Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge: Pecan Gateau with Praline Buttercream

I had my doubts that this month's Daring Bakers challenge would actually get done. I was away from my kitchen every weekend of the month. But something told me that I would enjoy the result of this challenge, so I rallied and did some daring baking the day before posting! (I'm usually not a procrastinator with such things) The challenge was a filbert gateau (i.e. cake) moistened with simple syrup, layered with praline buttercream, topped with apricot glaze, and finished with a chocolate ganache. Being the Texas girl that I am, instead of using hazelnuts for the challenge, I used the nut of our beloved state tree (and my mom's favorite); the pecan.
I must admit that with the time crunch, it was tempting to crack open a bag of pre-made pralines. But in the spirit of the challenge, I made them from scratch. Growing up, my mom and sister often made pralines and often complained about the finicky nature of candy making, especially in a humid climate. My experience was no different (I singed the ends of my hair!), luckily it didn't matter that I had one massive praline because it went in the food processor to making praline paste. But just to show I made them, here they are....
Veganizing this challenge was a cinch. For the originally egg-laden genoise, I used the recipe for the virtuous vanilla cake from Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally, substituting 1 cup of ground pecans for the 1 cup of whole wheat flour called for. For the buttercream, I used the tried and true fluffy buttercream recipe from VCTOTW, adding a splash of Grand Marnier to complement the apricot glaze. The combination of the praline paste and buttercream yielded amazing results.
Now I am a bit saddened that I only made a mini-cake. At least I have this last piece of cake to enjoy....

Next up, my baking adventure in NYC! (promise, this daring bakers challenge really snuck up on me!)

60 comments:

Speedbump Kitchen said...

I love it! I also love that finding pre-made pralines was an option for you! In the Midwest, pralines are only found mixed in with vanilla ice cream in some of the old time ice cream parlors! I had one lady confuse pralines with prawns!

shellyfish said...

It looks so perdy Amanda! You're a real trooper to get it done under the wire like that! This was my first time making pralines - yum!

VeggieGirl said...

Amanda, you nailed the challenge - that gateau is MARVELOUS!!

Lauren said...

That is absolutely beautiful! You rock! I am salvating for a slice of that cake!!

Binx said...

girl, you win the prize!!!

Animal-Friendly said...

Who cares if you procrastinated? That cake is gorgeous!

Cheryl said...

gosh, those are gorgeous pictures! And thanks for your suggestions through the process.

jennycestcake said...

Does that look awesome, or what?!!! Great job! I really could have used your praline expertise. I never did get a "paste" from my pralines.

Good job, too, for getting this done so fast! Mine took me several days to complete (only being able to work on it an hour or two at a time). It looks like you had a lot of fun with this project and the final result looks delicious!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Oh my, that looks so good... and that last pic, of that big, thick, double-layered slice - got me dribbling all over my keyboard...

madcapcupcake said...

WHOA! - that cake is drop dead gorgeous!! I bet it was totally delicious. Nicely done. Very nicely done :) and kudos to you for doing such a great job under time constraints, with all that traveling, etc!!

Jes said...

Your cake looks delicious!

sleepingbearinthekitchen said...

Now that is a beauty!!!! I keep seeing all these wounderful alternative baking challenges and I am chomping at the bit to try!!! Great Job!!!!

Alice (in Veganland) said...

Wow and just wow. I wish I could taste that cake. And also: I love pecans! but they're nowhere to find!

Amelia Bedielia said...

I love checking out the alternative DBers - your cake looked great!

maybelles parents said...

damn good veganizing. I am holding on to the recipe for the next time I have pecans.

Lore said...

Huh? Can't believe this is vegan. Outstanding job!

Ann said...

Very impressive!

B36Kitchen said...

what a gorgeous cake!! bravo on the challenge.

Anonymous said...

Another gorgeous cake. You have the job for all the family birthday cakes from now on. MOM

the little one said...

Fabulous! I can't imagine that it could have looked (or tasted I'm sure) any better if you hadn't done it at the last minute!

una donna dolce said...

I also used pecans - I love the result!

Rach-ums said...

Wowza! Looks to die for.

Rebecca said...

I only have two pieces left. I'm already mourning their disappearance!

Your cake looks great. I love that you used actual pralines--pecans.

Bert said...

That looks just perfect, and I bet it tastes that way too! I really have to get cracking on some vegan baking, haven't tried it yet!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

GORGEOUS! I love the idea of ground pecans in place of flour.

aTxVegn said...

Another outstanding job on the Challenge!

Lori said...

A beautiful cake! Looks so yum!

Tiffany said...

Good job! I'll bet the pecans tasted great, they sure look great!

bazu said...

you are kicking this challenge's ass every time! I don't remember the last time I saw a dessert quite so gorgeous.

Chessa said...

It's gorgeous! OMG I want to eat it so bad!

I would love to join the challenge, but my husband's allergic to chocolate, and I can see myself with a lot of desserts to eat by myself...not a good situation. ;)

Lina said...

your cake looks gorgeous! Great Job! Whoo hoo~

Ruby Red Vegan said...

The inside layers of your cake are stunning! And those pralines are looking so ooey gooey and wonderful... Oh we Texas girls love our pecans!

Bianca said...

Wow! You are so awesome at this! And good for you for subbing pecans. Pecans are pretty big down here too (or I guess I'm up from you). But anyway, beautiful cake. I only wish I could have a bite...sigh...

coulditbeseitan said...

Wow! Amazing job!! I should have used pecans too since I was in Georgia for this challenge. And it's good to know other vegan bakers used other cookbooks for resources too - thinking of replacing all those eggs was nightmarish!

Lisa said...

Amazing that a vegan version of this cake was possible!!! Only question - pls could you link to the actual cake recipe you used, as your link only goes to the book cover... and the buttercream recipe too please!!

Emilie said...

Looks great! I like that you stayed local on it with the pecans.

Jen said...

Pecan pralines sound delicious! That cake looks scrumptious!

kree said...

Wow! That cake looks great! I've been thinking about joining the daring bakers, but I just don't know if I would have time?

Hannah said...

Oh, I love your piping around the edges! It's beautiful, and it looks delicious of course. :)

Faery said...

Your cake is fabulous, I LOVE it.

Kumudha said...

looks delicious!

Lauren said...

Ooo your cake looks amazing!

Maggie said...

Great job on the piping! It a beautiful little cake.

kindkitchen said...

Looks awesome! You are quite the baker, girl :)

Vaala said...

Wow! That's one very amazing cake you've made there. It looks beautiful!

Lori- the Pleasantly Plump Vegan said...

my birthday is in about 2 weeks . . . you should come to ATL and make this cake for me ; )

Liz² said...

gorgeous! and I love the texas twist, using pecans, and also the icing colour contrast is so (for lack of a better term) yummy-looking. :DDD
oh, I wish I could try some!

Aimee Dars said...

Looks wonderful! Hope the trouble and singed hair were forgotten when you got to eat a piece! : )

Dark Faerie said...

you did an amazing job! All of the vegan daring bakers seem to be raving over the buttercream...MUST TRY!

dayna said...

Wow! Stunning.
I halved my recipe too... I was amazed when it was so yummy - but not when the cake disappeared.
Time consuming or not this looks like a cake that will be made more than once - for special occasions.

Melody Polakow said...

You blow my mind!

Cookiemouse said...

Love the look of that mini cake.

Vegan Girl said...

Did you make this recipe up all in your head? My goodness you are talented.

Fran Costigan said...

Go to the head of the class woman! Your cake is genius. I can taste it in my mind, though you have no idea how I yearn for a taste (traveling far from vegan bakeries I am). Per the praline, be careful all. You might try the candied pecans in More GGDFDN and grind those another time. Or just try them since pecans are available to you.

You are a phenom and I honored to have had the opportunity to bake with you.
Cheers,
Fran

Katie said...

That looks delicious! How amazing that you could veganize such a complex recipe. Great blog :)

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

Your cake looks stunning! Very professional.

Green Eyes, Green Heart said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous, GORGEOUS!!
You have no idea how much this post makes me pissed off at my nut allergy. I miss praline cookies soooooo badly!
Great blog, by the way!
~Erin @ "Vegan & the City"

Urban Vegan said...

I'm totally, totally awestruck.

Vivacious Vegan said...

Incredible. I love your substitutions (especially the pecans). I never would have thought to use ground pecans instead of the ww flour. Hope your singed hair isn't too bad!

pixiepine said...

This looks amazing. I am going to check out Daring Bakers!