Daring Bakers: Opera Cake
This month's Daring Bakers challenge was an Opera Cake, but with a slight twist. Traditionally made with coffee and lots of chocolate, this recipe was going for more of a springtime pastel look and taste. The birthday boy, my friend Michael, requested mint and chocolate. To kind of compromise this with the no-chocolate stipulation, I avoided using actual chocolate, but instead made the simple syrup component with a chocolate extract. The syrup was absorbed into the almond cake layers of the Opera Cake, imparting a hint of chocolateyness, but no dark color. I haven't used this extract much, so it was interesting to see the effect it had. For peppermint, I infused dry peppermint leaves into heavy cream, whipped the cream, and incorporated it into the white chocolate mousse layer. I had a really hard time whipping the cream, which should be really simple. I broke it twice and had to go out to buy more. Could some chemical in the peppermint interfere with whipping? I'll have to look it up. Also mixed just a bit of the mousse into the buttercream for a little extra flavor. All in all, pretty successful. I don't think anybody at the birthday party complained.