What has a deep, dark, chocolately blend of sweetness and bitterness with a fruity finish? Not just the voice of Rene Pape, but the special cake baked in his honour by the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo.
To mark Rene Pape's long-awaited return to the Royal Opera House, in Faust, I'd hoped to tackle his Sauerbraten recipe from Die Oper kocht. The difficulties in getting hold of Tafelspitz, proper buttermilk and - most importantly - Soßenkuchen in London have put paid to that idea for a while.
So instead here's the chocolate and caramel cake devised by the pastry chef of the Imperial Hotel. It was originally sold only when Kenneth Branagh's Magic Flute film (in which Rene played Sarastro) was released in Japan in 2007. Pape himself loved the cake, so when he returned to Japan May 2011 for the Met tour, the recipe was dug out again, and named the Rene cake.
On the last night of Don Carlo, he bought the cake for the rest of the cast: