The Opera Cake was described mandatory-ly light and flavorful--of which I was happy--it is spring after all!--and so I chose Lemon and Raspberry for my flavors, well, actually I would have chosen Orange and Almond as I have been searching for an opportunity to make and orange-almond cake for about 2 years now, but when I asked the opinions of the men who would be eating this cake, Jake, John, and Gio--they all unanimously voted for Lemon Raspberry over my Orange Almond idea. All well, next time...
An opera cake is an elaborate layer cake, made from sponge cake soaked in a flavored syrup and buttercream. Layered, with a glaze on top.
For the cake I decided not to go with the recipe given and instead substituting a fruitier cake that teamed up much better with my lemon/citrus-y theme. This recipe can be seen below.
Cake (I doubled it for this cake)
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 16x12x1-inch jelly-roll pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; butter parchment.
Whisk first 6 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.
Heat milk in medium saucepan over medium heat to 150°F.
Using electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in large bowl until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in vanilla and grated lemon peel. Beat in flour mixture until just blended. Gradually beat in warm milk.
Pour batter into pan.
Bake cake at 375 until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 10-15 minutes. Spread kitchen towel on work surface; cover with parchment. Sprinkle parchment lightly with powdered sugar. Run knife around edge of pan to loosen cake. Invert hot cake onto parchment. See picture below of me having much fun flopping cakes out of pans at high speeds!
Peel parchment off top of cake.
After making the cake, let it stand and cool for a while, then cut in half, creating 4 rectangles. Cover and Set aside while you make the other components of the cake.
The first of which is the White Chocolate Lemon Mousse: The DaringBakers have made this portion of the cake optional, but I made it for 2 reasons.
- After reading others commentary on making the cake, I realized that the mousse was the part that was seemingly hardest to make. I am never one to shy away when faced with an imminent baking failure
- I hate buttercream, believe you me, when we get to that section of the post you will see what I did to try and get rid of the fact that I had to use buttercream, adding all sorts over extras, flavors, textures, anything to mask the fact that it was buttercream, so I made sure that any other element in the cake that could mask or stand in place of the buttercream--was there. So I clung to that White Chocolate like nothing else!
White Chocolate ganache/mousse
7 ounces white chocolate
1 cup plus 3 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon Extract
- Melt the white chocolate and the 3 tbsp. of heavy cream in a small saucepan.
- Stir to ensure that it’s smooth and that the chocolate is melted. Add the tablespoon of extract to the chocolate and stir. Set aside to cool completely--really, they are not kidding.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form.
- Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate to form a mousse.
- If it’s too thin, refrigerate it for a bit until it’s spreadable. If you’re not going to use it right away, refrigerate until you’re ready to use.
½ cup (125 grams) water
⅓ cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
1 tbsp. of Lemon Extract
1 tbsp Raspberry jam
- Stir all the syrup ingredients together in the saucepan and bring to a boil
- Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Buttercream (Note: I do not know exactly what went into my buttercream. I followed the recipe that follows to the T, then when I tasted it, knew that there was no way I was going to be able to stomach it--I just really don't like buttercream! So I added the juice of half a lemon, and the leftover lemon flavored white chocolate from the mousse, and called it a day--so, lord knows what the measurements were--sorry)
1 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
¼ cup (60 grams) water
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1¾ sticks butter,
1 tbsp lemon extract
- Combine the sugar, water
- Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 225◦F on a candy or instant-read thermometer. Once it reaches that temperature, remove the syrup from the heat.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
Stack and assemble!I personally added raspberries in each layer. Yum!
Then refrigerate and pour the white chocolate glaze over the top. Decorate--and serve!
(Note: It’s best to make the glaze right when you’re ready to finish the cake.)
14 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup heavy cream (35% cream)
- Melt the white chocolate with the heavy cream. Whisk the mixture gently until smooth.
- Let cool for 10 minutes and then pour over the chilled cake. Using a long metal cake spatula, smooth out into an even layer.
- Place the cake into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.
Thanks Daring Bakers!