Elvis Opera Cake

Cakes, Fussy

If anyone deserves an opera cake, it’s Elvis. It is one of the classiest desserts out there, for one heck of a class act. Taking Care of Business indeed.

Jaconde:

  • 32g flour
  • 50g almond flour
  • 140g egg yolks
  • 180g egg whites
  • 170g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Peanut Butter French Buttercream:

  • 100g sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 227g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 80g creamy salted peanut butter

Bananas Foster:

  • 2 bananas, thinly sliced
  • 42 g butter
  • 3 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 TBSP dark rum

Ganache:

  • 227g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 240 ml heavy cream
  • 57g unsalted butter, room temperature

Glaze:

  • 75g dark chocolate
  • 25g unsalted butter

Make jaconde: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a 12×17″ jelly roll pan. Line with wax paper and grease and flour the paper.

Whisk flour and almond flour together and set aside. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg yolks, 1/4 cup whites and 100g sugar until thick and fluffy, about 5-10 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Fold in flour gently. In a second mixing bowl, beat remaining egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks. Gradually add remaining sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Fold into batter gently. Smooth in prepared pan and bake 7-10 minutes, until light golden brown and springs back in the center. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then flip onto cooling rack to cool completely.

Make buttercream: Cut butter into tablespoons and let sit at room temperature. In stand mixer bowl over a pot of simmering water, combine yolks, sugar, rum, vanilla and salt. Stir constantly until 155 degrees on thermometer – about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and beat with whisk attachment until fluffy and cooled completely to room temperature, about 10 minutes. Add butter, one tablespoon at a time until all butter is incorporated and buttercream is thick and smooth. Add peanut butter, one tablespoon at a time and mix to incorporate.

Make bananas foster: Melt butter and brown sugar in large saucepan. Add sliced bananas. Add heavy cream and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until bananas are cooked through and start to caramelize. Remove from heat and stir in rum.

Make ganache: Place chopped chocolate in small bowl. Heat heavy cream in saucepan or microwave until warm. Pour over chocolate and let sit 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Add butter and stir to incorporate.

Assemble Opera Cake: Cut jaconde into 3 even pieces, trimming sides first if necessary. Layer 1/3 of peanut butter buttercream on first layer of cake. Refrigerate 10 minutes too firm. Top buttercream with sliced bananas and syrup. Top with 2nd layer of cake. layer 1/3 buttercream. Refrigerate 10 minutes. Pour ganache over buttercream and smooth. Refrigerate. Top ganache with bananas. Place last cake layer on top. Spread remaining buttercream on cake and smooth. Refrigerate at least 10 minutes.

Make chocolate glaze: melt 50g chocolate and butter together in a double boiler. Remove from heat and stir in 25g chocolate until smooth. Pour over chilled buttercream and smooth. Refrigerate until firm. Trim all sides.

Decorate as desired, preferably with TCB lightning bolts.

Passion Fruit (Cheese)Cake

Cakes, Fussy

I really thought I had moved on to fall baking, but then I came into some passion fruit puree, as one does (I saw it at the store, and I bought it). Luckily, one of the 43 cookbooks I have checked out from the library right now was a Sherry Yard cookbook that had a delicious looking passion fruit cheesecake. It uses a thin layer of white cake as a base, which I thought was interesting. Normally, I like my cheesecakes to be heavy on the cream cheese and baked until the cheesecake is on the dry side. This cheesecake is extremely creamy, not dry at all. But with the cake base (that comes out unscathed after being baked twice) it works beautifully. There were clean plates all around.

I suppose it’s a little crazy (safe space) to bake an entire cake just to stick most of it in the freezer for another time. But, if you’re like me, you don’t mind having cake layers in the freezer. You could make this with a graham cracker or cookie crust if you’re not as party as me.

  • Buttermilk White Chocolate Cake:
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 3 oz white chocolate
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease, flour, and line with parchment two 8″ round cake pans and one 9″ round cake pan.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
Melt white chocolate in microwave at 50-percent power, or in a bowl over simmering water.
In a stand mixer, cream the butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until fluffy. Whisk a little of the butter/sugar into the white chocolate to blend. Add back to bowl and beat on low speed. Add egg yolks in 2 additions, scraping down bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla.
On low speed, add dry ingredients and buttermilk, alternating, in 4 additions.
In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until soft peaks, add remaining 1/4 cup sugar gradually and beat until stiff and glossy. Fold egg whites into batter in 2 additions.
Scrape batter into prepared pans – a thinner layer of batter into the 9″ pan (about 1/2 inch deep). Divide remaining batter between the two 8″ pans.
Bake the 9″ cake for 20 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch.
Bake 8″ cakes for 30 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch.
Cool cakes in pans.
Wrap the two 8″ rounds in wax paper and foil and freeze for another happy day.

  • Passion Fruit Cheesecake:
  • 1 1/2 cups passion fruit puree
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Butter the sides and bottom of a 8″ round springform pan. Using the 8″ base, cut the 9″ cake round to fit and place inside. Wrap pan tightly in foil.

Place 1 cup passion fruit puree in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to 1/2 cup, stirring regularly and remove from heat. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup puree.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, scraping the bowl as necessary, blend cream cheese and sugar on low speed, do not beat. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, blending well. Add sour cream and blend. Add the passion fruit puree in a slow stream with mixer still on low speed.

Pour into prepared pan. Place cheesecake pan into a larger cake pan or roasting pan, and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake for 1 hour, until the cheesecake is set. Remove from water bath, cool, and chill.

  • For the Passion Fruit Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup water (plus 2 TBSP for gelatin)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fruit puree
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 pkg gelatin

Soften gelatin in 2 TBS water. Combine 1/4 water and sugar over low heat, stir to dissolve. Stir in puree and lemon juice. Remove from heat. Add softened gelatin and stir until completely melted. Cool until thickened slightly, but still pourable.

Top cheesecake with passion fruit glaze. Chill to set. Unmold and top with fresh passion fruit to serve.

Apple Layer Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

A little bit fussy, Cakes

I just found this recipe in my recipe box. I made it for my grandmother about 15 years ago and she claimed it “a keeper”. It was an excellent use of the saddest apples you’ve ever seen – from one of the apple trees on my parent’s farm that I stuck in the fridge and forgot about for a little too long. The frosting is a classic American buttercream, but with the addition of a butterscotch you whip up ahead of time, which deepens the flavor. Pay no attention to the brittle on the top – that was just leftover in my freezer and needed a home.

  • For the cake:
  • 1 pound peeled and diced apples
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 TBSP brandy
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 large eggs

Combine apples and water in a saucepan, simmer until tender – about 20 minutes. Process until smooth. Measure 1 1/4 cup apple puree. Reserve any extra for another use. Cool.

Butter and flour three 8″ cake pans.

Sift together flour, soda, and spices.

Beat sugar, butter, brandy, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in half of the flour mixture, then the apple puree, then remaining flour mixture.

Divide among pans and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Cool.

  • Brown Sugar Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 TBSP water
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter

Combine brown sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat to dissolve sugar. Increase heat, boil until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream. Cool.

Beat butter and powdered sugar together until well-blended. Beat in cooled brown sugar mixture, adding more powdered sugar or more cream to reach desired consistency.

Fill and frost cake. Dust with cinnamon sugar.