Daring Baker #6 Coconut & Kumquat Opera Cake

>> Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This is a slice of Opera Cake.

This is most of the whole cake. Minus the trimmings.

I made it but I don't know why it's called an Opera Cake.

I do know why I made it.

Lis and Ivonne and Fran and Shea all got together and cooked up a 9 page Daring Baker challenge for us this month.

And Opera Cake was the result.

The recipe was long long long long. And very long. So I won't type it out here. Because I suffer from sloth. And it's long.

The cake layers are made from almonds. Apparently almond meal is only sold by prescription in Arizona because I couldn't manage to score any and ended up grinding up sliced almonds I bought in bulk - thank God I finally got a food processor! Note to self: those scoops in the bulk bins at Sprouts hold twice as much as you think they do. You're supposed to add melted butter at the end. I suggest adding it prior to spreading the batter out in the pans but you go your own way.

The whole cake was liquored up pretty good with a Amaretto infused syrup and Cointreau in the kumquat buttercream. Oh, if you ever need to get back at your spouse for something; ask him to stop in at Whole Foods after hockey and see if they happen to have any kumquats. If you're lucky your spouse won't really know what a kumquat is and will in fact feel shame at even saying the word. If you're really lucky he'll then get berated and belittled by the help for asking for something that's -clearly- not. in. season. Oh yes, fun times. Anyway, back to the cake.

I made a vanilla buttercream for the bottom layer, then added kumquat preserves to the buttercream for the second layer. Oh my lands was that spoon-lickin' good! Oh alright, I put my whole face in the mixing bowl. Like you don't. The third layer is what I'm choosing to call coconut mousse. I suppose in reality it's more like coconut flavored whipped cream but whatever - freakin' delicious is what it was. I made it by reducing a can of coconut milk down to about half and folding it into lightly sweetened whipped cream. It was absolutely perfect and I'm sure to find another excuse to make it.

The whole she-bang is covered in a white chocolate glaze and topped with some toasted coconut. The mousse was supposed to be white chocolate but I cheaped out when I found I would have to buy a whole nother 14 ounce block of the stuff to have enough for the mousse and the glaze. Heck I'd already spent 40 bucks on liquor! Not that I'm complaining. I guess when it comes to having either extra liquor or extra white chocolate around the house my vote is with the alcohol.

Much like your own private Cheesecake Factory this cake is a testament to excess. The butter, the cream, the eggs, the butter, the chocolate, the butter. All in all this wasn't a difficult recipe despite the lengthy recipe but the sum of the parts didn't really add up to much more than the sum of the parts. In other words it didn't transcend. I'd make it again but only if someone asked for it, and only if I get a square cake plate.

Check out the rest of the crowd @ the Daring Baker's Blogroll.


chriesi May 28, 2008 at 1:38 AM  

What an interesting combination of flavours. I would have never thought of using kumquats. Beautiful.

maybelles parents May 28, 2008 at 4:27 AM  

Using kumquats is brilliant. I love them but would have never thought of it.

Aparna May 28, 2008 at 5:48 AM  

I'm sure it wasn't as bad as all that.Interesting flavours. Looks good. I made my own almond meal too.

Andrea May 28, 2008 at 7:06 AM  

I'm with you, the more alcohol the better! I love the sound of the coconut mousse. Great job!

mosli May 28, 2008 at 12:34 PM  

kumquats?!? I honestly didn't know that you could bake with them. So is this the mystery bento item?

BonzoGal May 28, 2008 at 1:32 PM  

Waaaaah, no fair, I want the recipe so baaaad... could you maybe scan it and post it as a PDF? That cake has some of all my favorite flavors- almond, coconut, white chocolate and booze!

Medhaa May 28, 2008 at 3:51 PM  

The cake looks wonderful.

wmpe May 29, 2008 at 1:37 AM  

Your opera cake looks great! Love your photos. Your flavor combinations sound delicous. Your write-up was fun to read. I agree with the square plates. I was wishing I had one for presentation. Lovely cake. Wendy

Christine May 29, 2008 at 10:01 AM  

I did amaretto in my syrup but didn't think of kumquats. So going to have to try that combo your cake is beautiful!

Jen May 29, 2008 at 10:04 AM  

I really should have used some alcohol in my cake... seriously- mine was way to sweet and some 'spirits' would have been just the thing for it.

Marie May 29, 2008 at 4:41 PM  

Your cake turned out beautiful. I love your use of kumquats. Genius!

Jenny May 29, 2008 at 5:51 PM  

Sure, I'll make you an Opera cake for your friends party. My price is $60 for ingredients plus a new square plate! I like it!

Hetal May 29, 2008 at 6:25 PM  

Thats a lovely cake...

steph- whisk/spoon May 29, 2008 at 9:21 PM  

oh, poor spouse!! this really looks beautiful, and kumquats--very nice!!

Laurie May 29, 2008 at 9:46 PM  

Yum..coconut and kumquat! It sounds yummy and looks beautiful!

genkitummy May 29, 2008 at 10:52 PM  

mmmm...toasted coconut. it looks delicious!

glamah16 May 29, 2008 at 11:12 PM  

Coconuts and kumquats sound good!Plus the almond.

Molly Loves Paris May 29, 2008 at 11:31 PM  

Thanks for the really good laugh. I wasn't sure I was going to make it to the end. I must confess that I don't know what a kumquat is either. I love the fat coconut pieces, and the idea of reducing the coconut milk. Must remember that.

tricia May 30, 2008 at 12:17 AM  

absolutely lovely. i love huge coconut shavings (aesthetically and gastronomically!) and kumquat...mm mmm mmmm! great job!

Astra Libris May 30, 2008 at 4:23 AM  

Ooooh, your coconut mousse sounds positively divine! I love your kumquat story - too funny! 'twas worth the kumquat journey, I'm sure, because your cake is positively gorgeous!

Lucy May 30, 2008 at 5:04 AM  

I share pretty much all your thoughts on this cake. where did this opera business come from?
by the way, kumquat and coconut? brilliant!

Mcwhisky May 30, 2008 at 5:06 AM  

Oh great, now what? Kumquats?! You're a real daring baker! I was astonished and at the same time impressed by the opera cake you have there. love the toppings and the brilliant idea you have in mind.

Anonymous May 30, 2008 at 5:11 AM  

your cake looks so light and fluffy! delicious!

Claire May 30, 2008 at 5:20 AM  

Ooooh, kumquwat. I also love the topping - it makes it so very elegant. Nice work!

Rebecca May 30, 2008 at 8:14 AM  

You've taken some really great pictures. Despite your overall disappointment, the cake looks fabulous--I love coconut--and I'm sure it was deee-lish.

Eva & Mike May 30, 2008 at 8:17 AM  

Wow! Your L'Opera cake turned out great. I will have to do something with coconut soon now.

sterling May 30, 2008 at 9:04 AM  

I love your flavour combo! Sounds nice and tropical.

Randi May 30, 2008 at 9:05 AM  

kamquats! i'm so jealous i didn't think of this first!

How To Eat A Cupcake May 30, 2008 at 9:34 AM  

Yours looks so delicious!

I'm so glad I was not alone with the eggy smelling cake!

How To Eat A Cupcake May 30, 2008 at 9:34 AM  

Yours looks so delicious!

I'm so glad I was not alone with the eggy smelling cake!

BC May 30, 2008 at 9:48 AM  

Opera in Italian means work. So when you offer this up, you're offering "a piece of work"! Fitting isn't it?

May May 30, 2008 at 10:49 AM  

Looks so refreshingly light! =p

Gabi May 30, 2008 at 12:43 PM  

I love the coconut shavings which make it look so lacy on the top :)
Kumquat with coconut sounds heavenly- lovely job!

chou May 30, 2008 at 1:54 PM  

I love your write-up. Poor hubby--will he ever agree to pick anything up for you again? The coconut milk whipped cream makes me swoon. Yum.

Dolores May 30, 2008 at 2:34 PM  

Great story... the perfect antidote to a LONG "short" week at work.

I'd love to send my brother into Whole Foods for kumquats (my guy knows what they are and where to find them)... with a video camera tailing him. Muhaha.

And your kumquat/coconut/booze combination sounds heavenly. Urp. When you're ready to make it again let me know and I'll fly down to Arizona with a prescription for almond meal.

Leah May 30, 2008 at 2:53 PM  


Maddy May 30, 2008 at 4:44 PM  

oh lord that looks delicious! great pics!

Hannah May 30, 2008 at 5:34 PM  

Gorgeous! I can't believe how even and straight your layers are... It's a shame it didn't live up to your expectations, but I'm glad you still gave the challenge a shot all the same. :)

Erika May 30, 2008 at 6:47 PM  

Looks great! The coconut mousse sounds delicious!

Anonymous May 30, 2008 at 10:23 PM  

Fantastic flavor combinations! And the fully assembled cake is beautiful! It's fun to see how everyone else decided to interpret the recipe. I can't wait for June's challenge!

Madam Chow May 31, 2008 at 7:59 AM  

It looks delicious - I really like the coconut shavings on the cake. You did a great job!

KJ May 31, 2008 at 9:58 PM  

I love the kumquat coconut flavouring. Inspired. And I loved your post - I'm still chuckling.

chef_d June 1, 2008 at 1:35 AM  

interesting flavors :)

Faery June 1, 2008 at 7:11 PM  

I love kumquat and your post and the coconut shavings on top of the cake makes it even more yummy.
Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

Rebecca June 1, 2008 at 8:55 PM  

Gorgeous cake. Glad to know I'm not the only one blessed with the gift of sloth. ;)

Barbara June 2, 2008 at 2:59 PM  

Kumquat and coconut! YUM! Your cake is beautiful!

Barbara June 2, 2008 at 2:59 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barbara June 2, 2008 at 3:00 PM  

Kumquat and coconut! YUM! Your cake is beautiful!

Beth June 2, 2008 at 4:18 PM  

Add another vote in favor of extra liquor. The toasted coconut is pretty. It reminds me of a feather boa!

Shari June 3, 2008 at 4:27 PM  

A liquor-laced cake is always better than one without! Amaretto and Cointreau sound perfect.
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

Jenny June 4, 2008 at 6:57 PM  

I don't know what kumquats taste like, but I like how it sounds!

Suzana June 5, 2008 at 4:28 AM  

Your cake is gorgeous, and your combos sound delicious!

Thanks for passing by my blog, and leaving a nice note. :)


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