The quintessential “Opéra” Cake

Opéra

Glazed Chocolate and Coffee Layer Cake

Who doesn’t love the Opera cake? When I would walk into a patisserie to buy a croissant or macarons, my eyes would always fall on the rich, dark, mysterious cake.  It is almost as if I was falling in love with it over and over again.  They look so attractive and always make you test your will power….. 😉 Just a bite of these dreamy little cakes can take all worries off your mind. Literally!

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I haven’t eaten the Opéra cake in a long time and when I found myself thinking about it for days together, I decided it was time to get baking! 🙂 They sure do have a lot of elements, but time flies when you make these and the effort is totally worth it. It would make for an outstanding dessert to finish off a dinner party.

This recipe has been adapted from Cristophe Felder’s “Patisserie”. If I have to make this again, I would eliminate the egg yolk buttercream from the buttercream recipe and use just butter, coffee and italian meringue. I have used half of the recipe and made a small cake.
The cake turned out moist and light, with perfectly tempered chocolate. What more can one ask for? 😉

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Makes 16 by 12 inch cake
Ingredients:

Coffee Syrup : ( I have made 1/4 of the recipe)
400 ml warm coffee
150 g caster sugar

Jaconde Cake: ( I have made 1/2 of the recipe)
8 eggs, 4 whole, 4 separated
220 g ground almonds
275 g sugar
100 g all purpose flour

Chocolate Ganache : ( I have made 1/2 of the recipe)
170 g dark chocolate (60% cocoa)
120 ml milk
40 ml heavy cream
2 tbsp butter, softened

Coffee Buttercream:
20 ml espresso or strong coffee, at room temperature
Italian Meringue:
62 g sugar
1.5 tbsp water
1 egg white
Egg Yolk Buttercream:
2.5 egg yolks
120 g sugar
50 ml water
180 g butter, softened

Chocolate Glaze: ( I have made 1/2 of the recipe)
400 g chocolate (%2% cocoa)
50 g vegetable shortening (replaced with butter)
50 g grapeseed oil (replaced with butter)
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Instructions :

Coffee Syrup :

Combine the coffee and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Keep aside.

Jaconde Cake:
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line 3 baking sheets with baking paper. ( I have used 2 baking sheets)

Combine the whole eggs, egg yolks, ground almonds and half of the sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 15 minutes.

Whip the egg whites in a bowl until soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and beat until firm and glossy.

Gently fold the egg whites into the egg-almond mixture.

Gradually sift in the flour and gently fold until smooth.

Spread one-third of the cake batter on each prepared sheet. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.

Remove and let cool.
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Chocolate Ganache :

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a bowl.

Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a small saucepan and pour over the chocolate. Add the butter and whisk until smooth.

Coffee Buttercream :
Step 1: Italian Meringue
Whisk the egg whites in a kitchen mixer on a medium speed.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.You can tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.
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Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the firmly whipped egg whites.
Increase the speed to high and continue to whisk until the mixture returns at room temperature. Touch the bottom of the bowl, it should not be hot.
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Step 2: Egg yolk buttercream :
Whisk the egg yolks at low speed.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.You can tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.
Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the egg yolks and beat until they are pale. This should be the ribbon stage.
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Step 3 :
Whip the butter until it is creamy and smooth.
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Step 4:
Add the egg yolk mixture to the butter and beat at low speed until the texture is light.
Beat in the italian meringue at low speed.
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COntinue beating at medium speed for about 10 minutes.

Step 5:
Add the espresso to the buttercream and whip at low speed until smooth.
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Assembling the Cake:

  • Line the cake board with parchment paper. (Optional) I just used some buttercream on the board. 🙂
  • Place one sponge cake and brush with coffee syrup.
  • Spread half of the coffee buttercream over the cake with an offbeat spatula.
  • Place the second sponge onto it and brush with coffee syrup.
  • Spread a thin layer of chocolate ganache over it.
  • Place the third sponge cake on top. Brush with coffee syrup.
  • Spread the remaining buttercream and smooth with the spatula.
  • Chill until set, at least an hour.

Chocolate Glaze:
Finely chop the chocolate and place with butter in a bowl. Place over a double boiler and let melt, stiring until the chocolate reaches between 95 and 104° F or 35 to 40° C. Remove the bowl from the heat.

Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, smooth with an offbeat spatula and chill until set.
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Decorate as you please… 🙂
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Serve:

Dip the knife into hot water and wipe it dry after each cut. Serve with a big smile…:)

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

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17 thoughts on “The quintessential “Opéra” Cake

  1. Ive been meaning to make this opera cake for so long now, but i chicken out every time i read the long long recipe. But im sure it must be worth all the effort, right?! Now after seeing this its definitely going back up on my to-bake list. Yours is a stunner!

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    • Thanks Erika! hehe…usually it is a huge task for me to do the dishes, this time however I have no idea why i did them with a smile on my face..lol
      Maybe I was just too excited! 😉

      Like

  2. Ok Radz, now I know why I have to pay $6 a piece for these at my local French bakery. Yours are exquisite…love cakes and buttercreams made with Italian meringue…you are amazingly talented Radz!! 🙂

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    • Yep Italian meringue gives it a smooth, glossy texture and makes cakes etc so attractive. They are much lighter and tastier than just normal buttercream indeed.
      Thanks for your lovely words Bonnie.. 🙂

      Like

  3. Magnifique! I’m astonished by the beauty of your cakes! Wow! And the Opéra is not an easy cake to prepare. You are maybe a blogging beginner, but you are a skilled/gifted chef patissier!

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