Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Daring Challenge

So this month was my 1st ever DB challenge! and let's just say challenge would be an understatement, for me anyway.

A shout out to Chris from Mele Cotte for this month's challenge!!!

Let's start with the beginning...first off my oven, dead, and I mean dead. The broiler works and the stove works but of course not the OVEN!
So my wonderful and talented partner J. decided he would have at her and actually got the girl to work, well at least that what's we thought...
I had just come to the end of the genoise recipe and my folding of ingredients was complete. So I turn around to open the oven door and put my would be masterpiece in and nothing!!!!
NO heat, NO 375!
I let out a bloodcurdling scream with some profanity that would make a biker blush. Slammed the oven door shut and promptly walked over to my vacant neighbours house and preheated her oven all in which at the same time praying I would not have deflated eggs whites in this 30 degree weather.
Needless to say it turned out fine, maybe not as voluminous as I would have liked but the cake was a cake...phew!
After this most painstaking process I took a good week off from the challenge. I was motivated to make praline paste which was easy peasy and that's was about it.
So one evening before leaving for the cottage I got all my muster up and went B-A-N-A-N-A-S on the challenge. I made buttercream and ganache and syrup and glaze...then proceeded to put together my cake.
While slicing my cake I noticed it wouldn't make 3 layers...(damn oven) and I also forgot to syrup my first layer...oh well c'est la vie I guess.
The final product was yummy...however for me not worth the fuss...SORRY :(

Almond Genoise with Praline Buttercream

Adapted from "Great Cakes" by Carol Walter


Almond Genoise
Praline buttercream
Fruit Jam Glaze
Simple syrup
Chocolate Ganache

Almond Genoise:

One 9 inch cake sliced in 2 layers (or 3 if your an expert)

- 4 large egg yolks

- 1/2 cup sugar

- 4 large egg whites

- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

- 1 tbsp sugar

- 1/3 cup almonds, ground

- 1/2 cup AP flour

- 1 1/2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line 2 - 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper then butter and flour bottom and sides.

In a bowl whisk whole eggs and sugar in a double boiler over hot water and beat until triple in volume then remove from water.

In another bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar to form soft peaks

Add sugar while beating

Fold egg whites into whole egg mixture and gently fold in ground almonds, flour and butter.

Distribute batter between the 2 pans. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until lightly brown and springy to touch. Cool in pans.

Can be made in advance and frozen or refrigerated once cool.

Praline Paste:

- 1 cup (4 ½ oz.) Almonds, toasted and skinless

- 2/3 cup Sugar

- Line a jelly roll pan with parchment and lightly butter or a Silpat

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 cool dry place.

Do not refrigerate.

American Praline Buttercream:

- 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter
- 1 cup confectioners sugar

- 1/2 recipe of praline paste

Cream butter and sugar together till fluffy and add praline paste, make sure to break up paste otherwise you will end up with chunks, and I mean chunks!

Add more sugar if needed. Set aside until ready to use. Do not refrigerate unless your using the icing the next day or later.

Apricot Glaze:

Good for one 9-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.

Sugar Syrup:

Makes enough one 9-inch cake

- 1 cup water

- 1/4 cup sugar

- 2 Tbsp. dark rum or flavoured liqueur (kaluha, cointreau, frangelico)

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.

Ganache Glaze:

- 8 oz whipping cream

- 8-9 oz chocolate chips (bittersweet)

Heat cream on low for 10 minutes, do not boil.

Add chocolate off heat and leave to melt for 5 minutes then whisk till smooth.

Cool for 15 - 20 minutes.


Marie said...

Great job on your first challenge. Your cake looks great.

Namratha said...

Looks beautiful, very neatly done. Congrats on your first challenge!:)

Sass E-mum said...

I forgot the syrup too...

Sometimes following the recipe seems the hardest thing.

I love your icing though. Wish I could do that.

jessicajlee said...

yay cake.

silverrock said...

Beautifully decorated cake, practically professionally done. Way to go on this month's DB challenge. Isn't it awesome baking in groups?!

Speedbump Kitchen said...

Oh dear, sorry about the oven. We bought a $200 GE electric oven a few years ago, thinking we'd replace it with a real gas oven soon...but the stupid think keeps working well enough and I keep finding more interesting kitchen things to spend my money my advice is go cheap, buy a bread stone to even the heat out..and get a great set of knives and pans with the money you save!!!

Kate / Kajal said...

wow its your first challenge ...well done. The cake looks wonderful.