Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

Daring Bakers July Challenge: Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

Welcome to the Smith Sisters 2nd Daring Bakers Challenge Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream! Hosted by Chris of Mele Cotte.

July Challenge: Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream from Great Cakes by Carol Walter.

Oh boy. A cake a cake a cake a cake! I wanted a cake! Wait, a Gateau is a cake right?

What I didn’t want was this many pages of instructions! The recipe itself wasn’t exactly easy to follow. Not a fan. For example in order to make Praline Buttercream you need.

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

(See other recipes that follow for Swiss Buttercream and Praline Paste. Grrrr.)

Anyhow, I wanted to make this cake as close as I could to the letter, but I didn’t have a food processor and knew I needed one for this recipe.And I couldn’t find a 10″ pan anywhere, but in this package of Springform pans. I know so sad right? These challenges are helping me outfit my kitchen as a Proper Baker! Of course having a KITCHENAID MIXER would help the most, but you know.

Other items I purchased, a teeny tiny bottle of Grand Mariner and a small bottle of Dark Jamaican Rum.

And the other URGENT item needed to complete this challenge?

I had a raincheck from Target for $79.99. DO YOU KNOW WHAT JULY IS LIKE IN WESTERN NEW YORK? How about 90 degrees and 90% humidity? I would not have started this cake without, finally, finding a wee air conditioner (small enough to go room to room with me.)

Now. Ingredients.

(Note Lil Bear Ron Hawkins iPod and penguin speakers, very important to have good music while baking!)

And beer.

The toasted hazelnuts smelled SO GOOD. I didn’t go crazy and shell my own I bought a giant bag of chopped ones. Cheating? Maybe, I dunno

First time playing with clarified butter.

And oh how light and fluffy and wonderful my batter turned out!

I added Orange Zest instead of Lemon Rind since I used orange marmalade and mandarin oranges on top AND IT SMELLED LIKE HEAVEN! (I made the mistake last month of baking my danish braid while cooking other things. I wanted to reap the rewards of the smells this time, so I only made the cake.)

In the oven it went. Unfortunately, halfway through baking I smelled something burning.  Putting the pan on the lower 3rd of the oven was a BAD IDEA. Next time I will trust my judgment and put it in the middle. I feared the burning smell was the cake. I had maybe 10 minutes left but chose to take the cake from the oven and take a knife to the sides to make sure it wasn’t sticking. It wasn’t. But I think it made the fluffy love fest a little flat.

The 10′ pan already made my cake thin, but after it went flat? I had no choice but to half it in order to get layers. My folding of the nut mixture into the amazingly light and wonderful batter was nowhere near a fold but a plop and stir. Bet this had something to do with my flat cake but really, how the heck are you supposed to fold nut gook into layers of heavenly smelling batter? Oh wait. I goofed. I added the butter to the nut mixture and then tried to fold! (Just rereading now, it was very late when I was baking this!!! 2am methinks? OOPS!)

Anyhow, here’s the cake. It sat in my refrigerator for a few days.
A FEW DAYS LATER! Must finish last steps.
I mixed together the Swiss Buttercreme, which smelled delicious and was fluffy and wonderful. No problem with it turning out. I ended up licking the beaters. MMMM! On to the praline paste, the brittle was easy to make. It formed a nice powdery mixture.

I mixed all the other sauces: the orange marmalade and water, the sugar syrup and the chocolate ganache and was ready to assemble. Of course I went in order and made each step not realizing I was supposed to make the chocolate AFTER the cake was in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Praline Dust (not paste) added to Swiss Buttercreme= Praline Buttercreme. Mmmm. Did I mention the buttercreme is rumaliciously delicious?

The recipe now suddenly calls for layers of whipped cream on top of the buttercreme, but since the recipe for whipped creme was not included in the many, many little recipes I chose to opt out. Besides, I didn’t buy enough cream!

Cake in the fridge for 30 minutes…but my chocolate ganache was already mixed and waiting! Would it last the 30 minutes? Ok, more like 20 who am I kidding?

Time to pour! Again, I was impressed it turned out shiny and exactly as it should! My only oops happened because I was impatient (me, never!) and instead of letting the cake cool, I decided to decorate while the chocolate was still drippy. Um, I didn’t take a picture of that mess! And no, you don’t want to see the back side of the cake where my oranges and creme sllllllid down the side. I tried to make it look pretty anyhow, and this is what I came up with. I should have attempted the pasty bag and piping, I just ran out of time and whimped out. Ashamed, yes.

A half hearted decorated-Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercreme.

Actually, despite the few goof ups, I really enjoyed making this cake and I will certainly try it again sometime.

Verdict? Delicious! I only had a few bites but the texture of the gateau and the smoothness of the buttercream really, really, really goes well together! Mark enjoyed it. I caught him with a 2nd piece shortly after the 1st! My few bites had a *kick* to it though, maybe too much alcohol? (I think it’s in 4 different parts of the recipe and anyone who knows me knows I’m generous with the pour.) Mine was certainly an adult cake.

Next time?

I will use two 8″ pans instead of one.

I will add additional layers of the orange marmalade and one of Nutella.

And I will actually try to DECORATE the cake with a pastry bag.

Delicious cake! (And oh, so many eggs! My God how I love eggs, but I was in awe with how many were used.)

After reading though challenges I’ve learned something new and found myself surprised that hazelnuts in many places are hard to find and very expensive. The one vanilla bean I used last month was pricier than my large bag of chopped hazelnuts. And this is a nut I use quite frequently in recipes too, I adore them and thank God I live somewhere they are within my budget and reach. I grew up with a hazelnut tree (we called it our treehouse it was more of a large, sturdy bush) in the backyard, realizing far too late in my childhood that the nut was so much more than something to throw at my brother.

Oops, one last oops. I just read “Refrigerate uncovered for 3-4 hours to allow the cake to set. Remove the cake from the refrigerator at least 3 hours before serving.” Um yeah, didn’t do that. Oops.

And now for the recipe: (Any items in bold were mentioned in my post…)

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 (Oh wait, the whipped cream is in the recipe!)
1 recipe Apricot Glaze (I did Orange Marmalade)
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.
1 ½ 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 (I used orange zest)
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. (Next time I will put the cake in the middle and use two 9″ pans instead.)

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).  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. (Oops!) 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 5 minutes.  Invert onto a cake rack sprayed with nonstick coating, removing the pan.  Cool the cake completely.

Sugar Syrup
Makes 1 cup, good for one 10-inch cake – split into 3 layers (Ha!)

1 cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. dark rum or orange flavored liqueur (maybe too much I would half this next time)

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) (Again, it adds much taste, but I would half it)

Blend ½ cup buttercream into the paste, then add to the remaining buttercream.  Whip briefly on med-low speed to combine.  Blend in rum.

Swiss Buttercream
4 lg. egg whites
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
1 ½ -2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier or liqueur of your choice
1 tsp. vanilla

Place the egg whites in a lg/ bowl of a 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 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. Set aside.

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. *D

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.

Praline Paste
1 cup (4 ½ oz.) 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.  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.

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

6 oz. (good) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, like Lindt
6 oz. (¾ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier, Cointreay, or dark Jamaican rum (optional)
¾ tsp. vanilla
½ – 1 tsp. hot water, if needed

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.

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 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.

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.

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. (WHAT!!! OOOPS! I tried about 30 minutes)


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