Yes, it's that time of the month again! Aren't you impressed that I managed to complete and post about this month's challenge while on the road? Okay, okay, it's true, I'm not a super-road-warrior-daring baker, merely an organized planner. I made the cake ahead of time and then set dear old typepad to auto-publish.
This month's challenge is hosted by our marvelous Daring Baker founders, Lis of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice, and co-hosted by Fran of Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie and Shea of Whiskful. The four of them put their heads together to come up with an uber-challenge, the famous Opéra Cake, adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Paris Sweets, who in turn adapted it from the Dalloyau.
Opéra Cake is traditionally made up of layers of almond cake soaked in
coffee syrup and filled with layers of coffee buttercream and
bittersweet chocolate ganache and then finally topped with chocolate
glaze, but this version is to be light in color and flavor. That means NO use of chocolate, coffee or cocoa. The theme of light colors is is in keeping with the dedication of this month's challenge to Barbara of winosandfoodies.com. Barbara is the force behind the food blog event A Taste of Yellow which
supports the LiveSTRONG foundation.
I'm afraid I met my nemesis with this recipe. I started with La Traviata and ended with La Travesty. I had decided to go with raspberry as my flavor variation, and it all went well until I got to the ganache/mousse portion of the recipe. I made a raspberry syrup, using raspberry cordial, to brush on the cake layers. Then for the buttercream I reduced a bag of frozen organic berries down to syrup, strained out all of the seeds, and added a couple of tablespoons along with some of the raspberry cordial. Everything was looking and tasting perfect!
But then it all went sideways when I got to the white chocolate ganache/mousse. The first time I tried to make it and failed was entirely my own fault, as I was working from the book Paris Sweets, having completely forgotten that this component was based on an entirely different recipe. Okay, fine. My bad and easy enough to try again (and send Jack out to buy more white chocolate). But the second time I followed the instructions to the letter and... it curdled. I assembled the cake and used it anyway, as it tasted nice, even if it looked like a dog regurgitated it. Sadly, there was no spreading the "mousse" and I had to pat it on with my fingers.
By the time I got the white chocolate glaze over the top I'd used two pounds of white chocolate! I had white chocolate on my clothes and in my hair (don't ask). I loved the cake and the buttercream, but really felt that the amount of white chocolate was a bit much for my tastse, and in fact, Jack and I pulled the "mousse" and glaze off when we ate a piece.
Click the link for the entire recipe.