Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Daring Bakers-July Challenge~Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

This month's challenge was hosted by Mele Cotte. The challenge was to make a Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream following the recipe found in Great Cakes by Carol Walter. I was so drained this month that I was thinking about skipping July's challenge. But next month I'll be taking a few weeks off and flying to Hawaii to get married, so I didn't want to skip two challenges in a row. So I sucked it up and bit the bullet.
I went to two supermarkets and Walmart and could not find hazelnuts (fliberts) so I decided to use almonds instead. Whenever the recipe called for filberts, I replaced it with almonds. I also did not incorporate any alcohol in my recipe.

I first started by making my almond praline paste. I got excited because the recipe involved caramelization which is non-enzymatic browning! If there is one thing I learned in my Food Chemistry courses, its about the different kinds of browning reactions. An example of enzymatic browning is when you cut an apple and it turns brown. The polyphenyloxidase (enzyme in cells in apples) is exposed to oxygen and browning occurs.

In the case of making a praline paste, granulated sugar (which is a non-reducing sugar) is heated. The heat excites sucrose (a dissaccharide) molecule and breaks it into fructose and glucose molecules. These two molecules release water and dehydrates the sugars. Some rearrangement of the molecules occur it results in a burnt sugar (caramel) flavor.
This same non-enzymatic browning process occurs when toasting marshmallows or when you leave a bottle of ketchup in your pantry for a while and the red color changes to a dark brown color.



The cake cooked fine and my swiss buttercream frosting worked well and it didn't break. Here's the glazed cake prior to my attempt to decorate it.

My piping skills (or lack of skills) resulted in a flower mess. See those globs, they are supposed to be flowers. I ended up scraping them off and then making a porcupine cake by dotting the whole surface of the cake with praline buttercream frosting.

If you would like to check creations made by other Daring Bakers, check out the Daring Bakers blogroll.

15 comments:

K and S said...

how did it taste? it looks nice!

Ann said...

Great work! Did you like the finished product?

Veron said...

Looks gorgeous. I like it that you went with the porcupine decoration.I also like the little tidbits in food chemistry.

Michelle said...

Ahhhh.....I like the porcupine effect. Covers a multitude of errors and I use it often!

Great job!

Natalie... said...

Looks excellent!!
Good job

Rigby said...

I love the porcupine cake. Your sugar explanation was interesting. I had a horrible time getting mine to melt--it was one of the more frustrating parts of the recipe for me. Your finished cake looks lovely :)

MaryMary said...

Looks fabulous. And I LOVED the food chemistry addition!!!

Leslie said...

Love the cake..and after reading about your post, I felt like I learned a bit in science!!! Great job!!!

JMom said...

nice save! I couldn't save my cake from my poor piping skills :)

Lina said...

I love the decoration! Your cake looks rich and decadent! mmmmmm~ congrats on a successful challenge!

Christy said...

Love your technical explanation on sugars!! And I totally adore your blog name!! This challenge was pretty daunting, so congratulations for completing the task successfully!

Michelle said...

OMG - that looks amazing! I think I've just been inspired to join the daring bakers!!

jo said...

Your cake looks lovely, well done. And congrats on your up-coming wedding.

Christina said...

I used to pipe really tall porcupines on cupcakes! Cute look. Great job on the challenge!

Christina ~ She Runs, She Eats

Lauren said...

Ooo, your cake looks amazing! The porcupine effect is perfect!