Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Figaro







I was so excited to see this recipe for the Daring Baker Challenge. It was full of the unknown, I had never made anything like this, but always wanted to. This was why I joined the group, for a challenge. I then realized that I was going to be home for only 5 days from the time the challenge was posted until the time we reveal, how and when was I going to pull this off because there was no way I was going to skip this one.


I decided that I would make this Opera Cake after we returned from Serbia but before leaving for the U.P. (upper peninsula of Michigan) and take the Cake to share with the family. So the day we left for the our next adventure I did this to my kitchen...













which drives my hubby nuts; however, I did clean it.
I made the cake and then it was time for the butter cream. Cook the sugar, not so bad, whip the eggs was a snap, combining, well that is another story...






I am not sure what I did wrong, I drizzled the hot sugar down the side of the bowl and sill got this hard mass of egg covered caramel. the butter cream ended up being a little flat and heavy but the hardened sugar was great and the kids and I loved every bit.






When layering the cake the last layer fell apart so I had to make do with what I has so that is why the ginach in on the chocolate mousse, what can I say I had to work with what I had.







Opera Cake
For the joconde
(Note: The joconde can be made up to 1 day in advance and kept wrapped at room temperate)
What you’ll need:
•2 12½ x 15½-inch (31 x 39-cm) jelly-roll pans (Note: If you do not have jelly-roll pans this size, do not fear! You can use different-sized jelly-roll pans like 10 x 15-inches.)
•a few tablespoons of melted butter (in addition to what’s called for in the ingredients’ list) and a brush (to grease the pans)
•parchment paper
•a whisk and a paddle attachment for a stand mixer or for a handheld mixer
•two mixing bowls (you can make do with one but it’s preferable to have two)
Ingredients:
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tbsp. (30 grams) granulated sugar
2 cups (225 grams) ground blanched almonds (Note: If you do not want to use almond meal, you can use another nut meal like hazelnut. You can buy almond meal in bulk food stores or health food stores, or you can make it at home by grinding almonds in the food processor with a tablespoon or two of the flour that you would use in the cake. The reason you need the flour is to prevent the almonds from turning oily or pasty in the processor. You will need about 2 cups of blanched almonds to create enough almond meal for this cake.)
2 cups icing sugar, sifted6 large eggs½ cup (70 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. (1½ ounces; 45 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1.Divide the oven into thirds by positioning a rack in the upper third of the oven and the lower third of the oven.
2.Preheat the oven to 425◦F. (220◦C).
3.Line two 12½ x 15½- inch (31 x 39-cm) jelly-roll pans with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.
4.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a handheld mixer), beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy. If you do not have another mixer bowl, gently scrape the meringue into another bowl and set aside.
5.If you only have one bowl, wash it after removing the egg whites or if you have a second bowl, use that one. Attach the paddle attachment to the stand mixer (or using a handheld mixer again) and beat the almonds, icing sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and voluminous, about 3 minutes.
6.Add the flour and beat on low speed until the flour is just combined (be very careful not to overmix here!!!).
7.Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond mixture and then fold in the melted butter. Divide the batter between the pans and spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of each pan.
8.Bake the cake layers until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch. This could take anywhere from 5 to 9 minutes depending on your oven. Place one jelly-roll pan in the middle of the oven and the second jelly-roll pan in the bottom third of the oven.
9.Put the pans on a heatproof counter and run a sharp knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Cover each with a sheet of parchment or wax paper, turn the pans over, and unmold.
10.Carefully peel away the parchment, then turn the parchment over and use it to cover the cakes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.
For the syrup
(Note: The syrup can be made up to 1 week in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator.)
What you’ll need:
•a small saucepan
Ingredients:
½ cup (125 grams) water
⅓ cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
1 to 2 tbsp. of the flavouring of your choice (i.e., vanilla extract, almond extract, cognac, limoncello, coconut cream, honey etc.)1.Stir all the syrup ingredients together in the saucepan and bring to a boil.
2.Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
For the buttercream
What you’ll need:
•a small saucepan•
a candy or instant-read thermometer
•a stand mixer or handheld mixer
•a bowl and a whisk attachment
•rubber spatula
Ingredients:
1 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
¼ cup (60 grams) water seeds of one vanilla bean (split a vanilla bean down the middle and scrape out the seeds) or 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract (Note: If you are flavouring your buttercream and do not want to use the vanilla, you do not have to. Vanilla will often enhance other flavours but if you want an intense, one-flavoured buttercream, then by all means leave it out!)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1¾ sticks (7 ounces; 200 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature flavouring of your choice (a tablespoon of an extract, a few tablespoons of melted white chocolate, citrus zest, etc.)
1.Combine the sugar, water and vanilla bean seeds or extract in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves.
2.Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 225◦F (107◦C) [*Note: Original recipe indicates a temperature of 255◦F (124◦C), however, when testing the recipe I found that this was too high so we heated to 225◦F and it worked fine] on a candy or instant-read thermometer. Once it reaches that temperature, remove the syrup from the heat.
3.While the syrup is heating, begin whisking the egg and egg yolk at high speed in the bowl of your mixer using the whisk attachment. Whisk them until they are pale and foamy.
4.When the sugar syrup reaches the correct temperature and you remove it from the heat, reduce the mixer speed to low speed and begin slowly (very slowly) pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl being very careful not to splatter the syrup into the path of the whisk attachment. Some of the syrup will spin onto the sides of the bowl but don’t worry about this and don’t try to stir it into the mixture as it will harden!
.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 or so).
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.With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding in two-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 in your flavouring and beat for an additional minute or so.
9.Refrigerate the buttercream, stirring it often, until it’s set enough (firm enough) to spread when topped with a layer of cake (about 20 minutes).
For the white chocolate ganache/mousse (this step is optional – please see Elements of an Opéra Cake below)
(Note: The mousse can be made ahead and refrigerated until you’re ready to use it.)
What you’ll need:
•a small saucepan
•a mixer or handheld mixer
Ingredients:
7 ounces white chocolate1 cup plus 3 tbsp. heavy cream (35% cream)
1 tbsp. liquer of your choice (Bailey’s, Amaretto, etc.)
1.Melt the white chocolate and the 3 tbsp. of heavy cream in a small saucepan.
2.Stir to ensure that it’s smooth and that the chocolate is melted. Add the tablespoon of liqueur to the chocolate and stir. Set aside to cool completely.
3.In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form.
4.Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate to form a mousse.
5.If it’s too thin, refrigerate it for a bit until it’s spreadable.
6.If you’re not going to use it right away, refrigerate until you’re ready to use.
For the glaze
(Note: It’s best to make the glaze right when you’re ready to finish the cake.)
What you’ll need:
•a small saucepan or double boiler
Ingredients:
14 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup heavy cream (35% cream)
1.Melt the white chocolate with the heavy cream. Whisk the mixture gently until smooth.
2.Let cool for 10 minutes and then pour over the chilled cake. Using a long metal cake spatula, smooth out into an even layer.
3.lace the cake into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.
Assembling the Opéra Cake
(Note: The finished cake should be served slightly chilled. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 day).
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.
Step A (if using buttercream only and not making the ganache/mousse):
Place one square of cake on the baking sheet and moisten it gently with the flavoured syrup.
Spread about one-third of the buttercream over this layer.
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 another third of the buttercream on the cake and then top with the third square of joconde.
Use the remaining syrup to wet the joconde.
Spread the remaining buttercream on top of the final layer of joconde and then refrigerate until very firm (at least half an hour).
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. This recipe will yield approximately 20 servings.
Step B (if making the ganache/mousse):
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.
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).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.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. This recipe will yield approximately 20 servings.














16 comments:

abby said...

i think you did a great job, despite the difficulties along the way - i could just eat a slice now!

Christine said...

You did a great job! My kitchen was a disaster too!

breadchick said...

OH yea my kitchen looked like two bombs went off in it after I was done. I'm thinking it all turned out though looking at the pictures of the lovely cake.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Lol! My kitchen looked pretty much like yours after this challenge. I wish I could hire a prefessional kitchen helper to do the cleaning up!

Your cake looks lovely. You would never guess that you had any "issues".

Dolores said...

I don't know about your husband, but I think the end result was worth the mess it created. Great job!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Any issues you had are not at all obvious in the final pics--the cake looks spectacular! lol, the mess in the kitchen less spectacular, but that's the cost of great food, right?

TeacherPatti said...

WOW! That looks awesome! You are the woman!
PS: Kim (farmers' marketer) and some of us were thinking of having a blogger get together this summer and you--and anyone, really--are invited. Tentative date is July 12. More info to come....
:)

Shari said...

Looks delicious! I like the gloss on that first picture!
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

Warda said...

You're back!!!!! And you did a great job! Did you get my e-mail???

Barbara said...

I'm sure there were hundreds of messy kitchens this month. I don't remember how many times I cleaned out bowls and wiped down the counter while making this cake.

Your cake turned out beautifully!

Rebecca said...

My kitchen looked like a crime scene. Gorgeous results for you, though!

Deborah said...

I can never seem to keep my kitchen clean during DB challenges. Your cake looks great!

Nora B. said...

wow Shayne, that first photo of your cake looks perfect! well done on the challenge.

yes, this blog block seems to be doing it's rounds. I feel myself getting back to blogging though.

take care,
nora

Shayne said...

I know it has taken me a while to say thank you for all your kind words but here I am and Thank you very much.

Patty - yes I would love to join in sometime this summer and meet you and I would love to see Kim again.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

It looks perfect! How yummy!

Debyi said...

Your cake looks great! Messy kitchens kind of come with the baking territory :) at least with most of the recipes. Its worth it though.