Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's Daring Bakers Reveal Day!!

Good morning!  Today is the day the Daring Bakers reveal the results of this month's challenge.  Our assignment this month, Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream, was brought to us by Chris of Mele Cotte.  I have to admit that I wavered back and forth about even attempting this challenge.  As a vegan baker with a husband allergic to tree nuts, this sort of felt like Mission Impossible.  But...I joined Daring Bakers to learn new techniques, step out of my comfort zone, and most of all to have fun, so I decided to give it a go.

Before I launch into my story of doom and disaster (with a happy ending, however), click here to see the original (LONG) recipe.

OK, here we go...I kept putting off this challenge because there were just so many steps and, I was intimidated by the number of eggs.  On Monday night Nate was out with his friend Bill and by some rare stroke of luck, Luka and Cas both fell asleep at a reasonable time (!).  I took this as divine intervention and decided this would be the night I take on the challenge.

I absolutely LOVE my baking time in the kitchen!  It is almost therapeutic.  So even though this night of baking would end with a huge mess, it was well worth it!

To substitute the seemingly endless eggs (ok I'm exaggerating, but that is what it felt like), I decided to use a blend of bananas, silken tofu, and a little Ener-G egg replacer thrown in for good measure.  (The recipe also called for butter and heavy cream, which were easily substituted by Earth balance and hemp milk).  Since Nate is allergic to tree nuts, I was not going to use the hazelnuts.  I used peanuts instead.  All was going well, the batter tasted awesome and the aroma from the oven was wonderful.

While the genoise was baking, I decided to get started on the nut paste.  How could you go wrong with melted sugar?  Well, you could almost burn it.  For some reason unknown to me, I decided to stir in the nuts anyways.  I really should have started over, but I was on a roll, lol.  So I should not have been surprised when I spread the candied peanuts on the wax paper and they were black.  (The candied peanuts were supposed to form into a brittle, then go into the VitaMix to be processed into a paste which would then be added to the buttercream, which at that point I had not yet made.)  I decided not to get too upset about it and try something else instead...a peanut butter buttercream.  I used the recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  At this point I realized I had very little hemp milk left, so I used what was there and replaced the rest with coconut milk.  The buttercream was decadent!!

The timer sounded and it was time to take the genoise out of the oven.  It did not rise.  It was flat.  Thankfully I was in a pretty good mood that night and had to laugh.  I was still going to make this work!  I let it cool and then took it out of the round pan, only to have half of it fall apart.  I then shaped it into a rectangle, piecing together the remnants.  (Yes, I was determined...while most people would probably have started over at this point, I was a woman on a mission.)

So there I am with my flat rectangle, and I have to somehow fashion it into three layers.  Thanks to some patience and a very sharp knife, I was able to do that.  I started doing the layering with the sugar syrup and my peanut butter buttercream.  My buttercream started out nice and thick but my kitchen was very hot, and soon it was running all over the place.  By the time I applied the ganache, I had a crazy mess on my hands.  Honestly, it looked like I had just baked a giant burrito with mole!!

I chilled it in the fridge and then Nate and I gave it a try.  It was SO good!!!!!!  SO ugly, lol, but so insanely delicious!  It was even better when we finished it (!) last night after it spent 24 hours in the refrigerator.  So I did end up with a wonderful dessert!

I think that one of my problems was my punk rock approach to the egg replacement.  I think bananas + silken tofu kind of weighed down the "sponginess" of the cake.  I also realize that burning the peanuts was my own fault, but I was happy with the peanut butter buttercream as a replacement.

So no, I don't have a picture to post.  It was that ugly.  But it was yummy, so thank you Chris for the challenge!  I look forward to seeing what the Daring Bakers have in store for me next month...

Monday, July 28, 2008


I just realized it's been almost a month since I've blogged about anything!

Stay tuned...this month's Daring Bakers challenge is scary, I will no doubt have some kind of story about that one...