Today I’m sharing my take on a opera cake – this is a classic French bake which is known for its many layers.
I won’t lie, this is a recipe I thought I’d never make again, especially after the nightmare I had with it at college. I found my old college recipe book and it has a few different recipe, including some patisserie – so this month I’ll be sharing some of the recipe I learnt and made at college, including this one.
This cake is a little different as it has multiple layers which are consistent and level – not always easy but when done right, it looks perfect. The flavours that this cake is composed of are chocolate and coffee, which compliment each other perfectly!
If you have never heard of this cake before, I’ll give you a quick run down. It had layers of jaconde sponge (almond based sponge cake), soaked with a coffee simple syrup, sandwiched with coffee buttercream and chocolate ganache. Then finished with a chocolate glaze – what’s not to like about this? Especially if you’re a fan of both coffee and chocolate.
In this recipe, I used dark chocolate from the lovely people over at Cocoarunners. Here are a few more products they offer as part of their baking and cooking range – cocoa powder, milk chocolate, unsweetened, nibs and make your own chocolate bar.
If this sounds like your sort of recipe, then why don’t you give this a go… You’ll like it. It’s well worth the time.
Anyway, let’s get started, shall we?
6 eggs, separated.
250g granulated sugar.
125g ground almonds.
125g plain flour.
250g granulated sugar.
2 tbsp instant coffee.
75g egg yolks.
1 whole egg.
Coffee simple syrup:
1 tbsp instant coffee.
100g dark chocolate.
100ml double cream.
75g dark chocolate.
45ml double cream.
1 tbsp instant coffee.
6g granulated sugar.
5ml liquid glucose.
Before you get started on the recipe, you’ll want to do some prep work. Weigh up all of your ingredients, line a your 8 inch baking tin with parchment paper and get any equipment you need, such as a stand mixer and mixing bowls. Don’t forget to preheat your oven to 200˚c/390˚f
To start on the recipe, you’ll want to begin by starting on the layers of sponge. I used the same cake tin 4 times over, as I don’t have 4x 8 inch cake tins, but work with what you have.
Into a mixing bowl, place the egg yolks with half of the granulated sugar and whisk until its lighter, fluffier and doubled in volume. This probably takes the longest, so you will want to get this started and you can continue with the other elements.
Grab another clean mixing bowl, place in the egg whites and whisk until they reach a frothy consistency, then slowly add in the granulated sugar. By the time the sugar has been fully incorporated, the meringue should be smooth, glossy and hold its shape.
Now take the ground almonds and plain flour and soft them together, discarding any bits thats get left in the sieve – repeat this a further 2 times, so you have sieved the dry mixture a total of 3 times. This helps to remove as many of the lumps in the dry mixture as possible.
Now you had the egg yolk mixture, meringue and dry mixture, you’re good to finish up the jaconde sponge. Start by taking the meringue by adding around a 1/3 of the mixture and gently folding it in, being careful not to knock out too much of the air. Repeat with the remaining mixture, only adding 1/3 at a time and incorporating until fully incorporated.
It’s the same process with the dry mixture, so add around 1/3 of the dry into the other mixture and gently fold it in, until its fully incorporated. Try your best not to knock the air from the batter, otherwise your cake will have no rise and not bake correctly.
Place the layers of cake into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Repeat this process with the other remaining layers of sponge.
Once all your layers of cake have been made, you can make the buttercream (which is super easy to do).
Into a saucepan, place the sugar, water and instant coffee and place on the hob and bring to 121˚c/250˚f.
While you wait for your liquid mix to come to temperature, into a mixing bowl place the egg yolks and whole egg, then whisk until lighter and fluffier in colour and consistency.
Once your liquid mix reaches the required temperature and your egg mixture has achieved the required consistency, you can go ahead and add the boiling liquid mixture into the egg mix over a low speed, then crank the speed up to high once it’s been added. Keep whisking until you’re able to touch the bottom of the bowl with the back of your hand.
Whenever you reach that point, you can then start adding the butter, just few chunks at a time, until incorporated. Repeat this process with the remaining butter until you have none left – if you notice the buttercream starts to look loose, don’t worry, this can happy. Continue to whisk on a high speed and add the butter, this will fix itself as its worked.
Whisk until you have a smooth beige coloured buttercream. Once made, transfer into a suitably sized bowl and place into the fridge until needed.
While you have a little spare time, it’s the perfect time to make the coffee simple syrup. Into a small saucepan, place the water, granulated sugar and instant coffee, give it all a mix and then place on the hob over a medium heat and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, remove from the heat and allow to cool fully before you use it.
The ganache is the second from last element you will need to make, which is perfect and super easy. Into a bowl, place your chocolate and set aside until needed a little late on. Then into a saucepan place your cream into a small saucepan and place on the hob over a medium head and allow to almost reach a boil.
Once your cream reaches a boil, pour over your chocolate, ensuring the chocolate is fully submerged in the hot cream. Allow it to sit for 60-90 seconds, then stir until you have a smooth and glossy ganache. This can be made in advance and gently reheated, if it’s not spreadable.
The final element to make is the chocolate glaze – which is just as easy as any other component. You will want to make the just as you’re finished assembling the cake.
To make the glaze, melt the chocolate and allow to cool a little, until it’s thickened slightly. Into a small saucepan place the double cream, granulated sugar, glucose and coffee, mix together and place on the hob until it almost reaches the boil.
Once it reaches a boil, add in the chocolate and mix together until you have a smooth and glossy chocolate mixture.
The first stage is to ensure you have your cake, buttercream and ganache made, ready to do the main assembly – ensure you have your palette knives ready.
The stage I missed out of the recipe that you would see on a more standard version. of the recipe is brushing the bottom of the bottom layer with melted chocolate.
Brush the first layer of cake with a generous coating of the coffee simple syrup, then top with a generous amount of buttercream, roughly the same thickness of the sponge.
Then place into a cake tin and get ready to finish the assembly.
Take the next layer of sponge and brush generously with the coffee simple syrup – top this with the ganache (which should be perfectly spreadable, not too thick or runny). Spread it out until you have a level layer of chocolate ganache. Place this into the cake tin, on top of the cake topped with buttercream, pressing down a little to secure it in place.
Take the next layer of cake and repeat the process of generously brushing over the coffee simple syrup. Top this with another generous amount of buttercream and place on top of the cake with chocolate ganache.
Then take the final layer of cake and brush one side of the cake generously with the coffee simple syrup and then flip this, so the coffee side is on the underside. Press down a little to secure it in place, then place in the fridge and allow to firm up for around 30-45 minutes.
Once your cake has had time to chill in the fridge, make the chocolate glaze and then pour it directly over the top of cake and then spread it out and level it out until you have a smooth and level layer of chocolate glaze.
Place back in the fridge just to firm up – it will make it easy to trim later on. When ready, trim the sides, to get rid of the rough looking sides. Slice up and as an optional finish, pipe the word ‘Opera’ on top of each slice.
That’s all for today guys, I hope you enjoyed. If you did, don’t forget to share this recipe with your family and friends and enjoy it. I’ll be back soon with another blog post and YouTube video, so join me then. In the meanwhile, don’t forget to check out my other social’s – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. The YouTube tutorial will be linked down below.