Daring Bakers May Challenge: White Chocolate Lavender "Opera" Cake!!!

May 28th, 2008


When I saw this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge, I was very excited! An opera cake! How thrilling! How delicious! How hard!

Chosen by the lovely ladies, Fran, Shea, Lis, and Ivonne, and dedicated to Barbara, these opera cakes had to be light in color and flavor instead of the typical chocolate and coffee. They decided this in order to support Barbara’s Taste of Yellow event which advocates the LiveSTRONG foundation. I enjoyed the extra challenge, choosing a white chocolate and lavender opera cake. I did not have a jellyroll pan so I used regular pans. The challenge was fun! Definitely, one of my more labor and time intensive cakes. I was a little frustrated and impatient by the end. I did not let my glaze cool enough before pouring it on top, causing some of the mousse to go sliding off the top of the cake. But I covered my mistake with more glaze once it had cooled some more. The cake tasted great and even better the next day. The lavender was not too overpowering. I was very afraid it would taste like soap!

White Chocolate Lavender “Opera” Cake

Check out the recipe here.

White Chocolate Lavender Mousse

7 ounces white chocolate
1 cup heavy cream infused with 2 tablespoon lavender (adapted from here)
3 tbsp. heavy cream (35% cream)

1. Bring a cup of heavy cream and 2 tablespoon lavender to a slight boil over low heat.
2. Remove from heat and allow to seep for 30 minutes.
3. Strain out the lavender and place in the fridge to cool
4. Melt the white chocolate and the 3 tbsp. of heavy cream in a small saucepan.
5.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.
6.In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form.
7.Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate to form a mousse.
8.If it’s too thin, refrigerate it for a bit until it’s spreadable.
9.If you’re not going to use it right away, refrigerate until you’re ready to use.

P.S. Check out the rest of the Daring Bakers creations.

My First Daring Baker’s Challenge

April 27th, 2008

Have you ever played Candy Land? The wonderful board game where you navigate through the land of candy…running from Lord Licorice, hanging out with Princess Lolly in the Lollipop forest and ultimately saving the King in the castle! As you can imagine, I loved this game as a child. It is a simple straightforward game made so much more interesting by a Candy Cane Forest and Gum Drop Mountain. I could never decide who I wanted to be, eitherPrincess Lolly or Queen Frostine. They were both so beautiful and lived in such delicious places.

Ok, I know that you are wondering why I am reminiscing about some board game I played last night…er…um…15 years ago…Well, my first Daring Bakers challenge, Cheesecake Pops, as chosen by Deborah and Elle, would fit in perfectly in Candy Land. They could live right next to the Lollipop Forest with their bright colorful sprinkles, chocolate coating and yummy cheesecake center.

I am very excited to be joining the Daring Bakers. Every month the members are secretly given a recipe to follow to the letter and then blog about it on the designated day. This was a fun challenge and I brought my pops into work for a baby shower. Everyone loved them! I followed the recipe as it was written and used the microwave method to coat them in chocolate.



Cheesecake Pops
(adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor)

Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature

2 cups sugar

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

5 large eggs

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

¼ cup heavy cream

Boiling water as needed

Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks

1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) – Optional

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

P.S. Check out the other Daring Bakers’ Creations…