July 30, 2008

"Pass the Pralines, Please" - Daring Bakers July Challenge




This month's challenge was a challenge of bowls, pots, spoons, thermometers, measuring tools, pastry brushes and multitudinous ingredients including the extremely laborious task of deskinning hazelnuts. It was all about putting the parts together. Just when I thought I got it all together, I would discover that I needed to make one more thing before I could assemble the cake. Needless to say, I was up very late putting this praline puppy together.



When I originally titled this post I thought it was all about the pralines because it seemed like the flavor would be very strong (all the individual parts were strong of pralines), but after I ate a piece tonight it was surprisingly not overwhelmingly praline.

My biggest issue with genoise is I do not know how much simple syrup to put on the cake. The opera cake I overdid it and it became disgustingly and disappointingly soggy the very next day and this cake is a little dry and could have used some more. I would love any simple syrup cake moistening pointers.

Another area of uncertainty for this cake and others is how much of that apricot glaze should I put on - the entire recipe amount?


I also struggled with the nut size in the nut/flour meal as you can see from my sieve. I actually saved those chunky bits and reprocessed them because I thought they might be too heavy to fold in and plus I am not a big fan of too many chewy bits in my cake.

I didn't do such a great job at carving down the cake to make the sides even for a perfect flood of ganache and my swiss buttercream roses were so soft that I dropped a couple on my mirror perfect chocolate top. Swiss buttercream is my new favorite buttercream. It outpaces regular butter cream by a mile. When I made my buttercream I did not dirty another bowl and beat the butter separately - I referred back to the perfect party cake and just put in the sticks accordingly with regular results. I used 9 inch rounds putting in 2/3rds in one pan and 1/3rd in the other and splitting the bigger cake in half.

Thank you to Chris of Mele Cotte for the challenge of the Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream. You can find her recipe here. I would like to also thank Tartelette, Saffron and Blueberries and Ann F. of Redacted Recipes for your tips in forum.

11 comments:

Prudence - Cake Chica said...

It's a GOOD thing you did, because it was a KILLER!! LOL...

Dharm said...

Awww.. did you not do the challenge? Was looking forward to seeing it!

Dharm said...

Yaay! This cake looks lovely! Your piping is superb too. Can I come to you for decorating lessons pls Wendy??!! Great Job!

breadchick said...

You know that whole how much syrup thing has always confused me too because like you this one could have used more than I used but I thought I over did it on the opera cake and ended up with a soggy mess.

misssunshine728 said...

Awesome cake! That chocolate on top is so silky smooth! Seems like a lot of flavors going on at once, how did the cake taste (besides possibly needing more simple syrup)?

Jennifer said...

Oh My! Your cake is soooo beautiful! Great job! Isn't being a Daring Baker GREAT!?!?!?! :)

Elra said...

You did a good job. I like you decoration for the cake. Very pretty!

ORSprueills said...

I'll ask my sister the PC about the simple syrup.
Wade likes looking at the pictures, almost as good as eating it!

Jenny said...

Lovely rose in the middle of that glass perfect top. Everything looks great.

Vera said...

Wendy, your cake looks lovely!
As for soaking syrup, I found that a little bit less than 1/4 cup is enough to soak 9 to 10-inch cake layer without making it soggy. But it greatly depends on the thickens of the layer.

Jennifer said...

Wow! Your cake looks like it came straight from a bakery, great job! And I agree with the swiss buttercreme it was sooooooooooo good.

I know I poured too much syrup on my cake, which is why it tasted very alcoholy! Oops! Next time. :)