Daring Bakers: Gateau St. Honore

After failing miserably at the crepe cake last month, I knew that I’d have to buckle down and prove myself this month as a Daring Baker rather than a pathetic baker, no matter how many screw-ups and no matter how many retries it took. And believe me, there were screw-ups. Lots of them. Starting with the $10 box of puff pastry that we absolutely ruined beyond repair when we first attempted this recipe on Thursday. And then the fact we had the wrong tips (decorators instead of pastry) and had to make a very expensive trip to Sur La Table (because I had to get the mechanical gun instead of more bags, and lots of other things as I always do when I go to Sur La Table – other women buy shoes, I buy cookware and kitchen gadgets), ending with gross looking pate a choux (clumpy) that we had to do over again. Excuse the crappy picture, by the time I got done it was night time and had to settle for the crappy indoor light and flash in my kitchen rather than outside, where I WANTED to photograph it.


Our Daring Bakers project this month was a Gateau St. Honore, a cake in honor of the patron saint of bakers. It’s one that is often used in pastry school finals because it encompasses many of the basic methods – pate a choux, puff pastry, diplomat creme, caramel, etc. And because of the complexity of the recipe (I get nervous with multi-step recipes, it’s one reason I’d never be a professional chef of any kind), I was feeling out of my league before I even began. But I definitely was determined to make a go of it, no matter how it ended up turning out. So how did it turn out? Let’s just say I’m happy with the results. I didn’t even screw up the caramel this time. It took 2 tries with the pate a choux, but it all came out in the end. And thank God that she let us used store-bought puff pastry, because I’m definitely not ready for that yet (my poor arthritis couldn’t handle it). And I even got to incorporate some of the nummy strawberries I bought at the farmer’s market yesterday.

Be sure to check the other Daring Bakers on the sidebar for their rendition of this recipe. I’m almost afraid to see what’s in store for us next month, this one was definitely a challenge!

30 thoughts on “Daring Bakers: Gateau St. Honore

  1. Sara

    Becke, you just solved a mystery for me! I too used decorating tips, not pastry tips. I didn’t know there was a difference. Great looking gateau, the strawberries look pretty.

  2. Lisa

    THAT’S why our No. 4’s were so small!!!! Decorating tips NOT pastry tips! DOH. Wow.. thanks for that, Becke!

    Now, on to the important stuff.. your Gateau is STUNNING! Truly. I knew you were afraid and I knew you weren’t giving yourself enough credit.. the proof is right up there – it’s gorgeous and it looks as if it tasted heavenly as well. I love the strawberries on top – my god they look so red and delish!

    A job very well done.


  3. Elle

    Whooo Hoo! Beautiful cake…and you kept going when the going got rouch. I’m with you about Sur La Table…like a kid in a candy store. I love the strawberries on top.

  4. Mary

    Yup, same here. I used decorating tips instead of pastry tips too. I guess I need to invest in some really tools. Your gateau looks great especially with the strawberries.

  5. ilva

    I know how you felt, I felt like that too after last month’s challenge, now or never! But we both managed, your cake looks delicious! And you got some new kitchen tools in the bargain!

  6. Laura

    I love Sur la Table although I can only drool at everything online. A beautiful gateau and I used strawberries too!

  7. Freya

    I didn’t have pastry tips, just used decorating ones too! Yours still looks great though and I adore the use of fruit on some of the DBs gateaux!

  8. gilly

    Excellent work! I love the strawberries on top – I think they would make such a nice compliment to the flavours of the cake! Great work – and thanks for the info on the pastry vs. decorating tips!

  9. Jenny

    It looks wonderful! Oh and I’m with you – I own 3 pairs of shoes (runners, crocks and a very rarely worn pair of dress shoes that are 10 years old), but go gaga when let loose in a cooking supply store! 🙂

  10. Patricia Scarpin

    Becke, I think you did a fantastic job! And to try again after making a mistake is even more complicated – you certainly overcame the issue.

    I also love it that you used strawberries!

  11. cheryl

    I think you did a fantastic job. I also had several tries with the cream puff dough and had to make a few trips to the store. You end result is fabulous.

  12. baking soda

    Enlightment! Pastry tips vs decorating tips, didn’t know the difference… Now I’ve found myself an excuse to buy .. (hah as if I need one..) Your gateau looks great!

  13. Dolores

    I can relate to your Sur la Table dilemma… the crepe cake I didn’t even *make* cost me $95.00, and the St. Honore cost me almost half that. Unfortunately I also have an “Imelda complex”.

    Gorgeous gateau — congrats for sticking with it!

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