I've got to say this month's challenge was the hardest challenge I personally think so far (or just everything seemed to go wrong that day), there were so many steps to complete, with so many different bowls etc, honestly you should see the amount of dishes I had to wash up afterwards(see picture below!) and it was all really about timing.
Firstly I actually had to roast and skin all the hazelnuts which was pretty time consuming in itself, so I decided to do that a few days before I made the cake. I don't think I ever want to see another roast hazelnut ever again ahha, I spend ages scrubbing at the hazelnuts skins attempting to get them off and eventually..2 hours later..they were complete and ready to be used in the cake in the following days!
When it got round to making the cake I was all prepared, hazelnuts check, ingredients for cake check, I knew it was a genoise and after making the Opera Cake I thought that I should hopefully have no problems....however for some reason when in the oven my cake dropped, I don't have any idea why, I didn't open the oven or anything? So when it came out it was fairly thin and I was still hoping I would be able to get 3 layers out of it..which I did..sort of..using the great technique of dental floss hehe! I'm definately gonna use this again, its a great way to layer cakes! The sugar syrup and the raspberry glaze I decided to do actually turned out ok..although when it came to the praline buttercream...well you see. It all started ok my buttercream all came together and I added my praline to it..even though I had to grind my praline and hazelnuts up in a smoothie machine since I don't actually own a food processor :(...this part was fine the praline buttercream formed perfectly and I started to layer my cake..then misreading the instructions I put the praline buttercream in the fridge..BIG MISTAKE! After covering my cake with the chocolate ganache I took out the praline buttercream ready to pipe onto my cake..however instead of buttercream coming out I got oil...yes thats right praline oil...it had separated in the fridge! So I had to rush back out to the supermarket to get some more ingredients and make it all over again, luckily I still had some praline left! Luckily the cake still turned out fine and although I must say I don't think it looks the best I was quite proud of it having seen it in its worse hours hehe! So I thought my disastorous day was over after all that but when washing all the dishes up I ended up smashing a glass and nearly cutting my hands as well!! Oh well hopefully next month's should turn out better hehe!
If you want to see what other Daring Bakers did (click here)
Hazelnuts going into roast
Hazelnuts after the wicked process of skinning!
Nuts, cornflour and cake flour
Folding the nut meal and butter into cake batter
Cake after baking
Preparing Sugar Syrup
Whisking egg whites and sugar over heat
Finished swiss buttercream
Finished praline buttercream
Melting the jam with water
Assembly + Chocolate Ganache
Coating each layer with syrup + glaze
All the dishes!!
Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream
From Great Cakes by Carol Walter
1 Filbert Genoise
1 recipe sugar syrup, flavoured with dark rum *I didn't use anything*
1 recipe Praline Buttercream
4floz heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 recipe Apricot Glaze *I used raspberry*
1 recipe Ganache Glaze
200g hazelnuts, toasted/skinned
92g cake flour, unsifted
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
7 large egg yolks
200g sugar, divided 50g & 150g
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. grated lemon rind
5 lg. egg whites
57g warm, clarified butter (37-43C)
1.Position rack in the lower 3rd of the oven and preheat to 160 degreesC. 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.
2. Put the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, and beat until thick and light in colour, about 3-4 minutes on med-high speed. Slowly, add 150g 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.
3. 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 50g 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Invert onto a cake rack sprayed with nonstick coating, removing the pan. Cook 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.
2 Tbsp. dark rum or orange flavoured liqueur *I didn't use anything*
1.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.
1 recipe Swiss Buttercream
75g praline paste
1 ½ - 2 Tbsp. Jamaican rum *I didn't use this*
1.Blend ½ cup buttercream into the paste, then add to the remaining buttercream. Whip briefly on med-low speed to combine. Blend in rum.
4 large egg whites
340g unsalted butter, slightly firm
1 ½ -2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier or liqueur of your choice *I didn't use this*
1 tsp. vanilla.
1. Place the egg whites in a bowl of an 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 50C) and the sugar is dissolved. The mixture should look thick and like whipped marshmallows.
2. 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.
3. 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 too 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. 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.
135g Hazelnuts, toasted/skinless
1. 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 centre does not melt, stir briefly. When the sugar is completely melted and caramel in colour, 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.**
2. 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
215g thick apricot jam *I used raspberry*
1 Tbsp. water
1. 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.
2. 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.
170g (good) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, like Lindt
6 floz. heavy cream
1 tbsp. light corn syrup *I used golden syrup because we don't have corn syrup*
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier, Cointreay, or dark Jamaican rum *I didn't use this*
¾ tsp. vanilla½ - 1 tsp. hot water, if needed
1. 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.
2. 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!
1. 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. (For piping)
2. Spread the bottom layer with a ¼-inch thickness of the remaining buttercream. Cover with ½ of the whipped cream, leaving ¼-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.
3. Lift the cake by sliding your palm under the cardboard. Holding a serrated or very sharp knife with an 8-inch blade held parallel to the sides of the cake, trim the sides so that they are perfectly straight. Cut a slight level at the top to help the glaze drip over the edge. Brush the top and sides of the cake with warm apricot *raspberry* glaze, sealing the cut areas completely. Chill while you prepare the ganache.
4. 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 centre. 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.
5. Decorate with the remaining praline buttercream as desired. 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.