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Daring Bakers: Double Vanilla White Chocolate Kahlua Opera Cake

Posted Jan 27 2009 8:20pm


Just for the record, this cake with the above-mentioned very long title was originally, in my mind, going to be a simple, pure, vanilla cake. Huh? But how did you wind up with...? Let me start from the beginning...



When I was growing up, my family's vanilla always came in huge glass bottles with thick paper labels written entirely in Spanish. It was an unwritten rule that whenever anyone in our family went to Mexico, they were to return with oh, just a case or two of vanilla - enough to supply us all until someone else went traveling. The first time I ever purchased my own vanilla in Mexico as an adult the bottles were now plastic and the labels in both Spanish and English, but the thick, heady odor of the completely unparalleled vanilla was unaltered. I've tried a myriad of different varieties of vanilla from around the world, and from all sort of gourmet shops, but nothing that I've found has a depth of flavor to equal my $2 L of vanilla...







So... returning to the point of my story, when I read that this month's Daring Bakers Challenge (hosted by a true baking powerhouse group composed of Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice and Lis of La Mia Cucina, the Daring Bakers founders, joined by Fran of Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie and Shea of Whiskful ) was An Opera Cake, with all its enchanting complexities and multitudinous layers, I thought innocently to myself, "what a wonderful excuse to let vanilla take center stage..." For, while Opera Cakes are frequently based upon chocolate or mocha flavoring, this opera cake challenge is lovingly dedicated by hosts and participents alike to Barbara of winosandfoodies - and her blog event A Taste of Yellow that supports Lance Armstrong's LiveSTRONG foundation - and hence this month's challenge uses only light, yellow and almost-yellow flavors!



And really, when you begin with an incredibly, surprisingly light and springy almond cake as your foundation... who could resist the delights of vanilla or lemon or honey?





(Here we have the first layer of the dainty, rectangular cake, ready for it's vanilla syrup...)


The vanilla-only plans didn't last long, however.



Zach decided to join me in preparing the cake, and, well, we got a little carried away...



and had a little too much fun...

(especially with our white-chocolate buttercream, which provided the only glitch in the whole process when it produced white-chocolate butter-liquid, but after rereading the recipe umpteen times and concluding that no, we really didn't go awry and mess up, it thickened up quite nicely when we resorted to adding a lot of confectioners sugar - yep, to our already surgery cream!)


but you can't really have too much fun when cake is concerned, can you?



Especially when you wind up combining vanilla and white chocolate and Kahlua...



and decide at the last minute that you do want to add the ganache and the glaze (which I was previously going to forgo in the interest of my plans for a pure, simple, understated vanilla theme), realize that you don't have cream on hand, and solve the conundrum by combining the two concepts into a Very Thick ganache glaze...



and finally, happily, serve a very intense opera cake to ooohing and aaaahing friends during brunch the next day!



The Daring Baker's Blogroll offers a positive concert of more Opera Cake delights...
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