Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Daring Bakers: Double Vanilla White Chocolate Kahlua Opera Cake



Just for the record, this cake with the above-mentioned very long title was originally, in my mind, going to be a simple, pure, vanilla cake. Huh? But how did you wind up with...? Let me start from the beginning...



When I was growing up, my family's vanilla always came in huge glass bottles with thick paper labels written entirely in Spanish. It was an unwritten rule that whenever anyone in our family went to Mexico, they were to return with oh, just a case or two of vanilla - enough to supply us all until someone else went traveling. The first time I ever purchased my own vanilla in Mexico as an adult the bottles were now plastic and the labels in both Spanish and English, but the thick, heady odor of the completely unparalleled vanilla was unaltered. I've tried a myriad of different varieties of vanilla from around the world, and from all sort of gourmet shops, but nothing that I've found has a depth of flavor to equal my $2 L of vanilla...







So... returning to the point of my story, when I read that this month's Daring Bakers Challenge (hosted by a true baking powerhouse group composed of Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice and Lis of La Mia Cucina, the Daring Bakers founders, joined by Fran of Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie and Shea of Whiskful) was An Opera Cake, with all its enchanting complexities and multitudinous layers, I thought innocently to myself, "what a wonderful excuse to let vanilla take center stage..." For, while Opera Cakes are frequently based upon chocolate or mocha flavoring, this opera cake challenge is lovingly dedicated by hosts and participents alike to Barbara of winosandfoodies - and her blog event A Taste of Yellow that supports Lance Armstrong's LiveSTRONG foundation - and hence this month's challenge uses only light, yellow and almost-yellow flavors!



And really, when you begin with an incredibly, surprisingly light and springy almond cake as your foundation... who could resist the delights of vanilla or lemon or honey?





(Here we have the first layer of the dainty, rectangular cake, ready for it's vanilla syrup...)


The vanilla-only plans didn't last long, however.



Zach decided to join me in preparing the cake, and, well, we got a little carried away...



and had a little too much fun...

(especially with our white-chocolate buttercream, which provided the only glitch in the whole process when it produced white-chocolate butter-liquid, but after rereading the recipe umpteen times and concluding that no, we really didn't go awry and mess up, it thickened up quite nicely when we resorted to adding a lot of confectioners sugar - yep, to our already surgery cream!)


but you can't really have too much fun when cake is concerned, can you?



Especially when you wind up combining vanilla and white chocolate and Kahlua...



and decide at the last minute that you do want to add the ganache and the glaze (which I was previously going to forgo in the interest of my plans for a pure, simple, understated vanilla theme), realize that you don't have cream on hand, and solve the conundrum by combining the two concepts into a Very Thick ganache glaze...



and finally, happily, serve a very intense opera cake to ooohing and aaaahing friends during brunch the next day!



The Daring Baker's Blogroll offers a positive concert of more Opera Cake delights...

20 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Your version of the opera cake, with the vanilla/white chocolate/kahlua flavors, is BEYOND incredible - great excuse to use that vanilla, for sure :0) Yum!! Excellent work on this month's DBC!

Jade Is Green! said...

Mmmmm kahlua! Way to go with your cake it looks and sounds great. I am jelous of your $2 litre bottle of vanilla too!

bahava said...

Looks good! I love vanilla too! :)

Christina said...

The kahlua sounds great! It sounds like you guys had a very fun time with this recipe, which probably made the finished result taste better!

Christina ~ She Runs, She Eats

abby said...

i think your final combination of flavours is wonderful - well done!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I bet is was delicious!

maybelles parents said...

it is a perfect way to showcase vanila. Superbe.

Astra Libris said...

VeggieGirl, thank you SO much! You're too sweet!

Jade, thank you! *this is me trying to send you a bottle of vanilla over the web* :-)

B'ahava, many thanks! Three cheers for vanilla! :-)

Christina, awww, thank you! :-)

Abby, thank you so much!

Clumbsy Cookie, thank you! This challenge was definitely high on the yum factor!

Maybelles Parents, thank you so very much!

Christine said...

Yum kahlua! What a wonderful flavoring! Your cake looks great!

Cakelaw said...

Double vanilla and Kahlua - YUM! Great cake.

HoneyB said...

Mexican Vanilla and Kahlua! How divine!

Barbara said...

Vanilla and Kahlua flavoured opera cake sounds devine.

Kevin said...

I really like the sound of the pure vanilla cake but the Kahlua also sounds good.

Lunch Buckets said...

You can never go wrong with vanilla. Or Kahlua. It's win-win!

Bellini Valli said...

I love the combination of flavours Astra. I need to get to mexico to get some more vanilla. A friend just brought me backl some pomegranate tequila...a true foodie would know I would like vanilla...but I was happy anyway:D

Shari said...

Vanilla and Kahlua sound perfect! My sister brought back some vanilla from Mexico, and I'm hoarding it.
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

Barbara said...

The ooh's and ah's make it all worth it. Great job.

Astra Libris said...

Christine, Cakelaw, HoneyB, Barbara, Kevin, LunchBuckets, Valli, Shari, and Barbara, thank you SO much! Y'all's kind words keep me inspired!

Barbara, thank you so much for visiting... You are a true inspiration with your Taste Of Yellow event - I'm so honored that you visited my blog!

Kevin, I still like the sound of the pure vanilla cake too... I think whenever I get around to fixing this recipe again - which I would like to try - that I will stick with the pure vanilla concept this time - I'm still enamored with the idea...

Valli, pomegranate tequila sounds amazing! I'll trade you some vanilla for some pom tequila! :-)

Shari, enjoy the vanilla treasure! :-)

Debyi said...

Your cake sounds great, it looks pretty darn yummy too! Nice flavor combination too!

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

I love the fact that you got so much fun out of the DB Opera. Imissed that challenge...but will hopefully try it one day!! I am VERY ENVIOUS of your fantastic bottles of vanilla from Mexico. Thankfully you know how lucky you are...I have just bought some vanilla beans & intend to soak them in vodka/brandy to attempt making my own. We get pathetic vanilla ext here in India...life-s like that I guess!!! Cheers