So, here I am at Daring Baker reveal time, it is my 2nd challenge. Despite some contention with regards to measurements and a few revisions of the recipe all went very well for me. I decided that being new to the group I was going to follow the original recipe as it stood, I am but a casual baker, by no means trained that I am confident enough to change something that I have not done in past. So on I marched….

Initially, I had a very clear direction, L’Opéra a’la Brennan’s Bananas Foster. Let me back peddle for a minute here. The Challenge was to “lighten” the traditional Opera cake, a deep dark rich dream with coffee and chocolate and turn it into something to Honor the Lance Armstrong Foundation “LiveSTRONG” and Barbara. Light and bright was the direction to go. Hmmm, snag number 1, is cinnamon light and bright? Let me fire off a question to the powers that be, this months Hostesses Fran, Ivonne, Lis and Shea…I got a few “go for its” but the deciding reply was…”Ultimately we’re asking you to keep to light flavours and colours but if you want to use cinnamon as an accent, there’s nothing stopping you.” Hmmmm, not really a no but not really a yes, what to do? Well, I like this bunch and I decided to err on the side of caution, I am not a fan of the boot, so out went the Bananas Foster! (Truthfully, I am pleased I did so, my end result was…in the words of one taster “da bomb” but more on that in a bit)

Back to the drawing board it seemed, although it wasn’t long before I hit on what I thought was a winner. Kiwi, star fruit and macadamia nut!! Yum Yum Yum!!!! The kiwi and macadamia were easily located but star fruit was elusive as a white stag!!! A walk through the produce section put the final piece in place, rounding a corner I was struck by the sweet, sunshiney scent of ripe pineapple!! Viola!!!

I first thought that I would “do” the cake in stages as was suggested, but life, or at least my life doesn’t work that way. A twist here and a turn there and I was not on schedule. When the time finally fell at my feet I began. Now, I am not sure if I was a lucky one but it seemed everything was flowing so well that I went start to finish in one sitting!!! All but the glaze that is, that would be reserved till the night before service.

Alrighty, enough of the suspense and prelude, let’s get to L’Opéra. As mentioned earlier, I used the original posted recipe, which can be found on my DB Challenge Recipes page, with no revisions, other than flavorings.

  • For the joconde I replaced the almonds with macadamia nuts, to make the “meal” I added some of the flour for the cake as well as a TBS. of sugar and it processed nicely, perhaps it could have been more fine but what small amounts of unprocessed nuts just added to the texture of the final product.
  • For the simple syrup I only replaced the H2O with pineapple juice.
  • The glaze was as written.
  • The buttercream had some minor adjustments, as I was concerned flavoring after it was made would somehow cause it to fail. What I decided upon doing was to make a kiwi pureé and use it in place of the H2O in the syrup, I then cooked it to the required 225 degrees. Heaven!!!!! I did add small dice kiwi just for visual appeal at the end but the pureé syrup really imparted the kiwi flavor I sought.
  • For the mousse, also a minor adjustment, actually more of an addition. I made the mousse as written but then I whipped up a box of sunshine pineapple jello using half the required H2O. Once the jello was partially set, I folded in 1/4 of the mousse then folded that back into the remaining mousse.

Assembly was a breeze. Off to the fridge it went to set up. When time came for the glaze, that too was a rather simple endeavor. I did, however, have a certain design in mind, random green polka dots, I hoped that when I glazed the entire top with untinted glaze it would have remained liquid enough that when I added the “dots” they would have flowed and leveled with the surface of the untinted glaze. Alas, not to be!! Now that wasn’t such a bad thing, it didn’t look exactly as I envisioned but it looked pretty darned good. Lesson learned there was, in future (and yes this cake has a future!!!), I will reverse the order and do the polka dots first, let them set up, then pour the untinted glaze and twist and turn the cake till the glaze fills around the dots.

My thoughts on this challenge are that its bark (the actual recipe…7 long printed pages) was much worse than its bite (implementing it). When it was presented the crowd hushed and when it was consumed it received a long standing ovation, just as any well written Opera should!!!!

We were asked to perhaps dedicate this challenge to Barbara and LiveSTRONG, truthfully being new here I am really not familiar with Barbara but I am familiar with LiveSTRONG and I assume that this foundation is dear to her …so for

  • Barbara
  • Lance
  • and all who LiveSTRONG…

macadmai nut, kiwi and pineapple Opera cake

Ok, so call me psychotic but….as this was all said and done and set to auto post at midnight the 28th, I got a wild hair up the ole who-haw about 7:30 pm on the 27th. So what was this wild hair? The original Bananas Foster version I was gonna do, with some minor changes….“MILK CHOCOLATE”!!! It is now 11pm on the 27th and I am waiting for the cake to chill enough to add the mousse on top. I am hoping I can get it glazed as well by post time (with the possibility of a quick photo before it is trimmed).

As I found this cake to be actually a fairly cut and dry task and since everyone else, myself included, found it to be a very great tasting cake, I figured I would go for it and see if I could beat the clock!!! I think I am winning but only time will tell!! Bad pun!!

Since the above cake was dedicated to Barbara and LiveSTRONG, this one is dedicated to all you Daring Bakers and one wild woman with a bad back!!!! I am following exactly as I had initially planned other than I am now going to replace the white chocolate glaze with a milk chocolate one!!!

So here is what I did with this one…

  • Joconde- Pecan Meal and Cinnamon
  • Buttercream-Banana and Rum- I did the same as I did with the kiwi and created a banana rum pureé. This time I replaced the granulated sugar with brown sugar, again cooked to 225 degrees.
  • Mousse- White Chocolate Banana Cream- I made a dense banana pudding then added the melted white chocolate then folded that into the whipped cream.
  • Glaze-Recipe as from original but….MILK CHOCOLATE. Call me a rebel!!!

Pictures to come!!!!

11:55pm- 5minutes to post, the mousse is on but not chilled enough for the glaze, I guess I didn’t beat the clock…to hell with timepieces anyway!!!! The mousse tells me it’s a winner regardless!!

Updates coming!!!

2:08 am FINISHED!! Glazed cake earlier, took a power nap and then woke to trim and photograph!! The scraps are quite tasty, I am not sure there was enough cinnamon for my taste but the mousse (I plan on posting that recipe, as it really is faboo!!) and glaze were really really good together!! Here is a photo for you all…

Bananas Foster Opera Cake

…and now that the fat lady, er guy, has sung; it is now time for bed!