Once again another challenge that took me by surprise. Can’t say I have eaten a lot of Opera cake in my time, or had any inclination to make opera cake. From first read, I was somewhat daunted at the task of making such a fancy sounding cake. I’ve never made anything with layers (besides lasagna) until joining the Daring Baker posse. A number of dramas were in play, in true opera fashion, from delayed starts, forgetting key ingredients, an unfortunate accident with an innocent looking vanilla bean and stupidity on my part when it came to following instructions. Despite the friendly reminder (from our fearless leaders this month) to read through the instructions very carefully, my aversion to anything remotely mathematical (this time fractions) altered my end result. I kind of cut one of my slices in half, before reading more thoroughly the instructions about the whole two thirds and two, one thirds making another two thirds. Very confusing stuff. I needed some help with that formula from my trusty friend Kitty.
Pity I didn’t think to ring her before I made the fatal incision. Hurrah for Kitty though.
Regardless of my reckless additional layer, I was pleasantly surprised by the end result. The taste was a real delight. I will confess to having very little faith in the appeal of an Opera cake, so I let my fellow work colleagues take the first bite, before I tried a piece. I was more surprised then anyone else how lovely and light tasting it was. The whole white thing wasn’t that exciting enough for me, I’m a bit of a dark chocolate fan so I thought lemon syrup and vanilla buttercream might be wishy washy, but I take it all back now. Opera cake was a real hit with the punters at work and I was kindly serenaded with operatic thanks for my efforts.
What I learnt making Opera cake
1. One should wear safety glasses when working with vanilla pods - I flicked a big chunk of vanilla seeds in to my eye………..ouch. Quite a nasty kick for such a subtle flavor.
2. Remember to read instructions more thoroughly, especially when mathematics are involved.
3. Modern appliances are amazing. This time I was all prepared with my spunky new red mixer, isn’t she real pretty. What excitement. When the directions say beat for six minutes until voluminous and pale, voila, it actually happens and without a dead arm on my part. I just need to let go of my guilt for selling out on all the sisters out there that still do it hard without fancy appliances.