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Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Has anyone made Mary Berry's "OPERA CAKE?"


Poodlepet2 wrote:

Hi @sfnative! I love that show! DH doesn't like cooking shows, but we watch that one.

 

I am a decent home baker, but I am so intimidated by Mary's exacting judgment, and the contestants skill, I am absolutely too intimidated to try anything from that show.

 

I have done some piping once: suffice it to say, message to our local bakers? Don't worry about competition from me!

Poodlepet2

 


@Poodlepet2

 

I just love that show, too!  So much to learn, isn't there?  I'm a very critical person when it comes to myself.  I've been known to walk to the trash bin, if whatever and for some reason simply failed.  Because my mother was a lousy cook and baker, I set about teaching myself, once I left home and then got married.  Frankly, learned most of my technique from the Galloping Gourmet, Graham Kerr, and also Julia Child.  That's about all there was available in the 60s and early 70s.  Then as more books were published, I joined that cooking book club and started purchasing books, reading, then baking and cooking.  At the same time, I'd go out and purchase baking pans and kitchen tools.  For the longest time, I was using a Hamilton Beach hand held mixer that was a wedding gift (still have it and use it after 48 years).  In 1979, my husband drove me to an appliance store south of Market Street in San Francisco and we purchased my first Kitchen Aid stand mixer;  In '82, my first Cuisinart Food Processor.  Every time I purchased a new baking pan or tartlette pans, my husband would say, "You need MORE pans?"  He thinks that one 8", one 9" and one 10" will do it for every recipe I have.  Ha!

 

Since I competed musically for over 30 years, there isn't much that intimidates me any longer.  Plus, I also owned a small industrial bakery for 8 years, which isn't for everyone.  It eats up your life.  I had 1/2 day off on Tuesdays (!)

 

I do plan to make a few changes to her recipe, though.  As previously stated, I'm nixing the alcohol and will just use simple syrup with a bit of lemon in it.  I'm going to go light on the raspberry jam in the cake.  The Brits like their jam, but I feel it can overwhelm the finished product if slathered on too thick.  Plus, will not top the raspberries on top of the cake with raspberry jam.  Too much jam!  I'm going to use gelatin for that glossy look instead and let the taste of the raspberries shine through.  We're already getting decent raspberries up here in Oregon, so am not worried about a cake topped with sour berries.

 

Regarding piping:  Have you ever considered taking a local course from the Wilton folks?  I know lots of ladies who have done that, ages run the gamut, and they were all very pleased.  I took my class from a local wedding cake artist in San Francisco.  That class was too short - maybe 6 sessions.  In the end, I realized that one or more of the Wilson courses would have been better.  There are just a few things that you really need to learn and use successfully.  Please know that you don't have to learn 20 piping techniques!!!  I would suggest this for a successful outcome: use the type of shortening and sugar required.  If one tries to cut corners here, the piping becomes way more difficult and the end product really suffers.

 

Here's to Happy Baking!

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Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Has anyone made Mary Berry's "OPERA CAKE?"


Poodlepet2 wrote:

@sfnative@, II didn't realize you live in Oregon!  Will you be able to see the solar eclipse on Aug. 21

 

To celebrate, I think you should make either a "Black Out" cake or "Black Forest" cake!

 

...planning ahead is important here!

Poodlepet2


@Poodlepet2

 

Do you live in Oregon, too?

 

Anyway, we live not at all far from the Columbia River in Portland, so will go there and try to find a parking place.  That's really the best place to view astronomical occurences.

 

Am so glad you brought up the subject, so will make a beeline for our calendar and write that down.

 

Love Black Forest Cake and Tuxedo Cake as well.  Think that in our family, a Black Forest Cake will win out.

 

Thanks, again!

 

XXX - Rebecca

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Re: Has anyone made Mary Berry's "OPERA CAKE?"


Just Bling wrote:

For anyone that bakes this cake, it will get "wet" if not eaten within hours of completion.

 

The custard like filling will absorb into the sponge and you will be quite disappointed with a wet cake.

 

Almond sponge, custard like filling and chocolate with strawberries, what's not to love.

 

 


@Just Bling

 

That's one of the reasons I'm cutting down on the amount of raspberry jam used between two of the layers.  Plus, it's topped with rasperries, which will not leach water like strawberries.  A trick to making this the day ahead is to place it on the tray and scoot that puppy on the frig shelf way in the back as far as it will go and instruct everyone in the house to keep out of the frig, unless they have to.

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Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Has anyone made Mary Berry's "OPERA CAKE?"

@sfnative, awhile back, the closest I ever came to pastry was e-book

entertaining thoughts of taking a Wilton course!

 

My BIL was a pro-baker and had his own shop, but talk about run ragged! He could never take a day off,, or see his kids, ever.  It was a long haul.  He went back to School and has two degrees, but keeps getting downsized out of jobs.

 

I used to bake a lot-even milling my own flours!  I remember the joy that accompanied my first KA mixer (still have it) and over the years have updated processors.

 

Thanks to Diabetes, I don't do that so much anymore, but I have acquired a broad base of knowledge and collection of recipes when it comes to low-carb gluten-free baking.

 

I have organic non-dutched cocoa, but boy oh boy, every time I see those Merken's squares, I melt.  I love dark chocolate: I would love to get my hands on some DARK non-dutched. Does such an animal even exist?

 

I enjoyed talking with you tremendously!Smiley Happy

Poodlepet2

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Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Has anyone made Mary Berry's "OPERA CAKE?"

The jam won't soak the cake, the custard will make the cake wet.

 

 

Good Luck, I'm making a daffodil cake for Easter, similar to a sponge cake but in an angel food cake pan. 

 

Just cream and strawberries on the side.

 

 

Good luck with yours.

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Re: Has anyone made Mary Berry's "OPERA CAKE?"

@Poodlepet2

 

I need to look into non-dutch dark chocolate.  In my bakery, we used Guittard exclusively.  I love dark chocolate, too, but 70 is too bitter for me.  Every Christmas, DH piles 70 dark into my stocking and back out it comes.  Don't know how many times I have to tell him it's too darn bitter for my taste.

 

Boy, it sounds as though your poor BIL has been through the mill.  So very sorry.  My DH had wonderful positions in Silicon Valley, then came all the downsizing and outsourcing and so many years of unemployment.  Just horrible.  We're both glad to see jobs coming back and also being created by the tens of thousands.  Many cannot relate to this, but we sure can.  My husband went from making 6 figures to being unemployed for 8 years to making $7/hr for a temp agency inputting data for a telecom company.  Talk about a hit to the ego.

 

Sounds as though you're doing a darn good job of it baking gluten and sugar-free, which isn't easy, by any stretch of the imagination.  Several years ago after testing, I came up with antigens to gluten, soy and milk.  Nearly fell over.  We have several wonderful gluten-free bakeries here in Portland, but my fav is Cascadia, located in a light industrial area.  Love everything they create.  And, you can stop in for lunch, so they're really more than just a bakery.

 

Here's to a happy Monday for all!

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Re: Has anyone made Mary Berry's "OPERA CAKE?"


Just Bling wrote:

The jam won't soak the cake, the custard will make the cake wet.

 

 

Good Luck, I'm making a daffodil cake for Easter, similar to a sponge cake but in an angel food cake pan. 

 

Just cream and strawberries on the side.

 

 

Good luck with yours.


@Just Bling

 

If the cake were made with a custard, I'd truly agree with you and probably wouldn't make it.  However, it's made with creme au beurre, which is comprised of 3 egg yolks, 2-1/2 oz of superfine sugar, 8 oz of unsalted butter and 2 tsp of vanilla paste.  The deal here is that there's no milk, half and half or cream of any sort that.  That is what would really make this soppy and leach into especially the layer below.

 

Immediately after "building" the cake and while it's still rough around the edges and not trimmed, it's placed on it's serving tray and chilled for quite some time at the back of the frig.  It's taken out only after hours of chilling or overnight, then trimmed to the photo shown, then back into the frig until serving.

 

I'm confident, especially having seen this made twice by Mary Berry, that I can make this happen without untoward results.  So, am I confident in her instructions, ingredients and techniques?  My answer would be Yes.

 

(If she had created a custard, as we know custard in America, again, I wouldn't go near it and don't believe she would either. This lady studied at Cordon Bleu in Paris and has been a pastry chef, if you will, for over 60 years.  I should be that fortunate!)

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Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Has anyone made Mary Berry's "OPERA CAKE?"

@sfnative, wwelcome to my world: gluten-free, lactose-free, low carb and sugar free! In spite of all that, I eat very well and am omnivorous! My carbs come from root vegetables and legumes.....

 

Give up dessert? NEVER!

 

One of my all time basic cakes is Nigella Lawson's Clementine Cake made from almond meal, eggs, sugar and clementines....I don't have it off hand (although I have made it so many times, I should have memorized it!!!!)- and sugar. I have made adjustments for that, but use it if you can.

 

Leave out the clementines ( she says you can use any citrus), and let your "inner goddess baker" come out and play!!!

 

My baking life hinges around almond and flax meal, but you can use all sorts of non-wheat flours depending on the final product you want.

 

In the milk department, I love nut milks-including coconut.  I recently bought dried coconut milk that can be either milk or cream depending on how much you use.

 

I also bought powdered egg whites that they say can be used in baking. I have nothing whatsoever against whole eggs: I love and use them.....but I hate waste. I absolutely enjoy healthy fats, but things like pastry cream and Hollandaise are limited because my glucose goes up.

 

What to do with egg yolks? I am hoping these dried egg whites work....have you ever used them before???

 

So, you are a Guitard girl??? Is there a big difference between that and Merkens?

 

BTW, I am truly a dark chocolate fiend: almost every night,, I have a square or two of Lindt 90% sometimes with almond butter....or a few walnuts, or a sweet slice or two of Apple or pear-or berries....hmmm,hmmm, good!

 

Have a great day!

Poodlepet2

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Posts: 3,872
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Has anyone made Mary Berry's "OPERA CAKE?"


Poodlepet2 wrote:

@sfnative, wwelcome to my world: gluten-free, lactose-free, low carb and sugar free! In spite of all that, I eat very well and am omnivorous! My carbs come from root vegetables and legumes.....

 

Give up dessert? NEVER!

 

One of my all time basic cakes is Nigella Lawson's Clementine Cake made from almond meal, eggs, sugar and clementines....I don't have it off hand (although I have made it so many times, I should have memorized it!!!!)- and sugar. I have made adjustments for that, but use it if you can.

 

Leave out the clementines ( she says you can use any citrus), and let your "inner goddess baker" come out and play!!!

 

My baking life hinges around almond and flax meal, but you can use all sorts of non-wheat flours depending on the final product you want.

 

In the milk department, I love nut milks-including coconut.  I recently bought dried coconut milk that can be either milk or cream depending on how much you use.

 

I also bought powdered egg whites that they say can be used in baking. I have nothing whatsoever against whole eggs: I love and use them.....but I hate waste. I absolutely enjoy healthy fats, but things like pastry cream and Hollandaise are limited because my glucose goes up.

 

What to do with egg yolks? I am hoping these dried egg whites work....have you ever used them before???

 

So, you are a Guitard girl??? Is there a big difference between that and Merkens?

 

BTW, I am truly a dark chocolate fiend: almost every night,, I have a square or two of Lindt 90% sometimes with almond butter....or a few walnuts, or a sweet slice or two of Apple or pear-or berries....hmmm,hmmm, good!

 

Have a great day!

Poodlepet2


Funny you should mention a Clementine Cake.  It's one of my favorites and is in our family recipe binder I created.  The recipe I have originates from the Harrod's Cookbook purchased on a trip to the U.K.  Harrod's is a "must" trip, as it has to be the best journey through a department store - ever!  The lower level is the Food Hall and you would NOT believe what you see at each "food" department.  The Pastry Department is absolutely incredible.  Anyway, back to the Clementine Cake, the Harrod's recipes calls for making 2-9" yellow cake rounds from scratch, each of which is sliced in half horizontally (there's Grand Marnier in the batter, which bakes off); a marvelous creme patissiere between layers and on top; clementine sections decoratively arranged on top; and, almond flakes tossed onto the side.  Simply one of the best.

 

Merckens:  Appears to be an East Coast and Mid West commodity, not to say it isn't used on the West Coast - I just don't know any one who orders it in.  Have never seen it on shelves, so it must be ordered online or through a wholesaler.  It appears, from what I've read, that it is used in those geographic areas a great deal in the candy industry, due to melting point and mouth feel.  It's sad that the company has been bought and sold so many times.  Makes me wonder, when this occurs, how true to the original product(s) the present offerings remain.

 

I tried using coconut milk and didn't care for the abundance of taste it imparted to whatever I was baking.  I do, however, use it in Thai cooking and we love it.  Sometimes I mix almond and hemp milk together, as almond milk is very watery and hemp milk is thicker.  Like you, almond flour is a favorite!  Fortunately, I live in a mecca of sorts for folks who have dietary restrictions for many reasons, so the market we go to has just about all I want in bulk!  They have over 300 bulk bins!  And, if there's something you'd like them to carry in bulk, you fill out a form, make a case for your item of choice and they give it due consideration.

 

Re the powdered egg whites, though I've not used them, they are a staple of institutions, as are powdered whole eggs and powdered egg yolks.  When I worked for the Navy and on the odd occasion would go to the galley for breakfast, the scrambled eggs were, ick, made from powdered eggs.  This is very common, again, in large institutions.  After you've used your powdered egg whites, please get back to us and let us know how your experience turned out.  I'm really curious.

 

90% Lindt?  Whoa - I couldn't do that.  Once had a root canal and my dentist had to place some white powder on the tooth.  Some of it got on my tongue and it was soooo bitter!  After all was done, I asked him what that horribly bitter taste  was.  He told me that was quite interesting, as less than 5% of the population can even taste that powder, telling me then that I must be a super taster.  I asked him if that could be why I'm not fond of really bitter food or drink.  He said that would surely account for it.  Apparently, I have a set of taste buds that pick up on stuff that normal folks don't taste.  Because I pick up so easily on bitters, for instance, is why the 70% chocolate bars my husband keeps getting me at Christmas taste so awful: it tastes as though it's 98% chocolate.

 

Must stop here.  Gotta get ready for m first appointment with new Internist, as my other one just simply left the practice one day, saying not coming back...

 

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Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Has anyone made Mary Berry's "OPERA CAKE?"

@@sfnative, I could talk to you all day!  I will write more later, but it sounds as if you could have had a stellar career in coffee or chocolate tasting!

 

Once I developed Diabetes, I was hearing all about chocolate as an anti-oxidant, but it has to be the dark stuff.

 

I didn't like it the first few times I had it and then a funny thing happened: I realised how satisfying it is-just a small amount!

 

Kid you not: I could eat a pound of Neuhaus (sic) or Norman Love back in the day, but now only dark chocolisciousness will do!

 

Is it my imagination, or does Ghiredelli use honey to sweeten theirs????

Hugs,

Poodlepet2

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