French Opera Cake

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French Opera Cake as the name suggests is a French Torte and is beautiful to behold & delicate to create. Traditionally it has 4 layers of joconde (almond biscuit/ cake) soaked in potent coffee syrup, filled with coffee buttercream, ganache & coated with glaze. And then topped with edible gold leaf.

Eggless French Opera Cake
Eggless French Opera Cake

This cake has been in my bookmarked folder for a long time but I was waiting for the right occasion to celebrate with this cake. Last week the occasion presented for double celebration – my blog turned 2 and our marriage turned 7. :) Yes double anniversary celebration!

French Opera Cake

I came across a Vegan Opera Cake recipe and decided to go ahead with it. The recipe says the batter will make 3 layers but mine gave me 5 layers. Thank God I didn’t tell V that I’ve 2 extra layers, else he would have eaten them straight out of oven. :) Opera cake need gentle hands which I sorely lack. Initially I was very skeptical about my handling capabilities of a thin batter and baking each layer separately. But thankfully the baking bit happened without any mishap and gave me GOOD dose of confidence.

French Opera Cake

Like most cakes, I pre-made all components & assembled one day. I had some leftover dark chocolate ganache from here, I used that. You can use tempered chocolate but I like to use my leftovers when possible. I also trimmed the cake only at the last stage, my cake was quite small as it is.

French Opera Cake

My cake was exactly 4 cm tall just like an Opera Cake should be though this was by chance and not design on my part. I also trimmed the layers quite with conservation as my cake was already quite small in size & I didn’t want to trim all of it away. :)

Eggless French Opera Cake
Eggless French Opera Cake

I am quite bad at writing using pastry bag so I totally skipped writing ‘Opera’ as in a traditional French Opera Cake. I kept it in refrigerator for 2 days. This cake is best served cool not chilled.

French Opera Cake

On D-day V came home from office & we ate it together with my son. The cake was beautiful, moist (would be after so much soaking) and totally melt in your mouth. I do not know how a traditional French Opera Cake would taste but I know that I fell in love with this one. I also loved the crunchy flavor given to it by use of almond meal. I would try making this again & not let it remain once in a lifetime bake. For V this cake surpassed all my earlier cakes. :)

Eggless French Opera Cake
Eggless French Opera Cake

The only damper was that I let the cakes outside just covered with a net for 24 hours before assembling. This, I believe, made the cake layers dry, but nothing that extra soaking didn’t take care of. However, I recommend covering cake layers and keeping them in air tight container at room temp if you plan to assemble them next day like me.

French Opera Cake

Each bite is melt in the mouth wonder. The strong flavours of coffee and chocolate hit you hard. This time around my slices didn’t turn out as neat as last time. So I am keeping some of the old photos for your reference.

Joconde

French Opera Cake as the name suggests is a French Torte and is beautiful to behold & delicate to create. Traditionally it has 4 layers of joconde (almond biscuit/ cake) soaked in potent coffee syrup, filled with coffee buttercream, ganache & coated with glaze. And then topped with edible gold leaf.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Baking
Cuisine: French
Servings: 1 loaf size entremet

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup confectioner's sugar
  • ½ cup cake flour
  • cup milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vinegar

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°. Line a 5″ X 8″ loaf pan with parchment paper & grease.
  • Add the dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Combine the milk & vinegar in a separate cup, then add to dry ingredients. Mix vigorously with a fork. Once combined consistency will be similar to a pancake batter.
  • Pour 1/2 cup of batter into the prepared pan to cover the bottom to the edges. Bake for 5-7 mins or until the top appears golden, begins to dry & edges starts leaving the sides.
  • Loosen edges with a knife, if necessary and top with another layer of parchment paper. Flip pan to remove the cake, cool on the rack. Reline the pan and repeat with the rest of the batter, baking 3-5 cakes. I stored the cakes for 2 days – each cling wrapped in refrigerator.

Buttercream

A versatile buttercream, which can be used to fill, frost or mixed with other ingredients. It hits just the right craving.
Prep Time5 mins
Whipping Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Filling & Frosting

Ingredients

  • 300 gram unsalted butter softened at room temperature
  • 450 gram confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract optional
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee powder optional
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • food coloring optional

Instructions

  • Dissolve coffee in boiling water. Allow it to cool.
  • In a large bowl beat butter & sugar on slow speed until the sugar has blended in. This will keep the sugar from jumping out of the bowl. Then switch to medium & beat for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add almond extract & coffee mixture. If you are adding color, this is the stage to add color as well. Continue to beat for another minute. If frosting is too thick you can add milk or heavy cream till desired consistency is reached.

Notes

This quantity of buttercream is sufficient for filling and frosting a 1kg Cake. With barely a spoon leftover.

Coffee Flavored Syrup

A sugar syrup for soaking cakes and bakes. It is perfect to go with most coffee or chocolate based desserts.
Prep Time1 min
Cook Time3 mins
Total Time4 mins
Course: Filling & Frosting

Ingredients

  • cup sugar granulated
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp instant coffee powder

Instructions

  • Boil water, coffee & sugar together. Once it boils, lower the flame & allow it to heat for another 1 minute. Remove from heat & cool completely. It can be made in advance & stored in refrigerator.
  • Use ⅓ cup of syrup to soak one layer of cake.

Notes

The more you soak the layers before filling, the more moist your cake will be. So don’t hesitate to pour it in the required ⅓ cup for every cake layer you use.
French Opera Cake

Check out Joe Pastry for wonderful tutorial on assembling an Opera Cake.

French Opera Cake

French Opera Cake as the name suggests is a French Torte and is beautiful to behold & delicate to create. Traditionally it has 4 layers of joconde (almond biscuit/ cake) soaked in potent coffee syrup, filled with coffee buttercream, ganache & coated with glaze. And then topped with edible gold leaf.
Prep Time10 mins
Assembly Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French

Ingredients

  • joconde
  • buttercream
  • ganache
  • coffee sugar syrup
  • ½ cup dark chocolate melted

Instructions

  • The ‘up’ side of joconde layers when they finished baking should remain their ‘up’ side as they are more porous and will more easily absorb the syrup.
  • Melt little chocolate in a microwave for 30 secs on high. Keep repeating spurts of 10 secs till it is melted. Allow it to cool down using tempering.
  • Move a layer (which will form the bottom layer) of joconde on a separate parchment by flipping over. Apply a thin layer of this melted chocolate on it. Allow it to firm up for few minutes, then place it in the refrigerator for another few minutes. This will make sure that the cake doesn’t stick to the platter when sliced & served apart from adding chocolatey deliciousness.
  • Flip it back (chocolate side down) on to the platter or cake board to start assembling. Gently peel the parchment back, you may re-position the layer to center it. And we are good to go!
  • Apply coffee syrup thoroughly soaking it. This gives the melt-in-the-mouth texture that Opera cakes in Paris are known for. Layers should be soaked till they are brown all the way through.
  • Spread buttercream on top of the soaked layer. Apply evenly & slowly from side to side about 1/4″ thick. Place your next layer, making sure that ‘up’ side of baking is ‘up’ side for soaking. Soak it as in earlier step.
  • Now spread a layer of thin ganache. It should be spread thinner than buttercream. I warmed it slightly to get a thin layer. Place the next layer of the cake. Soak it. Spread buttercream. Place the next layer of the cake. Soak it. Spread thin layer of ganache. Place the top layer. If there are any high spots, you can press them down gently with your palm. Soak it in coffee syrup.
  • Now apply a thin layer of buttercream similar to a crumb coat to allow even application of chocolate layer. Apply ready ganache/ tempered chocolate. Spread evenly & quickly. It is ok if it drizzle down a bit on the sides. Again I used slightly warm ganache to cover the top layer. You can use tempered chocolate as used traditionally.
  • Let the chocolate/ ganache firm at room temp or in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Then dip a knife in hot water & dry off on a towel, quickly trim off the edges to show the layers. You can keep the trims to enjoy the goodie before anyone else in sneak. ;)
  • It is best to slice the cake into servings at this time to avoid breakdown of the cake later. Again using knife dipped in hot water & then dried, slice the cake into any size serving you like. Do not separate the slices, and place your cake in refrigerator. It is best to cover the cake in a cardboard box before placing in refrigerator to avoid cake sweating.
  • Refrigerate for 1-2 days. Before serving remove the cake an hour before serving. Separate the already sliced pieces using a warm knife dipped in hot water & then dried. Serve slightly cold.

Join the Conversation

  1. these look too good to be true, Deepali !! Congrats on ur double anniversary :-))) here’s to many more…

    Kalyani
    Sizzling Tastebuds
    Event : MLLA # 59 + giveaway
    Magic Mingle # 17 – Yoghurt & Fennel

    1. thank you Kalyani. I started this blog as a anniversary gift to my hubby 2 yrs ago as he wanted me to write one, he felt I had potential ;)

  2. WOW Deepali ….
    Cake looks so yummy and soft :)
    Thanks for linking to my event !!!

  3. wahishruti says:

    WOW Deepali…
    Cake looks so soft and yummy :)
    Thanks for linking to my event !!!!

  4. I stumbled upon your space from one of my blogger friends. Glad I discovered it because you have some awesome recipes including this cake. I have to say that I seldom bake because of time factor but I admire people like you who are so well versed in it. Yummy and adore the outcome.

    1. Thank you Krishnan!

  5. Whoooow! Congratulations on your anniversaries!!! And the cake looks so soft and creamy! This striped texture is just right for black and white photography!

  6. The cake was way too awesome to put into words. I would love to make it again. And thank you again

  7. Beautiful and Lovely :) Wish I love to take a slice..Thanks for linking this entry in our event Bake Fest

  8. Hi Deepali,you have a wonderful blog with awesome recipes. Especially helpful for people who are pure vegetarians. I love your cakes. Also, the detailed instructions in each of the recipes really helps. I was looking for a eggless coffee layer cake and stumbled across this wonderful opera cake. It looks really delicious. I want to bake it for my sister’s birthday, and had a couple of questions. What is cake flour? I have a 9*9 inch square pan. Do you think I can use the same measurements for the almond sponge and get upto 4 layers? How thick should one layer be?

    1. Thank you Himani for such encouraging feedback. I really appreciate it. French Opera Cake was really delicious and worth all the effort.

      Cake flour is nothing but all purpose flour (maida) with cornstarch. You can find how to easily make it at home here – http://joythebaker.com/2009/09/how-to-make-cake-flour/

      Yes you can make in a square pan. the same amount of batter should give you 2 layers in a 9 X 9 inch square pan. You can cut those square layers into half and make a 4 layered cake. However, this is a guess and you will have to see how high or thick the layer is. The thickness is not pre-defined. You can use your judgement. I made 5 layers from the same batter while the original recipe made 3 layers, so I assume my layers were thinner. Lining with butter paper is very important otherwise you won’t be able to remove the layers quickly and easily.

      Do revert if you have any more queries and tell me how was the cake. :)

      1. Thanks for the prompt response:) I will share my experience after I bake it. Which chocolate do you use for ganache? I usually use Morde or Vanleer Dark compound chocolate.

        1. these days I use Morde. I’ve used Lindt and Selbourne as well. But Morde is cheap on pocket. :)

  9. Wow! Double wow! and Congratulations. I’ve earlier told you that I love trying recipes from your blog and this one gets bookmarked.

    1. Thanks Deepa. I am overwhelmed! Really appreciate your kind words.

  10. OMG!! Gorgeous! Drooooling :) I have high respect for people who can pull off eggless cakes. Most my attempts failed miserably :P And such a complicated one too!! AWESOME

    1. Thanks Surya. I share your respect for people pulling off any type of cake. :)

  11. Rajvee Parekh says:

    Hi Deepali
    Thanks for this recipe.. i just finished making the sponge! It looks golden on top and also it has left the sides of the pan but when I inserted the toothpick I found that the batter is still wet from the middle.! Please help…

  12. Hi Rajvee, what pan size are you using? Continue baking it at lowest temperature possible and if needed cover the pan from top with an aluminium foil. It will stop the browning of cake from top and only bake the lower part. Also if you used the top rod while baking in your OTG, then immediately turn it off and use only lower element to bake. Hope these helps.A

  13. Rajvee Parekh says:

    Hi Deepali.. thanks so much for your suggestions.. Eventually it did bake! It turned out a bit stiff but not bad at all.. it was quite delicious.. I made coffee buttercream, syrup and chocolate glaze in my own way and everything tasted really well when combined together! I think my next attempt will be even better.. thanks so so much for sharing this recipe… it helped a lot.. here is the pic of my cake.. :)
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/01678f5eda2c78261680d9db7e042fcfe8aade3168e4b9d01ceb3b19673b936d.jpg

  14. Wow!! Very nice Rajvee. And I am glad this turned out so great for you!

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