Mad about a Orange Hazelnut Praliné Bûche

              Orange Hazelnut Praline Bûche

Given that I hadn’t baked in a while, there was no way I was going to let a 3-day weekend go by without firing up my oven. A quick flip through a couple of newly acquired books and I settled on an orange hazelnut praliné bûche.

All right, so it’s not Christmas yet, but one shouldn’t need to wait till Christmas to bake a log cake, no? Especially not when said cake consists of orange compote and hazelnut praline, both made from scratch. I was sold just at the thought of these two components, although I did have some doubts about how the overall taste would be when eaten together in a cake.

Orange Hazelnut Praline Bûche

Orange Compote
The orange compote was made by simmering whole oranges (preferably organic, for obvious reasons) in water for 3 hours, cutting the boiled oranges in small pieces, sauteeing the orange pieces in butter and sugar and then reducing the entire concoction. The resulting compote was further chopped to achieve a chunky and thick jam consistency.

Hazelnut Praliné
The praliné looked simple enough to make: make a sugar syrup, pour toasted hazelnuts into the syrup and stir until hazelnuts are coated with crystallised sugar. Continue to cook hazelnuts and sugar until sugar melts and caramelizes to a dark brown colour. This deceptively simple process took me a good 45 minutes, so imagine my dismay when the caramelized nuts began to turn slightly sticky, courtesy of the lovely humid weather here in Singapore.

Fortunately, most of the praliné was to be ground and used as ingredients for the cake and buttercream. In the end, I was happy with how the bûche turned out (although I could have used a little less buttercream when covering the cake). Who’d have thought that hazelnuts and orange would go so well together?

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Tart with Cocoa Nib Croustillant


Emboldened by my sucess, I went on to try another recipe from the same book - a raspberry chocolate dessert built on a sturdy sable breton base. It was actually the almond croustillant decoration in the recipe that I was more interested in than the tart itself. But since I didn’t have almond nibs on hand, I decided to go with an alternative cocoa nib croustillant recipe I’d found in another book.

The end result was not bad, but again, the humidity wasn’t very suitable for croustillant making; the decorative pieces which had set firm at room temperature quickly softened when taken out of the refrigerator. I might try cutting down on the amount of butter the next time or go with almond nibs instead. My poor Silpat did not take kindly to the copious amount of butter in the crousillant!

24 Responses to “Mad about a Orange Hazelnut Praliné Bûche”

  1. Paula Says:

    That looks delicious. Though I don’t know how you can do baking in the heat - I’ve taken an icecream only approach. Looking at these I might have to rethink that

  2. ena Says:

    Hi,Karen. It`s impressive cake!!
    May I ask one question? I`ll visit singapore at 4th week June.
    please recommend any baking cafe or shop and bookstore(which has lots of baking book)

    thank you!
    p.s: please send me e-mail, if you have chance to visit Korea.
    and visit my baking blog ^^

  3. Kathryn Says:

    Hi Karen,

    May I know which book can I get this recipe from? Just looking at the creations is already a feast!

    I am always awed to see someone with a full time job and yet able to create such gorgeous desserts from time to time. You are truly an inspiration!

    Keep the desserts and bakes coming!


  4. Karen Says:

    Paula & Kathryn: Thank you!

    ena: I just visited your blog; it’s lovely! I’d recommend that you visit Kinokuniya bookstore at Ngee Ann City. They have a large selection of cookbooks. PageOne bookstore at Vivocity also has a good range of cookbooks.

    For shops that have baking supplies, try Phoon Huat or SunLik at Seah Street.

  5. Lilly Says:

    Karen, everything looks great, but how about some recipes? Do you mind sharing them?

  6. Purple Dots Cupcake Says:

    I can’t believe this is the first time you’re baking these goodies! They look so professional! Usually my first attempt to anything is a disaster! I would’ve never thought of orange compote and hazelnut praline, yummie! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Penny Says:

    WOW!!! This is AMAZING!! I’m hoping to attempt a buche de noel next christmas, but this one looks perfect year round!! LOVE!
    and the macaroon blog topper?! …U and I need to be bloggy friends! :)

  8. Belo Says:

    Hi Karen,

    Your photos look great what lens and light r u using? Can you also send me your macaroon recipe? Thanks,

  9. Karen Says:

    Purple Dots Cupcake & Penny: Thanks you very much!

    Belo: Nikon D40, natural daylight. I’m afraid I don’t send out my macaron recipes because I teach classes. It wouldn’t be fair to my students if I sent the recipes out to anyone else. Please try Helen of Tartelette’s macaron recipes - I’ve used her recipes before and they work great!

  10. Catalina Says:

    You are such an inspiration! your cakes and desserts looks so great and perfect!
    Please please do some more!

  11. Stef Says:

    Hi ya Karen,amazing stuff!
    I would love some of that raspberry tart!
    Hope work life has been treating you well…just saw a picture of you and some ladies holding apples at L’s twilight party up on Fb….so cute!

  12. Nat Says:

    Hi Karen,

    I like to ask, what brand of chestnut paste (not spread) do you use and where can I get them in Singapore? Thanks!

  13. Felicia Says:

    Wow, that tart looks absolutely delicious and its so pretty!

    What bk did u get the recipe from? Thanks!

  14. Joyce Says:

    Hi Karen,

    Wow! I am awed by everything you have on your website. They are just so beautiful. Could you email me details of the classes you currently running? Many thanks!

  15. Anonni Miss Says:

    Oh, I’d kill (^_^) to learn the name of such a cookbook! Please do share, Karen!

  16. Theresa Says:

    Hi Karen, stumbled upon your website by accident. I’m amazed that you’re holding a full time job yet have time to do all these lovely things! You’re truly amazing. I love how your macarons work. I’m having a hard time with macarons in Singapore because of the humidity though Italian method definitely works better than french. Yours are picture (and I’m sure taste as well) perfect. So is everything else! :)

  17. Theresa Says:

    Hi Karen, one more thing. Where do you get your almond flour from for macarons? I’m sort of tired sifting through those normal store bought once and attempting to process each batch. Do you know anywhere in S’pore that sells finer ones? Thanks!

  18. Karen Says:

    Thank you very much, Theresa. I’m afraid I don’t have an easy answer for you. I use ground almonds from Phoon Huat, but it still needs to be sifted to eliminate the larger pieces. I usually process the bits that don’t make it through the sieve and sift again after they’ve been processed. I’ve been told that Sun Lik has finer ground almonds, but I’ve not tried them myself.

  19. Natalie Says:

    Hi Karen,

    Firstly, I have to pay you a compliment for putting up a lovely website showcasing your talent in baking beautiful cakes. I am a fan.

    May I know where I can buy your cakes from? How do I go about placing an order for a cake? Also, do you conduct baking classes?

    Thanks and look forward to hearing from you soon.

  20. maruska Says:

    Hi Karen!
    I work for a Specialty Foods Distributing Company in Miami, FL, and I was wondering if you had a phone number to be reached at.
    He would like to know where you stand in pricing for the macarons.
    Could you give us a call or send me an e-mail???
    Thank you thank you…
    And Gread Job!!!!

  21. Bernice Says:

    Hi Karen,

    My fiance and I will be hosting a wedding solemnisation on the 12th December 2009. The color of the theme would be maroon and ivory. We would like have a simple wedding cake for the occasion that matches the theme. We are looking at catering to about 40-50 pax of guests.

    We would be grateful if you could advise us typically how much will the below 2 options cost.

    1) macaron tower on a cake


    2) a simple 2-tier cake.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Thanks and regards,

  22. Jaded Says:

    Hi there,

    Do you take macaron tower/cake order? If yes, could you contact me as I would like to order one for a wedding on 20 Dec.


  23. baking newbies Says:

    Hi Karen,
    simply swept away by the pics. i can imagine the amount of hardwork u put in yr baking.
    my colleagues & i are very interested in yr ‘creative materpieces’. pls fwd us details of yr classes.

    bunch of baking newbies

  24. Jo Says:

    when will u be holding classes for the macarons? Pls send me details.
    Also, how much is 1 croquemboche?

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