Every episode of the Great British Bake Off is watched by me with a sense of panic as the bakes become more and more complicated. I know that whichever bake I choose, I am going to be signing up for a good few hours effort in the kitchen. The things that are getting made in the Bake Off tent are spectacular and it amazes me how many flaws the judging duo manage to find. I am also fairly certain each week that I will find difficulty in sourcing some of the more obscure ingredients. Fortunately this week I was able to make a trip to Lakeland in Glasgow and pick up some Lavender Extract for Frances’ Soap Opera Cake.
I have tended to steer clear of Frances’ bakes, as brilliant as they are, due to the strong artistry that tends to be required with the fantastic themes she chooses. However, this week all of them were pretty darn complicated and, what is more, Frances’ Soap Opera cake requires Limoncello……No brainer! I have not forgotten my expensive purchase in Petit Fours week! (Maybe Grand Marnier next week?)
The unusual element to this opera cake is the white chocolate ganache which coats the cake. The three layers of Joconde (almond sponge) is soaked in a lavender syrup. I was unable to buy Lavender Sugar, so had to make do with regular caster sugar to make the syrup. This was my main issue with this cake. It seems to make the cake quite soggy. I also felt there seemed to be an abundance of French lemon buttercream for all that was required – just to coat one of the layers. The freezing of the cake does help with maintaining the structural integrity, but I don’t think my layers are distinct enough to pass muster.
The idea is to make the cake appear like a a bar of soap, hence the use of an oven dish to serve as the soap dish.
The ganache is too matt rather than sheen.
I did not attempt the wee mini bar of soap that adorned Frances’ cake and alas the “bath pearls” are shop bought also rather than handcrafted.
The cake does taste fine, but not 4 hours in the making sublime.
One more big push next week and I will have made it over the finishing line. Enjoy the Bake Off Final! 🙂