Let Them Eat (The Whole) Cake


Korakot Suriya-arporn
Antoinette Bruno
Opera Cake: Almond Cake, Butterceam, and Chocolate Mirror Glaze
Opera Cake: Almond Cake, Butterceam, and Chocolate Mirror Glaze

“Everyone shares desserts. We wanted to take advantage of that,” says Pastry Chef Michael Daly. “I wanted the whole table to take part in the experience.” At Four Seasons Boston, Daly’s five-layer buttercream dream—adorned in chocolate ribbons, almond shavings, white chocolate shards, and gold leaf—is a six-inch round cake for four. And the gold isn't just in the garnish. It's in the idea. The ingredients cost about $3.75, and he sells the cake for $30. The flavor profile changes monthly: “No frills, just classics. I want something classic presented in a modern way.” says Daly, who sends cakes out to the dining room five to six times a day.

For the decadent opera cake, Daly strongly advises “weighing the sheets correctly and using the nicest sheet trays you have. If you pick a warped tray or weigh it wrong, you'll get opera cookie instead of opera sheet cake.” Upon assembling, the cake is built on the extensive use of acetate, and careful, precise weighing of buttercream to guarantee equal layers of cream and cake. “You have to go layer by layer.”

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