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Opera Cake

It’s time again for Daring baker’s challenge. I joined daring baker’s group in Jan 2008. I had to miss the last two challenges because of my India trip. According to rules of the group, we can’t miss more than 2 in a row. So I had to do this challenge if I wanted to stay in the group :) and here I am.

This moth’s challenge is Opéra cake – hosted by Lis, Ivonne, Fran and Shea. Their explanation of the cake is as follows:

Opéra cake’ is a cake that is made up (usually) of five components: a joconde (a cake layer), a syrup (to wet the joconde), a buttercream (to fill some of the layers), a ganache or mousse (to top the final cake layer) and a glaze (to cover the final layer of cake or of ganache/mousse).

Traditionally, a joconde is flavoured with darker flavours such as chocolate or coffee. But in honour of the season (spring in our neck of the woods) and as part of our decision to tie our posts in with the LiveSTRONG theme, we are making Opéra Cakes that are light in both colour and flavour.

This means NO CHOCOLATE, COFFEE OR COCOA. But it does mean vanilla, coconut, lemon, almond or whatever other light flavours you can think of. It means NO DARK COLOURS when decorating your cake. But it does mean lots of white, cream, ivory, yellow, light blue, light pink, light green or whatever other light colours strike your fancy.

When I read the challenge, I was all hooked to it. I love those layered cakes and I wanted to learn baking one on my own. I had no idea how someone could get such uniform thin layers. I thought it was challenging. Soon I realized I didn’t have any of the ingredients/baking pans required. Anyway, I decided to give it a try.

First hurdle was “jelly roll pans”. No clue, what they were. I googled and saw some pictures of it. Then went to every supermarket I know here and started searching for them. Looks like I was having my “brain dead” days. I should have read about them instead of just looking at the pictures. After searching for 2 weekends, I gave another search in google, by then a small bulb in my head had started blinking indicating those pans look a lot similar to baking sheets. So I searched again “what are jelly roll pans” and I got the answer here.

Oh well, I was happy because I had a baking sheet with 1 inch depth. But we needed two and in 12½ x 15½-inch size. I used my newly acquired measuring tape to measure the one I had. It was 11½ x 17½-inch size. I didn’t want to buy one more baking sheet and used the one I already had. So cake layers came out thinner than needed. Anyway…

Then other daring bakers started showing the glimpse of their beautiful creations. I knew for sure that I cannot make half decent one. So instead of waiting till the last moment, I decided to make it on a Saturday. I had many grand plans for my cake. But I ran out of patience pretty soon, so I didn’t do any of the decorations that I had thought of initially.

My white chocolate ganache got messed up, or thats what I thought and threw the whole batch. Then I realized I was out of chocolate, so I had to run to the store. Somehow I could not get the buttercream in right consistency. I used whatever I had. It was way too runny even after refrigerating for some time. So the layers came out too thin. I still haven’t completely understood the difference between Ganache and Glaze. In my case, both of them almost turn out the same.

Finally I decided to decorate the cake with few mango pieces. The cake was very very tasty. Only problem was it was bit too sweet for our taste buds. It was more like an ice cream. But still, I definitely want to make it again sometime (will try to reduce the sugar). I would also love to try this cake with coffee and dark chocolate. I wish I had put few more mango pieces in between layers, because these pieces gave really nice flavor and texture to the cake.

Since the proportion was too big, I halved the quantity except for the buttercream. I used the same quantity as in the recipe for buttercream. Click here for the recipe.

Blanched and peeled almonds

Ground almonds (almond meal)

Egg whites beaten till they are stiff

Cake batter ready to go in oven

Baked cake. After removing it from the sheet, I cut it into 3 equal horizontal pieces

Melted chocolate with cream for ganache

First cake layer

Buttercream spread on top. Keep 4 thin strips of paper towel on all sides of cake. When all the decoration is done, pull out the strips. This helps in getting clean cake base and avoids the mess at the bottom of cake.

Second layer

Third and final layer

Cake, in it’s final avatar (It was very thin, so was hard to click a picture)


Check out the vegan version (without eggs and dairy products) here.

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{ 58 comments… add one }

  • Asha May 28, 2008, 6:46 am

    Looks like lot of work, you did a great job. I love that green color frosting!:))

  • vani May 28, 2008, 7:02 am

    hi ,

    looks really yummy. is there a way i can mke this cake without eggs, as we donot take eggs. great job! well done.

  • Sree May 28, 2008, 7:45 am

    Shilpa, i must say you have SO MUCH patience to do this and the cake looks delicious! I wish i could have a slice:)


  • Mary May 28, 2008, 7:55 am

    I think your cake looks beautiful! I love the pretty blue/ green color to it!

  • Purnima May 28, 2008, 7:58 am

    Wow..m hooked on to this one..truly a beauty Shilpa..
    (Pls chk after few hours on my new post! Some more appreciation from me awaits to b honored by u!! :D)

  • Happy Cook May 28, 2008, 8:03 am

    Wow wonderful.
    I like that you showed us the pictures of making the cake. I have never made a layered cake so was really nice to see one made.

  • Aruna May 28, 2008, 8:32 am

    Loved the way you have explained step by step. I have a big rectangular cake tin, shall try with that. I have never tried any cake with layers or icing. Liked the way you have cut those mango hearts.

  • Shibani May 28, 2008, 8:43 am

    Shilpa, Loved the way u have showen , very nice and the colour is awesome.

  • rekha May 28, 2008, 8:43 am

    Hai ,

    first thanks for your beautiful comment about my blog thank you so much wow shilpa what a cake my mouth is full of water ha what to do i can not eat because iam in abudhabi. that is anice idea for layers thanks.

  • rachel May 28, 2008, 9:06 am

    I love the colour..refreshing…I had probs with my buttercream as well..but got it sorted out..

  • Amy B May 28, 2008, 9:22 am

    Nicely done! I love the mint color with mango – tres belle!

    xoxox Amy

  • JZ @ Tasty treats May 28, 2008, 9:37 am

    You did a great job on the cake, Shilpa! It looks perfect! Applause!

  • sunshinemom May 28, 2008, 9:41 am

    It looks so pretty! The colour and the texture both look great:)

  • sunita May 28, 2008, 9:45 am

    Shilpa, your cake has come out beautifully…love the light colours…I had to give it a miss :-(

  • Jayashree May 28, 2008, 10:02 am

    Looks beautiful and delicious….

  • Archy May 28, 2008, 10:34 am

    Wow, Lovely cake Shilpa !! nice color too !!

    Can i make this cake eggless ??

  • sangeeth May 28, 2008, 10:37 am

    beautiful..lovely pics and explanation…mouthwatering opera cake shilpa….:)

  • Deepa May 28, 2008, 10:56 am

    Your cake looks great Shilpa…a opera cake wow!!!

  • Christine May 28, 2008, 11:05 am

    Well worth all of the work! Your cake looks beautiful and I love the green! Great pics

  • Seasons May 28, 2008, 11:35 am

    Wow! looks very very yummy :D
    But is there a way to substitute the egg whites with something else?

  • Medhaa May 28, 2008, 11:41 am

    wow, the color reminds me of Pista, The mango hearts are so sweet. This was my first challenge, I was terrified but it came out ok and we loved the cake and did not find it too sweet.

  • Swati: Sugarcraft India May 28, 2008, 11:51 am

    Wow..Shilpa, great great job!! I really like the color you chose .. and the detailed pics are a big help for others to try out!! Keep it up girl!

  • arundathi May 28, 2008, 11:53 am

    It is just beautiful – your step-by-step photos are gorgeous!

  • Maya May 28, 2008, 11:54 am

    First of all, ur selection of tht shade of green is just too good. It looks so appealing right away with the little mango pieces on top too. I think your did a great job with the cake..Looks lovely..

  • Dolores May 28, 2008, 12:11 pm

    I don’t know, I think your opera cake is quite lovely. I also used the larger sheet pan and got thinner layers… but mine are nowhere near as uniform as yours. Great job!

  • Kaykat May 28, 2008, 12:27 pm

    Ooo … that looks delicious! Especially the mango touch!

  • Mandy May 28, 2008, 12:34 pm

    good job on the challenge! And the green color frosting makes the cake look so springy!

  • Tanya May 28, 2008, 12:39 pm

    I’m really loving the blue glaze. It looks so modern and spring-like!

  • Barbara May 28, 2008, 2:05 pm

    This cake was quite a challenge, wasn’t it? Despite everything that happened, yours still looks wonderful!

  • pelicano May 28, 2008, 5:01 pm

    Absolutely beautiful….despite all of your usual self-criticisms! :-) I don’t have any friends here who can make cakes like you: keep up the good work with this intricate, edible craft!

  • Ujwal May 28, 2008, 6:59 pm

    Hey Shilpa,
    Cake looks wonderful.. loved the blue frosting and mango pieces on them. Though you said you lost patience.. it does not reflect in the cake :)

  • neelima May 28, 2008, 7:26 pm

    Hi shilpa,
    I am ver curious to see your photograph. why not post one if you do not mind? My weight has gone up just reading your recipies.

  • Aparna May 28, 2008, 8:47 pm

    You certainly rose to the challenge. As long as it tasted good, that’s all that matters in the end. I’m sure it will be better next time.
    My glaze is the same colour. I didn’t make the ganache, too scared to.:)

  • Lisa T. May 28, 2008, 11:40 pm

    I love the colours of this cake – so pretty and fresh. Great job.

  • Nirmala May 29, 2008, 2:27 am

    Wonderful step-by-step photgraphs. I am amazed to see the eg whites whipped so nicely. Mine never turn to this cloud like consistency. Excellent looking cake and would have tasted great too :)

  • Suma May 29, 2008, 3:09 am

    Wow shilpa…the first picture of cake looks fabulous…the color is so pleasing to eyes! Lovely..keep up the good job :-)

  • Divya May 29, 2008, 3:36 am

    Hey Shilpa,the cake looks yummy!!

  • Sheltie Girl May 29, 2008, 7:24 am

    You did a wonderful job on your cake. Making both a regular and a vegan version is awesome.

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  • Manasi May 29, 2008, 10:48 am

    wow! Loks gr8 and so much effort! Me ready to eat it!! :))

  • Sangeeta May 29, 2008, 11:04 am

    Looks absolutely YUMMMmmmmmmmmmmy. Where do u live Shilpa. Maybe I cld move and become yr new best friend ;) lol

  • Meeta May 29, 2008, 1:17 pm

    Shilpa, you did a fantastic job. My buttercream was rather runny too – love the colors here!

  • Elle May 29, 2008, 2:25 pm

    What a gorgeous color! It looks lovely, and your step by step photos are awesome!

  • Siri May 29, 2008, 2:45 pm

    Love the cake Shilpa.. esp the green color!.. Yummy! Great job buddy..:)


  • Claire May 29, 2008, 3:13 pm

    Love it! It is so summery…makes me think of the beach! My glaze wasn’t as thick as I thought it should be…oh well!

  • Susan from Food Blogga May 29, 2008, 5:29 pm

    This opera cake just sings Spring!

  • veda May 29, 2008, 9:15 pm

    Hi shilpa,

    To me your cake looks awesome!!!!!wow all u gurls do a grt job on daring bakers challenge….keep it up!!!!

    Best regards,

  • Shari May 29, 2008, 9:54 pm

    It was a lot of work, but so delicious. The blue in your glaze is very pretty!
    Shari@Whisk: a food blog

  • sangeetha May 30, 2008, 4:46 am

    Hi shilpa,
    Very interesting & feels yummy… will try it soon & let u know…ohhh i have to wait till mon to try it..weekend is busy…

  • Michelle May 30, 2008, 6:12 am

    Great clear shots you have there! Your opera cake is lovely. Love the color though!

  • Hetal May 30, 2008, 10:34 pm

    Wow…this is wonderful,so tempting,gr8 work!

  • Chitra May 31, 2008, 2:44 am

    Wow-what a lovely cake – and how did you get that lovely light turquiose color?

    Shilpa: Chitra, I mixed food colors in the buttercream.

  • Rebecca May 31, 2008, 4:30 pm

    Look at that color! Awesome.

  • amelia June 1, 2008, 5:02 am

    oo, nice and bright colours!

  • Ivonne June 8, 2008, 9:40 am

    Oh, wow! Check out the colours on that cake! Nicely done!!!

  • nilanjana June 9, 2008, 10:32 pm

    never seen a cake layer by layer..its absoluely gorgeous!!!

  • Shrutika August 13, 2008, 4:41 am

    i have’nt tried it, but it looks yummy!thanx

  • Doris August 26, 2008, 5:34 am

    I love what you are doing keep it up. Please make me your friend to teach me on cake and decorating tips and latest recipes I hope am noe asking too much, thanks a lot.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  • jhon April 26, 2010, 2:23 pm

    hi.. this is not the opera cake something looking like novelty pastry… i am the pastry chef …. change the name of the cake

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