Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Daring Bakers Opera Cake

I just joined the Daring Bakers last month and this month was my first challenge, a light opera cake. Now to be honest I hadn't heard of an opera cake before, but it sounded delicious especially with it being a light one, in which you could use any light fruity flavours of your choice. The cake was a joconde made with almonds, the syrup I decided upon lemon, the buttercream I decided upon mango flavoured, which was so good I couldn't help but eating it out of the bowl, the mousse (which was optional) I flavoured with banana essence and to top it off I tinted the white chocolate ganache with pink food colouring to make it look bright and stand out :). I also bought a little music note which I placed on the top. It was quite complex to make and had a lot of steps going on at once, but it was most definately worth it and I loved it! I'll post up the recipe but feel free to omit your own flavours. I think this is most definately the longest blog post that I will ever type up haha!

If you want to check out what other Daring Bakers did (Daring Bakers Blogroll)


Ingredients Needed

Whisking the egg whites and sugar

Folding the meringue into the flour, egg mixture

Greasing jelly roll pan

Joconde ready for the oven

Joconde out of the oven


Boiling the sugar, water and flavouring


Beating the sugar syrup into the beaten eggs

Beating in the butter and mango flavouring


Melting the white chocolate with cream

Finished cake

A slice of the opera cake

Opera Cake
makes 16 generous portions


6 large egg whites, at room temperature
30g granulated sugar
225g ground blanched almonds (or any other nut meal)
225g icing sugar, sifted
6 large eggs
70g plain flour
45g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. Preheat the oven into 220dergrees celsius and line 2 jelly roll pans with greaseproof paper and grease with melted butter.
2. In a medium sized bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the almonds, icing sugar and eggs on a medium speed until light and voluminous, this should take about 3 minutes.
4 .Add the flour to the icing sugar mixture and beat on a low speed until just combined, be careful to not overbeat.
5. Using a rubber spatula or a metal spoon, fold merinuge mixture into the icing sugar almond mixture and then fold in the melted butter. Divide the batter between the 2 pans and spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of the pans.
6. Bake the cakes until they are lightly browned and springy to the touch, this could take anywhere from 5-9 minutes.
7. Put the pans on a heatproof counter and run a sharp knife along the edges of the cakes to loosen them from the pan. Cover each with a sheet of greaseproof, parchment, paper, turn the pans over and unmold.
8. Carefully peel away the greaseproof paper from the cakes, then turn the greaseproof over and use it to cover the cakes. Allow to cool to room temperature.


125g water
65g granulated sugar
1 to 2 tbsp flavouring of your choice, I chose lemon

1. Stir all the syrup ingredients together and bring to boil in a small saucepan.
2. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.


100g granulated sugar
60g water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon flavouring of your choice, I chose mango

1. Combine the sugar, water and vanilla extract in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Continue to cook without stirring until it has reached 107degrees celisus (225degreesF) on a candy or instant read thermometer. Once it reaches that temperature remove syrup from the heat.
3. Whilst the syrup is heating, start whisking the egg and egg yolk at a high speed until they are pale and foamy.
4. When the sugar has reached the correct temperature and you remove it from the heat, reduce the mixer to a low speed and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl being careful not to splatter the syrup into the whisk.
5. Raise the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the eggs are thick and satiny and the mixture is cool to the touch (about 5 minutes).
6. While the egg mixture is beating, place the softened butter in a bowl and mash it with a spatula until you have a soft creamy mass.
7. Beating on a medium speed add the butter in 2 tablespoon chunks. When all the butter has been incorporated, raise the mixer speed to high and beat until the buttercream is thick and shiny.
8. At this point add your flavouring and beat for a further minute or so.
9. Refrigerate the buttercream, stirring it often, until its firm enough to be spread and topped with layer cake.

Mousse (Optional)

7 ounces white chocolate
225ml + 3 tablespoons whipping (heavy) cream
1 tablespoon flavouring, I chose banana

1. Melt the white chocolate with the 3 tablespoons of whipping cream in a small saucepan.
2. Stir to ensure it's smooth and that the chocolate has melted. Add the tablespoon of flavouring to the chocolate and stir. Set aside to cool completely.
3. In a separate bowl whip the remaining whipping cream until soft peaks form.
4. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate to form a mousse.
5. Refrigerate until mousse like, fluffy and spreadable, mine took overnight.

White chocolate ganache glaze

14 ounces white chocolate
115ml whipping cream
food colouring if desired

1. Melt the white chocolate with the whipping cream. Whisk the mixture gently until smooth and add food colouring if desired.
2. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then pour over chilled cake, after assembled. Using a long metal cake spatula, smooth out in an even layer.
3. Place the cake in the fridge until set.

*If not using mousse top final layer with buttercream*

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.Working with one sheet of cake at a time, cut and trim each sheet so that you have two pieces (from each cake so you’ll have four pieces in total): one 10-inch (25-cm) square and one 10 x 5-inch (25 x 12½-cm) rectangle.
2. Place one square of cake on the baking sheet and moisten it gently with the flavoured syrup.Spread about three-quarters of the buttercream over this layer.
3. Top with the two rectangular pieces of cake, placing them side by side to form a square. Moisten these pieces with the flavoured syrup.Spread the remaining buttercream on the cake and then top with the third square of joconde. Use the remaining syrup to wet the joconde and then refrigerate until very firm (at least half an hour).
4. Prepare the ganache/mousse (if you haven’t already) and then spread it on the top of the last layer of the joconde. Refrigerate for at least two to three hours to give the ganache/mousse the opportunity to firm up.
5. Make the glaze and after it has cooled, pour/spread it over the top of the chilled cake. Refrigerate the cake again to set the glaze.Serve the cake slightly chilled, cut into rectangular pieces.


Jeanine said...

Absolutely beautiful! Such a shiny pink glaze on top. Great job! Welcome to the Daring Bakers! :)

Candace said...

Very nice! Love the little musical note on top... too cute.

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Wow yours is very tall!

Sophie said...

I love the pink and yellow :). What a cute, happy color combo. It was my first time this month too! :D I almost chickened out when I saw how long the instructions were :P!

Medhaa said...

love your flavours and colors
This was my first time too and was a bit terrified when i saw the challenge initially, but it turned out ok.

maryeb said...

An amazing accomplishment. Out of my league. Looks so beautiful and delicious.

Jade Is Green! said...

Yum! Lemon and mango. I used to have a mango tree in our backyard as a kid that would yield hundreds upon hundreds of mangos every year so I never buy them due to feeling rather ripped off. This has inspired me to get some and bake up a storm though! Great work!

Christine said...

Very nice! Love the photos!

Elle said...

Lovely photos of the whole process and gorgeous pink cake. Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

Angela said...

welcome to the Daring Bakers and congratulations on a fabulous first challenge! It's gorgeous :D

giz said...

Wow... with 9 pages of instructions and you still did a step by step pictorial of the process - you're amazing. Your end product is gorgeous too.

Aparna said...

Welcome to our community. Very nice flavour combo. And I know, Imade my buttercream mango, too.

Vera said...

Congratulations with the completed challenge! The flavors chosen sound delicious, and the cake looks great!

Anonymous said...

Great job!

Shari said...

Lemon and mango sound like a nice combo. Great job!

Barbara said...

A tropically inspired cake. It looks gorgeous!

Mara said...

that looks so beautiful natalie!!! i am a daring baker watcher-from-afar...i love everyone's opera cakes. i bet the mango buttercream was AMAZING. i love mango.

Claire said...

No cupcake opera cake! :-) Looks great. Welcome!

Reemas said...

I thing u will reach the top of daring bakers - good work.


silverrock said...

What an adorable cake. I love the way you decorated it with the pink ganache. Congrats on becoming a new DBer and hope to see more from you in the future!

Debyi said...

Your mango buttercream sounds amazing! I bet your cake tasted just as good as it looks, great job on your first challenge!

Jake said...

Have you ever used carob in place of chocolate?
Awhile ago I used to avoid carob but after finding this really good brand, I haven't gone back to chocolate.

The brand I use is from Holy Food Imports,
which comes from Israel, so it does have an excellent and unique taste.

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