Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Daring Bakers - White Chocolate Opera Cake


May's Daring Bakers Challenge is being hosted by the Daring Bakers co-founders, Lis (La Mia Cucina) and Ivonne (Creampuffs in Venice), and co-hosted by Fran of Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie and Shea of Whiskful. They have chosen a recipe that seemed very challenging indeed - a white chocolate opera cake. Why was this recipe challenging? (a) I have never made an opera cake before; (b) the recipe was quite long and seemed confusing at first; and (c) it uses vast quantities of that notoriously temperamental ingredient, white chocolate.

However, I am glad that I bit the bullet and made it, even though I would never have dreamed that I could make this previously, because it tasted DEVINE! I was a bit worried with all that butter, cream and white chocolate that it would be overly sweet, but the combination of the cake constitutents balance each other out so that it is just superb. Definitely not a Weight Watchers cake, but everything in moderation, I always say, and in moderation, this cake is worth every calorie.




I left the jaconde the original almond flavour, made a lemon flavoured syrup to soak the jaconde using lemon zest (which I strained out of the syrup before adding it to the cake), a lemon buttercream using lemon zest, a brandy flavoured mousse and the original white chocolate glaze. After the cake had set, I used a bit of reserved buttercream to attach my "chocolate decor" (love that term!) to the cake - hence the little "dots" that you can see in the close-up shot.

Despite my initial apprehension, the only hurdles that I met in making this were (a) I originally used Cadbury Dream to make the mousse - it melted into a very odd looking substance, and even though the mousse tasted OK, it took on a grainy, oily appearance, hence I binned it and started again using Plaistowe cooking chocolate; and (b) the white chocolate glaze set almost as soon as I poured it onto the cake, so it is neither very glossy nor smooth. My friend Charet tells me that a hot knife would remedy this; however at the time I was so nervous about mixing the the glaze with the mousse while trying to spread it, I wasn't keen to play with it too much.


I loved the buttercream in this cake - it is easily the best tasting buttercream that I have ever had, with no greasy mouthfeel that I generally associate with buttercream. Although the recipe was rather involved, calling for a candy thermometer to "cook" one stage of the buttercream to a particular temperature, I had not problems with achieving a satisfactory result.

I served this cake for dessert when I had Charet and Marco over for lunch. I had plenty left over, which I took to work for morning tea and to my friend Veronica's for dinner, as leaving me alone with a cake like this is way too much temptation for me. They loved it, some saying it was my best cake yet.


If you would like to make your very own opera cake for a special occasion, you can find the recipe at one of the hosts' sites.

This month, the Daring Bakers are invited to dedicate their posts to Barbara of Winos and Foodies, a former Daring Baker, host of a Taste of Yellow, a LiveSTRONG blogging event. Barb is a wonderful, strong lady who has shown bravery and character in the face of life's challenges, and to whom all Daring Bakers can aspire. Barb, this cake is for you - it is full of lemon with a distinctive upbeat yellow vibe that I hope you'll love.

48 comments:

Mary said...

Your cake looks fabulous! Well done on what I thought was a difficult DB challenge!

Gretchen Noelle said...

That sounds delicious - all the lemon! Yum! Glad you faced the challenge! This one did seem complicated, but so, so worth it!!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

looks and sounds amazing!!

rainbowbrown said...

Oh, your cake looks great! I love the chocolate piping, beautiful.

Tammy said...

Looks great - I had the same issue with not getting my glaze very smooth and I also agree re: the butter cream. It was fabulously thick and creamy

Peter M said...

Cake, this looks fab...fa-la-la!

Dolores said...

I'm glad you didn't let your insecurities get the better of you on this one... your opera looks great!

Barbara said...

Oh gosh. what an honour. I didn't know the DB's had done that until now. Thank you so much Cakelaw. Your cake looks perfect too.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I'm glad to hear that you overcame your fears and made that cake! It looks perfect and very beautiful! Very well done!

Cheers,

Rosa

Magnolia Wedding Planner said...

Wow double wow triple wow :-D
this cake is stunning my darling!
Look incredibly delicious!!
Very good job honey
I send a big kiss
Silvia

Kim said...

I love the lemon flavoring and your cake is just beautiful. Are you sure this isn't a weight watchers cake. I'm pretending mine is. Great Job!

sher said...

Oh, you did such a great job! I love the way you decorated it! Fabulous job!

Dhanggit said...

looks delicious your opera!!i love white chocolate :-) such a great challenge for this month!

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

L Opera is singing a song on your blog...fabulous! Love the laws of your kitchen!!

Aparna said...

Nice cake. And didn't it taste just heavenly. I think this is something that every DBer is agreeing on this challenge.

abby said...

hey, geat job! i love the musical sympols on the top of your glaze.

Margaret said...

Beautiful cake, wonderfully iced.

Indigo said...

I love the little treble clefs you've piped on! And completely agree over how good this tasted; everyone who's made it seems to love it ^__^

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

Beautiful! I too have had problems in the past with melting white chocolate and I do think they key is using a high-quality chocolate.

Happy cook said...

Beautiful and delicious

Dana said...

Rock on Cakelaw - at 1 you're ready for any challenge as evidenced by this lovely opera cake!

Meryl said...

I think keeping it simple was the key on this one--glad yours turned out so well!

giz said...

You did such a great job - your cake is gorgeous and so fancy. I'm continuously amazed at the talent in the blogging world.

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

Great job on your cake. Love he decorations!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Now that is a super cool Opera Cake! I love your chocolate decor! Very nice touch!

Ruth Elkin said...

loving the look of your cake with the chocolate decorations!!!! You've done a fab job!

Swati: Sugarcraft India said...

Beautiful cake with great flavors!! Great and impressive work !!

myriam said...

that icing is something to write home about. good job!

adele said...

Nice job. I like the little treble clefs!

Suzana said...

What a nice cake!! Congratulations on a job well done.

Erika said...

Your cake looks great! I love lemon flavor!

Astra Libris said...

Your cake is gorgeous!! I love your beautiful G-clef decorations! Bravo! (and happy birthday Laws of the Kitchen! You rock! :-)

Rosie said...

Your cake looks fabulous cakelaw - well done! Wonderful piping work!!

Rosie x

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a beautiful job on the Opera Cake. I'm delighted that everyone enjoyed your cake.

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

TERESA said...

Great job¡¡¡¡ It looks fantastic¡¡

Christine said...

Wow this cake looks great! I am sure it was delish!

Ally said...

You did so much better on the treble clefs than I did, lol! The cake looks fabulous!

Fran Z said...

Very nicely done. I LOVE this buttercream also!

Morven said...

Great job of the decorating and the flavour combinations sound yum - did you save me a piece?

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Your cake turned out beautifully! The treble clefs are perfect! Well done!

I really liked this buttercream too. I'd love to try the coffee/chocolate version next!

Candace said...

YUM! Very nicely done!

White On Rice Couple said...

What an amazing treat to have for lunch! It looks wonderful and I love your treble clef piping on top!

Ivy said...

This was a really difficult challenge and all cakes I saw were beautiful. Your idea of combining the word Opera with music is genius.

Lis said...

I love how you went with lemon, but I'm really intrigued by the brandy mousse.. holy cow that sounds divine!

I'm just tickled you liked the cake so much - and that you had so many opportunities to share it! That's fabulous!

Beautiful job sweetie!

xoxo

Ann said...

Lovely cake!

Barbara said...

Love the flavors you chose. The cake looks fabulous!

Rebecca said...

Lemon and white chocolate–sounds delicious!

Shari said...

It was delicious, wasn't it. Lemon and white chocolate sound great!
Shari@Whisk: a food blog