Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Daring Bakers: Matcha Opera Cake

I completed my very first Daring Bakers Challenge. Horray! Currently I'm traveling in Portugal so I decided to make the cake for mothers day. I don't have much experience with baking but I'm very proud of how my Matcha Opéra Cake turned out. It was a very LONG recipe with lots of detailed steps but I ended up with a gorgeous and sweet cake for Mother's Day dessert. I had so much fun baking this cake that I'm super excited for my next challenge. The cake was a tad bit on the sweet side. If I were to make this cake again I would lessen the amount of sugar (and butter) but I decided not to stray too far from the recipe provided because I was afraid to mess up. I didn't know that I could really bake, but guess what... I can! Whoopie~!
A TASTE OF LIGHT: Opéra Cake Recipe

This recipe is based on Opéra Cake recipes in Dorie Greenspan's Paris Sweets and Tish Boyle and Timothy Moriarty's Chocolate Passion.

For the Jonconde
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 cups ground blanched almonds
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
6 large eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp. matcha powder

1.Divide the oven into thirds by positioning a rack in the upper third of the oven and the lower third of the oven.
2.Preheat the oven to 425◦F.
3.Line two 12½ x 15½- inch jelly-roll pans with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.
4.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy.
5. Attach the paddle attachment to the stand mixer and beat the almonds, icing sugar, matcha powder and eggs on medium speed until light and voluminous, about 3 minutes.
6.Add the flour and beat on low speed until the flour is just combined
7.Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond mixture and then fold in the melted butter. Divide the batter between the pans and spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of each pan.
8.Bake the cake layers for 5-9 minutes until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch.
9.Put the pans on a heatproof counter and run a sharp knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Cover each with a sheet of parchment or wax paper, turn the pans over, and unmold.
10.Carefully peel away the parchment, then turn the parchment over and use it to cover the cakes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.

For the Syrup
½ cup water
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp. honey

1.Stir all the syrup ingredients together in the saucepan and bring to a boil.
2.Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

For the Matcha Buttercream
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1¾ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tbsp. matcha powder

1.Combine the sugar, water and vanilla bean seeds or extract in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves.
2.Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 225◦F on a candy or instant-read thermometer. Once it reaches that temperature, remove the syrup from the heat.
3.While the syrup is heating, begin whisking the egg and egg yolk at high speed in the bowl of your mixer using the whisk attachment. Whisk them until they are pale and foamy.
4.When the sugar syrup reaches the correct temperature and you remove it from the heat, reduce the mixer speed to low speed and begin slowly (very slowly) pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl being very careful not to splatter the syrup into the path of the whisk attachment.
5.Raise the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the eggs are thick and satiny and the mixture is cool to the touch (about 5 minutes or so).
6.While the egg mixture is beating, place the softened butter in a bowl and mash it with a spatula until you have a soft creamy mass.
7.With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding in two-tablespoon chunks. When all the butter has been incorporated, raise the mixer speed to high and beat until the buttercream is thick and shiny.
8.At this point add in the matcha powder and beat for an additional minute or so.
9.Refrigerate the buttercream, stirring it often, until it's set enough (firm enough) to spread when topped with a layer of cake (about 20 minutes).

For the White Chocolate Ganache/Mousse
7 ounces white chocolate
1 cup plus 3 tbsp. heavy cream (35% cream)
1 tbsp. Amaretto

1.Melt the white chocolate and the 3 tbsp. of heavy cream in a small saucepan.
2.Stir to ensure that it's smooth and that the chocolate is melted. Add the tablespoon of liqueur to the chocolate and stir. Set aside to cool completely.
3.In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form.
4.Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate to form a mousse.
5.If it's too thin, refrigerate it for a bit until it's spreadable.
6.If you're not going to use it right away, refrigerate until you're ready to use.

For the Glaze
14 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup heavy cream (35% cream)

1.Melt the white chocolate with the heavy cream. Whisk the mixture gently until smooth.
2.Let cool for 10 minutes and then pour over the chilled cake. Using a long metal cake spatula, smooth out into an even layer.
3.Place the cake into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.

Assembling the Opéra Cake
Place one square of cake on the baking sheet and moisten it gently with the flavoured syrup.Spread about three-quarters of the buttercream over this layer.Top with the two rectangular pieces of cake, placing them side by side to form a square. Moisten these pieces with the flavoured syrup.Spread the remaining buttercream on the cake and then top with the third square of joconde. Use the remaining syrup to wet the joconde and then refrigerate until very firm (at least half an hour).Prepare the ganache/mousse (if you haven't already) and then spread it on the top of the last layer of the joconde. Refrigerate for at least two to three hours to give the ganache/mousse the opportunity to firm up.Make the glaze and after it has cooled, pour/spread it over the top of the chilled cake. Refrigerate the cake again to set the glaze.Serve the cake slightly chilled.

This recipe will yield approximately 20 servings.


Gretchen Noelle said...

I remember seeing your photo on the private forum and found it so inspiring, it looks just gorgeous! Great job on your first challenge & welcome to the daring bakers!

Bellini Valli said...

I LOVE your personal touches on this challenge with the matcha flavouring and the treble clef in icing. Way to go. Welcome to the Daring Bakers and if this challenge is any indication you will love it!!!

Lisa said...

What beautiful looking cakes!

RecipeGirl said...

It's a towering masterpiece! So pretty!!

VeggieGirl said...

Your first Daring Bakers Challenge!! Hooray!! You DEFINITELY nailed it; and it made such a lovely cake for Mother's Day, as well!

Lou @ The Higher Nest said...

All your layers look just perfect (and the photos are really wonderful, too).

Clumbsy Cookie said...

"I don't have much experience with baking..." What? It looks professional! I remember seeing it in the forum. Enjoy my country!

::Christine:: said...

Hi Lina!! It looks like you are having a blast in Portugal! I'm going to Spain in August! The cake looks mighty delicious!! I was talking to Michi and telling her that I like matcha green tea and she was telling me about how you make it all the time. Talk to you later! =)

nicisme said...

Your little cakes look so delicious, some of the best I've seen!

June said...

Great job on your first challenge!

lina said...

Great job, your cake is really looking fab!

Elle said...

Gorgeous photos! it looks stunning! I have to track down some matcha powder...

Jan said...

Wow that cake looks so fantastic! What a great job you've done!

Kevin said...

Your matcha opera cake cake looks great!! I really enjoyed the green tea and white chocolate combo.

Sophie said...

Wow! You did a lovely job with this cake. The layers look perfect (mine came out kinda funny b/c I used cheap jelly pans that 'poped' in the oven -- causing the cake to come out slightly uneven :P). I love the color, too. Good idea to make this for Mother's Day!

Lesley said...

simply stunning! Great flavors too...I'm always tempted to do matcha but never do!

Shayne said...

For someone that claims to not be a baker made some beautiful cakes.

I agree this was a little too sweet but the original was supposed to be making with dark or milk chocolate and I thing that would be much better.

Randi said...

I love the matcha and the matcha sprinkling on top, its a really nice touch! really great photos.

Virginia said...

Wow really great job fellow newbie! I have no idea what matcha tastes like but I think - from your pictures - I would love it. kudos.

vermichelli said...

i love that little treble note you have on there! haha!

Dhanggit said...

beautiful!! these green tea opera cake is definitely beautiful! i'll definitely try this version of opera in green tea!!

Mcwhisky said...

Prettily done! Really do love the details that you've put on your Matcha Opera Cake. Like you've said; perfect notes!

Rosie said...

This is one very beautiful cake - well done!! :)

Rosie x

Garrett said...

Such perfect layers and cuts! I love how your cake turned out, it's beautiful.

FoodieFroggy said...

Hi Lina,
Your cake is simply awesome !
Anne (the girl who wrote a post about Santorini).

Anonymous said...

So elegant and pretty - lovely photos :)

Erika said...

Perfect little cakes! I need to find some matcha because I keep seeing recipes that sound delicious but I have never tried it!

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

Absolutely gorgeous, perfectly layered cakes. Amazing!


Shari said...

Shari@Whisk: a food blog

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Your pictures are really amazing :)

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