Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge: Filbert Gateau

No doubt there will be many comparisons between this month’s Daring Baker’s challenge, Filbert Gateau and May’s challenge, Opera Cake. Both cakes were comprised of nut-based genoise cake layers, rich meringue buttercream, a chocolate glaze (chocolate in this case and white chocolate previously) with a little extra flair in the form of praline paste this month and white chocolate mousse in May.

Except for the buttercream, I wasn’t crazy about the individual components of the Opera cake. The opposite was true for the Filbert Gateau… I liked all of the elements by themselves. But this is where it gets weird. Once assembled, I liked the Opera Cake better. Go figure!

Now, I didn’t add the praline paste to the cake filling for the Filbert Gateau, and maybe this would have pushed it back into competition with the Opera Cake. Maybe, maybe not.

My praline paste bombed. Clearly, I cooked the caramel too long and it got bitter. But on the up side, I didn’t ruin the pan like the last time I attempted caramel. (Note to self… must make at least a passable caramel one of these days.)

It looked good, but tasted bad.

I used Frangelico in my buttercream and simple syrup, and they were delicious but somehow the chocolate flavor was overwhelming (note to self… add more booze!). Unfortunately, I got the chocolate layer too thick on top, which exaggerated the problem. (By the way, if you want, see two posts down for more about my adventures with ganache.)

All in all, it was a good experience, though. I learned about filberts (hazelnuts). I learned that baking with alcohol is a good thing. I learned that I liked hazelnut genoise.

I learned that I need to scrape some chocolate off the top before I pour that second layer of ganache. (See how thick it is... Not good.)

I also had fun making my first chocolate rose.

I learned that skinning hazelnuts blows big time, but hey, if I get invited to a hazelnut-skinning party, I'll know to be busy that day, lol.

Thanks so much to Mel Cotte for hosting this month. I really appreciated the opportunity to work with hazelnuts for the first time. If you're interested in the recipe, please refer to Mel Cotte's blog. Or better yet, get yourself a copy of the book "Great Cakes" by Carole Walter.

No comments: