Daring Bakers - Challenge THREE!

And the challenge for the month of July is Filbert Gateau!

Posting a bit late this month (well only 2 hours & 50 mins late since I'm writing this at 2:50 am in the morning the day after posting day and for this unfortunate incident ya'll can go thank my studies, and I'm gonna stop rambling now) but it's so good to be back posting something baking-related and I know you all missed me so very much.

Ok. Straight to business. This month's challenge is Filbert Gateau! Gateau = cake! Yay! My forte! I love cake! This month's joyful recipe is chock full of hazelnuts, chocolate, butter and cream. If you're not salivating already, please call a doctor and get yourself checked out. No, seriously.

Anyway, I had no idea what filbert's were (I thought it was the name of the guy who invented this cake) but then I realised like a few minutes ago that it's what some people call le old "hazelnut"! Maybe it's an American thing. Who knows! Back to the hazelnuts!

Firstly, we gots to have teh filberts before we can make teh filberts gateau! But nut skin is bad! So take it off! Roast them in the oven till they smell oh so toasty.

Note: I bought the hazelnuts based on weight rather then volume. BAD IDEA. 1 cup hazelnuts does not equal 250 grams. Major nut overload and major hole in my pocket. Damn they are expensive!!

Put them in a towel, rub rub rub and then voila! All the skin magically drops off! NOT. Open the towel and alas witness the tragedy that is the stubbornly half-skinned hazelnut. Well, the warm hazelnuts in the towel make for an awesome heater. Especially since it's so cold here in Sydney now. Anyway, keep rubbing till your hands turn RAW and then maybe, just MAYBE you might be blessed with a plate of pretty filberts sans skins.

Here's my happy bunch! Quite tasty to pop right in yer mouth ;)

Boil some sugar till it turns nice and golden and molten (add some water even though you're not supposed to. Shh! Our little secret. It really does help though. Just don't over-do it.) You might have caramelised it to the point of fugliness so drop a little in some cold water and taste it.

Yum? Pour it all over your nuts!

Let it cool. Then ... CRACK!! You just made hazelnut brittle!

Food processor simply was not up to the task of making a praline paste (or maybe I was just too damn impatient) and so all I got was a crumbly mess.

Hmm ... maybe the liquifier can do a better job!

Paste! Doesn't look quite so appetising though...

Onward to making the core, the GENOISE!

Ah! Genoise. I think probably my favourite type of cake to make. Never ever fails when I do it. Or was it French Sponge? Are they the same thing? Who knows!

It never ceases to be amaze me how every part of an egg can be fluffed up, aerated and increased in volume by so much. Maybe if you pulverise the chicken shell and whisk it with water you'd be able to make something fluffy with it.


Voila! Yolks and whites all fluffed up! It's so interesting how no matter how hard you whisk a whole egg, you will never ever achieve even close the volume of separating, then whisking the egg.

Then, using my handy IKEA spatula, we fold together the yolk, the whites the flour, the nut meal and some melted butter, careful not to lose any of the air bubbles. Bubbles = fluffy cake! You could always cheat and put some baking powder in there. Think of it as insurance, not cheating. Bake batter for a while...

And out comes my cake. Very nice, if I do say so myself.

As you can see here, I positioned my cake next to a container of dental floss. "WTF?" the uninitiated might say, but I assure you, pleasant reader, I read no less than 10 people on the DB forums swearing by cutting cakes by floss! And so I tried it.

DISASTER. Ok maybe not "disaster" but it sure didn't work.

I used a regular serrated knife and got excellent results.
Results excellent enough for ... a photoshoot...?

"Stars Without Make-up".


I am insane. Someone me on track or we're gonna be here ALL day. Haha! You have no idea how long this post is taking me! I'm SO TIRED. This is about the moment when I start spewing out nonsense.

Whipped up some meringue for buttercream...

...took a dump of butter...

...and whipped it to tasty perfection!

And so does construction begin. I seriously need a kitchen. So messy! It's driving me nuts. It's probably not very hygienic either. Ah well! As long as it looks pretty and tastes nice.

Buttercream sides all fixed up and patched...

And GLAZED like a big fat doughnut! So shiny!

My first attempt at ganache didn't turn out so good. Choc seized up in revolt for being emasculated into liquid form (I have no idea what I'm trying to allude at. Honest.) and didn't want to play with old creamie. And so it made a sick mess. If you fail at first, cry and slit your wrists. Then try and try again.

I honestly believe that dark chocolate has one of the most amazing aromas of anything in the whole world. It is just simply stunning. Whenever I open the foil wrapping of a block I have to take a deep sniff of it and ah! So good.

Ganache 2.0 operational!

Not as smooth as I'd have wanted it, but we can't have everything in life can we? A normal kitchen would be nice though. At least my improvising skills are top notch!

And last but not least my finished cake! Nice? I suppose. Cake tasted not so nice. Pretty? I guess. Not my best work. What do you think? Please say "AWESOME!" or I'll go emo and quit The Daring Bakers. Haha. JOKE. NOT. BYE.


jillian 31 July 2008 at 4:06 am  

Hilarious post! and I love the cake.

Eat4Fun 31 July 2008 at 4:18 am  

Good looking cake!

Also, very nice job with the step-by-step photos in your post.

Veron 31 July 2008 at 4:28 am  

Great play by play photos and a wonderful end result!

Ann 31 July 2008 at 4:32 am  

Beautiful! And it's still the 30th here. :-)

Lesley 31 July 2008 at 4:38 am  

Wow what a complete photo guide! Great work!
Your cake turned out perfect!!

pixxienix 31 July 2008 at 4:50 am  

I think it's absolutely gorgeous. Your layers of buttercream are perfect!

Francijn Brouwer 31 July 2008 at 5:07 am  

Not your best work? The day you posted your picture on the forum, I noted for myself to put you in my list of favorites. Check it out on my blog, if you don't believe me :-)

Jennywenny 31 July 2008 at 5:30 am  

Looks lovely to me! Well done!

JMom 31 July 2008 at 5:59 am  

Funny! I loved reading your step by step narration. BTW, you're not late, it's still the 30th here.

Beautiful cake!

Temperance 31 July 2008 at 6:00 am  

OMG AWESOME! :) You know this is one of the best walk thrus I have seen. And you made me giggle.

Kelly 31 July 2008 at 6:24 am  

Lots of fun to read your post and a beautiful cake to look at to. Good job!

Barbara Bakes 31 July 2008 at 6:39 am  

I love your detailed step by step photos. Very nice layers!

Odette 31 July 2008 at 7:18 am  

your cake is beautiful! and next time i'll also take photos along the way, like you did ;)

Cynthia's Blog 31 July 2008 at 7:28 am  

Very nicely done. I didn't care for the taste either. Some of it is still sitting in the fridge. I haven't the heart to throw it out.

Dagmar - A Cat in the Kitchen 31 July 2008 at 8:37 am  

Beautiful cake and funny post :-) Well done!

Tiffany 31 July 2008 at 9:31 am  

I love your cake! It turned out beautifully, and you post was so funny! Great job :)

Bri 31 July 2008 at 10:12 am  

Your cake looks great! Your layers look much nicer than mine turned out. I love reading your posts, they absolutely crack me up! Great job!

Rebecca 31 July 2008 at 11:38 am  

Your cake looks great, but your post? That's the star here. Funny stuff!

Christina 31 July 2008 at 3:10 pm  

It's nice how you showed step-by-step everything you did. The cake looks very good, and it rose beautifully!

Great job!

Christina ~ She Runs, She Eats

natalia 31 July 2008 at 4:02 pm  

ciao ! your cake is great ! your photo story too and your writing very funny and a pleasure to read. How did you construct the cake with the buttercream already on ? I would have made a mess ! baci

Aparna 31 July 2008 at 4:59 pm  

Nice? You suppose? You must be nuts (all those hazelnuts have got to you).:)
You've made such a gorgeous cake.
I'm one of those DBs who cut her cake with floss! But it worked better than my knife. I'm beginning to think maybe I need to get a new one.:)
Loved your post.

Francijn Brouwer 1 August 2008 at 12:12 am  

LOL, my blog is not in German, it is Dutch! But most Germans are able to read a little Dutch.


pixie 1 August 2008 at 2:57 am  

so complete! i love your step by step photos! and you pipe leaves so well!

pixie 1 August 2008 at 2:57 am  

so complete! i love your step by step photos! and you pipe leaves so well!

Faery 1 August 2008 at 6:04 am  

I love this post and your cake is so perfect and beautiful. Great pictures too

prettytastycakes 1 August 2008 at 11:01 am  

great job working those layers! such a thorough post. :)

Anonymous 2 August 2008 at 10:05 am  

Ahmad you are my hero. Your chem notes, UMAT score and cakes are all majorly TANK.

xoxo Your Ardent Admirer

Candace 3 August 2008 at 7:43 am  

Lovely job! I've never tried to cut cake with floss... I prefer the old school knife too. :)

Lauren 4 August 2008 at 5:15 am  

Mmm, your cake looks awesome! I didn't do floss, but thread to cut, it worked really well actually... =D

Sugar Chef 11 August 2008 at 2:55 am  

Loved the documenting and pictures of your project. You are doing great and without a kitchen!! Simply amazing. You better not quit the DB's, I would really miss your work.