Opera cake is a French sweet pastry in which almond cake, so-called Joconde, is soaked in coffee syrup and is layered with chocolate cream and coffee cream. The whole thing is covered with chocolate icing. This cake is a real delicacy for all fans of desserts with coffee, because both the cream and the syrup this cake contains. In the case of the cream, it is the addition of coffee powder, while the syrup contains intensively brewed coffee. It can be either espresso or any other strong coffee or coffee infusion. Opera is a sweet cake that requires some time and patience to prepare, but the end result is worth it because the cake tastes amazing.
To prepare the classic French Opera cake, I start by baking an almond cake, which I bake on one baking tray. After baking, I cool it down and cut it in half, then I also divide each layer into two parts, because you need three equal layers of cake in total. When the almond cake is ready, I make the chocolate ganache. Its preparation is very simple and generally quite quick. The coffee cream takes the most time and is the most complicated element of this dessert. The basis of this cream are egg yolks whisked until fluffy. Hot sugar and water are poured into them later in a slow stream. Here you’ll need a confectionery thermometer, because the temperature of the liquid should be between 115 – 120 degrees Celsius. I always combine the whisked egg yolks with liquid sugar using a kitchen mixer, especially since the mixture must be mixed for about 10 minutes.
Coffee syrup and chocolate icing are the easiest elements of this dessert to prepare. In both cases, you need to combine the ingredients, boiling some of them for a while and dissolving others in the microwave. When all the elements of the dessert are ready, assemble the cake. I do it on a board or baking tray, whatever you prefer. The finished cake must be cooled down in the refrigerator before serving. I encourage you to try the recipe for the Opera cake and I wish you happy baking.
Ingredients for Opera cake.
- 150 g almond flour
- 100 g powdered sugar
- 70 g all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs “M”
- 50 g crystal sugar
- 30 g melted butter
- 3 egg whites “M”
- 200 g dark chocolate
- 120 ml whipping cream (36%)
- 50 g butter
- 100 g crystal sugar
- 50 ml water
- 4 egg yolks
- 180 g butter
- 2 teaspoons of coffee powder
- 1 teaspoon of water
Coffee soaking (coffee syrup):
- 50 g crystal sugar
- 150 ml strong coffee
- 2 tablespoons of cognac
- 100 g dark chocolate
- 1 tablespoon of liquid coconut oil
How to make Opera cake.
Almond cake preparation.
Place the eggs in a bowl, add crystal sugar and whisk for 5-6 minutes. Mix the almond flour into the whisked eggs with sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Add powdered sugar to the whisked egg whites in small batches, whisking constantly. Mix the whisked egg whites with sugar into a bowl with flour and eggs, then add flour sifted through a sieve, and finally pour in the cooled but liquid butter. Pour the almond batter onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and put it in the oven preheated to 180 degrees for 12-14 minutes. Cool the baked cake and cut it in half lengthwise.
Cream and soaking preparation.
Chocolate ganache: pour the whipping cream into a pot, bring it to a boil, then remove the pot from the heat and add soft butter and chocolate broken into pieces. Stir until the chocolate and butter melt and create a thick cream, which should be cooled when ready.
Coffee soaking: pour coffee into a pot, add crystal sugar and bring it to a boil. Cook for about a minute, then cool it down and add cognac. Mix.
Coffee cream: pour water into a separate pot, add crystal sugar and bring it to a boil. Cover the pot with a slightly ajar lid, insert a candy thermometer and cook over a low heat until the liquid reaches a temperature of 115 degrees Celsius. Stir the boiling sugar and water frequently to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. In the meantime, put the yolks into the bowl of the kitchen mixer and whisk for about 3 minutes until fluffy. Next, pour the hot sugar from the pot in a small stream, whisking constantly. Whisk until the mixture reaches room temperature – about 10 minutes. Then, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the soft butter, spoon by spoon, and whisk for about 2-3 minutes. Finally, add coffee dissolved in a tablespoon of water and beat for a few seconds.
Chocolate icing: put chocolate pieces and liquid coconut oil in a bowl. Place in the microwave for a few seconds until everything becomes soft and liquid. Cool it down.
Divide the tops made of almond cake in such a way that the two tops give us three parts, i.e. one of the parts will be made from two equal parts of each top. Each cake slice should measure approximately 23 cm by 17 cm. Place the first cake layer on a baking tray, sprinkle with the filling, and then spread it with cold chocolate cream. Place another cake layer on top of the cream, preferably one made from two separate parts of the cake. Sprinkle this countertop with the soaking and spread the coffee cream on it. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the cream and spread it over the top of the cake sprinkled with the soak, spreading and levelling the cream evenly. Pour the liquid, cool glaze on top and smooth it out nicely with a knife. Place the cake in the fridge for a few hours so that the creams harden properly.
Good to know when making Opera cake.
The tray in which I baked the cake had dimensions of 35 by 26 cm.
The eggs used to prepare the almond cake, as well as the flour and sugar should be at room temperature. The cake can be baked on two or three individual baking trays, so there is no need to cut it in half or into smaller pieces. When baking cakes on two baking trays, shorten the baking time accordingly.
Do you like cakes with chocolate cream? If so, try our recipe for Chocolate cake with truffle cream and orange,