Wednesday, July 30, 2008

That little special something

It is that time again for another Daring Bakers Challenge. I missed last month so I wanted this challenge not only to be successful but special. Something I can really be proud of. This resulted in a sloppy first attempt but I learned enough from that (and still managed a really tasty result) my second attempt was much easier.

I now know what it is that gives so many gourmet deserts that over the top deliciousness, booze. That special something, yeah, that's rum. But really, I do need to learn to decorate my cakes. The beauty of the outside never matches the beautiful taste of the inside.

So without anymore ramblings and delays I present my July Challenge:

Hazelnut Gateau with Praline Buttercream

For this recipe you will need several elements. It looks like a lot of work but it's worth it. Really. As usual I have modified the original version of this recipe to fit into my diet so we'll do without the heavy cream, the dozen or so eggs and the butter and replace them with things like flax, cashews, baking powder and vegan non-hydrogenated margarine (using a hydrogenated variety would of course work but please don't).

filbert genoise
sugar syrup, flavored with dark rum
praline buttercream
cashew whipped cream

apricot glaze
ganache glaze, prepared just before ready to use
hazelnuts, toasted for decoration if you'd like

Filbert Genoise

1cup hazelnuts, toasted & skinned
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tb cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
5 Tb flax meal
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 cup warm earth balance (or your choice of vegetable margarine)

Position oven rack to the center of oven. Preheat to 350 degrees. Grease & flour three 8" round cake pans (you can also do this on a jelly roll pan, you may also want to use parchment, this does tend to stick).

Using a food processor, process nuts, flour, cornstarch, baking powder & soda for about 30 seconds. Until nuts are reduced to a powder. Set aside.

Beat flax meal and water together, mixture should thicken slightly. Add sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat until well mixed. Add warm earth balance, beat to incorporate. Add flour and nut mixture and mix just until dry ingredients are moistened and combined.

Spread batter onto prepared pans dividing evenly. It will just cover the bottom of three 8-9" pans. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven, allow to rest slightly in pan and then remove to cool on cooling racks.

Sugar Syrup

1/2 cup water
2 Tb sugar
1 Tb dark rum

In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add rum. Cool slightly before using on cake.

Praline Buttercream

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup vegetable margarine
1/3 cup praline paste (recipe follows)
1 1/2 tsp dark rum
1/4 cup soy creamer (or any nondairy milk)
3 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Cream together shortening and margarine until well mixed and fluffy. Add praline paste, rum and creamer and beat until incorporated. Sift in confectioners sugar and beat until well mixed and fluffy.

Praline Paste

1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
2/3 cup sugar

Line jelly roll pan with parchment paper and lightly oil with margarine

Put sugar in heavy bottomed skillet. Heat on low for 10-20 minutes until sugar melts around the edges. Do not stir. Swirl if necessary to prevent burning. Brush sides of pan with water to remove sugar crystals if needed. When completely melted and carmel in color remove from heat.

Stir in nuts with a wooden spoon and separate clusters. Return o low heat and stir to coat. Cook until sugar bubbles. Turn mixture onto parchment and spread evenly. It will quickly harden into a brittle. Break into pieces and place in food processor. Process until mixture breaks down and comes together into a paste, several minutes.

Cashew Whipped Cream

1 cup cashews, soaked 1 hr or up to overnight
1/4 cup water
2 Tb agave nectar (or maple syrup)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Add all ingredients into blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

Apricot Glaze

2/3 c thick apricot preserves, lg pieces removed
1 Tb water

In small saucepan bring water and preserves to slow boil and simmer 2-3 minutes. Add water as needed to prevent sticking.
Remove from heat and apply to cake with pastry brush.

Ganache Glaze

6oz of semisweet or bittersweet choocolate (I used Lindt Swiss Bittersweet and Madagascar 65% Dark Bars)
6 oz (3/4 cup) soy creamer (or nondairy milk of choice)
1 Tb light corn syrup
1 Tb dark rum
3/4 tsp vanilla

Chop chocolate and place in a medium sized bowl.
Heat creamer and corn syrup in saucepan on low until it reaches a gentle boil. Immediately pour over chocolate. Allow to set for one minute then slowly stir and mix chocolate and cream together until melted and mixed. Blend in vanilla and rum. Glaze will thicken but should still be pourable.


Cut a cardboard disc slightly smaller than the cake. Measure 1 cup praline buttercream and set aside.

Place first layer upside down on disk. Using a pastry brush, moisten with sugar syrup. Spread with half of the remaining buttercream and then cover with 1/2 cashew cream leaving 1/4 inch border around the edge of cake.

Place middle layer over first, brush with sugar syrup, spread with remaining buttercream and them cashew cream.

Moisten underside of final layer with sugar syrup and then place, syrup side down over middle layer. Gently press sides of cake to align layers. Refrigerate to chill 30 minutes.

Lift cake by sliding palm under cardboard. Holding a sharp, serrated knife parallel to sides of cake. Trim sides so they are perfectly straight. Brush top and sides of cake with warm apricot glaze, sealing cut areas completely. Chill while you prepare the ganache.

Place a rack over a large shallow pan to catch ganache drippings. Remove gateau from refrigerator and put on rack. With metal spatula in hand hold saucepan about 10 inches above cake, pour ganache onto cake's center. Move spatula over top 3-4 times to get a smooth and mirror like appearance. Ganache should cover top and run down sides.

Garnish with reserved buttercream and pastry bag as the mood strikes you.

Refrigerate leftovers.


Cheryl Harris said...

I will have to try your cashew whipped cream, it sounds perfect. Thinking about it makes me hungry Yum!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful decorating job! May I have a slice?

Anonymous said...

Great job! I love your piping!

Mara said...

mmm looks delish.

Ann said...

Great job! Cashew whipped cream sounds heavenly!
Ann at Redacted Recipes

Vegan_Noodle said...

I think you did an awesome job decorating your cake!! Your whipped cream sounds soooo delicious.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Great job!

Anonymous said...

Cashew whipped cream - brilliant! I can't wait to try it out!

Lauren said...

Ooo Your cake looks wonderful!

Anonymous said...

I just made a cashew cream cheese that turned out great (although it still needs a bit more tweaking). Can't wait to try your cashew whipped cream.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, cashew whipped cream sounds awesome! I feel pride seeing a vegan take on the whipped cream in this recipe - I totally whimped out. Great job!!