Jul 30

Going Nutty

in Daring Bakers

It's that time again! Time to report on my efforts to complete this month's Daring Bakers challenge. Our host this month was Chris from Mele Cotte who chose a Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream from "Great Cakes" by Carol Walter (you can find the recipe on Mele Cotte as well). This cake was definitely a challenge, just based on the number of components that were required in the final assembly of the cake. The recipe calls for hazelnuts to be used, but I was having a difficult time finding any (I did see some at a Middle Eastern market I went to at the beginning of the month and was kicking myself for not buying them!), so I ended up using pecans instead. Because we are still living in a temporary "furnished" apartment, my kitchen is not equipped for a true baker (no cake pans, food processor, or mixer in sight!), so my mother graciously agreed to let me turn her kitchen topsy turvy in order to complete the challenge.

I arrived armed and ready with the ingredients. I had read through the recipe several times and figured it would take me awhile, but shouldn't be too bad since several of the components were simple and would work up quickly. Ha. I was W-R-O-N-G! After about 4.5 hours I stopped to assess what I had done and was depressed to realize how far I had to go. By hour 8 I was cursing Ms. Carol Walter and her labyrinthine cake recipe. I was thinking there was no way that the cake was going to be good enough to justify the work. Then at hour 9 when the cake finally made it onto a cake plate and was decorated and looking sweet and innocent, I cut a piece determined to dislike it, plunged my fork in, and placed a bite in my mouth.

What followed was a sigh of delight and a bit of nostalgia. The cake was more than good, it was absolutely delicious. It tasted like something straight out of a Parisian pâtisserie, making me nostalgic for my time spent living in Paris. The chocolate ganache was to die for and the buttercream flavored with a praline paste was absolutely divine. My mom declared the kitchen a disaster area but said it was worth it because she got to keep half of the cake. The worst part about all of this is that when I went to upload pictures I had taken of my cake I couldn't find them anywhere! I've looked and looked and I think they are gone. Luckily my mom took a couple of pictures so that I have something to show for 9 hours of cooking.

So was it worth it? Yes. But would I do it again? Let's just say that I'm beginning to think that making this cake is a bit like childbirth. I'm starting to think, "Oh, it wasn't so bad, I'll totally make it again!"


Make sure to check out how the other Daring Bakers fared this month.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Snooky doodle July 31, 2008 at 12:30 am

Ha enjoyed reading your post. The cakes looks delicious. I like the photo with your eyes popping behind the cake they match the pistacchios inside ha


Snooky doodle July 31, 2008 at 12:37 am

I just discovered your blog and i was reading your posts.Your daughter in the geisha dress is so cute. !!!!! Wish to go to Japan and I always wondered how living there is. Thanks to your blog I m getting quite a clear view. Nice blog


Melissa Hodgen July 31, 2008 at 4:26 am

I’m so glad it was worth it after all that time and effort. It must have been good because it looks like the cake is already half eaten in the pics. Take a nap and recover before next months attempt.


Sweet Tooth July 31, 2008 at 6:01 am

I like the pictures your Mom took – they show that in the end you were proud to be “Daring”. Isn’t it nice that memory can be selective?


Phoe July 31, 2008 at 6:20 am

I have always shied away from that type of cake recipe. Go you for sticking with it! Looks yummy.


tornadoes28 July 31, 2008 at 8:48 am

I just read your interview on jdonuts. I’ve read your blog before and I just found out you moved back to the States. I live in So cal also, San Fernando Valley. Welcome back.


Jackie July 31, 2008 at 3:30 pm

Huh! I’ve heard that others had troubles finding hazelnuts too – we found ours in a natural foods store in bulk. Pecans sound like a good choice!
I like your comparison of this challenge to childbirth :) I think I had a shorter labor and delivery than the time it took to make the cake…


gleek July 31, 2008 at 5:31 pm

mmmmmm! that looks so good!!


Lunch Buckets July 31, 2008 at 9:12 pm

Love the childbirth comparison :)


Jen July 31, 2008 at 11:17 pm

That is so awesome! It looks really, really good! I am so proud of you!


Tania - Jet Designs August 4, 2008 at 1:38 am

What a task you took on – I don’t know if I could make a cake that took that long – but I looks like it was definetly worth the wait.


Melanie Gray Augustin August 4, 2008 at 6:21 am

9 hours!?! I am so impressed! I looks delish!


Lauren August 4, 2008 at 8:10 am

Mmm, your cake looks wonderful!!


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