Saturday, May 30, 2009


I'm so so glad I did it, the L'Opera, at last !

The reason ? It is hubby's birthday today. He's so blessed as his birthday falls on a PH every year ! Each year when his birthday is approaching, I'll start thinking about what cake to bake for him. In fact, the L'Opera has been on my mind for the past 2 years but each time I look at the lengthy recipe, I give up ! So this year, I decided it's time I should do it for the head of the household !

I don't know who came up with the Opera cake but I know it originates from Paris. The Opera cake was popularized by the renowned Parisian patisserie Dalloyau , as L'Opera.

At just over 1 1/2 inches in height, this seven layer cake consists of three layers of coffee-soaked joconde (almond sponge cake), two layers of coffee buttercream, one layer of ganache & one layer of chocolate glaze. The moist layers of joconde, combined with the rich & bittersweet ganache, the smooth & creamy buttercream make this an impressive cake that's not too filling, maybe because of it's thin layers.

Oh, before I forget, the recipe is adapted from Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan, from Dalloyau.

Joconde :

4 Tbsp (60g) unsalted butter, melted
6 Large egg whites, at room temperature
2 Tbsp (30g) granulated sugar
2 Cups (225g) almond flour or finely ground almonds
2 Cups (225g) icing sugar, sifted
6 Large eggs
1/2 Cup (70g) all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 425F (220C). Line two 12 1/2 x 15 1/2-inch jelly roll pans (pans with raised edges) with parchment paper, and coat parchment with 1 tbsp of the melted butter.

In a clean, dry mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, whip on low speed until the whites become foamy, then whip on medium-high speed until the whites reach soft peaks. Add granulated sugar, and whip on high speed until the whites are stiff and glossy.

In a separate mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat almond flour, icing sugar, and eggs on medium speed for 3 minutes or until light and voluminous . Add flour and beat at low speed until it disappears . Use a rubber spatula to gently fold meringue into the almond mixture, then fold in the remaining melted butter until just combined. Divide batter between the two pans and spread evenly.

Bake cake layers for 5 to 7 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from their pans, and let them cool to room temperature.

Coffee Syrup :

1/2 Cup (125g) water
1/3 Cup (65g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp (7g) instant coffee powder

In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar and coffee powder, and bring to a boil, while stirring to dissolve ingredients. Remove from heat and allow syrup to cool.

Coffee Buttercream :

2 Tbsp (10g) instant coffee powder
2 Tbsp (15g) boiling water
1 Large egg
1 Large egg yolk
1/2 Cup (100g) sugar
1/4 Cup (60g) water
1/2 Tsp pure vanilla extract
14 Tbsp (200g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

In a small bowl, combine coffee powder & boiling water & stir until dissolved.
In a mixer bowl, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg & egg yolk on high speed until pale & foamy.
In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water & vanilla extract, bring to a boil, while stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook without stirring until it reaches 225F (124C). With the mixer on low speed, pour the syrup from the saucepan into the mixer bowl, trying to avoid hitting the whisk. Raise the speed to medium-high & beat for about 5 mins, or until the mixture is thick, satiny & at room temperature.
Use a fork or whisk to beat the butter until it is soft & creamy, but not oily. reduce the miser to nedium speed & add the butter to the mixerbowl in 2 Tbsp chunks. Raise mixer to high speed & beat until the mixture is thickneed & satiny. Add the coffee syrup, and beat until combined. Transfer the mixture to a container, cover & refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until it is firm enough to be spread.

Ganache :

8oz (240g bittersweet chocolate (70%+), finely chopped
1/2 Cup (125g) whole milk
1/4 Cup (60g) heavy cream
4 Tbsp (60g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a saucepan, bring milk & cream to a boil,pour over the chocolate. Let the chocolate melt for 30 secs, then gently stir the mixture until smooth & fully combined.
Beat the butter until smooth & creamy & stir it into the bowl in two or three additions. Pass mixture through a sieve, if necessary, cover & refrigerate, stirring occasionally until it is firm enough to be spread.

Assembly :

On a cutting board, use a ruler to trim each joconde sheet to produce one 10 inch square and one 10x5-inch rectangle. place one 10-inch square on a backing sheet lined with parchment paper, and moisten with 3 tablespoons of coffee syrup. Use an offset spatula to evely spread half of the buttercream over the joconde. Freeze the cake for 10 minutes to allow it to firm.
On top of the buttercream, place the two 10x5-inch rectangular pieces of joconde side by side. Moisten with 3 Tbsp of coffee syrup & use the offset spatula to evenly spread the ganche over the joconde. Place the last 10-inch joconde square on top of the ganache, moisten with the remaining coffee syrup. Freeze the cake for 10 mins to allow it to firm.
Use an offset spatula to evenly spread the remaining buttercream over the joconde. make sure the surface is very smooth & even. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour, or up to 6 hours. Alternatively, freeze the cake for 20 mins.

Chocolate Glaze :

8 Tbsp (115g) Unsalted butter
5 Oz (150g) bittersweet chocolate (70%+), finely chopped

Transfer the cake to a rack on alvel surface.
In a small saucepan. bring the butter to boil. remove from heat & clarify the butter by spooning off & discarding foam & solids. In a double boiler, or in a bowl, over a pot of hot water, melt the chocolate, & stir in the clarified butter until combined.
Working quickly, pour the glaze onto the cake & use an offset spatula to smooth the glaze evenly across the top, allowing the glaze to drip off the sides. If more than one minute has elapsed, do not return to fix any small imperfections, as the buttercream underneath the glaze may have melted, & smoothing the surface may mix the buttercream with the glaze. Refrigerate, the cake for about 30 minutes, or until the glaze has hardened.

Use a dry, hot knife to cut a thin slice from each side of the cake to remove the dripping glaze & reveal the cake's layers.

Serve the cake at room temperature.

Hubby enjoyed the cake, so did the girls. When I was assembling the layers, JF said : " Daddy is going to be so proud ". Over what ? Me I hope !!
By the way, CJ is in charge of the writing on the cake this year. the message on the cake reads " Happy Birthday Daddy" in French, something they learn from their French class in school.

I just realized this is my longest post so far, if anyone if interested in making this cake, do give it a try, it's worth the effort & a little patience, I think. Enjoy..........

* I've use Lurpak unsalted butter, Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla extract, Varlhona dark chocolate, no scrimping on ingredients. The results : fantastic flavour & taste !

Friday, May 29, 2009

Parmesan-Crumbed Baked Fish

This is one over due post, a weeknight dinner 2 weeks ago

I'm always on the lookout for easy meals that I can prepare in a rather short time. I wanted a simple meal that can be cooked in the oven so I turned to this website for their trustworthy & yummy recipes. This time , I set my eyes on this easy Parmesan-crumbed baked fish recipe.

Ingredients :
(Serves 4)

1/2 Cup Fresh multi-grain breadcrumbs *
1/4 Cup Flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped *
1/3 Cup Finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tsp Finely grated lemon rind *
1 Tsp Olive oil
4 (200g each) Thick white fish steaks *
Olive oil cooking spray
salt & pepper
Steamed green beans, boiled potatoes & lemon wedges, to serv

Preheat oven to 200C. Combine breadcrumbs, parsley, parmesan, lemon rind, salt & pepper in a bowl. Stir to combine. Drizzle mixture with olive oil, stir until breadcrumbs are coated in oil.

Press mixture onto flesh-side of fish fillets to form an even topping.

Place fish, skin-side down, onto a baking tray. Spray with oil, bake for 15 mins or until crumbs are light golden & fish is just cooked through. Serve with steamed beans, potatoes & lemon wedges.

* I've used panko instead of fresh breadcrumbs, it's so convenient. And I substituted the flat-leaf parsley leaves with 1 Tbsp of dried parsley. I didn't bother grating the rind off a lemon so I've added some lemon pepeper to the panko. As for the fish, I've used garoupa fillets. As I've mentioned before that I don't like any kind of beans, so I've made a tomato salsa. It's made with combining : 1/2 packet of cherry tomatoes & 1/2 packet of golden cherry tomatoes, chopped, 1 small red onion, finely chopped, 1 small Japanese cucumber, chopped, 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp of olive oil, 1/2 tsp of sugar - toss well to serve. Besides this, there's also steamed broccoli.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Lok Lok's 1st Birthday

Yesterday was Lok Lok's 1st birthday celebration.

Mummy said he likes Mickey Mouse so he had a big cake with Mickey's face on it. The cake was for the adults, a yam cake. Then we baked some little cupcakes for the children, with a small Mickey face thrown in for Lok Lok.

Birthday Wedding

This was for a wedding as well as a birthday celebration.

Chicky had this cake for her friend's garden wedding at STAR. Shape & design was her idea, we just added some details on the cake. Initially I was worrying if the cakes can survive the hot weather last Saturday at the garden wedding. When her friend picked up the cake, I told her to get the hotel staff to put it in the freezer. Everything went well & I was glad that the guests enjoyed the cake. Thank you, Chicky !

Oh, one look at the cake, one could tell this was a mango cake & usual ' 3 layers of sponge with 2 layers of filling' !

* While I was typing this post, I started wondering when a similar cake with similar design (or any of mine !) with similar description of it will surface in someone's blog again ?? Sigh........

Monday, May 18, 2009

Wedding Cake/Cupcakes

We've done our first wedding cake on Saturday.

This time the fondant was made from scratch, but not the flowers though. I wanted to make my own simple gum paste flowers but there's no way I could get gum tragacanth or Gum-Tex or Tylose so I gave up the idea. Moreover the wedding was yesterday & I only got the call few days before it.

This wedding cake was a small one, just for cutting. It was a rich chocolate cake. J also ordered 40 vanilla cupcakes together with the wedding cake.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

2 Tier Birthday Cake

This 2 tier cake was baked for a 50th birthday celebration.

As these were sponge cakes, we couldn't stack them, so we had to insert pillars into the bottom cake for support. The bottom was a 3kg chocolate cake & the top tier was a 2kg mandarin orange cake.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Teacher's Day Cupcakes

The school celebrates Teacher's Day today.
I was asked by M to bake these cupcakes. These are chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting, adorned with little flowers.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Orange Butter Cake

This orange butter cake was baked 2 Sundays ago when I suddenly had a craving for butter cake, which is so high in fat, but who cares ? Cravings won !

This recipe was given to me by a friend long time ago. I scribbled it on a piece of paper & have kept the recipe since then. So finally I decided to give this recipe a try.

Ingredients :

225g Butter
225g Sugar (reduced from 300g) *
4 Eggs, seperated
275g Flour, sifted
1 tsp Baking powder
Juice & rind from 2 large oranges

Beat butter, sugar & orange rind until light & fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time. Add flour to the mixture in batches on low speed, alternatively with the orange juice.
In a seperate bowl, beat egg white with a pinch of tartar till foamy, add 2 Tbsp of sugar & continue beating till firm, fold it into the batter. When the mixture is well combined, pour it onto a greased & lined 9" square pan, bake in preheated oven of 180C for 40mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

* I've used 200g of the sugar when beating with the butter, the remaining sugar was used to beat the egg whites. This cake has a great orange flavour, When I sliced the cake after it has cooled down, I noticed that there seemed to be of 2 different shade on it & the texture wasn't really fantastic. However, the cake turned out to be moister the next day ! This cake is not a fluffy type, more to the denser type with tiny 'holes' but moist enough. To me, this recipe is worth keeping, anytime I have a craving for orange butter again :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sweet Pastel Cupcakes

These chocolate cupcakes were baked for Bellina's party in school yesterday. She's a really sweet 4 year-old girl who likes dolls & fairies, pink & purple stuff. In fact she had another Barbie cake for another of her party last Sunday. I've tinted the buttercream a pastel shade of pink & purple, with different type of pink & purple sprinkles & Bellina had a fairy on her special cupcake !

My Quarter Pounder !

This is the burger that JF talked about in her Mother's Day 'certificate' for me.

It's been a long time since we last had home-made burger. Reason ? My tight baking schedule. We've been having a lot of simple vege & meat/seafood kind of meals lately.

Last Thursday, when I told hubby that I'm not cooking lunch, he asked if it was chicken rice again ? So feeling rather guilty about it, I decided I could cook something. I used to take my own sweet time when it comes to food preparation & cooking. However, I can whip up something really fast nowadays. I guess I've been 'trained' by myself, juggling my time between baking & cooking.

As usual, from the deep freezer, I've got minced beef, so burger came to my mind. There's cabbage, carrot, cheese slices, mayonnaise, tomatoes & gherkins in the fridge, breadcrumbs in my pantry. I just had to run out to get a bag of burger buns.

My version of burger patties :

500g Minced beef
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Egg
2 Gherkins, chopped *
1/4 Cup Breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp Tomato ketchup
1 tsp Liquid smoke *
1 tsp Dried oregano
salt & pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a large bowl & mix till well combined, cover & set aside in the fridge.
Divide beef mixture into portion, we had 125g each & the girls had a 60g portion. Heat some oil in a frying pan, cook patties till browned on each side.

To assemble, split a burger bun, toast it & spread some butter on it. Place tomato slices, onion rings, burger patty, cheese slice on one half of the bun, top it with the other half & serve. Add a sunny side-up to the burger if you want.

I've also included a home-made coleslaw to go with the burger.

* I've always like the smokey flavour in my meats so I make sure I add some liquid smoke each time I make burger patties or meatballs. Hubby likes his gherkins chopped & mixed into the minced beef mixture as he likes the sweet, sourish crunch of it in his burger.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day !!

Happy Mother's Day to all Mummies out there.........

As usual I've got no cake for myself but I'm happy that my cakes are able to grace the dining table of some people tonight.

I would like to say a big Thank You to all those who gave me the opportunity to bake a cake for their beloved Mummy today.

I got few cards from my girls, cake & food related. CJ hand-made a heart shape card with weaving & printed another one with a 3-tier cake picture on it (3-tier cake coming ???). JF gave me two certificates that she made, one a great baker award & the other with a picture of a hamburger ! I was puzzled, what has hamburger got to do with Mother's Day ?? She was funny, the card was to thank me for the yummy hamburger that I prepared for them on Thursday !!

A few of my cakes for Mother's Day :

This cake is done the way Denise the Chicky Egg wanted to, so fruity !

Another bikini cake for someone's mum !

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Tamogoyaki , Japanese sweet omelette is a popular egg dish among my girls. In fact I think most kids like this sweet omelette. Each time we eat in a Japanese restaurant, my girls will have plate after plate of Tamago sushi.

Frankly, I don't really like the idea of ordering Tamagoyaki in restaurants because they make in bulk & keep in the refrigerator, wrapping it with just cling film !

Once, I got a friend to teach me how to make Tamagoyaki. After watching her, I decided that I could do it, no skills, just a little time & a square pan, that's it ! Well, not quite a square pan, more like a rectangle, I got mine 15 x 20 cm.

Here's the ingredients :
Yields 1 15cm roll

4 Eggs
1/2 tsp Dashi granules
1 tsp Soya sauce
1 Tbsp Mirin
1 Tbsp Sugar

Oil for cooking

Beat everything together with a fork until well combined. Sieve the egg if you prefer a more even mixture. I didn't bother with mine that's why you see specks of egg white in my omelette !

Heat the pan on medium heat, grease well with the cooking oil, using a piece of kitchen towel.
Put in 1/3 cup of egg mixture into the pan, lowering the heat if necessary. Cook till the bottom is just set & top still slightly runny, roll it up with a pair of chopsticks to one side of the pan.
Grease the pan again, put in another 1/3 cup of the egg mixture, making sure the egg flows under the cooked part, so that it'll 'bind' the omelette together. Roll the egg to the opposite side of the pan. Repeat this step until the egg mixture is used up.

I made some on Sunday afternoon for my girls. I had it thickly sliced for them to include in
their lunchboxes. I found home-made Tamagoyaki softer as compared to restaurants made ones, theirs seem to have been pressed because the texture is heavy & not as fluffy.

After the first roll up

Half-way through

My Tamagoyaki is done !

I had them cut into slices for my girls's lunchboxes.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cakes (3/5)

This is a chocolate cake made for for a pair of twin boys, Adam & Benjamin. The cake has been frosted with buttercream instead of ganache.

My girls insisted that I should include this cake as well. It's a mango cake made for another pair of twins, Rosemary & Tom, for their 1st birthday. No special decoration as it's only for their family, so I left it with just confetti.

Now, my very first traditional looking cake for a 70 year-old with 'shou tao'. The flavour is the popular yam cake that old folks like.

This is a chocolate dark cherry made for 15 year old Kerry.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lychee Cheesecake

I've got a few enquires asking me if I make any lychee flavoured cake. I think it's a good idea as fruit flavoured cakes are always popular. So lychee has always been on my mind when it comes to new flavour. I've been busy with baking so weeks after weeks I've put this aside.

Well, it's been quite a while since my last new cake, lemon curd, was introduced. In fact my free time to try out this lychee cheesecake was this week when the power supply got interrupted many times. Since I couldn't do anything but just wait for the power to return, I could really sit down to think about this cake.

Back to the cake, I want to keep it light & refreshing. So the bottom part will not be the the same rich biscuit & butter crumbs, instead it'll be a layer of almond (pure extract) sponge, the filling will be blended lychee fruit with cream cheese, whereas the topping will be a layer of lychee jelly with lychee fruit.


Related Posts with Thumbnails