Opera Cake

My 550th recipe! And what a recipe it is! Nine perfect layers of coffee and chocolate flavours with almond cake. It takes some time, but it’s an amazing cake for special events.
All recipes have been uploaded separately as well, some with additional explanation.


For the cookie base:

  • 50gr soft butter
  • 30gr sugar
  • 15gr heavy cream
  • 75gr flour
  • 1 tbs cacao powder
  • 1 tbs espresso

For the joconde sponge cake:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 60gr sugar
  • 1 tbs water
  • 140gr almond flour
  • 50gr flour
  • 3 egg whites
  • 75gr sugar
  • 30gr melted, cooled butter

For the ganache:

  • 110gr dark chocolate
  • 150gr heavy cream

For the coffee mousse:

  • 250gr heavy cream
  • 40gr sugar
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 sheets of gelatin
  • 150gr heav cream

For the soaking syrup:

  • 3 tbs espresso
  • 1.5 tsp honey

For the chocolate glaze:

  • 60gr sugar
  • 30gr cacao powder
  • 70gr water
  • 50gr heavy cream
  • 2 sheets of gelatin

Serves 12


Make the cookie base:
Beat the butter, sugar and cream together until just combined. Add the flour and cacao until just combined.
Press into a 20cm square tin.
Bake for 15 minutes on 200°C. Brush with fresh espresso directly after baking.

Make the joconde cake layers:
Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a freestanding mixer. Beat for 10 minutes until very light and fluffy. Add the water after the first 3 minutes.
Whip the egg whites in a fatfree bowl until soft peaks form. Fold them gently into the beaten egg mixture.
Combine the almond flour and regular flour. Fold them into the batter.
Then fold in the cooled butter.

Divide the batter over two sheetcake tins, taking care to spread by moving the bowl while pouring and by tilting the tins, instead of using a spatula. Use the spatula for the last spreading/levelling.
Bake for 6 minutes on 200°C or until just baked.
Leave to cool, then cut two 20cm square slabs from the most level part of the sheets.

Make the ganache:
Heat the cream and chocolate together – either bain marie or in 30 second intervals in the microwave. Stir to combine, then leave to cool until room temperature.

Make the coffee mousse:
Soak the gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes.
Combine the cream and sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Combine the egg yolks with the espresso powder and vanilla. Stir the hot cream slowly into the egg yolks while stirring well.

Pour the egg mixture back into the pan. Heat while stirring until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon with a creamy layer that doesn’t flow down when pulling your finger through.
Turn off the heat. Stir in the squeezed out gelatin. Push some clingfilm on top of the custard. This prevents a skin from forming. Leave to room temperature but not set.

Whip the remaining heavy cream to soft peaks. Fold into the cooled cream.

Layer the components:
When layering, try to keep each layer as equally spread as possible, this makes the prettiest slices.
Spread approximately 1/3rd of the ganache on the cookie base.
Top with 1/3rd of the coffee mousse.
Add a layer of joconde cake, which you brush with the soaking syrup (espresso combined with honey).
Top with the remaining ganahce, then half of the leftover mousse. Add another layer of joconde, brushed with the syrup. Again mousse and then set in the fridge.

Make the glaze:
Soak the gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes.
Combine the sugar, cacao powder and water in a thick based sauce pan. Stir gently with a whisk, adding the cream.
Bring the mixture to the boil and leave to simmer for 3 minutes while stirring.
Take the pan off the heat. Skim the top if required.
Stir the gelatin into the chocolate liquid. Leave to cool until still liquid but almost cold. When you stick in your finger, it should feel slightly colder than body temperature. Pour the glaze on top of the cake and leave to set.

Cut into 12 fingers.

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