Monday, 20 July 2015

Opera cake - Baking partners challenge

    This month's Baking partner challenge was suggested by Savitha,  Opera cake is an famous french pastry where almond flavoured sponge is filled with  coffee buttercream and chocolate ganache with an liberal soaking of coffee syrup.  The final layer is glossed with tempered chocolate and is refrigerated overnight for the coffee flavour to infuse.

The first time, I tried almond sponge, it completely broke, and yes, sadly landed in garbage.  After watching an lot of youtube vidoes,   I gave them another shot.  Yayy... my sponge came out right!  I, divided the recipe by one third as I had an small oven, with baking tray supporting 9 inch by 10.5 inch.  This cake requires an lot of labour, so prepared sponge by day one.  Day two,  morning, prepared syrup, ganache and buttercream.  Assembled by evening and refrigerated overnight, this cake was ready for consumption by third day.

One bite into this pastry, was fabulous with an strong hint of coffee and some chocolate.  Initially, I was  worried when both sponge recipe and buttercream recipe demanded eggs.  But, this pastry had no eggy smell at all.  They were soft and delecious, like Bakery bought ones.  I never though that I could make them this delecious, thanks to Savitha and Swathi Iyer for bringing out such an challenging recipe.

Preparation of Almond sponge/joconde

Ingredients required

  • Egg whites - 2 (reserve yolks for making buttercream)
  • Sugar - 1 tbspn
  • Almond flour - 1/2 cup + 1 tbspn
  • Sugar, powdered- 1/3 cup
  • Whole eggs- 2
  • All purpose flour - 21/2 tbspn
  • Butter, melted - 1 tbspn
  • Vanilla essence- 1 tsp


Pre-heat the oven to 210 degree celsius.  Butter the baking tray and line them up with baking sheet.  Separate the eggs, take the egg whites in an clean, dry and grease-free bowl.

Start beating for few seconds, till you get an soft peak, that falls away.  

Now adding sugar bit, by bit beat again, till you get strong stiff peaks.  

Gather remaining ingredients ( other than butter and vanilla essence) in an separate bowl, beat these using the same attachments from stiff peaks for an minute, till they form an uniform, thick paste.  

Now, fold in meringue in three batches.  Lightly fold them and take care not to deflate.  

Finally add butter and essence.  Fold them.

Spread them evenly over baking tray.

This goes into hot oven, preheated for 210 degree celsius for six to seven minutes.  

Remove them and let them cool completely.  Invert over another plate.

After it has been cooled, peel away baking sheet.  

Cut these into three equal parts, store in refrigerator.

Preparation of syrup, ganache and coffee buttercream


For Coffee syrup
  • Sugar - 1/4 cup
  • Water - 1/4 cup
  • Instant coffee powder - 1 tsp
For Chocolate ganache
  • Dark chocolate, finely chopped - 100 gm
  • Cream - 1/3 cup
For  Coffee buttercream
  • Instant coffee powder - 11/2 tbspn
  • Boiling water - 1 tbspn
  • Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
  • Egg yolk - 2
  • Sugar - 1/3 cup
  • Water - 2 tbspn
  • Butter - 160 gm


For syrup, boil water.  After the water bubbles, slow down the flame and add sugar, stirring till it dissolves.  Finally stir in coffee powder and switch off the gas.  

For ganache, heat cream.  Add finely chopped dark chocolate and switch off the flame.  Mix using spatula, till you get an uniformly textured ganache.  

For Coffee buttercream, whisk egg yolks till they are light and foamy.  

Dissolve coffee in hot water, keep aside.  In another pan, heat water and sugar.  Keep an bowl of water nearby.

Heat the syrup till you get soft ball consistency, if you drop some syrup into bowl of water, you should be able to roll an soft ball.  

Add this syrup, little by little, to yolk mixture.  After mixing is done, refrigerate them atleast an hour so that they are chilled.  This is an crucial step for buttercream.    

After cooled, beat them, alternatively adding butter cubes, till they turn light and fluffy.

Finally add vanilla essence and coffee paste.  

Coffee buttercream is done.  


We need, 125 grams of dark chocolate (divided into two batches)  for glossing top and bottom layer of cake.  Other ingredients needed are sponge cake, syrup, ganache, buttercream.  

First layer one part of sponge cake over the baking sheet.

Melt one half of the dark chocolate ie 60 gms in an double boiler.  

Pour melted, cooled dark chocolate over the first layer of sponge.  

Spread them uniformly.

Refrigerate them to set.  

After chocolate has been set, invert them, facing the sponge side towards the surface.  

Sprinkle them with coffee syrup generously.

Add buttercream and spread them evenly.  

Now, add in second layer of the sponge.  

Sprinkle with coffee syrup.  

Spread in chocolate ganache.  

Add in final and third layer of sponge.  

Sprinkle coffee syrup.

Add in buttercream and spread them uniformly.  

Finally, melt the remaining batch of chocolate and pour over the buttercream.  

Refrigerate them overnight.  Next day, trim off the sides, cut them into slices and serve.  

 Happy baking :)   

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