Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge: Opera Cake with a Twist

I have to say I am one of many who get very excited when the new challenge is posted. I am always wondering where my skills are going to be tested. Thanks to Daring Bakers Lis, Ivonne, Fran & Shea for giving me a great challenge this month in making an Opera Cake. Please visit Ivonne's blog for the full recipe.

I have to say that there were a couple of challenges for me with this recipe. After making the French bread the lenght of the recipe didn't scare me like it might have in the past. One of my challenges was when I was going to get this all done. I was going to try and make this month's recipe for my Mother-in-laws birthday which is on Friday but the post date is before that. So I made it for Mother's Day which turned out to be a nice little treat. I have to stop doing this with long recipes but I made it all in one day...which can be done but very tiring to say the least.

My next challenge with the recipe was how I was going to flavor this cake. A traditional Opera cake is flavored with chocolate and coffee but ours was suppose to be a twist on that tradition. We need to come up with a light in color and flavor instead of the dark and heavy. I being my mother's child had a very hard time with this because when it comes to food I can't make up my mind (my mom is famous for changing her mind when we used to go out to eat...lets go here or no maybe here or wait how about here...that would go until we got to a restaurant).

Just look at all the elements of an Opéra Cake:
Joconde: The base of an Opéra Cake is a thin sponge cake that is made using nut meal, traditionally almond meal (finely ground blanched almonds).
Syrup: The joconde is flavoured with a sugar syrup that can be flavoured to suit your tastes.Buttercream: The first two layers of the joconde are covered in a rich buttercream. This particular buttercream is made with a syrup, eggs and butter.
Ganache/Mousse (optional): In some recipes, the final layer of the joconde is covered in a ganache or mousse. Glaze: The final step to an Opéra Cake is the glaze that gives the cake a very finished and elegant appearance.

I had a bunch of different ideas on how to flavor it which came to me from looking at a drink recipe book. Pina Colada, Mojito, and a bunch of crazy drinks that I can't remember the name of. I chickened out and just made one of the verison that was given to us as an example. I sort of thought of it as a verison of a Baklava which to me seems really fun.

I used the recipe for the joconde which is an almond cake...lucky for me I have a frozen years and years supply of grounded almonds. My syrup I flavored with honey and some spices traditional found in a baklava. I made the buttercream also with honey because one thing I noticed with a lot of Opera cake recipes is that they kept the syrup and the buttercream the same flavoring. I flavored my Ganache/Mousse with Rum because I thought I had a couple of liqueurs but they were not there.

Review: I enjoyed making this cake and all the elements that go into it. I have to say that I have gotten really good a making buttercream thanks to the daring bakers. The recipe for the buttercream is by far my favorite of all the ones we made and I would use it again for another cake. Overall i found the cake I made too sweet for my taste and for most of my families taste as well. I served half for mother's day and froze the other half to serve for the bbq I had this past weekend. Most people said that cake was too sweet and didn't really want to eat it. I think that is my fault because I probably used way too much honey to flavor everything. The next time I make this cake I am going to try the traditional flavors because this is a very easy (yet time consuming) and beautiful cake.


marye audet said...

Nice job!

Christine said...

Your pics are beautiful!

Dolores said...

Gorgeous pictures... can't wait to hear the story behind them!

Molly Loves Paris said...

good job, looks like a very fancy banana cake.

Barbara said...

Very creative choice for flavoring. And it looks beautiful.

Ally said...

I love the yellow and decoration, very nice!

Shari said...

Great job! Love the sprinkles.
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

Claire said...

It interesting that so many people found this too sweet. I didn't have that problem, but it may have to do with the fact that I didn't use the buttercream. Pretty pictures! Glad you were able to share it with family and friends.

Rebecca said...

Honey and baklava spices–sounds absolutely delicious.

Brownie said...

Pretty! Nice work! :)

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a lovely job on your Opera Cake.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go


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