Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Daring Bakers - Opera Cake

Yes… another month has passed and its time for the next installment of the Daring Bakers Challenge.
This month it is Opera cake.
We were given instructions: it had to be white. No chocolate or coffee or dark colours. Why? Because its spring and everything is fresh & light. Well maybe in the northern hemisphere. But half the world is actually in the southern hemisphere and its autumn here. But I have stuck to the theme and kept it light & white & seasonal.
An Opera cake is a cake that is made up (usually) of five components: a jaconde (a cake layer), a syrup (to moisten the jaconde), a buttercream (to fill some of the layers), a ganache (to top the final cake layer) and a glaze (to cover the final layer of cake or of ganache). We were given a bit of leeway with the type of nut used in the jaconde. I went with a macadamia nut. Freshly cracked macadamias, coarsely ground to give some texture to the cake. This turned out quite nicely with a nice light colour and delicious flavour. The jaconde was then bathed in a syrup to give it some moisture. I had decided that mandarin was going to be the main flavour for my Opera cake. So the zest of the mandarin was used in the ganache and the juice was used in the syrup. As neither Paul nor myself are fans of the dreaded “buttercream” (read cholesterol, waistline spread, blocked arteries) I chose to go with a lighter vanilla ricotta cream for the layers. The only problem I had in assembling the cake was the glaze. It kept wanting to drip down the sides of the cake. Letting it cool slightly helped resolve that problem but didn’t give a mirror like finish to the cake. Oh well, can’t have everything (but I do try).

End result was a cake which I was very pleased with. Light & white with flecks of orangey/gold. And also had Paul’s approval (no mean feat!).
So another Daring Bakers Challenge is completed & consumed. What will be next?????