Thursday, May 29, 2008

Daring Bakers: L'Opera Cake

This is my first Daring Bakers Challenge. And oh my, was it a challenge. This was my first cake that had so many elements that became very time consuming. These past few days have been busy since my friend is in town for 2 months so I had to find time to finish this cake. Tonight I finally did.
First let me describe what a opera cake is. It is a layered cake with layers of buttercream, nutty flavored thin cake, ganache, and glaze. Usually the flavors are coffee and chocolate but since it is spring time the daring bakers decided that light colors would be more appropriate.
This is how the cake is set up (jaconade, syrup, buttercream, jaconade, syrup, buttercream, jaconade, ganache/mousse, glaze).
I made a jaconade using hazelnuts instead of almonds and vanilla extract. A jaconade is a cake that does not rise. it is very very thin. I decided to not make the syrup because the jaconade was already sweet enough and i didnt want to make it overly sweet with the syrup. It was also already very very moist. Even after 2 days it was incredibly moist.
I didn't use the Daring Baker's buttercream frosting recipe because of the issues with eggs and how I didn't think the syrup would actually be hot enough to get rid of the bacteria in the eggs. So I actually used the buttercream recipe in Dorie's book. Finally Dorie didn't let me down. Hah. The buttercream was really good. The only thing was it was more buttery then sweet so I added about 2 TBSP of icing sugar and a lot of fresh lemon juice and frozen blueberries in juice. It turned out great. Not too sweet, but still a great thick consistancy. This was a great buttercream to experiment with.

For the ganache I use Gharadhelli (hopefully I spelled that right) white chocolate I got from Trader Joes. Trader Joes is my new place to get baking chocolate. You get a big block of nearly 9 oz for pretty cheap. At grocery stores it can get really expensive which adds up. So, I learned that my mixer doesnt whip up egg whites or heavy cream that well because I halved the recipes so its about half a cup at a time since I dont like to make a lot. I whipped out my hand held mixer that I have had since I was little. The instructions to make a ganache is you have to melt chocolate over the stove with a few tablespoons of heavy cream. It turned out oily and i had to use a spoon to get rid of the oil that built up. After I put the ganache in the fridge and it turned out GREAT! So far everything turned out as great as I wanted.
For the glaze which I didn't end up using a lot of in the end was blueberry glaze. Not the white chocolate glaze like in the recipe. I used corn starch to thicken it up. A lot of people use agar agar or gelatin to make a glaze. I have yet to try those, I will in the future I am sure. It ended up so well and very blueberry tasting.
Finally everything came together after 3 days. Attempt the recipe for yourself!