Opera cake is a French dessert cake with six layers of goodness that is made of almond sponge cake soaked in coffee syrup, feuilletine flakes, chocolate ganache and buttercream. Each slice is heavenly gastronomic and undeniably sweet!
The Opera cake was invented by Pastry Chef Cyriaque Gavillon of Paris Dalloyau in 1955. It was his wife who named the cake “Opera” because it had the power to elicit the scene of the Opera. The cake was named Opera as a tribute to the Palais Garnier opera dancers who were customers of the shop at that time. Over time, the Opera Cake became one of the symbols of the Confectionery Art.
To be honest, this recipe is quite labour intensive, but each step is made easy to understand and follow. It is best to make the feuilletine flakes 1 day before making the cake, then do the sponge cake (Step 1-19) the second day. Then, do step (20-23) on the serving day.
Don’t miss out on this recipe for the Holiday Season or special gatherings because it is definitely a crowd pleaser. Happy baking!
Makes about 10 servings
OPERA CAKE RECIPE
ForAlmond Sponge Cake: 5 eggs, room temperature 1 cup (140g) almond flour 1 cup (140g) powdered sugar ¼ cup (30g) all purpose flour 2 tbsp (30g) butter, melted 5 egg whites 2 tbsp (30g) sugar ¼ tsp (1g) salt
For Coffee Syrup: ⅔ cup (160ml) water ½ cup (100g) sugar 3 tsp (6g) instant coffee
For Chocolate Ganache: 5.5 oz (160g) semisweet chocolate (less than 1cup) ⅔ cup (160g) whipping cream
For Coffee Buttercream: 5 egg yolks, room temperature ¾ cup (150g) sugar 3 tbsp (45ml) water 2 tsp (4g) instant coffee 1 ¼ cup (280g) butter, softened
For Chocolate Glaze: 7 oz (200g) semisweet chocolate 2 tbsp (30ml) canola oil
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. For the almond sponge cake: Pre heat oven to 200°C. Grease 2 pans and line it with parchment paper (size 9×13 inch).
2. In a large bowl, place a strainer to sift the almond flour and powdered sugar. Add the 5 whole eggs and whisk until the mixture is creamy and fluffy. Then add in flour and whisk. Set it aside.
3. Make a meringue: whip the egg whites in another bowl, add ¼ tsp salt and keep beating until foamy. Add the sugar gradually and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
4. Combine meringue into the almond mixture and fold them together with a spatula. Then add the melted butter and slowly fold. (Avoid deflating the fluffiness of the mixture).
5. Divide the batter equally into two and transfer into prepared pans. Bake for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden. Let it cool.
6. Once cooled down, use an 8-inch (20cm) square ring to cut the sponge cakes into three. Or use a paper pattern, and slice the cake using a knife. You should be able to make 3 layers of an 8-inch square sponge. Use the excess sponge and connect it together to make a whole 8-inch layer. Set them aside.
7. For the coffee syrup: In a saucepan, add water, sugar and coffee and bring to boil over medium heat. Set aside to cool completely.
8. For the chocolate croustillant: Melt the chocolate over a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Once chocolate is melted, remove from heat. Add Pailleté feuilletine and stir to combine.
9. Spread the croustillant on top of one square sponge cake. Cover and refrigerate to set.
10. For the chocolate ganache: Place chopped chocolate into a bowl and set aside. Then in a saucepan, add cream and let it boil. Turn off heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let it stand for 1 minute to melt the chocolate by hot cream completely. Keep stirring until no more lumps. Set aside.
11. For the Coffee Buttercream: In a mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat egg yolks in until creamy and light yellow colored. Set aside.
12. In a small saucepan combine sugar with water and instant coffee and place on medium heat. Using a candy thermometer monitor syrup temperature. Wait until it reaches 240°F (115°C).
13. Add it in batches over the creamy egg yolks, while beating continuously. Continue beating until the mixture is cooled.
14. Add the softened butter in batches, beat on low until butter is incorporated and switch on high speed until smooth and fluffy buttercream. Set aside.
15. Cake assembly: Take the croustillant coated almond sponge cake layers from the fridge, flip on a serving plate with chocolate croustillant facing down.
16. Remove the paper lining and brush it on top with coffee syrup. Then add half of the coffee buttercream, making sure to spread it evenly with a cake spatula.
17. Add the second layer of sponge cake (this is the connected sponge cake) and brush it with lots of coffee syrup until soaked. Spread the cooled chocolate ganache.
18. Add the third layer of sponge cake and brush it again with coffee syrup. Spread the remaining buttercream on top. Use a cake spatula and spread it out evenly and beautiful.
19. Cover and refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours or overnight.
20. The next day, take out the cake from the fridge and transfer it to a cake rack with a tray underneath lined with parchment paper. Set aside.
21. For the Chocolate Glaze: Melt the chocolate over double boiler. Add oil and stir to combine.Turn off heat right away as soon as it melts.
22. Pour the chocolate glaze on top of the cake immediately and let excess glaze drip on the lined tray. Refrigerate for about 1 hour to set.
23. Using a hot knife trim the edges of the cake. Using the leftover chocolate glaze write “Opera” on top. A gold leaf (crumpled edible gold foil) is usually delicately placed on top, marking the end of the preparation and the final touch. Enjoy!