Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Daring Bakers Go To The Opera

I have to admit, I was a little hesitant about completing this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge. Well, maybe intimidated is more accurate! I mean, could I possibly pull off such a complicated sounding recipe such as this Opera Cake? I had never even heard of such a dessert until a little less than a month ago when our lovely hosts Ivonne, Lis, Fran and Shea announced that this would be our challenge for May. I initially read the recipe over a couple times and each time thought, 'this sounds too hard!’ I didn't pick up the the recipe again until a few days before the long Memorial Holiday weekend and this time, after a few more reads, I actually felt excited about attempting this challenge. This is gonna sound corny but as I was reading the recipe for the third and fourth time I began to think about what being a Daring Baker means and why I joined DB in the first place. I knew one reason I joined was to stretch and challenge myself in the baking arena; another was to learn more from others who shared a passion for baking; and most of all, I joined the DB'ers to have fun! And was this Opera Cake FUN to make! Yes, it did entail many steps, and YES, I did have some frustrating moments especially when the butter cream which turned out so lovely on Saturday night, did not look so hot on Sunday morning. Still though, this recipe allowed me to be a little more creative by choosing the flavorings which was an orange and almond theme. I chose to add some Mandarin oranges in between the layers of the jaconde, added Grand Marnier to the white chocolate ganache, almond extract was used in the syrup, and I topped the finished cake with almond slices and more oranges. Oh my gosh, this cake was delicious! The Opera Cake made its "debut" at a family get together this past Sunday and was a huge hit! The flavors worked well together and despite all the butter, cream and chocolate, there was still a lovely lightness to the cake. Are you up for the Opera Cake challenge? If so, you can find the full

recipe on Ivonne's site if you click here. I'll see you at the Opera!

14 comments:

Julia said...

I was intimidated too! This was not an easy recipe to make. I couldn't believe how long the recipe was.

But you're right -- the point of these challenges is to move us out of our comfort zones. This one sure did it for me. I really like your flavor combination. I LOVE mandarin oranages. Yum!

BTW, my favorite comfort food is something called Mush. It's just cinnamon graham crackers broken up in a bowl with really cold milk poured on top, cereal style. My dad and I used to eat it as a midnight snack when I was little.

Dana McCauley said...

Nice work - I'm so glad your guests were appreciative and I'm so glad you rose to the challenge!

Elle said...

What a great flavor combination! The crumb on you cake is far better than mine. Isn't it FUN to try something new? Especially we get to eat the results! Great job on the challenge!!

dailydelicious said...

I love the way you use orange, I don't know what to do (and so excited to make this challenge), so I just followed the recipe.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

I was a little intimidated too. Your cake turned out great! It looks really luscious! I used orange and almond flavorings too. Love that combo.

Deborah said...

Some of these challenges are quite intimidated because of the length, but you just have to take a big breath and jump right in! Your cake looks great!

Christine said...

First I love the orange and almond combo. Yes this was intimidating and I almost backed out, but just like you i plunged right in! Good job!

Barbara Bakes said...

Your cake sounds delicious. I like that you added the fruit.

familiabencomo said...

Perfect! I love the almond/Mandarin/Grand Marnier combo - it's like an Indochine version of the cake. Tres belle!

xoxox Amy

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I love that you used mandarin oranges, they're so fresh!

Faery said...

Great combination of flavors and the cake also looks yummy. I was very intimidated by this challenge, I can say I was scared :s

Ahmad said...

Mandarins are YUM! I gotta try this flavour combo!

Dolores said...

I think a lot of us were intimidated by this one at the outset, but you've got the right idea: it's about stretching your comfort zone, trying and learning new things in a supportive and nurturing atmosphere. And you did that this month... congratulations!

Rebecca said...

Mandarins and Grand Marnier–YUM. I'm sure your cake was a big hit. Way to hang in there!