Yep it’s DB reveal time once again and this month’s challenge comes to us from none other than Chris of Mele Cotte fame!!! It is a Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream, from the book Great Cakes by Carole Walter. A most beautiful cake indeed. I have just completed it and it remains untasted, I will let you all know how that is at some point, I am sure.

I have been known to bake a cake or two in my day, mainly using fondant as a topper….I friggin’ suck at piping (by the way, I think this may not be the most G rated post, so beware). My friends and their friends always ask me to whip em up something or other and they always send many “oohs and ahs” my way; they also tell me that I need to watch this show on The Food Network, Ace of Cakes. Truthfully me and TV don’t get along. Mainly I watch a bit of tube before bed, usually the Golden Girls, we’ll miss you Estelle, and a bit of Discovery Channel, rarely anything else. So I finally TIVO’d the show and last night watched it for the first time. These people fuckin’ rock!!!!!!! I love ’em. These are my kinda cakes. This morn while having my coffee and planning my attack on finishing the Gateau, I did a little research into Ace of Cakes, Duff and Charm City Cakes. Well, on the TFN/Ace of cakes site they have vid snippets of some of the custom cakes they do. A Les Paul Guitar cake had a little incident with some spilled coloring, of course it was fixed and they then pan to Duff who says, something akin to….”Smoke and Mirrors”.

Now for me, this cake has been a most challenging one, not because it was difficult, nor too terribly time consuming but mainly because I made some STUPID mistakes. Let me explain the title of this post…

Ain’t She PURTY??

Ain't she purty

Ain't she purty

Smoke and Mirrors Baby, Smoke and Mirrors!

Now take a closer look…

Smoke and Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors

More Smoke

More Smoke

You laughing yet?? I know I was!!! And that my friends is just the exterior!!!

The foundation upon which this baby was built is not up to code!!

From the end to the beginning we go, just follow the bouncing ball…

So as I said, this cake was not at all difficult as far as the prep and assembly…a few prep steps, a pulse or 2 in the processor, whip some eggs then add a little of this and a little of that. The batter was beautiful!!!! The recipe called for a 10×2 round pan but I wanted a tower so I went with 8×3!! Is your brain screaming at ya the same thing mine screamed at me?? HUH? Mine said to me, “you need to throw a collar on this bitch!” but do I listen? NOPE, that would be too easy to do!! So gingerly I place the pan in the oven and traipse off to finish some cleaning upstairs. Somewhere between 10-15 mins later Ray comes home from work and up the steps screaming, “What the hell are you doing the f*cking house is filled with smoke?” Yep kiddies we had overflow!!! Now with all the egg yolks, whites and nuts, the burnt proteins created a Hellish eau de parfum, one that LINGERS. Not much to do but wait and see, what I could see looked salvageable….yea, like I am Sanford and Son!!!!

So on the counter to cool then to release from the pan. Initially it looked damn nice, aside from a bit of a mess down the sides of the pan. However, once un-molded and let to cool there was a noticeable depression…”No Mr. President we’re not talking recession, we’re talking depression!!!”. Why I didn’t photograph this is beyond me, but trust me, you will soon see that it was there!! Basically, the science here is very similar to a volcano, there is a hard exterior crust with a magma chamber in the center, when the magma exits the exterior collapses…1/3 of my cake was

EMPTY!!

I swear I heard the cake cry….

“Throw me to the birds…birds.…birds.…birds…birds

Ok, decision time, “redo or use what ya got?” Take one guess!!!! If you said redo well you would be wrong, I screwed it once I wasn’t gonna screw it twice!!! I am 44 not 20, twice in one day is a rare occasion!!!!! The recipe calls for 3 layers, I really only had cake for 2 and I wasn’t baking more so,again what did I do? “Wow!”, you guys are quick studies, yes of course I went with 3 layers!!!!! I got 2 very nice layers and one donut!!!

Hole in a Donut!!!

Hole in a Donut!!!

Luckily, this cake has not only a buttercream filling but also a whipped cream filling as well, so after soaking and filling the first layer, I mounded a nice volume of whipped cream to fill the void, so to speak, and level off the middle layer…

HOT DAMN Alice, it worked!!!!!

Smoke and Whipped Cream!!!!!

Smoke and Whipped Cream!!!!!

I topped it with the 3rd and final layer, gave it a quick glaze with orange marmalade (recipe calls for apricot but that just isn’t me), then put a crumb coat of buttercream on it. The cake and remaining buttercream went back in the fridge. After a bit of a rest, I pull everything back out and whip up the icing to get it spreadable so I can add a final smooth layer of icing. Back in the fridge everything went, it all looked so very beautiful, wonderfully level top and oh so smooth sides. All is well!!

Ready for ganache and piping...LOL!

Ready for ganache and piping...LOL!

I now started thinking, I GOTTA PIPE! Oh Shit!!!!!! I knew if I were lucky I could have managed a very remedial shell border but this cake has a chocolate ganache coating, any mistake with a light colored icing would scream…

“Here I am !!”

Time for a diversion

“S&M baby, S&M”, no, you pervs…. Smoke and Mirrors!!!! So instead of a full coating of ganache, I made a rather thick one and then let it slowly ooze down the sides of the cake (reminiscent of the batter that oozed from the middle of it earlier!). This would draw all eyes from the poor piping soon to occur. Now as they say, “the 3rd time is the charm”, out of the fridge came the buttercream, quick whip, load it in the bag and do a test pipe.

WTF?!?!?!?

What occurred next was a nightmare, I squeezed the bag…it “splootched”, it “splattered” praline buttercream followed by rivulets of golden buttah!!! The only description I can give, and it ain’t purty, would be to say that it appeared my pastry bag had a touch of Montezuma’s Revenge!!!! What were my options?

  1. attempt to repair buttercream using the suggested methods in the recipe
  2. make a new batch of buttercream
  3. say “Fakk it” and forge ahead

If you really need me to tell you, here is what I did….

Fakk it, Fakk it, Fakk it, Fakk it, Fakk it, Fakk it, Fakk IT !!!!

You have already seen those results!!!

And that my dear friends is the story of my Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream, it still remains not only untasted but also uncut, so I am clueless as to what its innards are looking like. We will find out tomorrow, when I take it in to work and gather up my Guinea Pigs (as most of them happily refer to themselves when it is cake time!!). Of course there will be photos and maybe even a word or two but really nothing I can say or show now will convey the importance of

Smoke and Mirrors

The Guinea Pigs have spoken…

This is one of the best cakes to date!

I concur!!!!

Aside from the train wreck interior, this was one sweet moist marvel!!

Are there any survivors??

Are there any survivors??