Thursday, 29 May 2008
...even if it doesn't look like one... Finally, I've been able to participate once again in one of the Daring Bakers' Challenges - and what a challenge! This time, it wasn't nothing less than the classic opera cake that we had to try our hands on. Usually I would shy away from butter cream laden desserts, however, when I saw this challenge I knew instantly who to feed it to. This month, my now-husband was finishing the four-year trial called PhD and I had planned on baking cake for his research lab to eat after the public thesis defence. This super rich recipe seemed to be exactly the thing if you want to feed loads of people (but to be sure I made a red wine dark chocolate cake as well - these engineers can eat a lot).
I started with the joconde two days before - after all, I couldn't risk running late and keeping him awake while trying to finish it. The recipe worked like a charm and now I know which one to choose if I ever try again to make a Swiss roll (my one and only attempt resulted in a totally broken sponge base). The only tricky part was dividing the batter evenly as I didn't have two baking sheets. If trying again, I would probably try to get this unbelievable elastic joconde even thinner for three layers.
To moisten, I used a cointreau-flavoured syrup following the Daring Bakers' recipe.
For the filling I wanted to make a Swiss meringue butter cream, simply because I don't own a sugar thermometer and this variation seemed to be the easiest of butter creams. Luckily, again with a little cointreau as flavouring, it also turned out to be the tastiest butter cream I've ever had (and I normally don't like any of them). This recipe was easy to follow and easy to scale down to 20 per cent which all went on the first layer.
Although I would never want to eat white chocolate on its own, I love white chocolate mousse and the one from the Daring Bakers' recipe was no exception. I doubled the original amounts and used it all to cover the whole cake. As my filling to cake ratio was a bit off the mark, I decided to only pipe some of the white chocolate glaze on top instead of covering the cake or it would have been too sweet for me (besides, my glaze turned out rather stiff anyway).
Only much later (and despite reading the recipe several times) it dawned on me why my concoction wasn't looking like an opera cake at all - I had forgotten to cut the joconde properly to make a smaller cake with three layers! Too bad but I know that I wouldn't have been able to cut dainty, slim slices anyway. While cutting away, T was being questioned by his reviewers and although I was sure that he would pass the whole thing splendidly (which he did), I was the nervous one of us both (so nervous in fact that I couldn't get a decent photo). Well, better this way than the other way round...
Anyway, everyone loved this opera cake despite its homely appearance. Here you can see what it should have been looking like. Check out the recipe at the host's and the two co-hosts' blogs as well as the results of all the Daring Bakers members! This month's DB edition is dedicated to Barbara of Winos and Foodies and her event The Taste of Yellow in order to promote Lance Armstrong's LiveSTRONG foundation - that's why we changed from the traditional coffee-dark-chocolate opera to this light-coloured version!