Opera Cake is a rich French dessert.
Opera Cake is filled with French coffee buttercream, and chocolate ganache, stacked between almond and meringue sponge cake (known as joconde). Finally, the Opera Cake is coated in chocolate glaze.
I was looking for more coffee-flavored desserts after discovering Tiramisu. This is a much-loved Italian dessert with a coffee flavor. After tasting Opera Cake, I realized how well coffee and chocolate go together. It is a match made in heaven. Like Tiramisu, this beautiful cake has layers…cream filling layers and more…
Refrigerate the cake for 2 hours or overnight before glazing. You can chill it for up to 1 day, so it’s a great make-ahead dessert recipe!
For the almond sponge cake (joconde):
- 40 grams (1/2 cup) almond flour
- 40 grams (1/3 cup) confectioners (powdered) sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 25 grams (1/2 cup) cake flour
- 2 egg whites, at room temperature
- 50 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
For the coffee syrup:
- 10 ml (2 teaspoons) instant espresso powder
- 25 grams (2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
For the coffee buttercream:
- 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 25 grams (2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
- 100 grams (7 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) instant espresso powder
- 10 ml (2 teaspoons) rum, optional
For the chocolate ganache:
- 160 grams (5.5 ounces) semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
- 237 ml (1 cup) heavy cream
For the chocolate glaze and decoration:
- 100 grams (3 ½ ounces) semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) canola or other vegetable oil
- Edible gold leaf flakes, optional
- Double the recipe: You can double this recipe, in which case bake the sponge on a 25×38 cm (10×15 inch) baking sheet.
- Espresso: It’s better to use super strong flavor for this recipe.
- Chocolate: Very important to use high-quality baking chocolate to create a smooth chocolate glaze.
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
You’ll need a medium-sized sheet pan (about 8×10 inch). Line it with parchment paper and set aside.
If you don’t have the exact size, you can use a larger baking pan, and mark a 25×38 cm (8×10-inch) area.
2. For the almond sponge cake (joconde):
Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar together, and mix with the egg.
Add cake flour and mix well.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites, and add sugar until stiff peaks form.
Combine the whipped whites and almond mixture.
Pour the batter into a prepared sheet pan and bake for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden.
Let it cool completely and divide the cake into 3 equal pieces.
3. For the coffee syrup:
In a small bowl combine 100 ml (1/4 cup) hot water, espresso powder and sugar. Add rum, if using.
Whisk to dissolve, and set aside to cool.
4. For the coffee buttercream:
Beat the egg yolks until creamy. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and 15 ml (1 tablespoon) water.
Place over medium heat and stir constantly. When it reaches 115°C (240°F), pour it over the creamy egg yolks and mix.
Add the softened butter and beat until smooth.
Whisk together espresso and rum, and add to the mixture. Mix until combined. Set aside.
5. For the chocolate ganache:
Place the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.
Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan until boiling. Immediately pour over the chocolate and stir until combined. Set aside to cool.
6. To assemble the Opera Cake:
Brush the sponge cake layer with coffee syrup.
Spread half of the buttercream on top and even the surface with an offset spatula.
Then spread half of the cooled chocolate ganache evenly on top.
Add another sponge cake layer, and again brush with coffee syrup and spread the other half of the buttercream.
Add the last layer of sponge cake and brush with coffee syrup.
Spread the rest of chocolate ganache on top evenly, spreading it as smoothly as possible.)
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
7. For the glaze:
In a double boiler or heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water (the water shouldn’t touch the bottom of the bowl), melt the chocolate.
Add the oil to the melted chocolate and mix to combine.
8. To finish the Opera Cake:
Set aside a small amount of the chocolate glaze for decoration.
Place the chilled cake over a rack placed on a baking sheet.
Pour the chocolate glaze over the cake and use a spatula to smooth out the surface.
Refrigerate for about 1 hour to set.
9. To serve the Opera Cake:
Pour boiling water over a knife and wipe with a paper towel before cutting into the cake. (This will ensure a clean cut without cracking the surface of the chocolate glaze.) Cut the cake into 5-6 even pieces.
Spoon the reserved glaze into a piping bag with a small writing tip, and write “Opera” on each piece.
If desired, you can add a few flakes of edible gold leaf as decoration.
Serve and enjoy!