Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My first Daring Bakers' challenge

Inspired by the Happy Baker, I thought I'd brave the choppy waters of the Daring Bakers' challenges. I was terrified at the prospect. These people really know their stuff and seem to make the most astonishing and ambitious goodies.

To date, I've only ever made 'heavy' cake. I was a stranger to that lightness of touch which is essential if a cake is to rise, stay risen and get eaten. All too often, I've had to throw whole cakes away.

I wasn't happy with the thought of not being able to knock out a decent sponge. Training was going to be the way forward. Daring Bakers were going to be my personal trainers.

The Daring Bakers said bake an Opera Cake. Instead of the usual chocolate mousse and coffee buttercream, this was to be a lighter, more spring like version. I went along with this, because a) I am new to this game and b) I didn't even know what an Opera Cake was, so who was I to argue.

I had to make the cake at the beginning of May while the weather was gloriously sunny and we had lots of relatives visiting for lunches over the long May bank holiday weekend.

Incredibly, this cake turned out to be fabulous. The quantities in the recipe were vast - if I ever make this again, I'll halve all measurements. It took three days to make - all the filling on the first day, the sponges on the second and stacking them all up and the final topping on the third day.
It sounds - and perhaps even looks - complicated, but everything was easy. I made sure I didn't have Peaches in the kitchen with me, because I find I concentrate better that way. Don't know about you, but I find it's tricky to bake when she's clutching my legs, dancing on my toes and either turning the oven up or off altogether.

Recarro, Peaches and I all tucked into the trimmings off the edges of the cake. And then I cut the rectangular cake into a large square and a smaller rectangle. My mum came to visit and we ate all the smaller one with her.

My next challenge was to make a diet version of this cake. The quick and easy solution was to take it to the beach where Recaro's neice was entertaining friends and their children at a beach hut. They willingly accepted the calorie laden challenge of finishing the bigger cake. That surely had to save a pound or two off my butt and a kept the dentist's bill down as well.

Also, it has added to Whitstable's reputation for seaside jolliness. It made several people very happy to think that just as they are starting to wish for cake, someone might show up and offer them some.

12 comments:

scrappysue said...

just like a bought one! plse bring one exactly the same to NY - that's doable right??? i always carry a cake box with me when a travel...

Working mum said...

Looks fabulous! I'm doing Nigella's Damp Lemon and Almond cake this week, but not sure I'll post it - it won't look anywhere near as good as that one!

Kristen said...

Oooh, gorgeous cake! I love it. Great Job!

Mary said...

It's beautiful! And what a great idea to just give it away!

Trish said...

Oh my goodness that cake is beautiful and sounds delicious! -- if something can "sound" delicious.

Cajunchic said...

Ok that looks absolutely amazing. I am so hungry now.

Reluctant Housewife said...

Wow, your cake looks amazing. Professional, even. I'm impressed.

Amy J. said...

Beaut-ee-ful job! Makes me want a slice!

:)~

chrismacd1 said...

This cake is gorgeous! Welcome to DB!

Rebecca said...

Congratulations on surviving your first DB challenge! Looks lovely.

silverrock said...

Congrats on a successful first challenge, the cake looks delicious!

gfgastronaut said...

Beautiful cake! Great job on your first challenge.