Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Leaning Opera Cake Tower

So, this is what this months Daring Bakers challenge came out like in my kitchen. A leaning tower of Opera cake. This months there was four people hosting, namely the two founders of the Daring Bakers, Lisa from La Mia Cucina and Ivonne from Creampuffs in Venice together with Fran at Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie and Shea from Whiskful. Thank you all for a great challenge!
In addition to posting this challenge, they also suggested that posts could be dedicated to Barbara at WinosAndFoodies. While I do not know Barbara, I checked out her blog which is a very nice read. Barbara, even not knowing you, I would like to dedicate my cake entry to you and the fight against cancer.
So, now to my cake making. The recipe we used for the Opera cake can be found for example in Ivonnes challenge entry (it's really quite long, and I'm never totally comfortable about putting anyone else's recipe up on my blog without asking, so I link instead, hope that's OK).

Learning from last months challenge, I had decided that even though I had no real reason to make a huge cake, I would still enjoy the challenge. So I left work a bit early on a Friday afternoon (my brain had stopped working anyway, so I couldn't really write much more), dropped by a shop to buy a bit of white chocolate and got home and started to work on a mini version of the Opera cake. I decided to make a fourth of the recipe, and decided that I had two pans that would together be the right volume for that. I started to measure up ingredients. At this point the phone started to call. And suddendly I wasn't at all going to have a nice Friday night for baking, but was invited to a last minute put together dinner party. Oh well, it was still some time to go, and I had a few eggs separated, (and divided into parts since I wanted things like 6/4=three half eggs), so I decided to go ahead with the joconde and the butter cream. Luckily everything turned out well except for me freaking out about there being to little batter for two pans and decided to do it all in one of the pans. As you can see I ended up with somewhat to thick layers because of this. I decided to make use of some wonderful pistachios I had bought a few weeks earlier for this, so I substituted ground pistaccios for most of the ground almonsds in the recipe. Then I made a very lime-tasting butter cream by adding the zest of two limes and the juice of one to the butter cream. The butter cream was nice and easy, no problem to make. I actually heated the syrup for the butter cream all the way up to 124° C, since I didn't understand in what way that had gone wrong (and I like instructions to be explained...) I had no problems doing this, but maybe my butter cream would have been even better if I had followed the sugestion and only heated it to 107°C. Anyhow, it worked fine.

The next morning, after a nice dinner with some friends I went back to working on my cake. For the syrup, I choose to use a orange flower honey which I thought would compliment the pistaccios. And I also made a white chocolate mousse with some extra chopped pistaccios and a little bit of lime zest. Then, finally I made the glace, which I, as I remember it left plain and decorated the cake with some of those amazingly dark green pistaccios.
And when I had put it all together I realised that I really should have used two pans for the joconde, because, well, this was quite a lot higher than it was wide. But at least it looks kind of funny :)
Also, with this thick layers of cake, I really should have used huge amounts of syrup to get them all spongy. Maybe I was a bit to much in a rush to do this properly, because I think it could have been done a bit better. Also, the thickness of the layers made it quite hard to get all the layers into one bite. But, I made it, and I don't think I've ever made a cake with so many components before. And I was certainly enjoying myself while making it. So, thank you to all Daring Bakers that makes this event so much fun each month!

10 comments:

HoneyB said...

Great job Lina!

Christine said...

Wow your choice of flavorings sounds delicious! Great job! Love how you made a smaller version

Dolores said...

Nice job... I love the sound of the pistachio!

Venus ~ Vi said...

ohhhh pistachio! I thought it was matcha at first =)

Your flavors are very intersting. I wonder what kind of chemistry they created!

Deborah said...

It's all about having fun - great job!!

Shari said...

I like your flavor combo!
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

giz said...

Very interesting choice of flavour - wasn't it fun!!

Barbara said...

Your cake looks great! Love the flavors you chose.

Claire said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed making the cake...that helps! Your cake looks great.

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

I love your mini cake! Pistachio and orange blossom honey sounds delicious.

Rebecca
http://www.ezrapoundcake.com