When the opera cake challenge was announced, the hostesses kindly gave some links to some lovely chocolate versions that instigated an incredible craving for me. So I followed the rules with half of the cake and saved the other half for my rebellious plans with dark chocolate ganache.
The joconde is the same and I used the same almond flavored syrup on the cake layers. Even the buttercream fit in with the original limitations — it’s the same recipe (although this batch was the one I had the worst trouble with candy-coated scrambled eggs and my butter was softer and never seemed to firm up as much as the first batch) but this time I used white chocolate and some seedless red raspberry preserves to flavor it. For the mousse layer I departed from the instructions by making mine with whipping cream, 2 oz melted Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate (oh, yum!), and raspberry syrup I made from frozen raspberries, sugar, and a splash of lemon juice. While the raspberry flavor came out nicely in the buttercream, I was disappointed that neither the raspberry nor the chocolate flavor seemed particularly strong in the mousse layer. Finally, I covered it with a glaze of ganache (just cream and chocolate).
In order to get the sides straight and to slice the individual servings, I used a very hot knife to slice the cake, which melted the glaze and smeared it across the mousse. I think next time I would stick to just raspberry in the mousse so it would be a little more intense next to the chocolate glaze. Either that or just go for more chocolate through the whole thing. I think it is dramatic with alternating almond cake and chocolate.