July Daring Bakers — How Could I Resist?

Sometimes I just look over those great recipes and think; no way, no how.
This was one of those months. A cake where the only leavener is a bowlful of pouffy egg whites? How am I going to veganize that? Buttercream? Whipped cream? C’mon – my guests are more than happy with a fruit bowl, right?

But then, when I made the original recipe – and tasted it… It would be just plain cruel if I didn’t, at the very least, attempt something for everyone to eat.

Filbert Gateau/Cake With Praline Buttercream
Inspired By “Great Cakes” by Carol Walter


3/4 Cup Hazelnuts, toasted/skinned
2/3 Cup Cake Flour
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Cup (scant) Soy Milk
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Lemon Extract
1 Tablespoon Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Safflower Oil

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Remove the hazelnut skins in the oven by toasting the nuts on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes or until the nuts are fragrant and the skins begin to crack.
Remove the nuts from the oven and tightly wrap them in a clean kitchen towel. Rub vigorously to remove the skins.
Grease and flour an 8″ round cake pan.
In a large measuring cup, combine the milk, lemon extract, vanilla and vinegar.
Once the nuts are cool to the touch, add them along with the flour, cornstarch and baking soda to a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is fine and powdery, you may notice it will begin to ride up the sides.
Transfer mixture to a bowl. Add the sugar and baking soda then combine.
Give the milk mixture a good stir, then add it to the dry ingredients, followed by the oil, mixing well to combine.
Transfer mixture to prepared pan and bake for 30 – 35 minutes (I was closer to 35) and check for doneness with a toothpick or cake tester coming out clean from the center.
Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes or so, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn out to cool completely on a rack.


1/2 Cup Hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar

Heat the sugar over low heat in a saucepan to melt and do not stir.
Swirl the pan, if necessary to keep if from burning.
Brush the sides of the pan with water to remove sugar crystals if the sugar in the center does not melt, stir briefly. (Do not multitask – sugar burns and can ruin pans… trust me.)
When the sugar is completely melted and caramel in color, remove from heat. Stir in the nuts with a wooden spoon and separate the clusters.
Return to low heat and stir to coat the nuts on all sides.
Cook until the mixture starts to bubble (remember – extremely hot mixture).
Then onto the parchment lined sheet and spread as evenly as possible as it cools, it will harden into brittle.
Break the candied nuts into pieces and place them in the food processor.
Pulse into a medium-fine crunch or process until the brittle turns into a powder then after several minutes, into a paste.


2 1/2 Cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted
1/2 Cup Earth’s Balance Margarine, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1/3 Cup Praline Paste

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, combine half of the sugar with the margarine.
Add the remainder of the sugar, half a cup at a time.
Once it has come together, then add the vanilla to incorporate.
Continue to up the volume with a higher speed until light and creamy.
Add the praline paste, a spoonful at a time to incorporate.
Increase speed again to fluff up the frosting.


1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate, chopped
1 Tablespoon Margarine
2 Tablespoons Soy Milk
1 Tablespoon Chambord liquor, optional
1 Tablespoon Brandy, not as optional

Melt the chocolate pieces in a double boiler or in a heat safe bowl fitted over a pan of simmering water.
Stir in the margarine.
Whisk in the milk and liquors, combining until smooth.


Slice the cake in half to separate the layers.
A handy tip I found, was to dot the cakes midsection with toothpicks to evenly slice it in half.
The original recipe called for a sugar syrup to be brushed over each layer, but I found my cake to already be so moist, I left it out.
On the first layer I started with the praline butter cream, evening it out to about 1/4″.
Next I topped it with a good dollop of whipped cream. Soyatoo is a great dairy-free choice.
Top that with an even layer of sliced berries.
Then, c h i l l.
I can’t even say how important this is because the next layer will slide otherwise.
Add the top layer of the cake and chill again, while you prepare the ganache.
Steadily and evenly, pour the ganache over the top of the cake.
Decorate with remaining buttercream, fruit or additional pralines.

Not exactly to the “T” of the original, but having eaten both it was equally as delicious (and time consuming.) Certainly worth it for special guests and occasions.
For a peak at some of the other Daring Bakers, check out the Alternative Baker Blogroll.

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I'm a chef, food stylist, cancer survivor, recipe developer, art director and photographer. My obsession for food, how it looks and makes me healthier has driven my passion for chronicling my journey through photos. Find more about me on: http://restarteating.com http://veganvisitor.com or my portfolio at: http://www.foodandphotography.com

11 thoughts on “July Daring Bakers — How Could I Resist?”

  1. After looking at your’s and Hannah’s (of Bittersweet) versions of this months Daring Baker’s, I’m so making it. Gorgeous job veganising such an egg-laden cake and really brilliant photography.

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