Opera cake (French: gâteau opéra) is a French cake. It is made with layers of almond sponge cake (known as Joconde in French) soaked in coffee syrup, layered with ganache and coffee (or Grand Marnier) buttercream, and covered in a chocolate glaze.
According to Larousse Gastronomique, "Opéra gâteau is an elaborate almond sponge cake with a coffee and chocolate filling and icing."
The cake was popularized by the French pâtisserie house Dalloyau, but its origin is unclear. One creator-claimant, at la maison Dalloyau in 1955 is Cyriaque Gavillon, grandfather to Christelle Bernardé, current co-president, and named by his wife Andrée Gavillon after the Opéra Garnier.
Gaston Lenôtre (1920 - 2009) also claimed the honour of inventing the dessert in 1960, though an advertisement in Le Gaulois in 1899 offers a "gâteau opéra".
Opera Cake is a rich French dessert, that uses one of the most loved flavor combinations, chocolate and coffee. The cake is consisting of layers of almond sponge cake soaked in coffee syrup, filled with coffee buttercream and chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate glaze. For an elegant finish its name is written on top of each slice and is decorated with gold leaf.
This recipe is time consuming, no doubt about that, but each step is quite easy to prepare and the work can easily be divided for 2 days. The final result is rewarding and really satisfying. Don’t be intimidated by the volume of work or ingredients, I encourage you to try this recipe as will definitely be a crowd pleasure. Enjoy!
Makes about 10 servings
Joconde (Almond Sponge Cake)
5 eggs, room temperature
5 oz (140g) ground almonds (almond flour)
5 oz (140g) powdered sugar
1/4 cup (30g) flour
2 tbsp (30g) butter, melted
5 egg whites
2 tbsp (30g) sugar
1/4 tsp (1g) salt
2/3 cup (160ml) water
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
3 tsp (6g) instant coffee
2.5 oz (70g) semisweet chocolate
2.5 oz (70g) Paillette Feuilletine
5.5 oz (160g) semisweet chocolate
2/3 cup (160g) whipping cream
5 egg yolks, room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
3 tbsp (45ml) water
2 tsp (4g) instant coffee
1 1/4 cup (280g) butter, softened
7 oz (200g) semisweet chocolate
2 tbsp (30ml) canola oil