Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

LiveSTRONG With a Taste of Yellow Opéra Cake!

I KNOW! Leave it to me to post way late. Jebus.

DB May Opera (2)

Right off the bat, I must state how wonderful it was to work with such nice gals this month. Not only did I get the opportunity to co-host with my lovely partner in crime again, but I also got to share the honor with a gorgeous fellow Ohioan, Fran! And that sexy whisk lover, Shea! It’s been a pleasure, girls! I know I wasn’t much help – this really was Ivonne’s baby – but I sure enjoyed working with ya’ll! You did a magnificent job! :D

My main objective this month was to keep whatever we chose to make either yellow or light in color. Because May is LiveSTRONG month, we wanted to dedicate our posts to all of those out there that have been touched by cancer, but especially to Barbara. You know, I don’t know Barbara all that well, but the respect I have for her is truly heartfelt, to say the least. Barbara is unfailing in her efforts to keep awareness high when it comes to cancer prevention and living with cancer. Her annual, A Taste of Yellow, supports Lance Armstrong’s LiveSTRONG movement and is a major event in the foodie blogger’s world. And I can say I always feel proud to be a part of it. Thank you for all that you do, Barbara! You are an amazing woman.

DB May Opera (1)

Figuring out what flavor combination I was going to go with was a no-brainer. Bananas. Caramel. A whisper of cinnamon. RUM. Or, simply put.. A Bananas Foster Opéra Cake. C’mon.. ya’ll groan aloud with me.. yess yess.. feel that lil shimmy of sheer delight trickle down your spine.. Mmm hmm… now THAT’S what I’M talkin’ bout. I knew that I was going to add the cinnamon to the jaconde, that I was going to make a caramelized banana mousse in lieu of the white chocolate mousse and a caramel buttercream. Or was I? After much discussion with my BFF, I went with banana buttercream and made her toffee sauce (only mine was a drunken version complete with spiced rum hiccups!) to brush on the cake layers.. there you have it kids – all the components of a Bananas Foster Opéra Cake. squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

The Opéra cake was not as hard to make as I had thought it would be. It certainly looks like you have to pay the devil your very soul to be able to whip up the thin layers of jaconde, buttercream, ganache (or in my case, mousse) and glaze.. but you really don’t. The components of the cake can be made in advance and separately. Since my guru taught me the proper way to fold when she was up for a visit last summer, making the light and airy jaconde was a cinch. I didn’t fear the buttercream, since I’ve become a seasoned pro thanks to The Martha (God love her and damn her fakkin crepe cake) and the mousse.. well I’ve made it before. So what were my challenges? I think the biggest hurdle was layering the cake so that it didn’t look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa when I was finished. It certainly can’t be said that it was perfectly even and flat – but it did end up looking pretty good for a change. har! The second biggest hurdle was discussing with my BFF the technique to incorporate fruit into the buttercream without taking the chance of the buttercream separating. He had made his Opéra already and had created a kiwi infused buttercream. When he explained how he did it, I was flabbergasted! But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he is just a fakkin’ genius.

DB May Opera (2)

All he did was process kiwis until they “made babyfood look chunky”, as he put it. heheee! Then he added that puree straight to the white sugar with only ¼ of the water called for in the recipe. He brought it all to a boil and up to the required 225º then drizzled it into the meringue being made in the stand mixer. Voila! Add your butter and you’ve got fruit infused buttercream that was incredibly creamy and delish. I followed his direction and used one very ripe banana.. whizzed it until it was liquid, poured it in my lil pot and boiled it up with the sugar & water.. drizzled that heavenly smelling liquid into my meringue and tossed in a couple sticks of butter.. and OHMYGOD I had the best smelling banana buttercream in ALL THE WORLD. My only regret was using just one banana.. next time two for sure.

The last hurdle was what to glaze my cake with as I cannot tolerate white chocolate. I was going to melt down some pineapple preserves I had recently purchased and just poured it over the cake.. but again, brainstorming with my BFF.. we started discussing banana jam. Homemade banana jam. I found a recipe.. it was too easy to NOT make.. so I did. And let me tell you.. if you’ve never had banana jam and you like bananas.. you MUST make this stuff. Dear sweet Jebus. YUM! Especially spread thinly on a cracker with a slice of a semi-soft cheese on top.. HEAVEN. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that fantastic on the Opéra cake. It was too dark and pinkish – I KNOW WTF?? - I have no idea why it turned pink.. maybe something to do with whatever it is that turns quince pink when you cook it?? And it was a little too strong for such a delicate cake. So I scraped it all off and went back to my original idea of the melted pineapple preserves and was quite happy with the results. The pineapple actually brought out the banana taste and didn’t take away from it at all.. I still had my Bananas Foster Opéra cake. :)

DB May Opera

what did I think about my very first Opéra cake? Well.. it looked quite pretty, but unfortunately it wasn’t my cup of tea. I wasn’t fond of the texture of the jaconde. I couldn’t taste the most magnificent caramel/toffee/spiced rum sauce that I had brushed the layers with. And it was sweeeeetttttt. Ohhh my goodnassss it was sweet. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.. but I think I prefer my Bananas Foster warm and my banana cakes slathered in chocolate. hehee Will I make it again? Yes and no. I’m definitely trying the traditional version, but I doubt I’d ever make the light version again. I also purchased 2 lbs of dry roasted pistachios.. so next time it will have a pistachio jaconde and then the traditional flavors of coffee and chocolate for the buttercream and ganache. I look forward!

My advice to you would be to go stretch your legs and maybe use one of those eyeball washer thingies to rinse out your peepers after reading this long winded post of mine. Then grab your favorite beverage and start clickin’ on the Daring Baker Blogroll because just from the few I got sneak peeks of earlier this month, you will be AMAZED! and AWED! at the gorgeous cakes that are floating all over the blogosphere today!


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Comments on "LiveSTRONG With a Taste of Yellow Opéra Cake!"


Blogger Tracy said ... (5/28/2008 4:45 PM) : 

If there was any challenge I didn't want to miss it was one you hosted ... but I just couldn't make it happen this month! And I really wanted to find a way to rock out an opera cake! Oh well, sorry ... yours looks awesome! Love the chocolate music!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/28/2008 4:50 PM) : 

This time around was indeed challenging, but man, did I learn a lot!
Yours looks just beautiful, of course, and thanks for hosting!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/28/2008 4:51 PM) : 

Lis, it looks like it turned out great! I'm looking forward to trying a traditional version, too.


Blogger Anita said ... (5/28/2008 4:53 PM) : 

Bananas foster! I love how you think girl!! Great challenge, great hosting! I hope you get to tinker around with this recipe some more and find your perfect version!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/28/2008 5:08 PM) : 

AWWWWWW!!!! Altho, I think BFFF is more appropriate!!! ;-) You figure it out!!!
The cake looks scrumpt-dilly-icious!!!
Would that be the new Cement Pond in the background???
Hugs Gurl!!


Blogger Faery said ... (5/28/2008 5:18 PM) : 

I loved this challenge it was difficult for this amateur to make but the recipe was awesome, as always I learnt a lot and I will not only say thank you for the recipe but for this amazing place you and Ivon created
Your Opera cake looks delicious I love the clear and shiny glaze you chose


Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said ... (5/28/2008 5:23 PM) : 

Ahh, pistachios, excuse me, with chocolate of my Lis that's the cake we need or is that knead. Either way I think we need an encore!!
I'm overwhelmed with your notes! really lovely.
And it goes without saying the story that goes with you is alway a rip snorter! Thank you.


Blogger Andrea Meyers said ... (5/28/2008 5:54 PM) : 

Music notes very cool! I love bananas I've GOT to try some banana buttercream. Crap, there goes my diet!!!


Blogger Heather B said ... (5/28/2008 5:55 PM) : 

yum! Your layers look amazing! And Bananas Foster! Gah! Give me somma that!


Blogger Medhaa said ... (5/28/2008 6:02 PM) : 

The cake looks wonderful.

Thanks for hosting such a great
challenge, I loved the opera cake.


Blogger Judy@nofearentertaining said ... (5/28/2008 6:04 PM) : 

Oh it looks so pretty. I love the topping glaze!! I did lemon and it helped to cut the sweetness really well!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/28/2008 6:10 PM) : 

Oh my! I love the banana-rum combo! Pure genius. Thank you for the great challenge - I really enjoyed myself. I will be making an Opera Cake again & perhaps I'll try it your way. ;)

xoxox Amy


Blogger steph- whisk/spoon said ... (5/28/2008 6:12 PM) : 

great flavor combo. and amazing chocolate work!! thanks for the fun pick this month!


Blogger Bumblebutton said ... (5/28/2008 6:22 PM) : 

OH dear GOD that is an inspired wonder you are a fearless co-leader.


Blogger Clumbsy Cookie said ... (5/28/2008 6:41 PM) : 

Thanks Lis for hosting and being so welcoming. I love your chocolate notes!


Blogger Laurie said ... (5/28/2008 6:45 PM) : 

This makes me want to sing! :)
Great flavor combinations.. Thanks for the wonderful challenge!


Blogger Gabi said ... (5/28/2008 6:52 PM) : 

HoooWheeee you always crack me up- I love the bananas foster idea but I have to admit I want mor ecake with my cake this recipe was too sweet for me. You make beautiful music though!!!


Blogger Gretchen Noelle said ... (5/28/2008 7:15 PM) : 

Very nice! I loved this challenge and was glad that we were all pushed a bit with this one! You did a great job, I love the banana idea for the cake. Yum!


Blogger glamah16 said ... (5/28/2008 7:24 PM) : 

Love your Bananans Foster theme. And the cake turned out perfect with the decorations and all. Thanks for yet another great adventure!


Blogger Mary said ... (5/28/2008 7:43 PM) : 

I personally think your cake is beautifull and that you can no longer complain about your frosting skills with those lovely notes and treble cleffs. And the flavor combo sounds amazing. I'd love to see a post on that banana jam!


Blogger Brittany said ... (5/28/2008 7:52 PM) : 

Looks awesome Lis!
Banana jam??? Um, where did you find that recipe. I must know for my next pb & j !!

Did you see the sexy legs popping out of your guru's cake? Just when I think that woman can't possibly get any cooler, she goes and does that.


Blogger Shelby said ... (5/28/2008 7:56 PM) : 

Thanks for this challenge! Your cake looks great! I think the pineapple glaze was a good idea. Your buttercream looks so thick and yummy. I want some! LOL. I've become a buttercream addict. Not good considering all the fat in it!


Blogger BC said ... (5/28/2008 8:01 PM) : 

Your treble clef is flexing in support of you! Bananas Foster - I love it.


Blogger Valerie Harrison (bellini) said ... (5/28/2008 8:32 PM) : 

Banana and rum theres a combo I hadn't thought of for my own cake. Good job there Lis:D


Blogger Morven said ... (5/28/2008 9:06 PM) : 

Yum - you've got me drooling again. I love your decoration.


Blogger Cakelaw said ... (5/28/2008 9:15 PM) : 

Love those chocolate decorations Lis, and a drunken toffee syrup - mmm, mmm, give me some now!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/28/2008 9:23 PM) : 

it looks lovely, and thanks so much for your support! and I totally want to know more about the banana jam, that sounds fabulous.


Blogger jasmine said ... (5/28/2008 9:43 PM) : 

You *know* I'm sitting here, reading the music.

V nicely done.



Blogger Aparna Balasubramanian said ... (5/28/2008 9:47 PM) : 

Your cake does look quite nice. Love the musical notes.
I think most of us are planning to make a traditional opera cake. I am!
Thank you for introducing me to this cake.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/28/2008 10:07 PM) : 

banana/caramel!?! nom nom nom!!!


Blogger Chris said ... (5/28/2008 10:09 PM) : 

Bananas foster....oh Lis...why???? :) Ingenious!

I thought the jaconde would be harder as glad it wasn't!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/28/2008 10:20 PM) : 

Better late than never!

Nice music symbols on your cake - it's lovely.

Thanks for hosting!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/28/2008 10:21 PM) : 

BTW, that's me masquerading as mysertious Miss Anonymous above. Trigger happy on the publish button!


Blogger Elle said ... (5/28/2008 11:07 PM) : 

Bannana jam? Oooooh. How do you make that?
Your Bannanas Foster Opera Cake is wickedly good looking...and the notes are just perfect! Who cares if the post is is pure YOU, which is fab to read.
Thanks to you, your partner in crime, Fran and Shea for a delightful challenge!


Blogger Half Baked said ... (5/28/2008 11:11 PM) : 

I did banana and caramel rum as well! I guess great minds think alike;)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/28/2008 11:23 PM) : 

Well, maybe you are a buttercream pro thanks to Martha, but some of us are beginning to feel like pros because of the Daring Bakers. Thanks for another great challenge and a very fun post. Your cake looks and sounds fantastic even if it wasn't your cup of tea.


Blogger Dharm said ... (5/28/2008 11:34 PM) : 

Lis!!! Great challenge, Great Post and Great Cake! I love those musical notes. Way to go gal!


Blogger Peabody said ... (5/28/2008 11:49 PM) : 

First off, "damn her fakkin crepe cake". Amen. Someone just emailed me about that cake and was it really a pain in the butt. I told her to make it. She came back and bitched and bitched about was funny. She did not heed my crepe cake warning. :)
Banana jam. My head is already swirling with ideas of what to do with it.
Cake looks great.


Blogger PheMom said ... (5/29/2008 12:12 AM) : 

Your decorations look so pretty up there! Beautiful job!


Blogger Helene said ... (5/29/2008 12:25 AM) : 

Finally...I get to see the finised cake...Beau-ti-mus! I am loving the way you think and the way you make it all turn out! Well done! I am giggling that you teach me how to take care of my garden and all I teach you is how to fold...ehehehe!!


Blogger Ben said ... (5/29/2008 12:56 AM) : 

aaaaaawwww sweetie, look at that delicious cake. I also thought it was in the "too sweet" side, but at least we made another snobbish French dessert and that's what counts, right?


Blogger Unknown said ... (5/29/2008 1:11 AM) : 

I love the sunlight for your pictures! The cake looks great...and I'm sure the flavors were wonderful.


Blogger Karen Baking Soda said ... (5/29/2008 1:46 AM) : 

ah ah ah the musical notes! Awesome! just told me this cake was sweet? Hehe..
Thanks for hosting hon!


Blogger Jenny said ... (5/29/2008 5:39 AM) : 

Holy original flavors! Leave it to you to come up with something so original (and I love the idea of the fruit flavored buttercream and how you got to it - how about my brown sugar buttercream with your bananas and a bit of rum in it next time?)
Amazing as usual Lis!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/29/2008 6:16 AM) : 

Un lavoro di alta pasticceria, bravissima è meravigliosa!!!! Elga


Blogger ChichaJo said ... (5/29/2008 8:03 AM) : 

It looks gorgeous with the pineapple jam glistening in the sun! :) Thanks for hosting this round!

(and's very sweet)


Blogger Kelly-Jane said ... (5/29/2008 9:00 AM) : 

Your cake rocks! Well... maybe classically delicious seeing as it's opera!! Looks great sweetie, and the flavours just sound the best :)


Blogger Sheltie Girl said ... (5/29/2008 10:37 AM) : 

What a fabulous choice of flavors! Very delicious...yum! Thanks for a great challenge, I had a wonderful time making it.

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go


Blogger Rachel said ... (5/29/2008 11:20 AM) : 

Love the musical notes..great flavours....


Blogger Belinda said ... (5/29/2008 11:29 AM) : 

Hi Lisa!

What a beautiful cake! Wow! You did a superb, Daring Baker founder worthy job with this challenge. :-) You know, even though I wimped out of being a Daring Baker, I still absolutely love to see the challenges each month. And good grief, every month this wonderful group just grows by leaps and bounds. I admire all of you for sticking with these challenges...and I miss you gals!


Blogger Katie B. said ... (5/29/2008 11:38 AM) : 

You had me at bananas and caramel - I seriously got chills! You're magic!


Blogger Rosie said ... (5/29/2008 1:00 PM) : 

I really enjoyed this challenge and many thanks Lis for hosting!

Oh my Lis this is one stunning cake & what a great combo of flavours - Banana and rum .... slurp!!


Blogger Venus ~ Vi said ... (5/29/2008 1:26 PM) : 

I want to thank you for choosing this. I can now brag to people that I made a L'Opera cake! Whoo-hoo!!


Blogger Texana said ... (5/29/2008 2:07 PM) : 

WOW! Not only does your opera cake look like an opera, you really "kicked it up a notch!" We are moving this month so I wasn't able to bake mine, but I am looking forward to christening the kitchen in our new place with a delicious opera cake!


Blogger Meeta K. Wolff said ... (5/29/2008 2:30 PM) : 

Lis, you always do come up with the most drool-worthy combinations! The flavors here are extravagant!


Blogger Pamela said ... (5/29/2008 2:38 PM) : 

Ohh La La bananas foster sounds delish yet another one I think I just must try!


Blogger creampuff said ... (5/29/2008 2:58 PM) : 

Hey Campobasso Lis! As soon as I saw those musical notes I'm like: we're soooooo related! I love the glaze you made. And of course no one write up a post like you do, baby. Purely hilarious!


Blogger Vera said ... (5/29/2008 3:25 PM) : 

Lis, your choice of the flavors sounds wonderful! The banana buttercream, prepared by so unusual method is definitely what I'll have to try. A little bit later, after I digest all mine:) This Opera is certainly not the diet food :)

Your cake looks very beautiful!

And thank you very much for hosting this great challenge!


Blogger Mari said ... (5/29/2008 3:43 PM) : 

Lis, this was my very first Daring Bakers challenge and even though I stressed about the presentation, the rest was lovely and easy! I'm so glad I joined up!

I'm super impressed with the method for infusing fruit into buttercream and I can't wait to try it, thanks for sharing your trade secrets! ;-)

p.s. making your own banana jam is damn impressive!


Blogger Agatha said ... (5/29/2008 3:47 PM) : 

Lis great cake :) Thanks for this challenge :)


Blogger NKP said ... (5/29/2008 6:02 PM) : 

What a great idea to do a bananas foster cake. Nice to have a co-constpirator in the kitchen too!
Good creativity from our fearless leader. Thanks again for all this fun.


Blogger Amy said ... (5/29/2008 6:25 PM) : 

That method IS genius! :D Banana foster opera sounds delish. I love your music notes!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/29/2008 6:49 PM) : 

Your cake looks delicious - banana buttercream sounds divine!! :)


Blogger Barbara said ... (5/29/2008 7:44 PM) : 

Oh Lisa thank you for your lovely words. Gorgeous cake. I love the flavour combo. I've thought about making banana jam but just have never gotten around to it..yet.


Blogger Renee said ... (5/29/2008 9:53 PM) : 

I love the banana buttercream!!! Who knew - what a great tip. Your post was delightful and your cake was beautiful! Thank you for a great challenge.


Blogger giz said ... (5/29/2008 11:51 PM) : 

Your cake is amazing - I love the notes. It was such a fun challenge - well...part of the time it was fun...all of the time it was a challenge. Looking forward to the next one and thinking I might just be sorry I said that.


Blogger mimi said ... (5/30/2008 10:35 AM) : 

gorgeous cake, your layers look sooo good! love the backlight on the notes, they pop right out!


Blogger Dolores said ... (5/30/2008 4:35 PM) : 

Bananas foster. With rum. My dear you ARE my hero.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/30/2008 5:09 PM) : 

Lis. I'm loving the music notes and such. You are such a bakin' stud. I got lost checking out your BFF and forgot to come back to yours, but I'm glad I did because that banana jam sounds soooooo nice. Gorgeous cake, dear. Absolutely gorgeous.

I almost didn't recognize your backyard without 12 feet of snow. Bwhahahahaha!


Blogger Lori said ... (5/30/2008 9:24 PM) : 

Ok so where is the banana jam recipe?
That was a great idea for the flavor combination.

Thank you for DB, I love this group. You all rock!


Blogger Barbara said ... (5/30/2008 9:35 PM) : 

Banana and rum *hic*

Great choice! And job well done.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5/31/2008 3:48 AM) : the light stary reflections on the cake's picture... the flavors sounds so delicious :)


Blogger Andrea said ... (6/01/2008 9:53 PM) : 

Thank you so much for choosing this months DB challenge. You came up with some fantastic flavour combinations.
I think my mum would go ape for the banana fosters version (and I have 3 pieces of jocande waiting in the freezer...)


Blogger Deborah said ... (6/02/2008 4:18 PM) : 

A bananas foster opera cake?? Brilliant! Lovely cake, and thanks for hosting such a fun challenge!


Blogger Shari@Whisk: a food blog said ... (6/03/2008 5:24 PM) : 

Wow, a bananas foster cake. That's brilliant. I'm going to have to make this cake again just to try this out. And banana jam...yum. Thanks for hosting (and starting!) such a great event!
Shari@Whisk: a food blog


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6/06/2008 1:01 PM) : 

What a cute idea to put the music decorations on your cake!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6/09/2008 11:26 AM) : 

That looks beautiful


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6/14/2008 9:56 AM) : 

Better late than never, I always say.
And it's certainly an Aria to be proud of.


Blogger Jaime said ... (6/30/2008 12:22 AM) : 

bananas foster?! you're a genius! :) thanks for co-hosting!


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