My trip to the opera

I almost didn’t do this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge. Not only was my time short and my ass disturbingly enlarged by other eating, but the recipe for a white-on-white Opera Cake (chosen by the founders of the group, Ivonne and Lis) was rather involved. And, truth be told, my friend Dean makes a truly wonderful classic Opera Cake that I can have anytime I drop by his bakery Amadeus Fine Cakes. (If I invited Dean to come over to play guitar hero, he’d likely deliver one to me as well.)

But, I’ve been really enjoying being a member of the Daring Bakers so I felt that it was important that I do this challenge no matter what. After all, when you join a group, you make a commitment, right?

I ended up rushing through my cake. I made the glaze, the buttercream and the syrup late at night and made the mousse and baked and assembled the cake a day and a half later with a houseful of company. As a result, I didn’t get the best looking result. My buttercream layers weren’t very even and my mousse layer was visible here and there through the glaze. It wasn’t a showstopper but the cake tasted great and the recipe, although long, worked well.

Now that I’ve finished my third DB challenge, one thing is puzzling me. What do the other Daring Bakers do with all of the stuff they bake?

Each month I’ve had copious amounts of extra baked goods.

• March was Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake which I served at my Easter Feaster. I had nine at the table and still had a quarter of a cake left over.
• April was Jill O’Connor’s Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake Lollies. I scaled down the recipe, used only half the cheesecake and still had enough lollies to send home with my dinner guests (we were six that night).
• Now this month, we made this cream coloured Opera Cake. Despite having eight for dinner, I still had half a cake left over! I froze the leftovers to serve the next weekend, but I’m finding it fatiguing to manage my DB wares.

I hope the next challenge features a recipe that can be either easily scaled down or that is not meant to cater a huge party. Tune in next month to see what they throw at me!


51 Responses to My trip to the opera

  1. danamccauley says:

    Ahem: I have just realized that I haven’t given adequate credit to the DB hosts. In fact, there are two other hosts this month: Fran of Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie and Shea of Whiskful.

    Furthermore, this challenge was also dedicated to a long standing Daring BakerBarbara of

    Ladies, please forgive my oversight above.

  2. Aran says:

    You opera cake is also so lovely! I like the fruit filling. I thought that having a light colored opera was going to disappoint me but I ended up loving it. Beautiful!

  3. Great job, the raspberry & orange sounds great! Yes, sometimes the amounts of these are a bit overwhelming!

  4. Dayna says:

    I had second thoughts myself this month regarding the enlargement of my own areas after last months challenge. Wonderful to see that you stuck through it. It’s a beautiful cake to eat but especially to give away.

  5. Jade says:

    Haha I laughed at your blog as my partner is playing guitar hero as I type this. Why doesn’t anybody bring me classic opera cake when they come over to play? Your cake looks gorgeous, I love raspberries!

  6. danamccauley says:

    Guitar hero unites us all, it seems.

    Thanks for your comments ladies! Have a great day.

  7. Rosa says:

    Your cake looks great! I love your idea! Wonderful!



  8. megan says:

    Your cake looks tasty! I agree with the portions. I see people who scale idown recipe and every challenge I think I will too, but I always end up doing the recipe as delivered. And my but shows it!!!

  9. We only ate two slices at our place so we had a heck of a lot of cake left over…some family was out of town or we would have made them take some, lol.

  10. danamccauley says:

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one with DB leftover challenges! Maybe that’s where the daring part comes in? As in, do you dare make this much dessert?

  11. Sophie says:

    The cake looks delicious and if you have too much I’ll gladly give you my address and you can send me the rest ;o) hey, I can be your own personnal taster :o)

    Have a great day!

  12. I love the fresh raspberries in your cake! I usually try to plan these DB projects for a time when I know there Will be a lot of people around to enjoy them, or I take the leftovers to work where they are usually polished off with dispatch.

  13. veron says:

    even or not your cake looks delicious!

  14. Aparna says:

    Your cake looks good, I think. The proof of the cake should be in the eating!
    Well, this is my fourth challenge as a DB. The previous times I have been lucky to have enough family around to finish it off. This time, I halved the recipe. I have been seeing a lot of DBs do this or make smaller individual serving portions wherever possible.

  15. Cheryl says:

    I am VERY impressed, Dana. Opera cake is one of my all-time favorite desserts, and I’ve never seen a white one like this. It’s absolutely lovely, and you did a great job. If I were you (and right now I’m very much wishing that I were), I’d literally wrap individual slices and freeze them that way. Then whenever you’re having a crappy day or your butt is looking a little too thin, you’ll have a perfectly portioned indulgence to cheer/plump yourself up. Better than botox, imho.

  16. danamccauley says:

    Cheryl, you are a terrific cheerleader! I wish you weren’t in California so that I could give you a hug and a piece of Opera cake!

    Do you really think my butt might get too thin?

    Vernon, Susan and Aparna, thanks so much for stopping by! Sophie, do let me know if you can swing by my Maple, Ontario test kitchen to pick up that cake!

  17. marye says:

    Nice job! The cake looks delicious.

  18. Mary says:

    Your cake looks beautiful! I solve the problem of extra baked goods by dropping them off at whoever’s house I can. I left the party cake at my mother in laws and refused to take it back. I gave all of the cheesecake pops to a friend. This one I took half to my family and when my inlaws wouldn’t eat it it got thrown in the trash. It was too rich for me or my husband.

  19. Augustina says:

    Great job on the challenge!
    I give a lot of my baked goods to coworkers, family, friends, strangers! My boyfriend distributes the goodies to his basketball buddies too. I hate keeping too many leftovers around the house b/c I end up eating it!

  20. Thanks for all of these great suggestions! It looks like I need to find new friends and co-workers — I’m surrounded by food professionals all the time. We are burdened by living in a land of plenty.

    Anyone out there want to become my friend?

  21. Marie says:

    I liked your use of raspberries. Very pretty and I bet it tasted delicious! This week just happens to be teacher appreciation week at my kids school, so the teachers all got a slice of opera cake. A great way to get rid of baked goods is at the school!

  22. Deborah says:

    I think your cake turned out lovely! I almost always at least half the recipes. With this one, I only ended up with a 5-inch cake and some left over scraps. Any more than that would have gone to waste in our house!

  23. ruthEbabes says:

    Fortunately I have a very hungry youth group ready to taste test my DB challenges for me, but very often I still come home with extra too… not too much but enough!

    I love the look of your cake. The raspberries in the middle must have been tasty.

  24. danamccauley says:

    The berries added a bit of tang and relief from the sweetness of the white chocolate. I’m glad I added them.

  25. jasmine says:

    What do we do with all our treats?

    Well…whenever possible, I make a smaller version of the treat (fewer cheese balls, smaller cake etc), so I’m not bankrupt by the challenge and I don’t wind up with a lot “extra.” Half of this cake went to the office today…and it disappeared within 20 minutes…with lots of whinging by those who were too slow….


  26. Christine says:

    Your cake looks delicious! Now what do I do with all of my goodies? I bribe all of my friends for comments on my site! LOL just kidding. I do give a lot of it away to friends but I have a giant (6’7′) hubby who still eats like he is playing college football. So he eats most of it!

  27. danamccauley says:

    I can imagine that another advantage of having a giant husband is that it makes the other partner look small in comparison. I wonder if I can encourage Martin to start using stilts?

  28. CookiePie says:

    Hi Dana – Thanks for stopping by my blog! I appreciate the welcome to the Daring Bakers. Your cake is lovely! The berries look beautiful in there!

    So you’re an author – that’s fantastic! I’m about 2/3 of the way through my first cookbook, due out in fall of ’09. Any advice?

  29. Laurie says:

    Hi Dana..Great job! I’m glad to see you opted to make the cake..I had to push myself to get into this one but it stretched me so and I love to see everyone else’s creative juices. Creativity begets creativity! If your looking to share your fare..I know some of the local homes for the elderly love having tea cakes and visitors.. They probably eat little amounts and it would be a special treat for those there who are not on restricted diets! Bring used magazines also..they love that!

  30. i take all my wares to work…I think your cake looks luscious, good job.

  31. Kelly-Jane says:

    It did make a huge cake didn’t it?! Your came out really well, I meant to get some fresh berries for mine as well, but couldn’t gat any decent ones. Great job, well done 🙂

  32. I lucked out to be honest. I had fresh berries in the fridge and just thought to add them while I was assembling. I didn’t plan well, to be honest.

    Thanks for popping in to my blog ladies!

  33. amelia says:

    Hi! What a pretty cake! What I usually do is to just scale down the recipe to managable amounts. I know one of the websites provided says that it is not recommended to scale down the Opera cake, but I don’t really have a choice, as I feel that there is no worst sin than to waste food. Hence, every month, whether its recommended or not, I scale down the recipe. Hope this helps! =)

  34. Sounds like a great combination and your cake looks beautiful!

  35. Lynn says:

    I really feel you on the overwhelming amount of cake… after I read the recipe, I looked at my calendar with dismay, no birthdays, no parties… no good excuse to get other people to eat my cake unless I just threw a “cake eating party”… I halved the recipe and still tossed half of the half into the fridge. I really like the white on white… it looks elegant, although it made me realize that if we had been allowed to use dark chocolate our cakes could have been attired in black tie….

  36. danamccauley says:

    Black tie – love that concept for the opera!
    I didn’t mention that one of my guests (my mother in law) who ate this cake was an opera protege in her youth. In that sense this was the perfect dessert for May since it coincided with her visit.

    Too bad she doesn’t gorge on cake…I suppose you can’t have every good quality in your MIL. : )

  37. Barbara says:

    Your cake looks delicious! I too hope the next challenge is a bit scaled down.

  38. Candace says:

    Very nice job on this challenge! Also, I always make half recipes for DB. Actually, most of the recipes I do are half or quarter recipes. That way my rear end doesn’t get too big!

  39. Fran Z says:

    Ohhh! Your cake looks yummy! I take my baking to work, but hate to because then I am inclined to eat some. I think I may start taking things to our local police or -a friend who works at the library told me they always love baked goods.

    Gotta watch though-This stuff goes straight to my butt. And our family is all watching our eating habits.

  40. Sheltie Girl says:

    You did a wonderful job on your cake. It looks simply delicious with all those lovely bits of fruit.

    Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

  41. Shari says:

    The raspberries are a nice touch with the white cake! Lovely.
    Shari@Whisk: a food blog

  42. Cakelaw says:

    Dana, your cake looks amazing, even if you felt that you rushed it. Love the raspberries peeping out. I give my excess DBs goods to the peoplle at work.

  43. Barbara says:

    Your cake turned out great!

  44. Tanya says:

    Your cake looks delicious, and I know exactly what you mean about the leftovers. It’s just me and my husband at home and all of our friends and family live about an hour away. We don’t know any of our neighbors real well, so unfortunately, a lot of stuff ends up in the garbage. I try to eat as much as I can, but I do so much baking that it would be impossible to do so. It’s such a sad thing.

  45. Dana Mccauley says:

    Years ago when I lived in downtown Toronto in a high rise building right next to Maple Leaf Gardens, I used to put all my recipe testing in a box, head down to street level and offer it to anyone who asked me for money.

    It was interesting how many of the ‘homeless’ people didn’t want food but only $. I also found some very appreciative regulars who looked forward to what had been cooking that day. At the time I was working on the recipes for Last DInner on the TItanic and for the Centro Cookbook so the food was rather posh.

  46. Rebecca says:

    This is absolutely gorgeous!

  47. Miss Ifi says:

    OH OH!!! can I come play guitar hero too??!!! I probably won’t drop by with something as professional looking or incredibly tasting as your friend Dean.. but I love playing guitar hero!!!

    Your cake looks great, even though you might think it doesn’t .. but hey that comes with practice. Congratulations on making your cake and having it taste great!!!

    In regards to the leftovers.. what can I say having friends that will eat just about any dessert I whip up usually helps and having a love for anything sweet does too, however it does become problematic…

  48. danamccauley says:

    Drop by for guitar hero anytime! I suck but my son just might kick your butt.

  49. Tiffany says:

    I hate to say this, but a lot of my DB challenges end up in the trash. Either I failed at the challenge, or my experimentation failed. But of the few that have been good….we just feasted on them, gave some away, took them to family get-togethers. Anywhoo…thanks for stopping by my blog. See you next month!

  50. Claire says:

    Looks great! I usually just give mine away…and sometimes I throw the rest away.

  51. lai may yan says:

    Oooh! So many layers! And It came out superb! I say eat all of it 😀

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