Opera Cake

June 14, 2012

Traditionally, Opera Cake is a square cake half the size of the cake you would make here.  You can make opera cake into bite sized petit fours by just cutting them in tiny rectangles and glazing them with chocolate and a dab of 24 carat gold.  I have made wedding cakes of Opera Cake and they are exceedingly rich.  The coffee syrup should soak the layers of rich almond cake well and a thin layer of chocolate glaze or thin ganache is good under each layer of coffee flavored buttercream.

Opera Cake

10 ounces unsalted butter at room temperature

10 ounces granulated sugar divided into equal 5 ounce portions

10 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

10 egg whites

6 ounces cake flour

4 ounces almond meal or ground almonds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Prepare two half sheet pans with spray and parchment for lining.

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer cream the butter and 5 ounces of granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the yolks a few at a time and scrape down the bowl.  Add the vanilla extract.

Blend the flour and almond meal and set aside.

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer whip the egg whites to a frothy point and add the remaining 5 ounces of granulated sugar in a thin stream and whip to soft peaks.

Carefully fold the whites into the yolk mixture and then sprinkle and gently fold in the flour and almonds.

Divide batter between the two pans equally and spread evenly and thinly.  Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes.

Cool and remove bake skin.  Use an 8” square template to cut the cake for building in the pan.

This cake was all Opera Cake. Because Opera Cake is filled with buttercream over chocolate ganache or glaze, it will firm up quite a bit in refrigeration which means it will hold up during a long reception quite well.

Process for making the Opera Cake

Bake the almond sponge cake in two sheet pans that are lined with parchment paper and sprayed with pan release or buttered.

Reduce 1 cup of strong coffee to two Tablespoons for flavoring the buttercream.

Boil 1 cup of strong coffee with 1 cup of sugar for 5 minutes and add 2 Tablespoons of coffee liquor for the soaking syrup.

Make the buttercream

Make the ganache for the filling under the coffee flavored buttercream.

Make the chocolate glaze for the top of the cake.

Using an 8” square template, cut the squares of sponge and the strips of sponge for the center pieces of the cake.  Line a 8” square cake pan with plastic wrap.  Start by placing a full square of sponge on the bottom of the cake pan.  Soak with the coffee/liquor syrup and then spread a thin layer of the chocolate ganache on top of the soaked sponge.  Chill until the ganache is set and then add the coffee buttercream on top of the ganache layer..add another square of sponge, soak with coffee simple syrup, cover with chocolate ganache and set in refrigeration before adding more coffee flavored buttercream.  Add the spliced layers of sponge and repeat..until you end with a neat square on top.  Chill and then cover the top of the cake with chocolate glaze and set in the refrigerator.  Decorate with gold leaf if desired.