Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Daring Bakers - May Challenge

What an "opera"tunity!

The Daring Bakers are at it again. This month we took on the Opera Cake. The challenge was to create an Opera cake using only light, spring-y colors.

The cake consists of three layers of almond joconde with buttercream in between topped with an optional mousse and a ganache layer.

I chose to use raspberry and lime as my flavors. I added lime zest to the cake, made a lime simple syrup to moisten the layers, and then strained the juice from a bag of frozen raspberries to add to the buttercream (classy, right?) I used my own version of fool-proof, no-cook buttercream.

So here's the verdict:
Problems - I made the buttercream and then added the raspberry juice. It was about a 1/2 cup of extra liquid. This made the buttercream runny...So I added more sugar.
I attempted to make the mousse but when I added the almost cooled white chocolate to the whipped cream it turned very lumpy and greasy. So I tossed it! The cake didn't need it anyway. Other daring bakers said that they put the mixture into the fridge to set up and then re-beat it. They said it worked great. Oh well!
Taste - Too sweet. I am not a huge fan of white chocolate and the glaze was TOO sweet. The cake tasted the best when served cold. The raspberry and lime flavors were subtle but blended well.
Difficulty - This cake was much easier than I thought it would be. The hardest part was forking out $10 for my almond flour. The joconde came together nicely. I just wish that I had baked them separatly rather than at the same time on different racks. The top one browned a little much on the top with a moist bottom and the bottom layer was too brown on the bottom with a very light top. The glaze poured on nicely. I chilled it and then trimmed the sides of the cake. It cut very well after being chilled.
Overall - Fun challenge...Thank you co-hosts Lis and Ivonne (daring bakers founders) and Franand Shea. I had always wanted to make an opera cake and here it is! I can't wait to make a more traditional one with chocolate and coffee flavors. THANK YOU!
*check out Ivonne's blog for the recipe.