Friday, June 15, 2012

A Year of Blogging

There has got to be a way to slow down time. I don't know about you, but in my life, it's going by way too quickly. So much so that stopping to smell the roses is more like getting a whiff while hurrying by. My daughter just turned 8, my son is soon to be 5, my sweet marshmallow of a puppy is going to be 10 years old in just a couple of months! And yesterday, this very blog turned one....!
A full year of baking and displaying it for all of you to see. It was a hard step to make, to start a blog and let you in to my lives in such a way. I am an introvert, by nature so having a blog was a true leap for me. But I did it and I'm glad I did. It's been a fun year in the kitchen and I've been able to unleash my creativity so much more than I ever thought I could or would. At a time when my children were getting older and less needy the way little ones are of their mommies, I needed something to call my own. And I found it in my kitchen. I'm in no state to slow down either. I have ideas and flavor combinations, designs and a bunch of recipes waiting to be experimented with.

And if you are one of the people who frequents the pages of my blog, I thank you for having the interest and believing in me. It truly means a lot.

I've had it in my head to change the look of my blog for a while now. What better time than at the 1 year mark. I am one of those people who is constantly changing the furniture around in their house because I get tired of the same thing day in and day out. I've also started a Leelabean facebook page that is dedicated to all things that are created in my kitchen. So check it out when you get a chance.
Now.... On to this week's celebration!

So, what to create and blog about for such a milestone? Surely this had to be something unusual, out of the ordinary. No plain-jane vanilla or chocolate this time. This cake had to be dressed up and fancy.. An opera cake!

For those of you who don't know, an opera cake is French in origin. It is composed of layers of almond sponge cake, also known as jacond, nestled between layers of coffee syrup, ganache and coffee and vanilla buttercream. Some would call it a distant cousin to Italy's tiramisu. Opera cake is beautiful and refined with the familiarity of such flavors as chocolate and coffee. It's cake at a ball - in a full-length gown and sparkly glass slippers. And it's the perfect dessert for this occasion.
Making it was a multi-step procedure but each step was relatively easy. The almond cake is made very thin for stacking and only uses beaten egg whites to incorporate a rise. The ganache is made from a combination of semisweet and bittersweet chocolates. The buttercream is the glorious Swiss meringue buttercream in vanilla and coffee flavors. The syrup that helps keep the layers of cake moist is a coffee-infused simple syrup. Finally the chocolate glaze layer is made using corn syrup and vegetable oil to create sheen.

Surely this is the grandest cake I've ever made. Taking a bite brought me to a cafe in Paris, where I was sitting outside and having a cup of coffee while taking small, delicate bites of this heavenly dessert. The elements of this cake work so well together to create one delicious experience in your mouth. It's the perfect cake to celebrate this special day.

And with that, this post comes to a close. A year of baking ends and another begins. I look forward to the upcoming year of baking and blogging bliss and I'm excited to see what amazing kitchen adventures it will bring!

Until next time,


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