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Saturday, April 12, 2008

opera cake

dharmagirl here... so music chick is here visiting me, all the way from Michigan. Hooray! since the wind was howling and the SNOW swirling all day, we decided to stay in and:
a) learn the solja boy dance via the youtube instructional video;
b) watch *the starter wife*; and
c) bake. after much poring over my extensive baking cookbooks and amassed foodie mags, we settled on the ambitious OPERA CAKE in Dorie Greenspan's *Paris Sweets* cookbook. We had to make a few adjustments, eschewing Dorie's advice NOT to halve the cake recipe (we did because I only have 1 jelly roll pan and neither of us wanted to leave the house to ask my neighbor B if she had such a pan), and selecting an alternative coffee buttercream recipe from Regan Daley's *In the Sweet Kitchen* because Dorie's recipe required a candy thermometer, and, well, I don't actually have one (the horror!).

Step One: divide and perform the tasks.
dharmagirl: everything egg-y, including separating 5 eggs, and making two different meringues. folding aforementioned meringue number one into the cake base. making a true buttercream using aforementioned meringue number two. chopping chocolate.
music chick: grinding everything. i mean, almonds. mixing the base of the cake. clarifying butter. making the coffee syrup. creating the ganache.

Step Two: comment on the process, contemporaneously and retrospectively.
music chick: i carried out the duties of the sous chef. it is by far the most complicated and beautiful cake i have ever been a part of. and this has been one of my favorite days in a long time.

dharmagirl here. what great fun we've had! this cake is BEYOND. well, we haven't actually eaten any yet because it has to CHILL, but the components are delicious. what a perfect antidote to a CRAPTASTIC (thank you, craptastic carl, one of music chick's potential suitors who earned a gold star for LAMENESS back in the day) day: good friends, great conversation, glamorous cake. Thank you for the most lovely visit, music chick!!!

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