Prepare yourself for one of the strangest analogies concerning baking that you may ever hear from me. Before I get to that though, let me take care of some formalities. This month's Daring Baker's Challenge put before us was chosen by Chris over at Mele Cotte (which is where you can find the recipe as well). I can completely see why she chose this cake because it looked fabulous - and thoroughly complicated. Many components, many skills needed. The end result - well, it really was nothing short of fantastic - and surprisingly different than the Opera Cake from May, which is the only other nut based cake I have made before. The flavors all blended and complimented each other perfectly and the texture was amazingly light and airy.
However, this recipe, in all of its 9 pages of printed glory, task after task and component after component, had me swearing up and down that this cake would most likely never be made by me again. This is the cake that took large portions of two whole days to make, we had to make a cake, a glaze, a ganache, a whipped cream, toast and skin the hazelnuts, make caramel, make nut brittle, make it into praline paste, make a swiss meringue buttercream, make a sugar syrup, torte the cake, use all of the above components to put it all together - along with appropriate waiting, cooling, chilling, wrapping, decorating, etc, etc.
Add on to that trying to make it in a strange kitchen with plenty of challenges (long story short - well, environmental conditions, unknown oven and wrong pan size all contributed to my cake basically falling apart - thus why the layers look so awful and crumbled!).
In other words this was basically a complete process in craziness to make. While I enjoyed the challenge - since I decided to make this at my parents place - they basically thought I was nuts. For two days I just heard "is it done yet?" "You still have to do what??"
So... the analogy that occurred to me as I sat tonight thinking about what I had to say about this cake? Well, it is no secret that pregnancy is not easy for me. I have long believed that women must have some switch in their brain that as soon as you get that sweet baby (or not too long there after) even though the pregnancy itself was (for me anyway) an awful, painful, life threatening experience that I didn't think I would ever be able to or want to repeat - then you find yourself thinking about going through it all over again, because the end result is so worthwhile.
So... while I don't think this cake is near as wonderful as my babies - and I know I couldn't go through making this cake often, its siren song is already calling to me to try again. It really was a delightful new experience to eat (if not entirely to make).
Make sure to check out the amazing creations of all the other Daring Bakers and their adventures.