Gateau’ing with the Daring Bakers

by Michelle on July 30, 2008

Well, it’s that time again! Time to post our monthly Daring Baker challenge. This months hostess is Chris of Mele Cotte. Thanks Chris for introducing us to such a wonderful recipe!

The Filbert Gateau layered cake was not difficult and I did learn a few tricks along the way. I’m not much of the cake baker, particularly layered cakes and being I just completed 2 back-to-back cake decorating classes we were a bit tired of layered cakes. So I decided to try making mini cakes instead.

And I discovered I love making mini cakes! I made 2 sizes a 4″ by 3″ that I baked in mini springform pans. And 2 micro minis, 2″ by 1 1/2″, that I baked in my custard cups. I had all intentions of making all the cakes 3 layers but the micro minis rose so well, I only made them 2 layers.

Here’s a picture comparing the difference in size between my mini and micro-mini cakes.

I’ve wanted to decorate a cake with the squiggly, free-form lines of my micro-mini for a long time now and it was so fun! I can’t wait to do it again!!

But even the micro-mini is not a single serving as it would be too much for 1 person to eat. And cutting it in half seems so cruel and thirds just looks silly. I will make the micro-minis just for fun. But the mini cake was a perfect size and if you cut it into 5ths or even 6ths, it made perfect wedges of cake for dessert…just enough but not too much.

Of course I loved the ganache but the Praline Buttercream was out-of-this-world DELICIOUS! And what a fabulous idea to mix the praline paste into the frosting…WOW!!! I love experimenting with my frosting and this opens up an entirely new venue for me. I am excited….WOW….WOW….WOW!

I did substitute almonds for the hazelnuts as I could not find any hazelnuts. And I used my home canned kumquat, fig and cherry preserves, one flavor per cake, for the fruit glaze. The kumquat was so good but my favorite was the fig.

Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream
Recipe adapted 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
1 recipe Apricot Glaze
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
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.

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). * It must be a deep bottom bowl and work must be fast.* 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. 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.

*If not using the cake right away, wrap thoroughly in plastic wrap, then in a plastic bag, then in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If freezing, wrap in foil, then the bag and use within 2-3 months.

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

1 cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. dark rum or orange flavored liqueur

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)

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. *Do not overbeat*. 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. *Do not overbeat or the butter will become toooooo soft.*

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.

Wait! My buttercream won’t come together! Reheat the buttercream briefly over simmering water for about 5 seconds, stirring with a wooden spoon. Be careful and do not overbeat. The mixture will look broken with some liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Return the bowl to the mixer and whip on medium speed just until the cream comes back together.

Wait! My buttercream is too soft! Chill the buttercream in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes and rewhip. If that doesn’t work, cream an additional 2-4 Tbsp. of butter in a small bowl– making sure the butter is not as soft as the original amount, so make sure is cool and smooth. On low speed, quickly add the creamed butter to the buttercream, 1 Tbsp. at a time.

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 6 months. If freezing, store in 2 16-oz. plastic containers and thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for several hours.

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. **Remember – extremely hot mixture.** 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. Store in an airtight container and store in a cook dry place. Do not refrigerate.

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

**Ganache can take on many forms. While warm – great fudge sauce. While cool or lukewarm – semisweet glaze. Slightly chilled – can be whipped into a filling/frosting. Cold & solid – the base of candied chocolate truffles.

6 oz. (good) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, like Lindt
6 oz. (¾ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier, Cointreau, 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-inch 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.

Leftover cake can be covered with foil and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

All Rights Reserved 2008 © Big Black Dog

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Comments

  • Elle July 30, 2008 at 5:29 am

    Your mini and micro mini cakes look spectacular! And fig–that never even occurred to me, but oh…chocolate and figs? Genius!

  • Neen July 30, 2008 at 5:35 am

    Wow, the mini cakes are gorgeous, and I love your decoration. Those cake decorating classes are definitely paying off! How on earth did you figure out the right proportions to make a mini-cake?

  • giz July 30, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Michelle, how neat – your cakes are so cute and fun – each one decorated differently – I love it.

  • Deeba PAB July 30, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Absolutely pretty & heartwarming Michelle. I’ve fallen in love with your mini & micro-mini cakes. Bee-yoo-tiful! I am SO ENVIOUS of your cake pans!! xoxoxo Deeba

  • Aparna July 30, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Those cakes are gorgeous, but my favourite is the “squiggly” one.:)

  • Rosa's Yummy Yums July 30, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Your cakes look beautiful! Very well done!Cheers,Rosa

  • Jeanine July 30, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Your mini cakes are just too cute! They are decorated so perfectly. You did a fantastic job! now I have to try a mini… Thanks! :)

  • Ann July 30, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Love, love, love the look of your mini cakes! And your flavor combination is FABULOUS!

  • MaryMary July 30, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Wow Michelle–your cake(s) are gorgeous!!! Love your piping–cake decorating is an art, and you’ve got the talent!

  • shellyfish July 30, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    I love your squigglies! Really, both your cakes are super-cute!

  • Olga July 30, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    your cakes made me smile :)

  • madcapcupcake July 30, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Your cakes are so gorgeous – I just love them. Don’t you love baking with the small pans?! I love how you piped each of them too, so pretty. And kumquat, fig and cherry preserves? That just sounds totally awesome :)

  • BC July 30, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    The micro mini cake looks fabulous!

  • kat July 30, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    i love love love your micro mini cake! i did a small one too but that one is so sweet. I’m wishing I had done fig too, it just sounds like a great combination

  • sleepingbearinthekitchen July 30, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    After seeing your micros I am definitely gonna give it a shot. They look so wonderful. Great job!!!!!

  • Ivy July 30, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    I love making mini cakes too-they’re just more manageable.You did a beautiful job on these!They look super profesh. :)

  • Mushka July 30, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Thank you for stopping by my blog! Your mini gateau looks amazing and I loved the decoration so fresh and very well done. It makes me wanna eat them.

  • hexe July 30, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Would have never thought of figs! Your minis and micro-minis are too cute – more for me to learn!

  • Veron July 30, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    I like all your decorations on your cakes. Fabulous job!

  • Jen Yu July 30, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Sweet! I love the mini AND the micro! Mine were somewhere in between (3-inch) – milli?? :) Yours are so adorable. Great job on the challenge!

  • Mary July 30, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Your cakes look very lovely! I adore the cute sizes and decorations :)

  • Natashya KitchenPuppies July 30, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    I love the mini cakes, especially the micro mini with the squiggely design. Great job Michelle!

  • Gina July 30, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    That micro-mini is just too cute. I bet it tasted just as awesome too.

  • genkitummy July 30, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    nice work! you have great cake decorating skills. I especially like the squiggly-lined one.

  • Pamela July 30, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    why are things so much cuter in in mini, very cute love the originality of your cakes and they sound delish

  • Barbara Bakes July 30, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    What a great idea to use custard cups! Your cakes are gorgeous!

  • maybelle's mom July 30, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    adorable cakes and fig so brill. Good job.

  • JMom July 30, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    that micro mini is just too cute! Man, I need to take a cake decorating class. Your presentation is awesome.

  • Lisa July 30, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    I LOVE your mini cakes! Mini springform tins are sooooooo on my wishlist. And those whimsical decorations are oh-so-gorgeous, love it!!

  • katskitchen July 30, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Awesome job, they look great!

  • Zita July 30, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    mini and extra mini,are so cute, love the flavor combo :)

  • Mama Mia July 30, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    i made mini cakes too! Yours look gorgeous! I love it!

  • awoz July 30, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    Your ”big” mini cakes are fantastically well decorated.Love them!

  • elra July 31, 2008 at 12:12 am

    Mini… mini cakes how beautiful you are! Seem like you were having fun making this mini cakes!

  • Rebecca July 31, 2008 at 12:34 am

    It was your pretty little mini cakes that inspired my own frosting design. Great job!

  • Colette July 31, 2008 at 12:55 am

    Those are the prettiest little cakes I’ve ever seen! I can’t get over how perfect they look, especially the ganache!

  • Tiffany July 31, 2008 at 1:49 am

    Your mini cakes are lovely! I really like the one with squiggles on it :) Good job!

  • Leslie July 31, 2008 at 2:05 am

    Thanks for your comment on my cakes!! I love yours as well! The Micro cake is adorable!

  • Erin July 31, 2008 at 2:57 am

    I love you mini cakes! They are so cute. You did a great job decorating them.

  • Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti July 31, 2008 at 3:11 am

    I love your mini cakes! So pretty!It was my first challenge so I followed the recipe to the tee.I learned a lot and it was delicious!Nice to meet you and the ohter Daring Bakers!

  • Jacque July 31, 2008 at 3:14 am

    Adorable! I really like the second picture. Nice job!

  • Bumblebutton July 31, 2008 at 3:25 am

    Gosh they are soooo darling!!! Nice job!

  • Judy July 31, 2008 at 4:22 am

    The nice thing about the small cakes is that you can decorate each one differently. Yours are just divine! I’m sold on mini-cakes, now.

  • Christina July 31, 2008 at 4:53 am

    I love mini cakes! I wonder if it’s because of the Easy Bake Oven cakes I used to make. Your flavors sounds amazing, kumquat, fig and cherry! Nice variation, you definitely made it your own.Christina ~ < HREF="http://runningfoodie.blogspot.com" REL="nofollow">She Runs, She Eats<>

  • Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats July 31, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Your cakes are exquisite! A small size is a good idea as the cake is very rich and they look cuter than the large cakes.

  • Lucy..♥ July 31, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Congrats on another challenge completed! And… Ooooh so, so cute!

  • Lorrie July 31, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Your cakes are so cute and nicely decorated!

  • pixie July 31, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    delightful mini cakes and so perfectly piped! bravo!

  • Katy July 31, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    i’d take mini cakes over huge cakes any day — i had to bring my larger cake to work so i wouldn’t be tempted to eat a disgusting amount of it myself!

  • Laurie July 31, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    I love your petite cakes, they’re lovely!Congratulation on a challenge well done!

  • cookemila July 31, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    I loved how to make the small cake great job …xoxo

  • Tartelette July 31, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    These are cuter than cute! Well done! Love the squigglies!

  • Michelle Dargen August 1, 2008 at 2:37 am

    Oh my gosh! I can’t even imagine how good the fig would have tasted. Just thinking about it is making me drool! :)

  • Allyn August 1, 2008 at 4:09 am

    Thanks, Michelle, for your encouraging words on the forum. I am very excited to be a DBer, even though I totally wrecked my first challenge. Your cakes are too cute! I just want to pinch the little one’s cheeks…

  • Ruth August 1, 2008 at 5:14 am

    Your mini cakes are beautiful. I love the piping

  • linda August 1, 2008 at 6:59 am

    I especially love the micro mini’s. The piping is so pretty!And I totally agree on the buttercream, too good to be true!

  • Y August 1, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Micro mini cakes! :) What a great idea. I love that you decorated each cake differently too – very creative!

  • Grumpy and HoneyB August 2, 2008 at 3:14 am

    You make me want to make mini cakes! Great job!

  • Lauren August 3, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Ooo, your cakes look absolutely beautiful. Love the squigly design on the second one!

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