Wednesday, May 28, 2008
A Less than Operatic Note: Opera Cakes
It has been a full 24 hours after the affair of the opera cake and I am still drained. There will be 100's of these cakes posted today, so there is very little more that I can say about mine. And, if yesterday I had possessed the energy to lift even one exhausted finger to the keyboard to peck out the tale of my little cakes' creation, well, there would have been a tale there.
But, now, I feel more subdued and resigned about the opera cake. L'opera is a product of the rarified French pastry world, but in my mind, these pastries are tied to Japan and all the fine bakeries that litter Tokyo. A few years ago, a slice of opera (I always ordered the dark chocolate type) and a cup of tea was easily over 10 dollars. And, having experienced the labor and the amount of dairy involved, I have come to think that might have been a steal.
For me, no single element was hard to prepare. Instead, our problems were three-fold: we decided to split the recipe to make two flavors; we decided to do it all as one marathon during Belle's afternoon nap; and we made mini-cakes.
This is a recipe that requires the baker to be prepared, to have a plan, and to be caffeinated. None of those things were true in our case. This meant that when the baby chose to take a 3.5 hour nap, we didn't argue. And, that when she woke up, we allowed some serious latitude in her behavior (running around with toast in her hand and ravaging the tupperware drawer) because we needed to finish assembly.
We were allowed to choose flavor combos as long as the cake remained light-colored. In addition, cupcakes were allowed. How could I turn this mini suggestion down? Well, I didn't. We made 1/2 an opera sheet cake with Mango and Ginger. And, then we made mini-mini green tea, almond, white chocolate cakes. And, but with the green tea, we broke the rules used dark chocolate ganache too (and chocolate butter cream for some). My favorite was the rule breaker, but that is the kind of girl that I am.
My husband is fairly confident the first instruction in next month's Daring Bakers' challenge will read, "sow your land with wheat, mill the first harvest into fine flour..." Ah, the joys of being an insane, I mean, daring baker.
And, while it might seem ungrateful, I am not. Thanks to this month's hosts Ivonne, Lis, Fran and Shea for a great challenge. This challenge was a wonderful way to hone your skills and to feel huge success. Hell, I made 2 opera cakes....
If you want more opera cakes, look at the Daring Baker Blogroll. For a great run down of the recipe, go to Rosie's Yummy Yums. The only thing I would add is, you don't need jelly rolls. I used pyrex pans but only poured the batter in at 1/2 inch thick.
Labels: Baked Good