May 30, 2008

In sleep you sang to me...

...in dreams you came
that voice which calls to me and speaks my name...

and do I dream again, for now I find
the Phantom of the Opera is there, inside my mind...

In response to the challenge laid down by Ivonne (Cream Puffs in Venice), Lis (La Mia Cucina), Fran (Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie) and Shea (Whiskful), some of you emerged from your kitchens with operatic masterpieces. Divas. Prima Donnas. Leading ladies (and a couple of men). galore.

My experience was a bit different. I went through the same motions. The joconde. The simple syrup, flavored with lavender and honey. A French buttercream laced with calvados. A lavender-infused white chocolate glaze. But what emerged from *my* kitchen at the end of the ordeal was less patisserie and more... rural... rustic. Okay... ugly. More likely to dwell in the depths beneath the opera house than to star on its stage.

But like Larousse's tragic hero, my little cakes are far more than they appear on the surface. There's depth. There's character. There's flavor. My gawd, there's flavor.

A year ago I never would have tried such an elaborate endeavor. And I certainly wouldn't have posted *pictures* of less-than-stellar results. But part of the daring baker code is that participation helps us all learn and grow.

May's Daring Baker Challenge -- a little Light Opera -- is brought to us in honor and celebration of Barbara at Winos & Foodies, whose brave and graceful battle against cancer is an inspiration to all of us. My contribution reminds us to look for the light in even the darkest of days -- it's there.

Want to try this masterpiece on your own? Ivonne has the recipe posted here.
Check out almost a thousand other opera and operetta at the Daring Baker Blog Roll.
And the new Daring Baker Forum.

From the archives...
In 2006 I combed the intranets for recipes to add to my to-try list.
In 2007 I turned a sheet of leftover puff pastry into a satisfying dinner.

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27 comments:

Tanya said...

You know what, sometimes it doesn't matter what it looks like. If it tastes good, that's what makes it a success. Personally, I'd rather have an awesome tasting dessert that wasn't perfectly presented than something dry and bland that looked picture perfect.

By the way, I've seen so many people using lavender in their baked goods and now I'm intrigued. I have never tried this and it sounds really nice.

Great job!

Peabody said...

I sang the Phantom of the Opera the whole time I made mine.

linda said...

Love the flavours you chose. Have to experiment with lavender soon...

Shari said...

Even tho' you say your cake looks rustic, it sure sounds delicious - lavender, honey, calvados, white chocolate. Heavenly! Great write-up.
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

Di said...

Ooh, the calvados sounds yummy. I've never tried lavendar as a flavoring; not sure if I'd like it since I'm not that fond of the smell. But I've seen a number of cakes that used it, so I may have to give it a try.

Joy said...

I think you're being too hard on yourself. It's definitely more Raul than the Phantom! I love the idea of Lavender flavoured, I keep meaning to try lavender shortbread - one day!

rainbowbrown said...

You've got the right attitude, lady. Glad you liked it so much!

Rebecca said...

Those flavors sound absolutely divine. Good job!

Bellini Valli said...

I know exactly where to get my habds on some culinary lavender. Why didn't I think of that!

Kevin said...

Those cakes look good!

Simona said...

I like the intro to your post. Lavender was a very interesting choice.

Brownie said...

Wow, what a flavor combo. Sounds divine!

I totally agree with Tanya. Delicious is delicious no matter the presentation. I'd rather have a tasty dessert that something that is beautiful but essentially inedible. Nice work!

Looking forward to Nov! :)

Princess of the kitchen said...

Thanks for your comments. Ohh yummy, i love lavender!!!

Tiffany said...

Love it!! Rustic...too funny. Looks good though..and what great flavor combinations!

Andrea said...

Ok, now I cannot get that song out of my head! My cake turned out more rustic than refined, too. Maybe it was from grinding my own almonds? I really like the lavender flavor in the syrup! Lovely job!

Deborah said...

I don't think yours is ugly at all! And your version sounds delicious!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Yours look like mine! So cute! And Yummy!

creampuff said...

Dolores,

This post is too funny! And no I don't think your opera cakes are nearly as bad as you describe them. As you noted, the point is that we're all trying new things and I'm sure your cakes were delicious!

Shayne said...

it is the experiance that counts. I thought that I did a great and professional looking job on ly cake until I saw some of the others, I was bummed mine looked amateur next to theres.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Rustic is the new chic! I bet it was delicious!

Jaime said...

great job on the challenge. lavender is a wonderful idea....mmmm! we don't always get the results we want but you did a great job w/the challenge and i agree that it looks nice and rustic :)

Snug said...

i think your cakes look tasty. they remind me of sansrival cakes, have you ever had those??? they're soooo good! hehe.

Selfhuggingjack said...

Great job, sounds like me, in that it wasnt a french master piece that I finished off with. The butter cream went wrong with mine so I made bog standard buttercream in the end. Thanks for the comment

Debyi said...

Rustic is nice sometimes, it makes it easier to cut into and eat :)
I bet it tasted fabulous.

my food affair said...

Great job on your opera cake!! i think it looks wonderful. I bet it tasted great with the addition of the lavender. -kk

Devin said...

Delicious!! Mostly, I like cooking and got recipes from cookbooks...

Dharm said...

I kept looking for yours the whole day on posting date. I hate the time difference!! Your flavours are so wonderful. I've never used lavender in anything and it seems such a wonderful taste to have! Great job my friend!