Posted by: familiabencomo | Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Daring Bakers’ May Challenge

Initially, when I saw this month’s challenge I thought that it was way over my head and that I would just have to skip this one because there was NO WAY in…. Hades that I could possibly have any success at this challenge. I mulled it over for a few days and and finally concluded that if I ever want to improve my skills in the kitchen, then I just have to get in there, roll up my sleeves, get messy, get confused and just do it! And, I’m so glad that I did. This was the best cake that I have EVER made and possibly the best cake that I have ever tasted (if I do say so myself!).

I had the perfect occasion to bake this beautiful L’Opera Cake – one of my dearest friend’s birthday. Yuka was turning 29 again which always calls for a celebration. Another friend offered to host the barbecue and I jumped at the chance to bring dessert (he, he!). Since part of this challenge was to honor a fellow Daring Baker, Barbara, who “is the force behind the food blog event called A Taste of Yellow that supports the LiveSTRONG Foundation started by Lance Armstrong,” we were all asked to keep the cake light in colors and flavors…. I hope I didn’t vary too much because I really wanted to keep with the spirit of the challenge. I used white chocolate in lieu of the traditional chocolate, coffee or cocoa and then used Chambord, a raspberry liqueur, as my flavoring. The result was amazing & I look forward to when I turn 29 again so that I can make this for myself!

Yuka with the girls

LESSONS LEARNED: The whole process was a beautiful experience. I had two mornings that I planned to work on this cake without being rushed or distracted which was a huge blessing and I think why I enjoyed making this cake so much. The ONLY pitfall I had was the unusually hot weather. My mousse and glaze were melting from the heat. Then, when I was driving to Justine’s house I had to blast the AC & shade the cake from the sun. Oh well! If that’s my biggest complaint in the world, then I’m OK.

Thank you Lis, Ivonne, Fran & Shea for such a crazy challenge! I never in a million years would have come up with this on my own!!! Honestly, this cake is a show-stopper & I loved hearing all of the applauds. Yuka is still thanking me for making it for her. Happy birthday to you, my friend! To see some more INCREDIBLE L’Opera Cakes please check out the other Daring Bakers. For the recipe…. it was 7 pages long once I printed it up & I’m happy to email it to you if you like.



  1. Raspberry sounds delicious with this, I am sure it tasted wonderful! What a great birthday celebration cake!

  2. I’ll take the print by email my dear…that’s right, rub it in!! LOL! Hat’s off to you…what a pretty cake Amy, & so many perfect layers…WOWEE. May I have one too when I turn 29 again? I love the raspberry liquor flavouring…lucky lucky Yuka. Wonder where our friends, blogs & baking skills were when we turned 29??? Ain’t that a thought now?? Well done bella…tanti baci xoxoxox

  3. Amy, Thats one elegant looking cake you have there, along with such an elegant setting with the platter and plates, beautiful!! White chocolate and raspberry? Yummm!!! It had to be the hit of the party! Lucky everyone, who had a chance to taste and enjoy! Congratulations to your friend and you!!! xoxo

  4. It looks beautiful. I bet your friend could tell how much work and love you put into that cake!

  5. How beautiful! You did a great job!!

  6. Thats beautiful with all the berries. Well done.

  7. Wow – love the presentation with all the berries and check out all those layers…amazingly yummy!

  8. Your cake looks clean, I mean that’s the opposite of how mine looked:)) You did a good job! Yum yum yum! Must have made a great present for your friend! How fun to turn 29 every year:))

  9. Congrats to you for rolling up your sleeves on this one! The Chambord was such a great idea! And how did I miss out on the whole “turning 29 again” thing? Sounds fun!

  10. Great job and kudos for not giving in to not completing the challenge! I joined for the same reason as you – to take my baking to a new (higher!) level!

  11. I love raspberry and white chocolate together..Beautiful cake and how wonderful that your friend was the recipient..She’s lucky!! And can I turn 29 AGAIN! 🙂

  12. the cake looks so yummy and beautiful with the fruits around it.
    You are not going to believe but I was thinking about you and the christmas holyday you spent here in Venezuela, it was more than 40°C yesterday, i was baking the cake for my birthday and I had to put it in the refrigerator after every single step because it was melting, the white chocolate melted when I took it out the refrigertor so did not have to put it on the stove 🙂

  13. Oh how I wish there were leftovers for my visit!!

  14. It’s beautiful… perfect for the occasion. It’s been too long since Yuka and I have seen each other. I completely missed her birthday too. That’s two for two now… I’m on a roll… maybe I’ll forget my own birthday! lol!

  15. what a lovely birthday gift for your friend – well done on making such a lovely cake!

  16. Your cake looks beautiful! Love the raspberry flavoring! My cake started to melt too!

  17. (Yuka was turning 29 again…)
    haha! That’s funny!
    Wonderful cake. May I have a piece please?

  18. Nice job! The flavors sound awesome!

  19. What a wonderful idea to make the cake for your friend. You did a beautiful job!

  20. YAY YAY YAY Amy…well done bella!!

  21. Yummm chambord. I’m so glad you had such success. Trying something new is what being a Daring Baker is all about, and you pulled it off magnificently!

  22. Delicious and beauty!!! dear Amy but I love soooo the girl’s picture!! looks so happy and beauty all of them!!! xxxx
    Was nice to me Ima little blue! Besos

  23. For me it was a real challenge, too. You did a great job!

  24. I’m glad you jumped in and made this cake, because it turned out just beautiful!

  25. seems like there was a great feast going on. that opera cake looks fantastic. and massive too.
    wish i had a slice. i’d kill for cake now. 😦

  26. Wonderful job! How nice you made it for your friend, I am sure she was blown away! Looks just scrumptious!
    So, I guess I know where to turn for my cake this year 🙂
    (I’ll be 27this year, +3, shhhhh…)

  27. Ah, a beautiful cake for a beautiful friendship. You and Yuka are lucky to have one another.

  28. That’s so cool that you made this for your friend’s b-day! Your cake looks so elegant. Great job!

  29. I love the way you decorated the cake with fresh raspberries. Looks delicious!

  30. Yayyy raspberries – I love the way they look with this cake – I used them too and wasn’t sorry. Your cake looks amazing – if you brought it to a birthday celebration, how the heck will you ever top that one?

  31. You have a true DB spirit! That’s the thing: to get in there and roll up your sleeve!
    Well done, the whole cake looks perfect!

  32. Beautiful lovely and gorgeous! Happy 29th to Yuka.

  33. Your cake looks terrific. Those raspberries look so good I can almost smell them.

  34. Oh my! Thank you, everyone, for visiting & leaving such nice comments.

    Gretchen – The raspberries were great – the perfect amount of color & taste.

    Deeba – Absolutely! When you turn 29 again I’ll bake you a cake. You know, that’s a thought – our baking skills at 29…. I know for a fact baking a cake always started with picking the right box!

    Marie – Thank you! I finally found a use for a serving tray I picked up in Florence 15 years ago!!! It was a purchase I talked my mom into b/c I “needed” it.

    Lori – Thank you. Yuka was very appreciative…. she has a sweet tooth just like me.

    Amy J – Thank you, dear.

    Shilpa – Much appreciated, sweetie.

    Carolina – I should have saved you a piece!

    Farida – You are being too hard on yourself – your cake was beautiful!

    Kelly – Oh, yes, you’ve got to try 29 again! I like it much better the 8th time around.

    HoneyB – You know, it was fun. I think it helped that my boys were gone for the day & I just put cartoons on for my daughter so that I could really focus on that tome of a recipe.

    Laurie – Absolutely, you can turn 29 again! I think the rule is that you can claim 29 until your kids turn 10, then you go to 32.

    Faery – You know I was doing the exact same thing! Thinking of that crazy Venezuelan heat every time I was dashing to the refrigerator – hoping you had an air conditioner! Your cake is beautiful – so glad to hear that it didn’t melt.

    Mom – Let’s make a pie!

    Jane – We all forget birthdays, don’t be so hard on yourself! BTW, I won’t let you forget YOUR birthday!

    Abby – Thank you, dear. It was fun to have a purpose for the challenge.

    Christine – Thank you…. Yeah, I see myself waiting until cooler climes before attempting this one again.

    Maryann – Come on over! We would have such a hoot together.

    Paula – Thank you!

    Andrea – Thank you, dear. It was fun to bake knowing I needed to impress the birthday girl.

    Deeba – You are too cute! 😉

    Jenny – Yeah, I really felt like I learned so much from this one – the reason why I joined DB.

    Gloria – Thank you, sweetie! Those little girls are cute – hard to imagine that they’l be teens one day?!?!?

    Zorra – Yours looked amazing – hard to believe it was a challenge.

    Deborah – Thank you, dear, it was fun.

    Diva – Why did you ever give up on sweets?!?!? Even short-term?!?!? Yikes!


  35. Hey Amy!!! You are so popular!!! well done, I come to smile a little because I needed!! Yes these adorables and sweet girls who knows?? to me this is the most beauty age!!! I would eat with kisses these lovelies!!! A hug friend! xxGloria


    Medena – Lucky girl! I bet people don’t laugh when you say that your 27 – your SOO close to it! You know, I’m tired of people laughing when I say I’m 29 – I’m not trying to be funny.

    Susan – Right you are! Yuka is one of “those” friends that I thank my lucky stars for having. Funny, as you were leaving this message yesterday I was shopping for your Thai Tofu Green Bean Salad – YUMMY. Everyone loved it & mom was impressed by how “Californian” I’m becoming. Tofu.

    Augustina – Thank you, sweetie. I think for the most part I just got lucky…. whew!

    Barbara – I appreciate that. I later read how others had added fruit between their layers…. I’m just not that advanced yet, working on it.

    Giz – Thank you, hun. You know I was thinking the same thing…. What do I do next?!?! I hope no one has a birthday party soon – they need time to forget about this cake.

    Tartelette – I had so much fun too! This was such a challenge for me in so many aspects…. we had to come up with the flavor to go with white chocolate…. I was lost! In the end I went with a liqueur in my cupboard. Thank you for the nice words!

    Susan – Thank you, dear! I’ll pass on your well-wishes to Yuka.

    Molly – Fresh fruit is the best! My kids were sneaking raspberries as I was setting them around the cake.

    Gloria – My dear friend, you are too cute! Yes, this is such a sweet age & when I’m frustrated with my little one I try to remember that one day she will be a teen and I’ll be longing for the days of endless chatter about mermaids and ponies. Muchos besos!

  37. You cake is lovely! I’m so glad we made this- it is a special cake and has lots of possible flavorings!

  38. Awwww that’s such a nice story! I’m so glad you had a true occasion to make the cake! I’m tickled your friend liked it so much. 🙂

    You’re the 2nd person who used Chambord and I’m just DYING to run out to get a bottle and try baking with it. Next to Galliano, Chambord is my 2nd favorite sippng pleasure. 😀

    Beautiful job! Beautiful occasion! Beautiful girls!!


  39. So glad you had such a special occasion to bring the Opera Cake. Your flavour choices are perfect:D

  40. I love all the raspberries sitting around this pretty cake. Great job!
    Shari@Whisk: a food blog

  41. Doesn’t it feel great to take on a challenge like this and have it work out! I almost fainted when I saw the challenge and the really long recipe but like you, I persisted and am happy I did so.

  42. I admire all the members of Daring Bakers for your patience and whipping up these amazing baked goodies month after month. 7 pages – I think I will be exhausted just by reading the instruction, forget attempting to make it 🙂

  43. Lovely cake! And how nice of your friend to have a birthday at just the right time. Wish mine would get in line like that. 😉

  44. Fran Z – Thank you. You are so right – imagine what we can do one we use “dark” colors & flavors.

    Lis – Thank you so much. I enjoy having Chambord for making Kir Royales. To be honest, it was the only liqueur I had lying around the house & that’s why I opted to use it for the cake. I’m just lazy like that!

    Val – Thank you, dear. It was so much fun challenging myself.

    Shari – You know it wasn’t easy getting those raspberries around the cake with my daughter sneaking handfuls of berries at every chance. Thank you for your nice words!

    Barbara – You did a great job too, dear. It definitely was one of those recipe you had to read through a few times & give yourself a few days to figure it out in your head.

    A-kay – Well, thank you, dear! Please don’t give me too much credit b/c I did the bare minimum. There’s others out there who did an unbelievable job with the flavors & decorating.

    Rebecca – I know!!! I’m not so lucky with my other friend’s bdays…. Uh oh!

  45. Looks great! I’m glad you had such success! And those are cute girlies.

  46. I am always just so impressed with these daring bakers. This looks absolutely beautiful!! Congrats… i couldn’t do it!

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