaa
Mele Cotte, a self professed bakoholic who hails from just outside Atlanta, Georgia. Thank you Chris for bring to the forefront all of my obsessions, like trying to make a cake perfectly round - it's not happening in this lifetime so let's just call it modern art.

For my alcohol flavouring, I used Triple Sec which is an edgier version of Cointreau.

Let's just try this again shall we.

Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream
From Great Cakes by Carol Walter

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

Filbert Genoise

Because of the amount of nuts in the recipe, this preparation is different from a classic genoise. (of course that registered loud and clear for me - I don't even know what a genoise is supposed to look like - do I look like a baker to you). Carrying on.....

1 1/2 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.

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.* 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. 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 5minutes. Invert onto a cake rack sprayed with nonstick coating, removing the pan. Cool the cake completely.

What?? You don't like my dimples???

*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.

Sugar Syrup

Makes 1 cup, good for one 10-inch cake – split into 3 layers

1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. dark rum or orange flavored liqueur

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. *Can be made in advance.

Praline Buttercream

1 recipe Swiss Buttercream
1/3 cup praline paste
1 ½ - 2 Tbsp. Jamaican rum (optional)

Blend 1/2 cup buttercream into the paste, then add to the remaining buttercream. Whip briefly on med-low speed to combine. Blend in rum.

Swiss Buttercream

This is the part where the directions really have to be followed. At first my buttercream didn't seem to be coming together but after following the excellent tips, it worked like a charm.

4 lg. egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
1 1/2 -2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier or liqueur of your choice (Triple Sec here)
1 tsp. vanilla

Place the egg whites in a lg/ bowl of a elevtric 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.

Note to self: Get another Kitchenaide bowl - it just makes sense to have 2.

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.

Here's the tip that saved me:

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 1/2oz.) 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.

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 (this was a perfect amount for the cake)

**Ganache can take on many forms. (who knew??) 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. (3/4 cup heavy cream - 35%
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or dark Jamaican rum (optional)(more Triple Sec)
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 - 1 tsp. hot water, if needed (I didn't need to add this)

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. (I used bittersweet chippits - worked like a charm) 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

Cut a cardboard disk slightly smaller than the cake. Divide the cake into 3 layers and place the first layer top-side down on the disk. Using a pastry brush, moisten the layer with 3-4 Tbsp. of warm sugar syrup. Measure out 1 cup of praline buttercream and set aside.

Spread the bottom layer with a 1/4-inch thickness of the remaining buttercream. Cover with 1/2 of the whipped cream, leaving 1/4-inch border around the edge of the cake. Place the middle layer over the first, brush with sugar syrup, spreading with buttercream. Cover with the remaining whipped cream.

Moisten the cut side of the third layer with additional sugar syrup and place cut side down on the cake. Gently, press the sides of the cake to align the layers. Refrigerate to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Lift the cake by sliding your palm under the cardboard. Holding a serrated or very sharp night with an 8-ich blade held parallel to the sides of the cake, trim the sides so that they are perfectly straight. Cut a slight bevel at the top to help the glaze drip over the edge. Brush the top and sides of the cake with warm apricot glaze, sealing the cut areas completely. Chill while you prepare the ganache.

Place a rack over a large shallow pan to catch the ganache drippings. Remove the gateau from the refrigerator and put it the rack. With a metal spatula in hand, and holding the saucepan about 10 inches above the cake, pour the ganache onto the cake’s center. Move the spatula over the top of the ganache about 4 times to get a smooth and mirror-like appearance. The ganache should cover the top and run down the sides of the cake. When the ganache has been poured and is coating the cake, lift one side of the rack and bang it once on the counter to help spread the ganache evenly and break any air bubbles. (Work fast before setting starts.) Patch any bare spots on the sides with a smaller spatula, but do not touch the top after the “bang”. Let the cake stand at least 15 minutes to set after glazing.

To garnish the cake, fit a 12 – 14-inch pastry bag with a #114 large leaf tip. Fill the bag with the reserved praline cream. Stating ½ inch from the outer edge of the cake, position the pastry tube at a 90 degree angle with the top almost touching the top of the cake. Apply pressure to the pastry bag, moving it slightly toward the center of the cake. As the buttercream flows on the cake, reverse the movement backward toward the edge of the cake and finish by pulling the bag again to the center. Stop applying pressure and press the bag downward, then quickly pull the tip up to break the flow of frosting. Repeat, making 12 leaves evenly spaced around the surface of the cake. (Ok, so I'm not the world's best piper)

Make a second row of leaves on the top of the first row, moving the pastry bag about ¾ inch closer to the center. The leaves should overlap. Make a 3rd row, moving closer and closer to the center. Add a 4th row if you have the room. But, leave a 2-inch space in the center for a chopped filbert garnish. Refrigerate uncovered for 3-4 hours to allow the cake to set. Remove the cake from the refrigerator at least 3 hours before serving.

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

Now it's time to finish cleaning up

Verdict: When you go to a fancy event or a wedding (which qualifies usually as a fancy event), you go to the pastry table and pick out the cake that you think will be worth the calories. This is the one. Need I say more?



Michelle said...

Looks great and your ganache looks super dark and rich!

Anonymous said...

What an amazing cake and a whopper of recipe! Holy cow!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, that totally stinks about spilling milk all over your masterpiece. your finished produced turned out great. it looks just like the picture from the book, good job.

Neen said...

Wow, that's a bitch-load of work to have the milk jug fall on it! Did you take the photos before the close encounter with the milk, or did you remake the cake afterwards? 2nd thought: I way too chicken to tackle the Daring Baker projects myself, so I need to find a Daring Baker who lives close-by and simply show up to their house at the assigned time each month. I mean, if that cake is only going to last 5 days, they must need SOME help eating it!

Anonymous said...

Your cake is wonderful ! I did not have the courage to make a large one, because I made it yesterday only ! So I chose a mini-version, and it was OK.

Anonymous said...

That looks incredible! I told Elle to get over to my place with hers. I'm ordering you to do the same. The more gateaus the merrier! lol

giz said...

Neen, Courtney - All was not lost - I just remade the base - it all worked out okay.

Anonymous said...

Looks super Giz. I'm so sorry the milk fell on it, what a shame.

OhioMom said...

Enjoyed your tutorial and side comments, but I always do :) The cake looks yummy!

Anonymous said...

Great job, giz! And the milk incident is hilarious (I know it wasn't at the time, though!).

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

Hey, you managed to decorate it almost like the picture in the book. Looks really nice.
Tough about the spilt milk.
Mine had an accident too. Fell out of the fridge and ended in the bin.:(

Darius T. Williams said...

The cake looks good...just way too complicated for my taste, I think. I mean, I'd love to taste it and eat it - but make it, I'll leave that to you - lol! Great job though...this looks good!


Dharm said...

Your cake looks super! I kept coming back here to check your site! LOL. Sorry about the milk spill....

Christy said...

Wow you tried the piping done on the cake!! I'm impressed!! I was too scared to go anywhere near looked really complicated. Great job!

Deeba PAB said...

Absolutely worth the calories & I could just snatch a bite off my screen. Well done Giz...& just like the Carol walters one in the picture. BTW, the dimples are too cute too! Quite an involved recipe huh? Was a lot of fun though, the devouring bit!!

zorra said...

Yes you look like a baker to me. ;-) Regarding your question - I did not notice any difference.

Anonymous said...

This is such a beautiful cake! Bravo!

April was in CA now MA said...

I think Neen and Canarygirl have spectacular ideas! I'll take either choice.

Gorgeous cake Giz. :) I probably would have said way too many choice words if I had dropped milk on the cake.

Adam said...

That was an absolute marathon. The amount of work that took was crazy... but I'm sure it tasted amazing. The hazelnuts and pralines look great. I like how you said people make a Bee line for the dessert table... sooooo right.

chriesi said...

Nice job!

kat said...

Oh I can't believe you dropped the milk on your original cake, yikes. i may have given up at the point. You did a great job!!

Laurie said...

Perfectly done!

Anonymous said...

You did a fantastic job..I agree this cake was amazing!

Lot-O-Choc said...

Looks excellent. Good job! :D

Bunny said...

your cake looks awesome, i love the way you decorated the top!! Great job!

grace said...

i happen to adore dimples. and you. :)
very nicely done, but next time watch out for rogue jugs of milk. they're sneaky. :)

That Girl said...

I love that triple sec is cointreau's edgier cousin. Is that just because of the less cool bottle?

Katie B. said...

Absolutely correct - this cake is definitely worth the calories (gulp!)I am in awe of your mad piping skills!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

You did a VERY nice job! I skipped out this month because it seemed so similar to the Opera Cake from 2 months ago.

Lori said...

The cake turned out beautiful. That milk I tell you. What a bummer. Its good to know that I am not the only one who saves failed cake crumbs. Smart woman!

Mama Mia said...

wow you did such a great job! IT looks like the photo in the book! Perfection!

Anonymous said...

Beautifully done! I love the dimples too - adds character.... I say the same thing about my thighs. That stinks that you had to go through step 1 twice, but you're such a trooper. I admire that about you!

xoxox Amy

test it comm said...

Your cake looks great! I like the praline buttercream topping.

Cakespy said...

I just love your dimples, and it looks awesome. Your ganache looks gorgeously decadent, and I love the triple sec idea!

JS said...

Mmmm. What a work of art, so pretty!

And I'm imagining a big glass of milk to wash down this heavenly wonder why it jumped out at you!

Inspiring work well done!

glamah16 said...

You done good:-).

KJ said...

oh no, that's the kind of thing I do. Still it all came together in the end. Your cake looks fantastic.

Bumblebutton said...

Fabulous job! I'm just wondering if you cried over the spilt milk?!!! No shame in it if you did!

Rigby said...

Sorry to hear about the milk fiasco! This cake invites mischief!

Y said...

Gasp. At least it wasn't a completed cake. I think I might've cried if 2 lt of milk fell on my cake after I'd finished decorating it! Bet the crumbs still tasted good though :D

Elle said...

it IS worth every calorie! Your cake may be modern art, but it is a work of art and beautiful! Second time around was the charm, right?

Vera said...

The good thin this jug didn't land on the finished product. Your cake looks great.

Jenny said...

Nice job! And persisting in the face of dropped milk is what makes a great Daring Baker! :-)

Deborah said...

Yeah - I agree - I need a second Kitchen Aid bowl. It would have made this a lot easier! Your finished cake looks wonderful, even if you did have a mishap at the beginning!

Amelia said...

You cake looks wonderful! Soory to hear about its run in with the container of milk... I guess it was just as excited about that cake as you were!

Jen said...

You did an amazing job with the piping-- I really need to get myself a set of tips.


cake looks great! Your genoise looks really light but has a nice rich colour to it! Yeah DB'ers!

Lori Lynn said...

That certainly is a lot of work. I am so glad you are having fun with it. It continues to be way beyond my patience level, so I am enjoying it vicariously through you and your baking compadres.

Emily said...

Beautiful cake! Looks like so much work. I think you pulled it off.

Half Baked said...

Aahh so sorry about the milk! ( but you know what they say about spilt milk;)
The final cake looks amazing!!

Lauren said...

Ooo, your cake looks wonderful! Yum!

Mary said...

Oy dropping a jug of milk on a cake that took so long to make! It looked really nice to start anyway.

Elle said...

Ooooh, it looks wonderful! Totally stinks about dropping the milk on the first one, though!

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