Well, here we are, it’s that Time of The Month again.
Aren’t I so lucky that this event so often comes along with cake!?
Another ground nut, torte-like cake this month. But not just any other – Hazelnuts, my favourite.
The nut so good, it tastes like chocolate. …So much so we’ve all been blessed by that fantastic concoction of Nutella.
Even with my love for hazelnuts, I was a little miffed by what I figured to be a cooler weather cake. Of course I’d do anything for my beloved Daring Bakers – They’re global, so it’s not like our good friends down under don’t deserve some good seasonal comfort food too.
Although I feel I’ve been making a near career of grinding various nuts lately, skinning these hazelnuts were a task onto it’s own. The first batch of nuts I needed for the actual cake, I tried the Julia Child method of simmering them with a touch of baking soda for a minute or two. Half of the skins came off very well, leaving the others to pick and scrape at after retoasting. The next nut batch, I just put straight into the oven, figuring I’d have a little less mess, which was true, however I was distracted by my new 2:30am burn from pulling them from the oven to add to my collective “Scars of Pride”.
Being that it IS summer here, I’ve been desperately trying keep my expanding <<Daring Baker>> butter belly at bay and I halved the recipe, aiming for just double layer from an 8″pan. As Murphy’s Law would predict, my classic oober planning left me one lemon short. I figured it may not be quite as fresh, but I opted for a quick shot of lemon extract to pick it up in a pinch. The recipe also calls for an apricot fruit glaze, which I simply don’t have. I was sure it would make for an interesting flavour, not just one I was willing to buy especially for my beloved hazelnuts.
As luck would have it, I happen to have a lovely Swiss neighbour who loves chocolate and too shares a fondness for hazelnuts. I’d asked her about Swiss pairing traditions and she let me know that apples and plums are the popular match reached for by many Swiss bakers, however, seeing it’s not quite season here for either, I opter for the freshly picked raspberries I still had in my basket from only days before. Glaze and “no fresh fruit” was a rule for the month, but it is summer and that is when the best of rules tend to be broken. I did a test flavour run with my homemade Nutella, topped with a few ripe berries, squished in for good measure.
Mmmm. To those Swiss baker’s I offer a suggestion.
Any matching liquor was, of course, changed to Chambord, except for the ganache, which honoured two hits. One of the Chambord and another of Brandy, just ’cause.
Although freightened of the cake’s assembly, the praline buttercream was a scrumptious hit, which totally balanced my fears of lobsidedness. I made the full recipe of the ganache and good thing too. Making everything, in the long run, a success. Chilling is manditory in a sturdy construction, however, even liquid nitrogen couldn’t have kept my ganache from passing over the sides, skipping over and pooling at the bottom, as if it were taking it’s lead from the movement of Niagara Falls. The recipe called for the beveling of the top layers edge to aid in a consistant flow but no matter what or how I’d tried, I didn’t have much luck and opted for camoflage.