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The Daring Bakers Sing An Opera: Honey And Lavender Opera

Lavender and Honey Opera-Copyright©Tartelette 2008….and I play the triangle….because I can’t carry a tune, which really is funny. No, no, really, I find it really funny that I can’t sing or barely remember three notes on a piano considering that thanks to Mr.Tartelette being a musician, I had no problem finding sheet music, a trombone, a flute, a guitar and a violin lying around the house making it easy to take pictures or get inspired when Ivonne and Lisa , along with Shea from Whiskful and Fran from Apple Peaches Pumpkin Pie announced that the Daring Bakers challenge for May was "The Opera". Early on, I started humming Madame Butterfly and Carmen which greatly influenced the decorations on the cake: lovely "tuile/tulip" butterflies for the former and shapely upside down legs in the cake. Mid-month I was not humming so much anymore as I was making the original Opera for hundreds at work. I was on a mission though…

The Daring Bakers' Opera this month is dedicated to Barbara of Winos And Foodies. Over the last couple of years, Barbara and I have become closer than just blogging acquaintances often sharing very private which each other. As Ivonne and Lisa put it "Barbara is the force behind the food blog event called A Taste of Yellow that supports the LiveSTRONG foundation started by Lance Armstrong. This year’s LiveStrong Day is in May so we decided that we could show our support by dedicating our respective challenge posts to Barbara." For that matter we were asked to keep our challenges yellow or white…my finished cake turned out both depending on the light but some of the ingredients were definitely yellow to start with. Thank you ladies for a brilliant challenge and idea! To check our wonderful Daring Bakers' creations, head over to the blogroll, you won’t be disappointed!

Barbara…I would love to sing you an Opera but if you knew how badly I sing you’d be much happier eating a bite of the one I made! This one is for you my dear dear friend! I am like you: "a cook who cannot sing who married a musician who cannot cook". If only I could give you a hug and thank you for the words of wisdom and comfort you have spoken in my ears since we "met" through Blogging By Mail… Remember I told you your dancing shoes picture was part of my screen saver mosaic? Well…I’d like to think these are the sexy legs that go along with them. You are a true inspiration of strength and compassion, humor and wit. Love you!

Honey and Lavender Opera-Copyright&copyTartelette 2008 I looked at the recipe provided by Ivonne and Lisa and the variations allowed (we could use different recipes as long as the outcome remained white or light colored) and let my mind sing me an Opera for a change…I got inspired by the flavors of my native Provence: orange, honey and lavender and incorporated those ingredients at different stages of the cake. I cannot take credit for the leg shaped tuiles as I had seen them done by a French blogger (original post here) 2 or 3 years ago but the funky idea stuck in my head thinking the right time would come along to play with it. I use tuile butterflies and other shapes a lot at work since it is easier to keep stable with the humidity here. Once I have the cookies and shapes made, I dry them off a bit in a low temperature oven to keep them crispy longer, much easier than blooming chocolate or limping caramel.

I did halve the recipe for the cake base, the Joconde, as there was just the two of us around in the neighborhood that weekend (really strange feeling by the way when you know our street) and added a good dose of orange zest. For the buttercream, I went with a Italian meringue based buttercream I had used in a Swiss Roll and replaced some of the sugar with honey and added some vanilla bean paste (thank you Holly!). I infused the syrup used to soak the cake to keep it moist and flavorful with lavender. We were given the option of adding a light colored mousse to the top of the cake before adding the glaze and here again I used a favorite recipe of mine, a soft and light (although rich) lavender infused mousse. I am a little weary of white chocolate as a glaze as I often find it cloyingly sweet so I made this one very very thin, just to brush the cake off with a nice sheen and slide off the sides.

Honey and Lavender Opera-Copyright©Tartelette 2008 Honey And Lavender Opera:

For the cake (Joconde)
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tbsp. (30 grams) granulated sugar
2 cups (225 grams) ground blanched almonds
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
6 large eggs
½ cup (70 grams) all-purpose flour
2 Tb orange zest
3 tbsp. (1½ ounces; 45 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Divide the oven into thirds by positioning a rack in the upper third of the oven and the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425◦F. (220◦C). Line two 12½ x 15½- inch (31 x 39-cm) jelly-roll pans with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a handheld mixer), beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy. If you do not have another mixer bowl, gently scrape the meringue into another bowl and set aside. If you only have one bowl, wash it after removing the egg whites or if you have a second bowl, use that one. Attach the paddle attachment to the stand mixer (or using a handheld mixer again) and beat the almonds, icing sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and voluminous, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and orange zest and beat on low speed until the flour is just combined. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond mixture and then fold in the melted butter. Divide the batter between the pans and spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of each pan.
Bake the cake layers until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch. This could take anywhere from 5 to 9 minutes depending on your oven. Place one jelly-roll pan in the middle of the oven and the second jelly-roll pan in the bottom third of the oven. Put the pans on a heatproof counter and run a sharp knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Cover each with a sheet of parchment or wax paper, turn the pans over, and unmold. Carefully peel away the parchment, then turn the parchment over and use it to cover the cakes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.

For the syrup:
½ cup (125 grams) water
⅓ cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
1 to 2 tbsp. food grade lavender buds

Stir all the syrup ingredients together in the saucepan and bring to a boil.Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

For the buttercream:
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup water
3 sticks of butter (Butter should be soft but nor mushy, around 65F)
1 Tb vanilla bean paste

In a stand mixer or with a hand held one, whip the egg yolks for a minute.
Boil water, honey and sugar until the temperature reaches 238F on a candy thermometer.
Slowly pour the hot sugar syrup over the egg yolks on a steady stream, continue beating the yolks until pale in color and cooled. Beat in the softened butter until the buttercream is smooth a
and together. Add the vanilla bean paste, beat a few extra seconds until incorporated.

Caramel Lavender Mousse:(makes 5 cups as written)
Note: have the cake cut and ready to be assembled before you make the mousse
6 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 packet unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup water, divided
1 cup sugar
2 Tb food grade lavender buds
2 cups heavy cream

The day before of a few hours before you start: combine the lavender and heavy cream in a heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let the lavender infuse the cream. Let sit for 30 minutes. Strain the buds out and refrigerate the cream until completely cold.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg yolks and the salt. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup water, and let it sit while you make the caramel.

Combine the sugar and 1/4 cup water in a heavy saucepan. Cover and bring to a rapid boil over medium high heat (prevents crystallization of the sugar on the side of the pan). Once boiling, uncover and cook the sugar until deep golden brown. Turn off the heat and carefully pour 1/4 cup water into the hot caramel. The syrup will bubble and spurt,so stand back. Make sure the water incorporates fully to the syrup. Return to the heat if you get caramel bits and stir until it is one smooth liquid.

Pour the caramel in a container with a spout, it will be easier to add the to the yolks. Pour the caramel slowly and into a steady stream into the egg yolks with the machine running on medium high. Melt the gelatin in the microwave for 10 seconds or into the (now empty) saucepan until dissolved. Add it to the yolk mixture and continue to whisk on medium high until it triples in volume and cools to room temperature.

In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Add it to the mousse base and fold the two gently together. Use within 30 minutes or it will be too set to spread.

For the glaze:
10 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup heavy cream (35% cream)

Melt the white chocolate with the heavy cream. Whisk the mixture gently until smooth. Let cool for 10 minutes and then pour over the chilled cake. Using a long metal cake spatula, smooth out into an even layer. Place the cake into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.

Assembling the Opéra Cake:
(Note: The finished cake should be served slightly chilled. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 day).

Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
Working with one sheet of cake at a time, cut and trim each sheet so that you have two pieces (from each cake so you’ll have four pieces in total): one 10-inch (25-cm) square and one 10 x 5-inch (25 x 12½-cm) rectangle.

Place one square of cake on the baking sheet and moisten it gently with the flavoured syrup.
Spread about three-quarters of the buttercream over this layer.
Top with the two rectangular pieces of cake, placing them side by side to form a square. Moisten these pieces with the flavoured syrup.
Spread the remaining buttercream on the cake and then top with the third square of joconde. Use the remaining syrup to wet the joconde and then refrigerate until very firm (at least half an hour).
Spread the mousse on the top of the last layer of the joconde. Refrigerate for at least two to three hours to give the ganache/mousse the opportunity to firm up.
Make the glaze and after it has cooled, pour/spread it over the top of the chilled cake. Refrigerate the cake again to set the glaze.
Serve the cake slightly chilled. This recipe will yield approximately 20 servings.

Honey and Lavender Opera-Copyright©Tartelette 2008 I apologize ahead of time if I am very slow making the rounds checking other DB’s operas but I am putting up a huge SHF round-up and trying to enjoy my family visiting from France for a while.

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bee May 28, 2008 um 4:27 am

whoa!!! i’m coming over.

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 4:54 am

I can’t get over those decorations, they’re so delicate and beautiful! As always, amazing job on the challenge, you’ve put my humble cake to shame yet again!

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 4:56 am

I really luv the presentation and it looks so yummy!

MyKitchenInHalfCups May 28, 2008 um 5:18 am

I just knew yours would knock my socks off.
Really a fantastic Opera! That cake sings beautifully!!
Lovely Lovely!!

glamah16 May 28, 2008 um 5:20 am

I love your take on this! How fun, yet beustiful. This cake sings!

Peabody May 28, 2008 um 5:24 am

I can’t stop singing ZZ Top’s "She’s Got Legs". Well this month we were so not evil twins. Beautiful job.

Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy May 28, 2008 um 5:25 am

I love your Treble Clefs and of course, the legs! What a nice tribute. 🙂

Sara May 28, 2008 um 5:25 am

looks gorgeous! love the decorations!

Bron May 28, 2008 um 5:28 am

one word …STUNNING!!!

Libby May 28, 2008 um 5:41 am

You’ve got a great pair of legs! And the cake’s not bad, either. How beautiful! Libby

Karen Baking Soda May 28, 2008 um 5:42 am

Honestly, I don’t want a bite, I just want to look at these for a loooong time, absolutely stunning!!

Elle May 28, 2008 um 5:57 am

What a lovely flavor combination and cute decorations…love the legs 🙂 Now dreaming of lavender mousse.

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 6:03 am

I love them Tartelette! The flavors sound wonderful as well. You aren’t the only one that can’t sing a tune.
And thanks for the invite, I would love to get together to bake and photograph! I will make crab cakes for lunch.

Rosa's Yummy Yums May 28, 2008 um 6:05 am

You never fail to surprise us with your awesome creations! I love the gorgeous decorations and I bet this cake tastes wonderful! I’m in awe…



steph- whisk/spoon May 28, 2008 um 6:12 am

very sexy legs, indeed (and Madame Butterfly is the only opera i have ever seen, BTW)! this is a stunning version of the cake–the mousse layer is fabulous!

LILIBOX May 28, 2008 um 6:22 am

Oh lalala !!
Quelle merveille !

Dolores May 28, 2008 um 6:29 am

Great legs! 😉 And as usual, a stunning presentation.

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 6:30 am

Very Lovely, as always and such a flavour combination! Orange and lavender, it’s almost too pretty to eat.

Dharm May 28, 2008 um 6:39 am

I always look forward to your posts as not only do I think your cakes are the creme de la creme but its always refreshing (and humbling) to see the sheer talent you have! Now not only do you tease me with your cakes but you flash those long legs too…. oh you evil person! *Grin*

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 6:39 am

OMG! What a beautiful cake… I’ll be a new DB in june and I’m as frightened as excited. I hope language is not a handicap cause Mila and me (newies next month) are both spanish.

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 6:51 am

Man, oh man. Those tuiles are nothing less than stunning. Great job.

Myrtille May 28, 2008 um 6:57 am

Very SEXY version! I just love those legs…

Vera May 28, 2008 um 6:59 am

That’s what I call creativity! The cake looks, and I am sure, tastes absolutely wonderful!

Barbara May 28, 2008 um 7:06 am

Okay, now I am in tears. Helene this was such a surprise to me. I had no idea the Daring Bakers had planned this. I am overwhelmed. Thank you for your lovely words. Our friendship is a very special part of my life.

I adore the cake. I wish I had legs like that! Love you too.

zorra May 28, 2008 um 7:07 am

I like the piece with the sexy legs most! Wonderful!

Kelly-Jane May 28, 2008 um 7:20 am

Beautiful! Your cake looks fab and the decorations are fabulous, well done.

Unknown May 28, 2008 um 7:40 am

Stunning! I bet it was delicious.

Katie May 28, 2008 um 7:43 am

Your cakes look stunning and I think how you decorated them is fantstic. I’m in awe of your tallents.

Peter M May 28, 2008 um 7:48 am

Fantastic Helen and I’m a leg man…sold!

Mcwhisky May 28, 2008 um 7:58 am

Marvelous!! Love the legs and the smooth finishing of the cake’s glaze!

sher May 28, 2008 um 7:59 am

I’m just astounded! I shouldn’t be, since you are the master. But, I have to look at those incredible pictures again and again. Bravo!

Gabi May 28, 2008 um 8:03 am

Love your flavours, love your decos, love your sentiment!

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 8:32 am

gorgeous, gorgeous cake!

chriesi May 28, 2008 um 8:33 am

What a wonderful job!

Deeba PAB May 28, 2008 um 8:48 am

If there’s anything more heady & leggy than perfect…THIS IS IT!!! You take the cake. Great great dedication to Barbara too!

Shelby May 28, 2008 um 9:27 am

Awesome job! You are super talented!

Suzana May 28, 2008 um 9:47 am

Holly molly! What can I say? You rock!! Awesome job.

spicyicecream May 28, 2008 um 9:50 am

It looks absolutely gorgeous in its light coloured summer clothes! I love opera cake but I don’t seem to have much luck with layer cakes, since I can’t seem to cut straight 😛

Christy May 28, 2008 um 9:51 am

Helene, I absolutely love the legs!! And the dollop of whipped cream looks its part as an adorable frilly, puffy white skirt! Very positively French and very very naughty!!! Reminds me of the Moulin Rouge dancers! Absolutely fabulous!!!

Arundathi May 28, 2008 um 9:59 am

absolutely stunning!

Aparna Balasubramanian May 28, 2008 um 10:14 am

Your cake is so beautiful, words fail me.

KJ May 28, 2008 um 10:25 am


Botacook May 28, 2008 um 10:25 am

Ta recette me plaît beaucoup (lavande-miel, miam!) et je dois dire que visuellement, le résultat est parfait! Digne d’une grand pâtissier 🙂

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 10:26 am


Ganesha May 28, 2008 um 10:29 am

Absolument superbe ! Quel travail § Bravo, je suis pleine d’admiration ^^ ! Bises

Mary May 28, 2008 um 10:30 am

Your cakes look beautiful! I love the upside down legs. What a kick!

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 10:44 am

Those legs really pop! Lovely cake, Helene!

Cannelle Et Vanille May 28, 2008 um 10:45 am

look at those legs! sexy cake and beautiful words Helen.

Finla May 28, 2008 um 10:46 am

Wow just beautiful.
Love the music notes one it, it give a original touch

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 10:50 am



Marija May 28, 2008 um 10:58 am

Oh my God! You are amazing!

Gretchen Noelle May 28, 2008 um 11:04 am

So adorable and very creative! The legs are a great addition. I cannot wait to make the *real* version, but not for hundreds! Great Job!

Laura Rebecca May 28, 2008 um 11:10 am

Not only is your cake very, VERY beautiful (I especially love the dancer’s legs) but the flavors are inspired. Wonderfully done!

La Tartine Gourmande May 28, 2008 um 11:29 am

What work! Gorgeous. You never get to rest! 😉

Clumbsy Cookie May 28, 2008 um 11:34 am

Beautiful and funny! Only you could make tuile dough legs look better than my on legs!

Engineer Baker May 28, 2008 um 11:39 am

Darn! And here I was hoping I’d be the only one with the honey and lavender theme. Except yours is much prettier – I love all the different decorations!

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 11:46 am

You’ve put us all (okay me) to shame with your gorgeous and fun presentations!

Wonderful work!!

Ginny May 28, 2008 um 11:57 am

WOW!!!! Looks amazing! I also did lavender but mine did not turn out quite so beautiful!

Vanillaorchid May 28, 2008 um 12:00 pm

Your opera cakes are so beautiful moreover, I love the way you decorated them.

Di May 28, 2008 um 12:05 pm

Your cake looks amazing. I love the musical decorations.

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 12:15 pm

i love your cake!!

Lori May 28, 2008 um 12:16 pm

I love Peter M s comment that he is a leg man. I am giggling here.

You are an amazing artist! You are the pastry chef extrordinare!

LyB May 28, 2008 um 12:27 pm

Well, I wish I’d been part of the Daring Bakers this month as it would have given me the perfect excuse to try this cake, I’m too chicken on my own! Yours is fabulous looking, the tuile decorations are beautiful, very creative, as usual! 🙂 And I love the photo with the flute in the background!

grace May 28, 2008 um 12:41 pm


also, best cake topper ever.

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 12:42 pm

Oh wow! Your cake looks amazing!

Bridget May 28, 2008 um 12:44 pm

I love this!

Renee May 28, 2008 um 12:49 pm

Your cake looks so beautiful!!!! You are so creative.

RecipeGirl May 28, 2008 um 12:55 pm

You win the "super cute" award. These butterfly and legs are darling. They really make the cake. I wish I had your creative touch!

toontz May 28, 2008 um 12:56 pm

Absolutely gorgeous (as usual)! So glad my photo and yours are not side by side! lol

Y May 28, 2008 um 1:02 pm

Oh my, lovely legs! 😉

Dana May 28, 2008 um 1:12 pm

Oh my goodness, those cookie legs are *AMAZING*!!! So creative. I love it!

Veron May 28, 2008 um 1:20 pm

well …what can I say…WOW. Love the lady’s legs kicking in the air…so cute an sexy. We need to play with stuff like this when you come visit!

Aimée May 28, 2008 um 1:23 pm

Helen, I am really speechless. Your photos take my breath away. Really beautiful.

Patricia Scarpin May 28, 2008 um 1:27 pm

I come here and always expect the unexpected, Helen. 🙂
What a beautiful dessert and heartfelt post – Barbara and you are so lucky to have each other!

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 2:47 pm

All of these cakes are just so beautiful…I love your musical notes..just perfect!

Astrid May 28, 2008 um 2:53 pm


mimi May 28, 2008 um 2:55 pm

oh. my. goodness!! you have totally outdone yourself tartelette! these are gorgeous little cake slices. the flavors sound fantastic and i just LOVE the legs!!

Judy@nofearentertaining May 28, 2008 um 2:57 pm

Absolutely incredible!

Ben May 28, 2008 um 3:03 pm

Just one word: breathtaking! Bravissimo!

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 3:09 pm

Those sexy legs are just too much! Incredibly creative and gorgeous, as usual.

Unknown May 28, 2008 um 3:11 pm

gorgeous sliced cakes, Helen.

Eva May 28, 2008 um 3:23 pm

I can see why you’re a professional, Tartelette! Can’t be said of my version though..;-)

Andrea Meyers May 28, 2008 um 4:08 pm

Your cake made me smile! Loved the legs and the music notes, and the orange honey lavender combination sounds wonderful.

My Sweet & Saucy May 28, 2008 um 4:12 pm

This dessert made me smile instantly! Not only does it look delicious, but the legs sticking out the top just makes you smile from ear to ear…great job!

sunita May 28, 2008 um 4:24 pm

helen, your creations are simply mind blowing…wonderful 🙂

Lesley May 28, 2008 um 4:28 pm

85 comments already? It’s only noon! Wow, your cake is great, the decorations are SO fun, and the flavors are heavenly. Another home run! Bravo

Cheryl May 28, 2008 um 4:30 pm

Those are not cakes, they’re works of art!!

Dagmar May 28, 2008 um 4:31 pm

It’s amazing!!!

Susan @ SGCC May 28, 2008 um 4:35 pm

Oh crap, Helen! I want to pull my post after seeing your cake! 😉 It is so gorgeous, it should be in a museum! I love the legs! Are you sure you weren’t going for a Folies Bergeres cake? 😉 Superb job!

Susan @ SGCC May 28, 2008 um 4:35 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 4:45 pm

Ah Helen, my tune challenged twin sister, as usual you made me gasp at the glory of your opera cake. You may not be able to carry a tune but you out shine us all with your Opera cake skills!

Enjoy your visit with your family!

Evelin May 28, 2008 um 4:47 pm

A delicious combination!

And I LOVE these legs! I need to MAKE these legs!

Lou @ The Higher Nest May 28, 2008 um 5:10 pm

Yours is a work of art. So jealous!

pixie May 28, 2008 um 5:17 pm

as usual, another masterpiece from you! i always look forward to your creations and they really are inspired!

pixie May 28, 2008 um 5:18 pm

as usual, another masterpiece from you! i always look forward to your creations and they really are inspired!

PAT A BAKE May 28, 2008 um 5:24 pm

OMG..what an awesome cake. I knew you would beat us and blue…but this was too much. Yours is the first one I checked and O M G..simply beautiful. You the queen of the Opera Cakes. Now am off to check the others. Take a bow Tartlette !!!!

Thistlemoon May 28, 2008 um 5:37 pm

Per usual, this is just beautiful, Tartlette! I adore all the flavors you put into it and all the whimsical decorations!

Mandy May 28, 2008 um 5:46 pm

your exquisite decorating skill definitely kick the already tempting cake up a few notches! Love the flavor combination you use. 🙂

michelle @ thursday night smackdown May 28, 2008 um 6:00 pm

i had the good fortune of tasting an opera cake made by one of the other daring bakers, and it was to. die. for.

i love your flavor combo, and the cake is stunning! the leg tuiles are amazing!

June May 28, 2008 um 6:12 pm

Beautiful cake, as usual. I love the legs!

Julia from Dozen Flours May 28, 2008 um 6:32 pm

I did a lavender cake too! I love the dancing legs on the top, so creative!

myriam May 28, 2008 um 6:35 pm

jesus mary and joseph! look at this. amazing. loving it. big time!!

Melita May 28, 2008 um 6:35 pm

Breathtaking!!! The way it looks, and sounds!

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 6:47 pm

this looks absolutely stunning, and the leg-shaped tuiles are adorable! i made a mini honey lavender wedding cake when i took pastry class, but it just pales in comparison to yours.

beautiful work again, and it’s truly an opera cake! 😀

LizNoVeggieGirl May 28, 2008 um 6:48 pm

Helen, Helen, Helen – HOW do you do it?!?!?! That opera cake is breathtaking, and I LOVE the honey & lavender version that you made – yum!! You were MADE for the opera :0)

Unknown May 28, 2008 um 6:50 pm

So stylish! Such a fab spin on the opera cake! Brava!

Sarah M May 28, 2008 um 7:01 pm

stunning. I love how you took inspiration from an actual opera. I am overwhelmed by the number of comments on this. Good for you!

Carrie May 28, 2008 um 7:07 pm

You never cease to amaze me, your style, grace, eloquence and talent are profound 🙂


Faery May 28, 2008 um 7:24 pm

Bravo Bravo .I love the decorations and the cakes look really delicious

Suganya May 28, 2008 um 7:28 pm

Seriously, how do you do it?

Unknown May 28, 2008 um 7:31 pm

Look at those legs!!

And honey and lavender!! fantastic!!

Randi May 28, 2008 um 7:53 pm

Totally beautiful finishing touches! MMM..lavender

Kristen May 28, 2008 um 8:11 pm

Beautiful cake, I love the legs!!! The butterfly is gorgeous too. You are amazing.

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 8:17 pm

Simply Master Piece!!! Salut Tartellete!!!

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 8:20 pm


Lovely dessert!

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 8:29 pm

Wow that one with the legs…that’s real talent! What a cute idea too.

That Girl May 28, 2008 um 8:55 pm

I love the cake – the legs are fantastic!

Tammy May 28, 2008 um 9:02 pm

Wow! As usual :0)

Mansi May 28, 2008 um 9:22 pm

Goodness Gracious!!! I’m speechless, I have absolutely NO WORDS!!

Do you think you can just touch me and pass on some of your skills to me via "Reiki" helen??!!:)

marias23 May 28, 2008 um 9:24 pm

Wow, Tartelette! I didn’t know Opera could so very sexy!

Esther May 28, 2008 um 10:27 pm

Love the decorations and lavender is a wonderful flavour.

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 10:30 pm

always lovely, always perfect 🙂 you’ve done a wonderful job, as usual !

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 10:44 pm

Those are some hawt legs, Helen. Hilarious! And the caramel lavender mousse sounds very nice. Five cups, huh? What’s coming up next? Or did you make a ton of this? Mail me some, kay? 😉

Brittany May 28, 2008 um 11:44 pm

OMG, the legs are awesome!

Sophie May 28, 2008 um 11:53 pm

It would be an understatement for me to say you did a marvelous job; you are a truly talented Daring Baker :)! This looks as pretty as a sculpture, but much more tasty. It’s lovely!

Good idea to cut the joconde recipe in half, btw…between my hubby and I, we had a hard time finishing the cake :). Again, lovely job. This cake has rendered me speechless — that means a lot coming from a wordy gal like myself :P.

jasmine May 29, 2008 um 1:54 am

Love the can-can legs…I must admit I thought of Bizet’s Carmen when I saw them…


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) May 29, 2008 um 2:08 am

Wow! I keep expecting the rest of her to pop out of the cake!!

test it comm May 29, 2008 um 2:09 am

Those look good! Great job decorating them!

Anonymous May 29, 2008 um 2:12 am

looks great!!


Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict….You Decide May 29, 2008 um 2:25 am

These are phucking amazing….some of the best you have posted. BRAVO

Chris May 29, 2008 um 2:26 am

Holy Moly! Stunning! I had this up on my computer screen at work (shhhh), planning on commenting, but I was interrupted. Then, I was interrupted again by the oohs and ahh of those looking over my shoulder loving your opera cake. 🙂

Half Baked May 29, 2008 um 2:30 am

As usual I’m blown away by your take on this challenge! Superb job!!

Speedbump Kitchen May 29, 2008 um 2:30 am

Wow! This is amazing. I thought I had my fill of Opera Cake until I saw this. Well done.

Anonymous May 29, 2008 um 2:38 am

this is positively stunning! it jut looks creamy and PERFECT. wow what a beautiful desert :):)

Anonymous May 29, 2008 um 2:53 am

Wow, this looks amazing as always! I think that was a good call reducing the amount of chocolate in the glaze (relative to the cream). My glaze was way to thick and gloopy by the time it cooled.

Proud Italian Cook May 29, 2008 um 2:54 am


Anonymous May 29, 2008 um 4:07 am

WOW! As always you have outdone yourself. This is really fantastic!! Love it!

Mrs.French May 29, 2008 um 4:21 am

Delicious and stunning…my kind of cake.

Anonymous May 29, 2008 um 5:55 am

to echo all of the other comments… wow!!!
those legs totally took me by surprise.. hehe.
looks incredible, of course. and i love the lavender! 🙂

Anonymous May 29, 2008 um 6:09 am

I’m blown away by the tuile decorations, especially the one with the ladies legs. Beautiful job!

Bakerette May 29, 2008 um 11:58 am

lovely Helen, you are amazing!

Anonymous May 29, 2008 um 12:13 pm

Just lovely! Especially love the butterflies.

Anne May 29, 2008 um 12:34 pm

Impressive as always 🙂

ChichaJo May 29, 2008 um 12:50 pm

That is just beautiful! So perfect as always 🙂 And I love love love those legs 🙂

I should have place a thinner layer of glaze too…it is very sweet!

Anonymous May 29, 2008 um 1:06 pm

Wow, your cake is stunning! I am such a massive fan of lavender in cooking and I’ve been using it so much lately, I wonder why I didn’t think of using it in my opera? I love the idea – your looks a lot better than mine too. I love those cheeky decorations.

Katie B. May 29, 2008 um 1:39 pm

I always look forward to your challenges – they are always so stunning! I would love to sit in your head for a weekend and learn all your secrets!

Anonymous May 29, 2008 um 1:53 pm

Bravo pour ce superbe gateau digne d’un grand chef ! Mais qui a mange les jambes…… Mille bises à toi

Cookie baker Lynn May 29, 2008 um 2:20 pm

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. The write up, the cake, and the tulle decorations. As always, you are a baking inspiration.

Sheltie Girl May 29, 2008 um 2:28 pm

Helen – Your Opera Cake is simply divine. I love the dancing legs and the butterflies. They make the cake look so fun. The flavors sounds delightful…caramel and lavender. I’ll have to give that a try in another recipe. I ended up using praline and rooibos tea. I was very pleased with how it tasted.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Garrett May 29, 2008 um 3:10 pm

I love how light the cake came out, and how beautifully even the layers and cuts are. Wonderful job!

@the_whisk_affair May 29, 2008 um 4:27 pm

u simply blow us away with ur creation..that opera cake is just out of the world!!!!

Venus ~ Vi May 29, 2008 um 4:38 pm

Oh dear, those legs!!!! This is one whimsical creation! Caramel lavender mousse sounds fantastic too.

p.s. enjoy your time with your family =)

Anonymous May 29, 2008 um 4:57 pm

Those legs sticking out – I know you did not want credit for them, but still – nice choice!!!

And I am constantly trying to come up with Lavender ideas so that my husband does not have enough reason to tear down my (tiny) herb garden.

Thanks! Alexandra

Anonymous May 29, 2008 um 5:01 pm

WOW! It’s very beautiful and I’m sure it tasted great.

Anonymous May 29, 2008 um 5:07 pm

WOW!! This is exquisite!! Absolutely gorgeous!!

Anonymous May 29, 2008 um 5:41 pm

Beautiful job, as always! I like your use of the leg tuile cookies. It gives the cake such visual interest and flow.

Anonymous May 29, 2008 um 7:00 pm

Wow! This calls for applauds! Your l’Opera is tres belle…. I’m speechless. Besides being pretty, it’s fun & whimsical! I love it.

xoxox Amy

Ally May 29, 2008 um 7:32 pm

You did a beautiful job. The cakes are so pretty, and lol at the legs, so creative! I bet they taste amazing, I love lavender.

Meeta K. Wolff May 29, 2008 um 7:49 pm

SImply perfect Helen. I am speechless at the creativity. I wish you were near me to give me a few lessons!

genkitummy May 29, 2008 um 8:24 pm

your cakes and decorations look amazing!

Honeyed Hashette May 29, 2008 um 8:48 pm

gorgeous. gorgeous gorgeous.
that’s all i have to say.
now, go play that triangle.

Anonymous May 29, 2008 um 8:54 pm

Oh you are just too much! These are absolutely gorgeous!

Mari May 29, 2008 um 9:02 pm

I’m so impressed with your tuile legs, they are HOT!!! This was a big challenge for me, but oh was it fun!

Jenny May 29, 2008 um 9:17 pm

Oh my that’s beautiful.
And those legs, did you have Bill model for them or are they yours? 🙂

marae May 29, 2008 um 9:27 pm

i’m like comment three hundred and fifty but i just wanted to say WOW that looks amazing..and LOVE the leggies…hawt!

Deborah May 29, 2008 um 9:42 pm

Oh Helen – it is absolutely beautiful!!

Mike of Mike's Table May 29, 2008 um 9:42 pm

This looks great and the leg garnish really makes this an even more impressive sight.

NKP May 29, 2008 um 9:50 pm

This has been the sexiest cake that I have looked at. The legs are fun and playful and your presentation is flawless. I am proud to be in the same association of Daring Bakers with you.

Amy May 29, 2008 um 10:30 pm

Wow, you’re just so creative Helen! I’m always blown away by your creations. That is one sexy cake! I too find white chocolate too sweet and I would prefer just a thin layer like your cake. 🙂

Heather May 29, 2008 um 11:05 pm

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Heather May 29, 2008 um 11:05 pm

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Heather May 29, 2008 um 11:05 pm

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Heather May 29, 2008 um 11:05 pm

oh my gosh those little leg decorations are insanely adorable! this is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen!!

Honey Pickles May 29, 2008 um 11:30 pm

Very Whimsical! I love your flavor combos and the italain meringue. Just beautiful!

Astra Libris May 30, 2008 um 12:35 am

I am in awe… Your decorations are beyond beautiful… Your cake truly epitomizes the truth that culinary creations are indeed art forms!

Morven May 30, 2008 um 1:39 am

A visual symphony! Just gorgeous.

Anonymous May 30, 2008 um 4:08 am

Have you ever cooked anything ugly?! Cause you’re kinda freaking me out with all you super beautiful recipes!

enza May 30, 2008 um 5:08 am

I’m impressed.
running to add you to my blogroll!

Renee May 30, 2008 um 8:25 am

OMG, that is the MOST uniquely decorated cake I’ve seen – and the legs? To. Die. For. PERFECT, Helen! I loved all the notes, and the spectacular butterflies. But I have to say, the only thing that could possibly make it better would be THE perfect recipe. Oh… (she scrolls further down.) Methinks you may have THAT, too!

Now. If only you lived anywhere on my side of the country so I could beg you to teach me to how to create these gorgeous works of art! *grin*

Seriously though, absolutely STUNNING – I dream of someday being able to make something that looks HALF this good; this is AMAZING!!! Even the ingredients you chose conjur scents in my olfactory memories that are amazing, but the artistic factor – oh, the artistic factor… Droooooollllll…. *grin*

Renee May 30, 2008 um 11:41 am

Honey and lavender sounds perfectly delicious for the cake! Your legs remind me of the leg lamp from the movie A Christmas Story *hee hee*

EvaMarieva May 30, 2008 um 3:20 pm

Wow…yep wow! One day I will master the L’opera cake like that.

Mrs Ergül May 31, 2008 um 2:01 am

very nicely done Tarlette! i love the music symbols, so excellent!

Anonymous May 31, 2008 um 3:53 am

Wow!! I am speechless! This is by far the most creative of the opera cakes I’ve seen so far!!!! So beautiful! Simply put – you are an amazing talent!

Manggy May 31, 2008 um 3:17 pm

Oh my G—–! That looks out of this world! There’s even tuille legs to take it over the top! That’s so French, haha!! 🙂 You hit it out of the park, again!

Anonymous May 31, 2008 um 7:27 pm

You genius, you! Perfection!

Anonymous May 31, 2008 um 8:00 pm

What a stunner! Your cake is beautiful, the flavours sound great and your slices are so perfect 🙂

creampuff May 31, 2008 um 8:06 pm

That is just incredible … I’m speechless, McTartelettey.

I especially love the little ballerina legs.

You’re brilliant!

Wendy June 1, 2008 um 5:12 am

What a beautiful cake and beautiful photographs dedicated to your special friend! Wendy

Jen Yu June 1, 2008 um 6:01 pm

Oh, those legs are SOOOO cheeky!! I love it! Alright, miss cheeky – you put the rest of us to shame, really. That’s one of the many things I love about you 🙂 Wonderful job. Perfection.

Anonymous June 1, 2008 um 6:54 pm

this is absolutely brilliant.

Anonymous June 1, 2008 um 7:03 pm

this is absolutely brilliant.

Brownie June 3, 2008 um 3:03 am

Wow, wow, WOW! Your cake is AMAZING! Truly terrific work!

Anonymous June 4, 2008 um 10:35 am

Hi, it’s my firstime posting a comment here. And O.M.G. how beautiful is that!

Princess of the kitchen June 7, 2008 um 10:37 am

Wow, That looks absolutely perfect. WEll done!

Jaime June 24, 2008 um 3:37 am

wow!! your opera cake looks beautiful! love all the embellishments

Anonymous June 29, 2008 um 2:54 pm

Freaking out, here!!! I’VE never SEEN ANYTHING like these! Fantastic!

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