Daring Bakers in July: Filbert Gâteau with Praline ButtercreamJuly 30, 2008 at 4:19 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, daring bakers, groups, layer cakes, sweet things | 49 Comments
When I saw that Chris of Mele Cotte would be taking charge of this month’s Daring Bakers challenge, I had my fingers crossed that she’d chose something sweet with an Italian twist to it. As if reading my mind, she chose Filbert Gâteau with Praline Buttercream–a cake featuring the quintessentially Italian combo of hazelnuts and chocolate (and two funny words, “filbert” and “gâteau”). Mmmm…wonderful.
I made a half recipe, fitting the cake batter into a six-inch pan with high sides. There’s a little bit of citrus in this recipe, but I decided to leave out the lemon zest in the cake batter and replace the Grand Marnier in the soaking syrup and buttercream with Kahlua, which suits my tastes better. As you can see, I kind of copped out and only cut the cake into two layers instead of three.
While I did not to make the praline to add to the buttercream frosting, I did make caramelized whole hazelnuts to use as decoration. I flavored my Swiss meringue buttercream instead with an unsweetened hazelnut butter that I had bought at the health food store awhile back. Buttercream is plenty sweet already, so this gave it a nice balance and a good hazelnut flavor. I realized that I’d have a few more of those caramelized nuts than I’d need to decorate the top of the cake, so I chopped up the extras roughly and sprinkled them over the buttercream before placing on the top layer of cake. That was a nice crunchy touch!
I am wondering if my glaze was a little on the thin side. The top was nice and smooth, but as it dripped down the side of cake, it seemed to get hung up on the little specks of hazelnut in the buttercream crumb coat (which I chose to use instead of apricot glaze). No matter…it was on to the decorating! Chris wanted us to use some of the buttercream in our decoration. Small cakes can easily look look overwhelmed by garnish, so I didn’t want to use too much. Little shells on the bottom border, a few rosettes on top, and that was enough for me. I finished it off with a little gold dust and the candied nuts.
After reading through all that, maybe you wonder what it tasted like. This cake was seriously delicious! We had it for three nights, and I savored every bite. There were a lot of steps to this cake, but the end result was totally worth it. I can hardly believe that I joined the Daring Bakers last July (I can also hardly believe that the group was still in the double digits back then)! I considered this to be my DB one-year anniversary cake!
P.S.: I’m still out of town, but back next week!