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Lilikoi Opera Cake

This Lilikoi Opera Cake is truly a delightful dessert, both from a presentation and taste standpoint.

Posted By: Leilani
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Prep Time: 60 | Cook Time: 60 | Ready In: 1 Day
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Lilikoi Pulp
Cut one passionfruit in half and remove the pulp. Bring the pulp with the seeds to a gentle boil in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally. Strain to remove the seeds. (Reserve seeds for later use if needed.) Allow strained lilikoi pulp to cool.  If you don't have access to or want to purchase passion fruit pulp click here

lilikoi syrup:
1/2 cup of water
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of lilikoi pulp

lilikoi buttercream:
1 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of water
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 tablespoons of lilikoi pulp

Sponge Cake:
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
2 cups ground macadamia nuts
2 cups of icing sugar, sifted
6 large eggs
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup of unsalted butter, melted and cooled

White Chocolate Mousse:
1 cup of white chocolate
1 1/4 cup of heavy cream (35% cream), divided

Lilikoi Glaze (do not make until end):
4 lilikoi
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of powdered gelatin, hydrated in a tablespoon of water; then heated until dissolved

Cooking Process:

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

Lilikoi Buttercream:
1. Combine the sugar, water and vanilla bean seeds or extract in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 225F on a candy or instant-read thermometer (look for threadlike, mostly syrupy). Remove the syrup from the heat.
2. While the syrup is heating, begin whisking the egg and egg yolk at high speed in the bowl of your mixer using the whisk attachment. Whisk them until they are pale and foamy.
3. Reduce the mixer speed to low speed and begin slowly (very slowly) pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl being very careful not to splatter the syrup into the path of the whisk attachment. Some of the syrup will spin onto the sides of the bowl but don’t worry about this and don’t try to stir it into the mixture as it will harden!
4. Raise the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the eggs are thick and satiny and the mixture is cool to the touch (about 5 minutes or so).
5. With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding in two-tablespoon chunks of softened butter. When all the butter has been incorporated, raise the mixer speed to high and beat until the buttercream is thick and shiny.
6. At this point add in your flavoring and beat for an additional minute or so.
7. Refrigerate the buttercream, stirring it often, until it’s set enough (firm enough) to spread when topped with a layer of cake (about 20 minutes).

Sponge Cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Line two 12½ x 15½- inch (31 x 39-cm) jelly-roll pans with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray. (I only had one, so I baked twice.)
2. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy.
3. In another bowl beat the Brazil nuts, icing sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and voluminous, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the flour is just combined (be very careful not to overmix here!!!).
4. 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.
5. Bake the cake layers until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch. This could take anywhere from 5 to 9 minutes (mine took almost 15 minutes) depending on your oven.
6. 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.
7. Carefully peel away the parchment, then turn the parchment over and use it to cover the cakes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.

White Chocolate Mousse:
1. Melt the white chocolate and the 1/4 cup of heavy cream in a double boiler. Stir to ensure that it’s smooth and that the chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool completely.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate to form a mousse.
3. If it’s too thin, refrigerate it for a bit until it’s spreadable. If you’re not going to use it right away, refrigerate until you’re ready to use.

Lilikoi Glaze:
1. Cut the lilikoi in half and remove all of the pulp (this equaled almost 1 cup). Heat the pulp in a small saucepan over low heat. Strain & reserve 1/3 of the seeds.
2. In a bowl, mix the strained pulp, the reserved seeds and the sugar. Add the prepared gelatin and mix well.
3. Remove cake from the fridge and spread the glaze over the layer of buttercream. (I did make a tin foil “mold” since my glaze was way too runny.

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

1. 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 three rectangles.  Divide syrup in three parts. Divide buttercream in two or three parts.

2. Place one piece of cake on the baking sheet and moisten it gently with the flavored syrup using a pastry brush. Spread one half of the buttercream over this layer.

3. Top another piece of cake. (I refrigerated up to this point for over an hour.) Moisten with the flavored syrup using a pastry brush. Spread the mousse on the cake and then top with the third piece of joconde. (Again, refrigerated over an hour.) Use the remaining syrup using a pastry brush to wet the joconde and then refrigerate until very firm (at least half an hour).

4. Spread the remaining buttercream on the top of the last layer of the joconde. Refrigerate for 12 hours to give the ganache/mousse the opportunity to firm up. (Here, I left it only about an hour again.)

5. 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.

6. Serve the cake slightly chilled.