One of the most famous and probably most popular cakes in France is Opéra. Wherever you go, in Paris, or in any small town in France you will find this cake, usually in square shape, covered with dark chocolate and with the writing “Opéra” on top. Some writing is good, some – terrible…and that reminds of the day we practiced to write with the paper corn before the exam.
To be honest, I tried this cake once in Paris, it was not that good and believe it or not, it’s hard to find a good Opéra. This cake has been invented, according to the popular Dalloyau pastry shop in Paris, back into 1955. Why Opéra? Probably because the different layers of the cake reminds the interior floors in the auditorium of the theatre, Palais Garnier!
Today we do Opéra cake. Frankly, it’s not easy cake to make, and to do a good Opéra – and beautiful one – it’s a difficult task!
Step 1 Preparation for Biscuit Joconde (almond sponge cake) & sirop
- Eggs 200 gr.
- Almond powder 100-140 gr.
- Sugar 80-120 gr. (up to your sweet taste) I added only 80 gr.
- Pastry flour 40 gr.
- Butter 30 gr.
- White yolk 120 gr.
- Sugar for white yolk 40 gr.
Mix almond powder together with flour, sugar then egg and melted butter. Mix well. Beat the white yolk, then add gradually sugar. Add 1/3 of white yolk to the egg mixture, mix well then all to the rest of the beaten white yolk. Bake at 220°C for 10-12 minutes then later cut the cake into 4 pieces (12 cm x 24 cm).
Step 2 Sirup for Joconde biscuit
- Water 200 ml.
- Sugar 100 gr.
- Rum or Kailua 10 ml. – 20 ml.
Bring water and sugar to boiling then add the liqueur later, we will moisten the sponge cake with this sirup as French love it very much. It depends on how you like but I really recommend it.
Step 3 Preparation for creme au coffee
The original recipe is the traditional butter cream with the coffee extract but today I’d love to try a new way, tasty but without butter. First to make the creme Anglaise then when it’s still hot mix nicely with white chocolate and the coffee extract. Add some liquor, I did add Rum and Kailua. The quantity of white chocolate depends on how thick we want our creme.
- Whipping cream 150 gr.
- Egg 2 pcs
- White chocolate 80-100 gr.
- Rum 10 ml.
- Vanilla extract 4 ml.
- Coffee extract 10 gr.
Step 4 Ganache
- Whipping cream 150 gr.
- Dark chocolate 100 gr.
Melt the chocolate in heating cream, whisk well then keep in the fridge.
Step 5 Montage
Usually we need only 3 layers of Joconde biscuit but I decided to make it 4. We do moisten each layer of sponge cake with Rum sirup, it depends how you like it but French love to moisten it. The first layer we cover with coffee creme, the second layer – ganache, the third one with coffee cream again and the last one reserved for chocolate glaze.
Step 6 Chocolate glaze
After assembling all three or four layers, I keep the cake in the fridge for few hours before doing the glaze for the top surface.
- Dark coating chocolate 125 gr.
- Dark chocolate 50 gr.
- Glucose 10 gr.
- Grape-seed oil 10 ml.
Melt the chocolate by bain marie, add other ingredients and mix very well until you get a shining chocolate liquid, cool it down a bit ( around 40°C) and poor it nicely on top of the Opéra. Keep it in the fridge and enjoy it later!