This was my debut in the Daring Bakers Challenge. The baking task was the white chocolate l’Opéra, which in this interpretation was not the French classic, to be exact. The shape of the cake and the flavorings were left up to the challengers. While thinking about the flavor to choose I stumbled upon some breathtakingly beautiful pink grapefruits. That’s when I made my choice. I flavored the soaking syrup, buttercream, and the mousse with the grapefruit zest and Pink Grapefruit Liqueur (made in France, by the way) with, surprisingly, very nice, definite grapefruity flavor. It gave the mousse a pleasant light bitterness and very interesting taste. Since the whole white chocolate idea was already quite a deviation from the original, I had let myself to go even further and used Swiss buttercream instead of French one. I baked the joconde in two half-sheet pans, and then cut out three 8-inch rounds. Then I assembled the cake in a ring, mainly because I wanted to pour the mousse on the top before it sets and then let it set undisturbed. This way the mousse preserves its wonderfully light airy texture. As a decoration I placed a white chocolate rose on the top of the cake.
I really don’t recommend to attempt making this cake in one day. The rush will affect the quality of the end product and you will certainly be exhausted. It took me 3 evenings to put the cake together. Was it difficult? I’d say, no. But my husband will definitely disagree since it was him who had to put our dear son Tim to bed three nights in a row. And this, of course, included the full program: bath, tooth-brushing, night-story reading, etc.
This is my cake preparation plan spread over few days:
- Evening 1: make the joconde; make the soaking syrup
- Evening 2: make the buttercream; fit the joconde into the ring mold and spread with the buttercream; refrigerate for 1 hour; make the mousse (chop the chocolate while the cake is chilling); pour the mousse over the joconde; put the cake in the fridge until the next day
- Evening 3: make the white chocolate glaze; make the chocolate plastic decorations
- Next day: unmold the cake; put the rose on the top of the cake.
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