Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I went to the Opera with the Daring Bakers!

Well, not literaly but almost... We made Opera Cake! This was my first DB challenge. I decided to join this wonderful group after seeing their great creations popping all over the foodblog world month after month! You know what they say: If you can beat them, join them... And so I did!

Mango & Coconut Opera

Ohhhh l'Opera!... this great "gateau" was invented in France and is classicly made with alternated layers of an almond cake (named joconde), coffee syrup, chocolate ganache, coffee buttercream and covered by a chocolate glaze. Yummy!!!!!!!!! I love Opera cake! I have to admit there's a big possibility that I have quite a few scraps of past Operas living in my hips...

I have done quite a few Operas before, classic ones like I've described above. But the DB Opera had a twist to it, so I could make something that I've never done before and was very excited with the challenge. This Opera had to be made with light colors, no chocolate, no coffee... This was so we could dedicate this month's challenge to A Taste of Yellow.

Having this in mind and knowing I would take the cake to a barbecue with a few picky friends and couldn't go crazy with the flavours, I decided to go down the tropical road with mango and coconut. Hosting this month we had Lis, Ivonne, (co-founders), Fran and Shea. The original DB recipe is based on Opera Cake recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets and Tish Boyle and Timothy Moriarty’s Chocolate Passion. And this is my version:
  • ALMOND-COCONUT JOCONDE

  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. (30 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (225 grams) ground blanched almonds
  • 3/4 cups flaked coconut
  • 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. Preheat the oven to 425◦F (220◦C). I've used 3 jelly-roll pans with parchment paper.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, coconut, icing sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and voluminous, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the flour is just combined (don't overmix).
  5. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond-coconut 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.
  6. 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. I've baked 2 layers first, changing positions in the middle of baking time and then the 3rd layer alone.
  7. 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.
  8. Carefully peel away the parchment, then turn the parchment over and use it to cover the cakes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.

  • COCONUT SYRUP

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbs sugar

  1. Heat the water ans sugar and add the coconut milk.
  2. Let cool before using
  • MANGO BUTTERCREAM

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) water
  • 1/2 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1¾ sticks (7 ounces; 200 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 tbsp. mango pure
  1. Combine the sugar, water and vanilla 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 255◦F (124◦C), 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.
  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 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. Add the mango pure and just mix it with a spoon until it's well combined.
  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).
  • MANGO MOUSSE

  • 200 gr (7 oz) white chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tbsp. mango pure
  1. Take the chocolate broken into pieces (or use chips) with the mango pure to the microwaver for about 1 minute.
  2. Mix until you have a thick cream and all the chocolate is melted. If you still have pieces or unmelted chocolate give it 30 seconds more and repeat. Let it cool.
  3. Whip the cream until soft-medium peaks.
  4. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate to form a mousse.
  5. Let harden a bit in the fridge before using it in the cake.
  • COCONUT GLAZE

  • 100 gr (3.5 oz) white chocolate
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

  1. Do this step only when you're about the assemble the all cake. I've halved the amount of chocolate for a thinner glaze, if you prefer a thick glaze use 200 gr (7 oz) chocolate and proceed the same way.
  2. Cut the chocolate into little chunks and take it to the microwave for about 40 seconds.
  3. Heat the coconut milk (1 minute in the microwave will do it)
  4. Combine milk and chocolate and stir until uniform cream forms.
  5. If it's thin to spread over the cake leave it in the fridge for a while.

And now to assemble the all thing:

  1. Put the 1st sheet of cake in a serving plate and using a pastry brush moisten it with 1/3 of the syrup.
  2. Spread evenly 1/2 the buttercream.
  3. Cover with 2nd sheet of cake, repeat the syrup and spread other half of buttercream.
  4. Cover with 3rd sheet of cake and moinsten again with last 1/3 syrup.
  5. Spread the mousse and try to make a smooth even layer. Refrigerate until the mousse is firmer.
  6. Pour/spread ithe glaze over the top of the chilled cake. Refrigerate the cake again to set the glaze. I've decorated the top with some stripes of mango pure.
  7. Cut the 4 sides to make it nice and clean and eat the scraps!

I think this tropical Opera was very fresh but sweeter than the "original" one. I loved doing it and after this one I'll experiment for sure with other flavous/colors!

Please check all the other Daring Bakers performances on the Opera!

72 comments:

HoneyB said...

What a beautiful job!

Suzana said...

Ficou o máximo! Adorei a combinação de sabores. ;)

Bj

Rachel said...

Perfectly done..congrats on your first challenge

Gretchen Noelle said...

Mango and coconut combination sounds great! I cannot wait to make and try the chocolate & coffee version! Great job on your first challenge!

Indigo said...

Ooh, I bet mango and coconut tasted great; I really want to try this again with different flavours now! Looks perfect..

Lina said...

really?? you live in cascais? Thats awesome! Your opera cake also looks amazing! I made a green tea opera cake!

Jeanine said...

Wow, absolutely beautiful! Love your pictures as well. Welcome to the Daring Bakers! :)

Y said...

Mmm.. mango and coconut is a great combination!

Renee said...

Mango and coconut - what great flavors! Your cake is so pretty.

maybelles parents said...

Oh, I love the tropical punch cake. good job.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Such a pretty cake! Very well done here!

Cheers,

Rosa

Zita said...

great work... love the flavors combo :)

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I did coconut as one of my flavors too! I love that you put coconut in your joconde too! What a splendid idea! You did a great job on your first challenge!
I also wanted to say, Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll! Hope to see you on the forum! :)

genkitummy said...

i love your pictures! your mango coconut opera cake looks delicious!

Hannah said...

Your layers are all so even and smooth- I'm jealous! It looks gorgeous, a wonderful way to begin your "career" as a Daring Baker. ;)

pixie said...

very pretty especially the lattice work on the top! so neat!

Patrícia said...

Está perfeito! E manga/coco parece ser uma combinação espectacular.

Obrigada pelos comentários no site, é engraçado saber que há outros Daring Bakers em Portugal :-)

Vera said...

Congratulations with your first challenge! The cake looks great. And I love your step-by-step photos - very informative.

linda said...

Delicious combination of flavours and such perfect layers! Love the decoration.
Congratulations on your first challenge.

Fran Z said...

Welcome! Your cake is beautifully done!

Christine said...

Mango and coconut yum! Great job!

Tartelette said...

Welcome to the DBs! Fabulous job on the challenge! All the flavors are perfect together!

Bumblebutton said...

Beautiful job! Welcome! Hope your eaters were most appreciative!

Lisa said...

Nice cake and I like the new blog look!

Anita said...

I love mango and coconut! And I love the cutters spelling out "Opera"!

Kim said...

Just wonderful. Great flavor choice and they turned out so beautiful. Super first challenge.

CookiePie said...

Beautiful!! Mango and coconut sounds soooo delicious!

Brentwood Kitchen Shopper said...

Yours came out perfect! Nice job

steph- whisk/spoon said...

this is stunning...i'd like to reach out and grab one of those cut slices!!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Wow, I'm overwhelmed by all your kind comments. It was fun to make the cake, but being a part of the DBs is what makes it special. Thank you!

Lori said...

Very pretty. Great job!

marias23 said...

Hey, Cookie! There's nothing clumsy about this creation. It's marvellous and I adore your flavor combo. You guys are all making me wish I didn't miss this challenge!

Big Boys Oven said...

This is so awesomely good, well done!

It's Me, Krystle :) said...

Your cake turned out fabulously!! I only wish mine was as great looking.

Nice work!!

Emiline said...

It's gorgeous! So beautiful.

Laurie said...

Mango and coconut..how yummy! I love how you displayed your cake! Beautiful!!

Foodie Froggy said...

Wow, Mango Mousse ! Must have been to die for !

Astra Libris said...

Oh my goodness, I am in awe! Positively in awe! Your flavor combos are perfection already - and then your assembled cake reaches new heights of perfection!

Candace said...

What perfect layers! Great job!

chou said...

I love your topping--and the combination of my two favorite flavors sounds fabulous.

Rosie said...

Mango & Coconut is a great combo and what a beautiful cake!!

Congrats on your 1st challenge :)

Rosie x

Gabi said...

Breautiful job- I love the glazing on top :)

Liz said...

That flavor combination sounds amazing! I love tropical desserts. Gorgeous job!

Lisa said...

I love your mango stripes on top! Makes it so pretty!!

Mandy said...

great job! Mango is one of my favorite fruits, so I *know* this got to be delicious!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Clumbsy Cookie - what a misnomer! Love that yellow criss cross design. Your cake and flavors seem wonderful! Welcome

toontz said...

The flavors sound so refreshing...great job!

Kevin said...

Looks great! I really like the sound of a mango opera cake!

Bakerette said...

I love it! looks great...!!

Augustina said...

Wow, your Opera Cake looks simply scrumptuous! Mango and coconut are two of my favorite flavors. Congrats on completing your first DB challenge!!

Shari said...

I love your opera cookie cutters. And the mango and coconut combo sounds amazing!
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

jasmine said...

Really like the harlequin-like pattern...very nice pictures...


j

farida said...

Congrats on your first challenge! I the combination you chose to go with. Perfect edges on the layers, too!

Sugar Chef said...

Nice job! Your layers look perfect and love the mango.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Thank you all again! Your kind words have made my day! I've been trying to reach all Operas and can't believe the amount of criativity out there!

Barbara said...

You did such a great job on your cake! I love the flavor combination and the way you decorated the top.

Lis said...

I heart the tropical flavors you went with and your lil slices are just picture perfect!

You did such a nice job - welcome to the DB'ers, sweetie!

xoxo

Claire said...

Coconut and mango...sounds delicious!

Di said...

Congratulations on your first DB challenge! I love your pictures--my favorite is the one with the opera cookie cutters.

Tanya said...

Your cake looks absolutely perfect and I bet it tastes delicious. I love tropical flavors! Great work.

Rebecca said...

Love that last photo! Mango and coconut sounds delicious.

COZINHA QUENTE said...

Obrigada pelo seu comentario no meu blog!! O seu Opera cake tb ficou divino!! EU amo manga e coco!! Deve ter ficado um sonho!!! Vc ja viu o novo desafio?!?! Estou adorando!! Esta perfeito!!! Vou comer tudo!! rsrs
bjsss

Dolores said...

I love your flavor combinations and your photographs are stunning. Congratulations on your first challenge, and welcome!

silverrock said...

Ooo... mango and coconut flavors mingled together in a delightful opera cake. What a great idea! Well done on your first DB challenge, the cake looks fantastic!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Wow my poor blog never saw so many comments. You are just lovely people with lovely commetns! Thanks!

Mobula said...

La tuya también se ve fantástica!!!

Mango y coc, que rico!!!

Ana

sleepingbearinthekitchen said...

2 weeks later and I am still going through posts. I wish I could come up with an easier way to do so but... Well I guess this month it is spreading out the "sugar shock"!! LOL Very nice first challenge, mango and coconut, YUM!!! Welcome to the Der's!!!!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Lol, me too! But next month will be even worst!

Jaime said...

mango and coconut sounds divine! your slices look perfect! welcome to the DB :)

The Irreverent Cook said...

Absolutely gorgeous, great job and welcome to the daring bakers!

Sweet Tooth said...

Oh, I like the layers of the step-by-step pictures. Inspiring!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Thank you, thank you and thank you! :)