This month’s Daring Bakers (DB) challenge was L’Opera Cake hosted by our esteemed founders, Lis of La Mia Cucina and Yvonne of Cream Puffs in Venice, along with new DBer’s, Fran of apples peaches pumpkin pie and Shea of Whiskful. You ask what is an opera cake? Well let me tell you my friends, it is an elegant French dessert that is made up of five components; a cake layer, syrup, butter cream, ganache and a glaze. At first when I read this challenge, I was not sure if I could pull it off. It seemed very intimidating. I had heard of an opera cake before, but had never tasted or seen one person. It definitely was a challenge. I started the cake on Sunday right after mass around noon and it literally took me the whole day to finish it. We were able to choose the flavorings as long as it was light. A traditional opera cake is made with dark chocolate, but this challenge was a light in taste and color opera cake to coincide with Barbara’s Taste of Yellow event, to benefit cancer awareness through the Live strong foundation. I felt that this was a great idea because we all know someone affected by cancer. As I have written in previous posts, my mother is recovering from cancer as is my mother-in-law. We found out about each of their diagnosis’ one week apart from each other. So this cause is very near and dear to my heart. So this challenge is dedicated to Barbara of winosandfoodies.
So trying to figure out my flavor profile was interesting. At first I thought I might try something more challenging like a fruit base perhaps in mango or even strawberry. I discarded that idea and decided to keep it simple since I had so many components to this cake that I had not tried. I finally decided on what I had on hand which was orange. I flavored the syrup with orange flower water that I use for my baklava. It gave the syrup a very floral note and had a beautiful orange finish to it. For the butter cream I used orange extract and for the ganache I used Triple Sec to flavor it. I liked the orange flavor with the white chocolate glaze. In general, I think it turned out well. I made a few mistakes, the first being I did not use all my syrup to soak the cake layers. I was afraid it would turn out to soggy, but in fact the cake seemed a little on the dry side to me. I also tried to cut back on cost a little and used white chocolate chunk chips instead of block white chocolate. I think that affected the consistency of the glaze. I am not a white chocolate fan and didn’t want to break the bank with this challenge. I think mine didn't turn out as pretty as some, but the taste was great and I had fun with the challenge. What more could you ask for! The recipe is on Yvonne's blog link if you want to give it a try. Bon Appetit!