Wednesday, May 28, 2008


YES! I am a new proud member of the Daring Baker family. And I love it. It has been a blast baking along side of such talented people with a lot of know how. Thank you to all of you for such great inspiration and ideas!

(Couldn't resist putting in this picture as the lime looks so neat, even though the cake does not in this shot.) Such fun this was!

This Opera Cake ended up being my Fathers birthday cake. I will tell you there was no complaining on his part. Of course a few of my family members, who shall go nameless, wanted a more chocolatey type of cake. Not me, I LOVED it. I have to say it is the best cake I have ever eaten. It was so creamy and well balanced and I just loved the raspberry and lime combination. Although there are many combinations of flavors by other Daring Bakers that certainly piqued my interest! I told my parents I would be making this cake for my birthday in the Fall! And I will do the chocolate hazelnut variation of this cake. Yes make my own cake... why not I have so much fun doing it.

A Taste of Light: Opéra Cake

This recipe is based on Opéra Cake recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets and Tish Boyle and Timothy Moriarty’s Chocolate Passion.

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)


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, sifted
6 large eggs
½ 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


½ cup (125 grams) water
⅓ cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
1 to 2 tbsp. of lime juice that has been reduced

Juice about four limes and place in saucepan. Reduce the juice to 2 tablespoons.

Stir in the remainder of the syrup ingredients in the saucepan and bring to a boil.

Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

For the buttercream (I used Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake Buttercream)Modified with different flavors.

(Note: The buttercream can be made up to 1 month in advance and packed in an airtight container. If made way in advance, you can freeze the buttercream. Alternatively you can refrigerate it for up to 4 days after making it. To use the buttercream simply bring it to room temperature and then beat it briefly to restore its consistency.)

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


1 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
4 egg whites
3 sticks (7 ounces; 200 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup raspberry puree made with a tablespoon of Chambord
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream.
Remove the bowl from the heat. Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again. On medium speed, gradually beat in the raspberry puree, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more. You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream.

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


7 ounces white chocolate
1 cup plus 3 tbsp. heavy cream (35% cream)
1 tbsp. Chambord

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 Chambord 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


14 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup heavy cream (35% cream)
1 drop of red food coloring

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.Place 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.

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.


Gretchen Noelle said...

The flavor combo sounds delicious on this! And I love the striking colors as well! Welcome to the daring bakers!

Y said...

Pretty in pink! :)

Engineer Baker said...

Raspberry and lime? Yum! Great first challenge!

Bumblebutton said...

Congratulations on your first DB challenge...and what a fabulous job! Your cake is beautiful! And of course you should make your own birthday cake!

Renee said...

I love your cake, it's beautiful. Pink and green in the shape of raspberry and lime. Yummy! Great job!

Heather said...

Welcome to the DB! Your first challenge is so pretty and well done! Love your flavors!

Shari said...

Raspberry and lime sound great!
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

Marye said...

Welcome! You did an amazing job. This was a challenging first challenge! I love your color combo.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful flavor combination and beautiful color combination too. Very nice.

Shelly said...

Oh my gosh, that looks so delicious and it's absolutely beautiful...looove the pink. I want it for MY birthday...he he

Anonymous said...

Looks fantasic. Actually my favorite picture was the one that you commented on the lime lookin neat but not the cake. I thought it showed all the different textures of each component...I thought your mousse looked wonderfully fluffy , light and rich!!!
Personally i am a fan of baking ones own Birthday cake, we know it was done well, we know we like the flavor and most of all we can lie about the number we write on top!!!!
Great job!!!

Anonymous said...

I think the colors are so pretty! You did a wonderful job - great first DB challenge!

Barbara said...

It looks wonderful Lori. Thanks for stopping by to visit my blog and saying such nice things.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wonderful! Your pretty cake looks extremely delicious!



Clumbsy Cookie said...

So so cute! I love the pastel pink color you got and the limes looks great too!

Dhanggit said...

great job for your first challenge!! welcome to DB!! cant wait to see your coming entries!!

Jacque said...

Mmmmm, raspberry and lime... so original. It's so pretty, love the pink!!

linda said...

Very pretty in pink! I'm planning on making the traditional one for my birthday this summer as well.

Indigo said...

Raspberry?! I bet that was gorgeous. I adore the pink glaze, too; wish I'd done that. Definitely want to try all the other combos, too!

Prudy said...

Your cake is just downright purdy. I love the pink and green. I just joined Daring Bakers so I'm looking forward to next month's challenge. My husband was born and raised in Fairport. I absolutely love it, but my family is in the west. We try to get back whenever we can, usually once a year in the fall.

Susan said...

First challenge is a winner! Raspberry + lime = delicious. Welcome to the DBs.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on making it through your first challenge! You did a great job. :)

Rosie said...

Oh I do love the pink colour so pretty! Great first challenge!

Rosie x

Christine said...

So pretty in pink!

Gabi said...

Yu-umm raspberry and lime yes!!!
Great job!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

So far, yours looks and sounds most tasty! Great job ! :)

Barbara Bakes said...

Your cake looks delicious! I would love the flavor combination.

Kevin said...

Nice looking cake! I like the colours!

Virginia said...

wow it looks so delicious!

giz said...

Wow Lori, not just another pretty face - your cake looks amazing. You cut such straight pieces and such a great colour. Love the combination of raspberry and lime.

HoneyB said...

Congrats on your first challenge! It looks great! Grumpy was talking about this cake tonight at my Aunt's home and was saying how much he liked it. I didn't care for it so much myself...except for the buttercream!

You are the first DB I see lives even remotely close to me! I am north of Syracuse!

Amy J. said...

Wowzers!! I don't know what I'm more enticed by - your flavor combo or how awesome your colors look. Excellent job!!

Megan said...

Looks and sounds wonderful. Too bad we couldn't sample the cakes as we stopped by each blog. There has been some wonderful combos. I want to try thr chocolate one also.

Ann said...

Just gorgeous! Your mousse looks to die for, too!
Ann at Redacted Recipes

Kiandra said...

beautiful...and lime and raspberry sounds so good! it looks like it tasted soo good!

i love baking my own birthday cakes..although my dh has been taking over for the past two years or so...baking is just as fun as eating the goods!

anyway, what a way to begin with the db, huh?

great job!

Kristen said...

Great Job, Welcome to the Daring Bakers!! I love the contrast of the pink glaze and the limes on top, absolutely gorgeous!

Barbara said...

Love the flavor choices you made. Your cake looks so pretty and tasty!

silverrock said...

Oooo... raspberry buttercream and lime, this recipe sounds delicious. I like the way you decorated it, it reminds me of a mojito. Congrats on your first DB challenge!