Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Daring Bakers: Has the Fat Lady Sung Yet?

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I'm rather pleased with myself. I saw this month's challenge, and decided I was going to turn it into a mother's day cake for Matt's Mom. Which means...I completed the challenge weeks early!

Usually, I'm scrambling the night before, or the day of, to get it done because I schedule too many things in my day without a break (you know what I'm talking about). So having this done ahead of time is a little bright spot for me.



This month's Daring Baker's challenge is an Opera Cake. A light & pretty confection.

And I have to admit I wasn't exactly enthusiastic about it.

I'm not complaining! I'm up for any challenge the DB'ers throw my way. It's just that...well, I've reached a point where I just don't like making Italian buttercream. It's seems rather labor-intensive for something that, in my opinion, isn't worth the effort.

But the cake itself was fine. I used hazelnuts for my 'flour', and the cake layers came out perfectly.

I then used a hazelnut syrup to moisten the cake, which smelled divine. And I did grate white chocolate onto the syrup-soaked layers, as well.

Then on the buttercream. It was...a cooked, egg white based-frosting. And I can't help but let out a sigh whenever it's called for.

This one didn't impress me any more than past recipes, so it didn't exactly change my mind.

I had planned to top the cake with the white chocolate glaze, but I kind of hit a brick wall, creatively. So I stopped, despite that always-tempting brick of Callebaut sitting just a foot or so away.

As I was handing this off to my mother-in-law, I opted for simple yet pretty decorations. Some crystallized violets and roses at the corners, and it was finished.




We dropped off the cake, along with a few other baked goods and sweets I'd made that weekend, on Mother's day.

It's a huge cake, and it's just the two of them. To our total lack of surprise, Matt's mom tried to unload a bit of it on us. But as my two guys had just made a chocolate cake for me, the last thing I needed was more cake in the house!

The report from the in-laws was good. They really, really enjoyed it. And froze a portion of it for later!!

The number of Daring Bakers continues to grow, which means endless interpretations of the cake!
Be sure to stop by and gush at their offerings, too...








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56 Thoughts for food:

At 12:06 AM, Blogger glamah16 said...

Your so sweet. What a lovely Mothers Day present. I love the simple violets as decoration.

 
At 12:48 AM, Blogger Dolores said...

What a thoughtful way to celebrate your mother in law... congratulations on getting it done early. One day I'll learn from those of you who've got your stuff together. :)

 
At 12:49 AM, Blogger The Baker & The Curry Maker said...

Ooo grating white chocolate onto the syrup, what a good idea! Looks good, what a lucky mother inlaw you have!

 
At 1:02 AM, Anonymous Dayna said...

Lovely cake! I so should have made mine earlier to pawn off a piece or two... such a great mother's day gift. (that keeps giving.)

 
At 1:15 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

A lovely cake and a lovelier gesture

 
At 1:33 AM, Blogger Morven said...

Nice job. Lovely decorating. Mum's love to offload food on their kids. Before you know it you'll be doing it to your own!

 
At 1:52 AM, Blogger Elle said...

Lovely cake and such a nice gift for Mothers Day. The candied flowers make the perfect decorations.

 
At 2:11 AM, Blogger Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great cake! Very well done! That's so nice of you...

Cheers,

Rosa

 
At 2:57 AM, Blogger rainbowbrown said...

I love those flowers, they're so sweet looking.

 
At 3:30 AM, Blogger Gabi said...

Love your candied flowers for decoration- what a lovely Mother's day present- lucky Matt's Mum!
xoxo

 
At 8:08 AM, Blogger Jeanine said...

Lovely cake, I'm sure that it was well received (I know I'd love to have an Opera cake dropped off at my house! LOL )

 
At 9:10 AM, Anonymous Dianne said...

It looks great! How sweet of you to give it to your MIL. :)xnqqec

 
At 9:16 AM, Blogger Bellini Valli said...

I am gushing at your creativity. A great tribute to mom:D

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger Renee said...

Very sweet Mother's Day present! Great job!

 
At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Maddy said...

Love the candied flowers and ditto to Dolores- one day I'll begin my daring baking early! :)

 
At 12:45 PM, Blogger Natashya said...

Looks yummy, mom in law is a lucky lady. Maybe she can freeze some. What is Callebaut?

 
At 1:08 PM, Blogger breadchick said...

Stephanie,

I'm so glad I'm not the only DB who HATES buttercream! I so agree it is just not worth the darn effort.

Your MIL was very lucky to have such a pretty cake as a Mother's Day present.

 
At 1:36 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Hi glamah16, and thanks!

I keep the crystallized flowers in reserve for really special occasions, so it's nice to have a good reason to use them!

 
At 1:37 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Dolores!

I don't usually get my DB challenge done ahead of time, believe me! There's always so much going on, it's often the night before for me!

 
At 1:39 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

tB&tCM; thanks!

I was slightly bummed at not getting around to the white chocolate mousse...I love white chocolate...so it seemed the next best thing!

 
At 1:40 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Dayna!

It is a big cake, isn't it? I suggested she take it to the office and try to give it away, but they opted to freeze the rest instead!

 
At 1:40 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Rachel.

 
At 1:41 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Morven!

I'm already the mom who carries graham crackers and fruit leather in her purse, so I'm well on my way...

 
At 1:42 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, elle!

I think it was a nice departure for me. My instinct would be to use chocolate, or something rich. The flowers were so light & pretty!

 
At 1:42 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Rosa!

 
At 1:43 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

rainbowbrown; thank you!

And I just crystallized some gorgeous deep red rose petals this past weekend...wonder what uses I'll find for them?

 
At 1:44 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, gabi!

Well, even if she lived close enough to do it for her, my mom would NEVER eat cake!

 
At 1:45 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Jeanine!

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Dianne! I like to give my baked treats good homes...

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Aw, thanks BV!

 
At 1:47 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Renee, thank you!

 
At 1:48 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Maddy, I can only hope to be so prompt next time!!

 
At 1:50 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Natashya; thanks!

Yes, she definitely planned to freeze a chunk of it, which is good, as there's just the two of them to eat it.

Callebaut is a really, really, good line of chocolate. Yummy stuff.

 
At 1:52 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

breadchick; it's not that I hate buttercream, per se, it's more that I despise Italian buttercream. Regular stuff, I'm quite fond of. But this? Yeah, so much work, with 'eh' results.

 
At 3:00 PM, Blogger Mary said...

Aren't you nice that you gave it to your husband's parents! I love the candied flowers on top!

 
At 5:12 PM, OpenID shellyfish said...

This really turned out well - so pretty. I love the flowers!

 
At 9:22 PM, Blogger Christine said...

Yum grating the chocolate! What a wonderful Mother's Day gift. Great job!

 
At 7:20 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, Mary!

 
At 7:21 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, shellyfish; I was ok with it, myself.

 
At 7:21 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Christine...thanks!! I had to get it in there somewhere!

 
At 2:31 AM, Blogger ChichaJo said...

That's a wonderful Mothers' Day gift :) Great job!

 
At 2:14 PM, Blogger ostwestwind said...

What a beautiful looking cake, your MIL is a lucky woman.

Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

 
At 4:07 PM, Blogger Deborah said...

What a wonderful thing to do for Mother's day! I love the candied flowers!

 
At 1:07 AM, Blogger Shari said...

Lucky mother-in-law! Great job!
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

 
At 8:30 AM, Blogger Jenny said...

How did you make those cute flowers?
And what a nice mother's day present for your mother-in-law.

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

Love the decoration, simple yet elegant.

 
At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Rebecca said...

You got done weeks early? Lucky!!! Gorgeous results.

 
At 9:38 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

chichajo...thank you!!

 
At 9:38 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks so much, Ulrike! It always helps to have an appreciate audience when baking...

 
At 9:39 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Deborah...thanks! I love an excuse to use them; otherwise, they just sit in the cupboard.

 
At 9:39 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks so much, shari!

 
At 9:43 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Jenny!

This batch happened to be something we'd gotten in a gourmet market, but it's terribly easy to do yourself.

You want pretty, clean and non-pesticide-treated & edible flowers...individual petals or whole.

Mix a tiny bit of water into an egg white, and with a pastry brush coat the flowers with the white. Cover the flower with sugar, and set it on a baking sheet to dry (you'll want some sugar on the sheet, as well). When they're all covered, sprinkle on additional sugar, and best scenario, place in your oven...light on...overnight to dry. They drier the air, the better and faster they'll dry. When they're hard...can you snap off a piece of petal?...they're done!

 
At 9:44 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Barbara! Exactly what I was going for.

 
At 9:45 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Rebecca...no one's more shocked than I!

Although I am attempting to get this month's challenge done within the next week. Saves me a lot stress.

 
At 11:09 PM, Blogger Claire said...

Great job! I's so glad you got to do it for Mother's day!

 
At 8:47 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, Claire! It was nice to have an occasion for it, though that wouldn't have stopped me from just giving it to her, anyway!

 

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