Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Daring Bakers May Challenge - L'Opera Cake
The Daring Baker challenge for May encompasses all the things I love about being a Daring Baker – it challenged me to make something I would probably not have tried, but for the challenge. This month it was L’Opera cake. Now, the cake you see in the photos probably doesn’t look all that complex, and to be honest, the individual components are not that hard, but put them all together and the Opera cake is quite a feat.
An opera cake consists of five components – a sponge cake made from ground nuts rather than flour, a sugar syrup which is used to moisten the sponge, a buttercream to sandwich the first two layers of cake together, a chocolate mousse and finally a glaze to top the cake. The main DB rule was that the cake had to be a light coloured cake. I based my cake around some little icing flowers I had made a few weeks ago that are a pretty pale pink colour, making my cake rose flavoured.
I didn’t have anything special to make the cake for, so decided to make only a third of the mixture. It made a nice loaf sized cake. The sponge was fairly easy – a nice light almond sponge which was then moistened with sugar syrup to which I added some rose water. The butter cream was made using egg and a sugar syrup. I think it was the best butter cream I have made – it was lovely and thick and creamy rather than buttery. I tinted the butter cream pale pink and also flavoured it with rosewater.
The mousse was made by folding melted white chocolate into beaten cream. This gave an almost ganache like mousse. I also tinted this pale cream. The glaze was actually a bit thicker than I thought it would be. It was ganache like as well. I went a bit crazy on the food colouring in the first attempt, so I re-made it. It still turned out a bit darker than I would have liked. I think I would also add a bit more cream to the glaze to make it a bit thinner.
The verdict? This cake was delicious. I took it into work and it was a hit – at least with the women. I heard through the grapevine that my business partner thought it tasted like hand cream! At least he got that it was rose flavoured! This is a real special occasion cake. I would make it again and would be interested to try different flavours – I think a chocolate one would be particularly nice. I really enjoyed making this cake and I enjoyed the challenge of trying to make it look as good as I could. Thanks again to the Daring Bakers for another fun challenge! You can see the other DBs’ Opera cakes here.