Opera cake

    This classic French chocolate torte cake consists of thin layers of a light almond-flavoured sponge, known as joconde, brushed with coffee syrup and spread with coffee creme au buerre (buttercream) before being covered with chocolate ganache. It takes a bit of effort but the result is worth every minute!


    2 people made this

    Ingredients
    Serves: 8 

    • Joconde almond sponge
    • 12 egg whites
    • 150g caster sugar
    • 10 eggs, beaten
    • 200g ground almonds
    • 150g icing sugar
    • 120g self-raising flour
    • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
    • Coffee buttercream
    • 250g caster sugar
    • 6 tablespoons water
    • 3 egg whites
    • 275g butter, room temperature
    • 1 dash coffee-flavoured extract
    • Chocolate ganache
    • 600ml double cream
    • 425g dark chocolate, chopped
    • Coffee syrup
    • 200g caster sugar
    • 240ml water
    • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules

    Method
    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:12min  ›  Extra time:2hr18min chilling  ›  Ready in:3hr 

    1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Line the bottom of two 25x38cm baking trays with baking parchment.
    2. In a large bowl, beat 12 egg whites, gradually adding 150g caster sugar, until stiff. In a separate bowl, beat together 10 eggs, ground almonds, icing sugar and flour until smooth. Stir in melted butter. Fold in beaten egg whites. Spread cake mixture evenly in prepared tins.
    3. Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes, or until centre springs back when lightly touched. Turn cakes out onto wire racks and remove parchment. Let cool completely.
    4. For the buttercream: Combine 250g caster sugar and 6 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat to between 112 to 116 C, or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water and placed on a flat surface.
    5. While the syrup is heating, begin beating the 3 egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed. When syrup is ready, increase mixer speed to high and pour syrup into egg whites in a thin stream. Continue to beat until mixture is room temperature. Beat in butter, a little at a time, and coffee extract until smooth.
    6. For the ganache: Bring cream to the boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour over chopped chocolate and stir until all is melted. Let cool in the fridge.
    7. To make the coffee syrup: combine 200g caster sugar with 240ml water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1 minute more. Stir in instant coffee until dissolved.
    8. To assemble the cake: Slice each sheet of cake in half. You will only use 3 halves for the layers of the Opera cake - reserve or freeze the fourth for another dessert, such as trifle. Place one cake layer on a flat plate. Soak with half of the coffee syrup. Spread with half the ganache to make an even layer about as thick as the cake layer. Top with another layer of cake, soak it with coffee syrup and spread an even layer of buttercream over that. Top with third cake layer. Chill in fridge for 1 hour.
    9. To finish, heat remaining ganache in a double boiler over simmering water until liquid. Place Opera cake on a rack over parchment and pour ganache on top, completely covering surface, using a spatula to spread if necessary.
    10. Chill the cake in the fridge until ganache is firm, then trim sides of cake and cut into 8 slices to serve.

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