2008-05-28

Citrus Opera Cake Tragedy


I almost didn't post this month's multi-layered Daring Baker challenge: Dorie Greenspan's Opera Cake, which was thoughtfully dedicated to Barbara of Winos and Foodies by Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice, Lis of La Mia Cucina, Fran of Apple Peaches Pumpkin Pie, and Shea of Whiskful. The first attempt I made at modifying the recipe to make a raspberry jaconde produced a cake that resembled fruit leather. My end of the month schedule was so hectic, including a full blown family reunion, that I didn't think I'd have time to try it again. Today, the first day back at school after the Memorial Day holiday, I received a call from the school to tell me The Kid had had an allergic reaction. (He's doing fine now. I'll post more on that later.) After all the stress and chaos of the day, I found myself wandering back to the kitchen this evening to try the opera cake again.
For the joconde, which was the cause of my original disaster, I went back to the drawing board. The original recipe used almond meal, for which other Daring Bakers had substituted oat flour. I used that again with powdered sugar, baking powder and soda, soy milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. The result resembled a poorly executed corn bread. I may try to replicate a sponge cake again, but will most likely use cake flour, since this version was far too rustic!

For the other components of the cake, I made a lime syrup, an orange buttercream, skipped the mousse, and made a drippy pineapple glaze. (I wanted to make a glaze out of coconut milk, but discovered I'd used the last of it to make two Coconut Key Lime Pies for the family reunion!)
If nothing else, the opera cake was an effective cure for overconfidence in the kitchen, as well as a reminder that I learn more from the experiments that don't work than from the ones that do.

11 comments:

Aparna said...

Happy to hear your son is better now.
I know the cake didn't turn out well but I'm sure the next challenge will be better. Its not easy to find time when other priorities take over.

maybelles parents said...

Oh, I am so glad that you posted. We barely made the cake because the baby was sick, so I understand. You were brave to try to substitutes for this one, I was not so brave.

Hannah said...

I'm so sorry to hear that it didn't work out for you... But kudos on giving it a go- I'm glad you tried!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

We do learn more from our mistakes than successes. Thanks for sharing the experience and learning.
We'll look for the benefits of learning next time around!
Glad the little one is better.

shellyfish said...

i hope your son's ok!

Yes, this was a humbling experience for me, too. Hopefully next month will be more successful!

Maggie said...

I'm glad The Kid is doing ok. I dread hearing from the school. It's too bad the raspberry didn't work, that sounds really goo.d

Gretchen Noelle said...

Oh my! What frustration to have things not come out as you hope and plan! Great job facing the challenge of it!

Dayna said...

It's so great that you still posted. Good thing the challenges change every month!

breadchick said...

I'm always amazed at all of you DBers who bake our challenges with adjusted recipes for allergies.

Your cake proves no dessert is out of reach for anyone!

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a great job and rose to an incredible challenge. It's amazing how the cake finished, since you didn't use eggs. Beautiful job!

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

madcapcupcake said...

The main thing is you tried and learned - I think the learning experiences, as frustrating as they are, are the most valuable of all! - so glad to hear that your son is feeling better :)