Wednesday, July 30, 2008


This is my 10th month as a member of the "Daring Bakers" (see forum) and, until now, I have met no major complications. Unfortunately, things changed with this month's challenge which was quite a debacle...

This "Filbert Cake" wasn't really difficult to bake, but I had to endure problem after problem. Nothing went smoothly or as I expected. Every time I thought that I had overcome a difficulty, another one lurked around the corner like a sadistical vulture waiting for it's prey!

Making this cake was not only a laborious time- as well as energy-consuming task, but it was at the same time a very stressful and tedious one. And the worst in all that is that it took me hours and days to get it together and, at the end, the result wasn't satisfying at all! I could have cried out of sheer frustration!!!

The recipe wasn't all that clear, especially when it came to the whipped cream and the apricot glaze parts. The buttercream was too soft and not easy to pipe, the chocolate glaze was far too runny and refused to set after half an hour's cooling, thus being a bad base for the decoration which didn't stay in place and slid down the sides of the cake.

I must confess that I really had a bad time making that "Filbert Cake", although I was miraculously calm. I went through periods of extreme tension in order to save my cake from becoming a total disaster. I had to repair it over and over, and operate certain cake-rescuing interventions which made me feel a little like Dr.Troy & Dr. McNamara of Nip/Tuck!!! A real pain in the neck!

To crown it all, I chose a very hot, heavy and humid day to assemble the cake, and, believe me, I didn't have lots of fun during that delicate process. Anyhow, after hours of trembling, sweating and being on the verge of cursing and throwing that cake agains the wall, I finally finished my "Filbert Cake". It didn't look as perfect as in my dreams, but, considering the technical problems I came across, it looked not too bad at all...

Taste-wise, it was undoubtedly delicious and refined, even if it wasn't exactly the kind of baked good that I'd make or eat at that time of the year (summertime/it is more like a winter cake). Anyway, we (2 eaters only) had much pleasure eating that rich cake. As a matter of fact, it was gobbled greedily and disappeared after a few servings only!

The "Génoise" had that perfect nutty fragrance which I love and was fluffy/light, the "Praline Buttercream" was scrumptious, although it's texture wasn't satisfying enough (too runny), and the "Chocolate Ganache" was fine, eventhough it wasn't my favorite glaze.

Because of all that, I might not bake this cake again as it was far too finicky to make. I will keep the "Génoise" recipe, because it was wonderful, perfect and different from all the others I know (original and intriguing method).

Maybe this "Filbert Cake" recipe wasn't on the level of my expectations, but it was nonetheless a very good way to experience with certain baking techniques. This challenge made me learn a lot, helped me master/control my nerves and taught me to never throw in the towel. So, I dearly want to thanks Chris at "Mele Cotte" (USA) for having chosen that daring recipe!!!

~ Filbert Gateau/Cake With Praline Buttercream ~
From "Great Cakes" by Carol Walter.


1 1/2 Cups Hazelnuts, toasted/skinned

2/3 Cup Cake flour, unsifted
2 Tbs Cornstarch
7 Large egg yolks
1 Cup Castor sugar, divided (1/4 & 3/4 cups)
1 Tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 Tsp Grated lemon rind
5 Large egg whites
1/4 Cup warm, clarified butter (50° C/100°–110° F)

1. Position rack in the lower 3rd of the oven and preheat to 350°F/180° C.
2. Grease and flour a 25 x 5 cm/10” X 2” inch round cake pan.

3. 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.
4. 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 3/4 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).
5. Blend in the vanilla and grated lemon rind. Remove and set aside
6. 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 1/4 cup of sugar, over 15-20 seconds or so. Continue to beat for another 1/2 minute.
7. 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).
9. 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). 10. 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.
11. 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).
12. 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).
13. 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.



1 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 Tbs Dark rum (or orange flavored liqueur)


1. In a small, yet heavy saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Remove from heat, add the liqueur.

3. Cool slightly before using on the cake.


It can be made in advance.



1 Recipe Swiss Buttercream (see below)
1/3 Cup Praline paste
1 1/2 - 2 Tbs Jamaican rum (I used dark rum/optional)

1. Blend 1/2 cup buttercream into the paste, then add to t
he remaining buttercream.
2. Whip briefly on med-low speed to comb
3. Blend in rum.



4 Large egg whites
3/4 Cup Castor sugar
1 1/2 Cups (3 sticks/360g) Unsalted butter, slightly firm
1 1/2 -2 Tbs Grand Marnier or liqueur of your choice (I used kirsch)
1 Tsp Vanilla extract

1. Place the egg whites in a lg/ bowl of a elevtric mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until the whites are foamy and they begin to thicken (just before the soft peak stage).
2. 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.

3. Continue beating 2-3 minutes or until the whites are warm (about 48° C/120° F) and the sugar is dissolved (the mixture should look thick and like whipped marshmallows).
4. 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). 5. 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).
7. On med-low speed, blend the meringue into the butter, about 1-2 Tbs at a time, over 1 minute.
8. Add the liqueur and vanilla and mix for 30-45 seconds longer, until thick and creamy.
9. Refrigerate 10-15 minutes before using.

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.
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 Tbs 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 Tbs 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.



1 Cup (4 ½ oz./135g) Hazelnuts, toasted/skinless

2/3 Cup Castor sugar


1. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment and lightly butter.
2. Put the sugar in a heavy 10-inch/20.5cm skillet/pan.
3. Heat on low flame for about 10-20 min until the sugar
melts around the edges (do not stir the sugar).
4. Swirl the pan if necessary to prevent the melted sugar from burning.
5. Brush the sides of the pan with water to remove sugar crystals
(if the sugar in the center does not melt, stir briefly).
6. 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.
7. Return to low heat and stir to coat the nuts on all sides.
8. Cook until the mixture starts to bubble (remember – extremely hot mixture).
9. Then onto the parchment lined sheet and spread as even
ly as possible (as it cools, it will harden into brittle).
10. Break the candied nuts into pieces and place them in the food processor.
11. Pulse into a medium-fine crunch or process until the brittle
turns into a powder.
12. To make paste, process for several minutes.

13. Store in an airtight container and store in a cook dry place (do not refrigerate).



2/3 Cup Thick apricot preserves
1 Tbs Water


1. In a small, yet heavy saucepan, bring the water and preserves to a slow boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat and, using a strainer, press the mixture through the mesh and discard any remnants.
3. With a pastry brush, apply the glaze onto the cake.

the glaze is too thick, thin to a preferred consistency with drops of water and if the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the saucepan, add water as needed.


120g (6 oz.) Good semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, like Lindt
120g (6 oz./3/4 Cup) Heavy cream
1 Tbs Light corn syrup
1 Tbs Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or dark Jamaican rum (I used rum/optional)
3/4 Tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 - 1 Tsp Hot water, if needed


1. Blend vanilla and liqueur/rum together and set aside.
2. Break the chocolate into 1-inch/2.5cm pieces and place in the basket of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
3. Transfer into a medium sized bowl and set aside.
4. Heat the cream and corn syrup in a saucepan, on low, until it reached a gentle boil.
5. Immediately and carefully pour over the chocolate.

6. 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.
7. Carefully blend in vanilla mixture. If the surface seems oily, add 1/2 - 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! 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.



Needed elements:
1 Filbert Genoise
1 Recipe Sugar syrup, flavored with dark rum
1 Recipe Praline Buttercream
1/2 Cup Heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 Recipe Apricot Glaze
1 Recipe Ganache Glaze, prepared just before using
3 Tbs Filberts, toasted and coarsely chopped

1. Cut a cardboard disk slightly smaller than the cake.
2. Divide the cake into 3 layers and place the first layer top-side down on the disk.
3. Using a pastry brush, moisten the layer with 3-4 Tbs of warm sugar syrup.
4. Measure out 1 cup of praline buttercream and set aside.

5. Spread the bottom layer with a 1/4-inch/6mm thickness of the remaining buttercream.
6. Cover with 1/2 of the whipped cream, leaving 1/4-inch/6mm border around the edge of the cake.

7. Place the middle layer over the first, brush with sugar syrup, spreading with buttercream. 8. Cover with the remaining whipped cream.
9. Moisten the cut side of the third layer with additional sugar syrup and place cut side down on the cake.
10. Gently, press the sides of the cake to align the layers.
11. Refrigerate to chill for at least 30 minutes.
12. Lift the cake by sliding your palm under the cardboard.
13. Holding a serrated or very sharp knife with an 8-inch/20
cm blade held parallel to the sides of the cake, trim the sides so that they are perfectly straight.
14. Cut a slight bevel at the top to help the glaze drip over the edge.
15. Brush the top and sides of the cake with warm apricot glaze
, sealing the cut areas completely.
16. Chill while you prepare the ganache.

17. Place a rack over a large shallow pan to catch the ganache drippings.
18. Remove the gateau from the refrigerator and put it the rack.
19. With a metal spatula in hand, and holding the saucepan about 10
inches/25cm above the cake, pour the ganache onto the cake’s center.

20. 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).
21. 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).
22. Patch any bare spots on the sides with a smaller spatula, but do n
ot touch the top after the “bang”.
23. Let the cake stand at least 15 minutes to set after glazing.

24. To garnish the cake, fit a 12 – 14-inch/30.5 - 35.5cm pastry bag with a #114 large leaf tip. 25. Fill the bag with the reserved praline cream.
26. Stating 1/2 inch/1.3cm 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.
27. 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.
28. Repeat, making 12 leaves evenly spaced around the surface of the cake.
29. Make a second row of leaves on the top of the first row, moving the pastry bag about 3/4 inch/1.9cm closer to the center (the leaves should overlap).
30. Make a 3rd row, moving closer and closer to the center.
31. Add a 4th row if you have the room. But, leave a 2-inch space in the center for a chopped filbert garnish.
32. Refrigerate uncovered for 3-4 hours to allow the cake to set.
33. 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.


Etant donné la longueur du texte original, je n'ai malheureusement pas pu faire une traduction française de ce billet et je m'en excuse auprès de tous mes amis lecteurs et blogueurs francophones!!!

Je vous suggère de vous rendre sur les blogs mentionnés ci-dessous. Vous y trouverez cette recette en version française:

Chez Anne de "A Foody Froggy In Paris" (France)
Chez Isa de "Les Gourmandises d'Isa" (Canada)


  1. Your pictures are beautiful! Nice even layers.

  2. Looks lovely! I am so sorry it caused you so many troubles. But, I am glad you are keeping the genoise recipe! :)

  3. sorry it gave you so many problems- It looks great!

  4. The photos certainly don't show any problems at all. Your cake looks gorgeous!!

    It was sweltering here when I assembled my cakes and if you look closely at the pictures you can see my ganache perspiring. LOL!

  5. Well ot didn't go to wastwe! Glad you got something out of the experince. I'm out thos month, but it did seem way to heavy for the season.

  6. It looks delcious one can't see your had trouble by making it at all!

  7. your filbert cake is really gorgeous!! great job for this months challenge!

  8. Rosa,
    I know excatly what you're facing through this challenge. Yes, I had problem with butter cream too. Yours turn out pretty well! and love those layers!!!!!

  9. Hi! I can certainly understand the impulse to throw something against the wall, and I wish I had the guts to do it just once, but I'm glad you didn't pick this cake to throw against the wall, because I think it turned out really nice! =D

  10. It was a frustrating challenge for me too, but I think yours turned out quite well in the end. I'm so sorry it wasn't your favorite (not mine either). You get points for being such a trooper!

  11. What a bummer that it gave you such a hard time. :(
    I turned out so very pretty though.

  12. I'm really verry impressed by your performance, this cake seams to be delicious! It looks great!

  13. what a process! the end result is absolutely stunning, and even if it's not worth the hassle, at least you can say you've done it. :)

  14. Quelle aventure ! Ouf , ne t'inquiètes pas pour la traduction, il y a aucune chance que je me lance dans la réalisation de ce gâteau ... Par contre, je veux bien le goûter ;)

  15. Rosa, your finished cake is gorgeous - you would never know all the issues it caused you. Lovely!

  16. Je confirme le gâteau était long à faire et je confirme tu l'as très bien réussi:Il est beau!

  17. Despite all the problems your cake looks wonderful! Mission accomplished ;)

  18. Rosa, your cake looks absolutely divine despite the challenge. Lovely, pics as well.

  19. Looks terrific in spite of the issues! And I agree that the genoise recipe is terrific!

  20. Ton gâteau me semble merveilleusement bon malgré la longueur à le confectionner. J'aurais pas la patience:))

  21. The words, "praline buttercream" sent me into fits over here. I just LOVE that combination. When my aunt was here last, we made pralines and crushed them into our ice cream which was complete heaven.

    Love the pictures and your witty comments about the sadistcal vulture difficulties. Cracked me up!


  22. I agree about the season this cake belongs in. You're a true Daring Baker finding things to master even when having difficulties with the recipe.

  23. Il est magnifique !
    Merci d'avoir participe a ma devinette !

  24. For all the problems, it looks wonderful. I too had the problem with the chocolate not thickening and setting, but from your photos I would never be able to tell you had any problems.

  25. Superb, the layers look fantastic :)

  26. Ooooh Rosa, YUM YUM! From my HOT & HUMID kitchen to yours! That cake is gorgeous & the slice is looking at me to grab it (elegantly)!

  27. I think it looks great Rosa! :) I had some issues with mine as well - and barely scraped a presentable piece...although my issues were not with the ganache or buttercream, but with the genoise! LOL! I can so feel your frustration on this one!

  28. Oh, I don't like finicky ... but it does look marvelous! It looks like a need to take a bite of it but I guess I'm only allowed a virtual bite.

  29. oh wow! hats of to you and your efforts! i would have ran out the back door just by looking at the recipe ha-ha.

  30. It looks wonderful for all your worrying. I'm glad it didn't hit the wall. The photos would not have been as nice.

  31. I picked the most humid day too and my cake decorations slid down the side. I had to keep popping the cake into the fridge to firm things.

  32. OH, i love the swishy, swishy piping and your head on pictures. good job.

  33. Bravo Rosa! I wish I had a kitchen to participate :-(

  34. Comment résister devant la beauté de ton gâteau !!! Il est superbe !
    Bisous, Doria

  35. Félicitation! ton gâteau est superbe!

  36. So beautiful! Rosa, you are so talented, all of the wonderful cakes you make look like the ones I see at really nice bakeries.

  37. As always, your challenge is stunning and your photography sublime! I love stopping by!

  38. The heat did make it challenging to make but by all accounts your cake looks simply beautiful!

  39. Sounds as if you may have endured your moments, but your results still look pretty yummy-yums, if you ask me...

  40. oh wow! your cake looks sooooo pro! I love it!

  41. Well, if I hadn´t read the post, I´d have no idea you ran into that many problems, if that´s any consolation, it looks great!

  42. Your cake looks darn good for something that gave you so many problems!

  43. Your pics are beautiful I must say. The pictures of the slices are too good. I think you did a superb job with this. All the best for future challenges

  44. Your cake looks really good. I found this one to be "challenging" as well.

  45. It looks good - just seems like waaay too much for me. So, you cook it and I'll eat it - lol. Just too many steps...way too many.


  46. Je rentre tout juste de vacances même pas eu le temps de me remettre aux fourneaux et je découvre ce gâteau irrésistible chez ma petite Rosa, tout ça m'avais manqué! Bravo en tous cas, il est parfait.

  47. La dernière part est pour moi...

  48. Revoilà les daring bakers, avec une recette sublime, peut être pas si aisé pour moi, et quelle réussite chez toi, et quelles photos ! Une merveille comme souvent...

  49. Non Mamina, cette merveille est pour moi ! c'était Tiuscha ce message aninyme car envoyé un peu vite...

  50. c'est très amusant de venir voir les autres daring bakers avec ces beaux gateaux d'automne :) surtout quand le thermomètre dépasse les 30° !!!!
    Très belle réalisation Rosa, comme toujours :)

  51. This cake looks really good, no one would know you had problems with it till they read your post.

  52. From looking at it, I would have never guessed you had problems with it - it looks wonderful!!

  53. Moi je me mets de suite à la recherche de mon Harrap's...faut que je traduise vite fait! non mais, t'es pas honteuse, des photos pareilles et pas la possibilité de le faire! lol
    traduire moi-même voilà un beau défit, mais je suis pas patiente assez et en tous cas bien trop gourmande, je vais donc vite voir les versions françaises et puis je reviens pour encore et encore regarder ces superbes photos! BIz

  54. Rosa, your cake turned out great! The good thing is you and your family enjoyed it after all.

  55. How wonderful your cake looks!! Who would know you had trouble making it if you don't tell us! Bravo!

  56. Magnifique, malgré toutes les difficultés que tu as pu rencontrer. Je t'assure qu'en photo, ça ne parait pas du tout! Hi hi hi.

  57. The cake looks lovely, if you hadn't written that you had problems I would never tell from the pictures as the cake looks great!

  58. Bravo à toi Rosa, un vrai chef-d'oeuvre ! bisous et bon week-end !

  59. Oh Rosa I love the color of your butter cream, the layers of the cake and the decoration, The cakes looks fabulous.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your nice comment on my cake.

  60. I also wanted to let you know that you can enter to win a free subscription to GRIT magazine right now... Go to the contests tab on my site.

  61. Great job on the challenge, your cake looks beautiful and delicious!

  62. eh bien quelle histoire et quel courage mais le resultat est superbe

  63. Sorry about all your troubles with it, but you know what? It still lokks amazing!

  64. This look so good that I'll like to eat a piece right now. You did really great.

  65. What a lovely cake! Looks fabulous!

  66. Your cake turned out lovely, even though it gave you fits. Nicely done!

  67. Glad you overcame the hurdles! Cake looks lovely.

  68. I would never have guessed from the pictures that this cake was such a problem to work with. Yours looks gorgeous. I agree, I think it's much more a winter cake.

  69. It looks like it was well worth the trouble. I wish I had a slice right now!

  70. Ooooh, lovely! Great photos too!

  71. Ce gateau a l'ait terriblement délicieux !! merci pour les liens de la recette. Les photos sont sublimes!!

  72. Bravo et merci pour les liens, moi, l'anglais, je n'y pige pas grand chose. Mais ce gateau est fabuleux et magnifique ment r�ussi !
    Grosses bises

  73. alors la bravo
    le resultat est magnifique !!!!!


  74. I would not have been able to make this one. Looks so complicated. Glad to see that it turned out fine!

  75. Wow you are so organized!! You actually divided the steps and made separate accompanying remarks!! Yeah, you could definitely write a whole book just with that recipe; but at least it tasted great in the end!!

  76. you know I am just amazed by the patience that you have. Not only do you bake such a fantastic cake, but you write such an elaborate post with detailed procedure......hats off! Thats why you are one of my fav bloggers :)

  77. Ooo, your cake looks wonderful! I love your decorations!

  78. olala...ça c'est un vrai de vrai!
    Le gâteau dans toute sa splendeur..