Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A whiter shade of pale, DB Challenge May

Or should I say I starred in the remake of Joshua fighting the battle of Jericho and the cake came tumbling down? Good morning Sister Lis, Good morning Sister Ivonne..... Those two brave ladies were the hosts of this Months Daring Baker's Challenge (chorus: again? sorry girls, just had to do this hehe) co-hosts this month were Fran at Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie and Shea over at Whiskful and they chose for us to bake an Opera cake. Thank them for having me bake opera not sing it for the walls surely had come down right away!
An Opéra cake is made up (usually) of five components: a joconde (a cake layer), a syrup (to wet the joconde), a buttercream (to fill some of the layers), a ganache or mousse (to top the final cake layer) and a glaze (to cover the final layer of cake or of ganache/mousse.

All theory, now down to the basics and nitty gritty kitchen time. Part of the cake was almond flour, I couldn't find it and used a bag of almonds and ground it in my Magimix together with a couple of tablespoons flour and sugar. That worked, gritty but I had almond flour. Used my 9" square springform to bake two layers and cut them to form nice and even squares. My cakes rose beautifully but as my cakes have a habit of falling...these did too... On to the next part, the buttercream! "Ceci n'est pas une crème de beurre"

This is not buttercream. Of course I should have done it the way I was told to in the recipe but no, I thought better of it and did it my way.... substituted the buttercream (been there, done that, got my hips to prove it!) for a pistachio flavoured pastry cream. Which was, if I may say so, an excellent idea. Granted: poor execution, but the idea on itself was excellent. Flavour as well. Excellent. Added a tiny bit of fresh mint. Excellent. Consistency not so much. Hence skiddy cake.
My syrup was -and still is- great, I squashed a cantaloupe melon with a fork, extracted the juice and made the syrup with the juice, some honey and sugar and a dash of alcohol. Good!

The chocolate mousse went without a hitch and the white chocolate glaze (no, I didn't use a double boiler) was smooth and silky....however...you knew there was a "however" coming. The point of no return in adding a white chocolate glaze is quite eh, hard to distinguish. Too soon and you'll have a runny mess trickling down the sides of your cake, too late and there's a gloppy yellowish mess on top of same cake. Difficult. I invented some card board borders with the help of son nr. 1 to keep the glaze on top, no pictures too messy. Lots of fingerlicking and scooping.

From the scraps of the cut cake layers and the help of a ring I formed my Kodak Opportunity..... I could have posted this pic alone and you would have never known...

Yessss! A whiter shade of pale! Halleluja!

Ping!! Coin of knowledge: did you know La Joconde is another name for the Mona Lisa? I didn't!
Ping!! Thanks to my baking buddies in arms Tanna and Ilva, we had fun, moose and aria's in our kitchens!


48 comments:

  1. Pistachio pastry cream... brilliant!

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  2. And your boys do sing very well!
    I like your flavors so much better than my peach!
    And delores is right - pistachio is brilliant. (got the hips to prove it - right you are funny but thats why I bake with you!)
    I'm going shopping for a moose.

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  3. Your cake looks just brilliant! Pistachio pastry cream sounds like a great idea too! I went with a white choc/cheese mix instead! Brava!

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  4. Well done! I used pistachio, too, involuntarily salted ones. ;-)

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  5. Gorgeous yumminess! I want a piece, it cries out for me to eat it. By the way, I did find almond flour in my store and it was very pricey!!!!

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  6. It's lovely! And now I know why I keep getting links to Mona Lisa when I try to Google jaconde!

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  7. How exotic is this gonna get...pistachio pastry cream!! Your Kodak opportunity is beautiful & who cares about hips if it's gonna get as good as this!! *bow* to you !!

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  8. What a lovely cake, too bad the square ones gave you problems! Creative flavor combination!

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  9. Your version looks gorgeous! Pistachio pastry cream, a great idea!
    Ulrike from Küchenlatein

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  10. A very delicious cake. Pastry cream is a great idea.

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  11. Love pastry cream, love pistachios. Sounds good to me!

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  12. Cantaloupe juice - I'd never have thought of that but it sounds delicious!

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  13. You are an honest baker to show us your tumble down cake (which looks pretty delish to be honest) as well as your gorgegous cake!

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  14. What a creative combination of flavors- It sound wonderful, so I'm glad you found a way to make it work!

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  15. Can I say amen and hallelujah!!! You have restored my faith and I bet you're a better opera singer than you think. Lovely cake ... love the pistachio pastry cream!

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  16. it looks beautiful! Pistachio pastry cream sounds yummy!

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  17. Pistachio is one of my favourite flavours and I love the round cake!

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  18. Perfection. And one would have never known of any difficutly, etc looking at it superb. I love the pastry cream.

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  19. Pistachio anything takes the cake! Your pics looks great and you would have never known there were any problems!

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  20. Ooh, the pistachio pastry cream sounds lovely. I'd love to hear how you do it--do you just grind up pistachios and then mix them in with basic pastry cream?

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  21. Pistachio cream yummy! Your cake looks delish!

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  22. So very creative to use canteloupe juice. I love that idea - the flavour is mild enough to not overpower the cake.

    My very first challenge and I'm loving visiting everyone to see their creations.

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  23. I love pistachio! You made a gorgeous cake!

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  24. Melon syrup! Yum!! That sounds so delicious, and your cake looks great!

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  25. Wat een leuk verhaal om te lezen :-)

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  26. Hmmm...pistachio pastry cream sounds so good! How did you make it? Do you have a stash of pistachio paste, so that I'll have to turn green with envy (no pun intended)? Slippy-slidey or not, your cake looks good, well done!

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  27. Ooh. I wish I had thought of pastry cream--pistachio pastry cream sounds delicious.

    j

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  28. Thanks for dropping by my site Baking Soda. Nice flavour combo you have chosen.

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  29. That's funny about Mona Lisa, here in France, we are taught at school that her name is La Joconde, and very few people know her as "Mona Lisa".

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  30. Wonderful idea with the pistachios. I don't hink you give yourslef enough credit (I know, I know, I was not there for the cutting) because they look fantastic!

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  31. I got my pans at Duikelman in Amsterdam! It is my most favorite kitchen shop EVER (or at least in the NL, hee-hee)! They have everything and then 3 or 5 different versions, sizes, colors, etc. It's just the best place to spend a day in the Dam, as far as I'm concerned. You should come over to the Dam and we'll do lunch and check it out. I love any excuse to go!

    p.s. no stress about the tag...it's purely voluntary! ;-)

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  32. Terrific flavor choices! I didn't tackle this challenge but it sounds like there were a few stumbling blocks.

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  33. Great flavor combination! Your pre-tumble cake looks lovely, and I'm sure it tasted great either pre or post.

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  34. I love the flavors you used. Melon syrup? That sounds incredible. And I love the fallen cakes too. Rebels.

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  35. I would have loved to have tried this one!

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  36. I wish I'd done pastry cream- I like the flavour better than buttercream.

    Your opera is beautiful- Brava!!!

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  37. oh my this looks so cute. I love the flavors and the idea of the pastry cream is simply grand and you used pistachios too my fave!

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  38. Pistachio pastry cream... yum... I also used pistachio flavors in my cake, and I was quite pleased with the result. Your cake looks beautiful, even if the glaze did run.

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  39. Pistachio cream sounds delicious!
    Shari@Whisk: a food blog

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  40. Your cake looks exquisite. Hard to believe so much work went into something that looks so simple and elegant.

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  41. You're right. We would never have known BUT I'm so glad you told us. I love these stories. It proves to me that we all have kitchen disasters and that great results can come from cuss-worthy beginnings!

    Great job.

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  42. Great job! La Jonconde is Mona Lisa? News to me!

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  43. Hey good job. The Pistachio cream looks wow. Bravo !!! Di visit my humble blog too ;)

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  44. HAR! Lord you always make me laugh out loud!! I so love you, Karen! heheheee!

    All I can say is I wish my fingers could have been there for the licking and scooping!

    And I'm totally making pistachio pastry cream! *slurp*

    xoxoxoxox

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  45. Hi everyone! Thanks for coming over to visit and read. And more: leaving such nice comments! Thank you!

    I've posted the pistachio cream recipe!

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  46. Let the pistachio rebellion continue! Delicious and beautiful.

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  47. I love that round little cake! Your flavor combinations are so inventive and "daring!" I will try that pistachio for sure! Lovely job. Wendy

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  48. Your Opera Cake turned out beautifully. I love your flavor choices.

    Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

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