When I saw this month's Daring Baker challenge recipe, Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream from Great Cakes by Carol Walter I almost decided to sit this one out. The cake chosen by the host, Chris of Mele Cott, sounded delicious, but the idea of substituting for all those eggs, nuts, and liquors was, well, challenging.
The original recipe calls for ground hazelnuts, 7 egg yolks, 5 egg whites, and 1/4 C of clarified butter. The first time I tried to make the cake, I used oat flour plus a few tablespoons flax seed meal to substitute for the nut, tofu to substitute for the egg, dairy free margarine for the butter, and added lemon juice and baking soda to get some lift. I've had some bad experiences with tofu in the past, and sadly, this first attempt to modify the recipe did nothing to change my opinion of the much maligned soy product.
The second attempt, which you see here, had Ener-G egg replacer instead of tofu and did not include the lemon juice and baking soda. The cake itself tasted amazing, virtually identical to a nut based cake, but had not risen at all. I made do with two layers instead of three, and put the rest of the cake together, using one of my own buttercream recipes with strawberry preserves instead of cherry and adding a thin layer of strawberries between the cake layers, since the poor thing was so short!
The cake itself wasn't a great success, but as usual I learned some new techniques and now have a really great substitute for nut meal in recipes. Be sure to check out all the other Daring Bakers, so you can see what the cake is supposed to look like!