Opera Cake with Couverture Chocolate Recipe

Posted by Chocolatier Jason Vishnefske on 19th Mar 2021

It is still debatable who was the inventor of the original opera cake recipe. According to some culinary historians, this recipe was created in the 1890s, and others say it first appeared in a Paris shop in the mid-20th century. However, most opera cake lovers agree on one thing - the best place to have it is at Dalloyau, a Paris-based food com, where it is called L'Opera so as to honor the Paris Opera.

Even though preparing an opera cake takes some time, its delicious taste is really worth it. It is built of six layers, including light almond sponge cake, coffee buttercream, and dark chocolate ganache, topped with a chocolate glaze. It tastes particularly great with couverture chocolate, made from chocolate produced in a small artisan chocolate factory in Zurich.

It is worth knowing that to provide the Opera Cake with an authentic finishing touch, some people pipe the word "Opera" at the top of each piece. If you have any glaze left, you can use it for this purpose and make your cake look as if straight from a classic French bakery!

We know that the list of ingredients in this recipe may be overwhelming, but you will see that the effort you put into making this outstanding dessert is totally worth it!

Prep time: 90 min + chilling time

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 120 min + chilling time

Serves: around 10 servings

List of Ingredients

Joconde (Almond Sponge Cake)

5 oz ground almonds (almond flour)

5 eggs, room temperature

5 oz icing sugar

2 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup flour

2 tbsp melted butter

5 large egg whites

1/4 tsp salt

Coffee Syrup

1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cup cold water

3 tsp instant coffee

Chocolate Croustillant

2.5 oz Pailletée Feuilletine

2.5 oz Couverture dark chocolate

Chocolate Ganache

2/3 cup whipping cream

5.5 oz couverture dark chocolate

Coffee Buttercream

5 egg yolks, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 cup softened butter

3 tbsp water

2 tsp instant coffee

Chocolate Glaze

2 tbsp canola oil

7 oz couverture dark chocolate

Instructions

Make the Joconde

Preheat your oven to 400F.

Take two baking sheets 9x13 inches each, grease and line them using parchment paper.

Sift the icing sugar and almond flour into a large bowl.

Prepare a fluffy and creamy mixture by adding 5 whole eggs and flour and mixing them until they have the right structure.

Prepare a second bowl, put salt and egg whites there and whip up to the moment they become foamy.

Add sugar slowly and keep on mixing until you see stiff peaks appearing.

Then, gently fold in the whipped egg whites to enrich your almond mixture.

Next, add butter (melted before) and separate batter into two even pieces to place on your baking sheets.

Bake them for 8-10 minutes, up to the moment you see they turned golden.

Let them cool completely, and when they are ready, take an 8-inch square ring and cut the sponge cakes into three pieces.

Make the Coffee Syrup Spread

Pour cold water into a small saucepan and add coffee along with sugar. Bring all of it to boil over medium heat.

Set the saucepan aside and wait till the coffee is completely cool.

Make the Croustillant

Now, you need to use your bain-marie to melt the chocolate over it.

Add Pailleté feuilletine and stir until they are smoothly combined.

Then, the top of one cake needs to be covered with the croustillant. When done, put it in your refrigerator to set.

Make the Ganache

Put the chocolate in your bowl.

Heat cream in a small saucepan and bring it to boiling.

Pour over the chocolate and let it sit for at least a minute.

When it is ready, proceed to stir - keep on doing that up to the point you can see it has melted completely.

Set it aside to let the ganache cool down at room temperature.

Make the Coffee Buttercream

Put the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl and mix them until they become creamy and turn light yellow.

Mix sugar with instant coffee and water in a small saucepan and put on medium heat.

Measure the syrup temperature with a candy thermometer. When you see it reach 240 F, slowly pour it over the creamy yolks, without stopping to mix until the mixture gets cooled.

Gently add softened butter, and mix on low up to the point when butter gets incorporated.

Switch to high speed and keep on mixing until you obtain a fluffy and smooth structure.

Assemble the Cake

Now, you can take the croustillant-coated sponge cake layer from the fridge.

Flip it on a serving plate so that the chocolate croustillant can be facing down.

Brush the cake with a thin layer of coffee syrup.

Next, spread half of your coffee buttercream.

Put another layer of sponge cake and let it soak completely with the coffee syrup.

Take your cooled ganache and spread it.

When you are ready, place the last sponge cake layer and brush it profusely with coffee syrup.

The other half of the buttercream should be spread on top.

When you do it, even the surface with your cake scraper or offset spatula.

Cover the cake and put it in your fridge for 2 hours or so - you can even keep it there overnight.

Make the Chocolate Gaze

You have reached the last part of our opera cake recipe!

Prior to taking care of the glaze, put the chilled cake over a rack set on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Then, the chocolate should be melted with a bain-marie.

Pour oil and stir to achieve a unified structure.

To get a smooth surface, pour the glaze promptly over the chilled cake.

To let your opera cake set, leave it in your fridge for about an hour.

Cut the edges of the cake with a hot knife and divide it into 8-10 rectangular pieces.

To achieve the bakery effect, write "Opera" with the leftover glaze on each piece and embellish them with a gold leaf.

And that's it - now you can enjoy your Opera Cake and impress your family or friends! We hope our recipe was not too difficult and you managed to achieve the desired effect. See you next time!