Opera Cake

Opera Cake

Music from my Kitchen ...

This post is a very exciting one for me. It was my first challenge as a Daring Baker and I love it! This is one place that allows you to move out of your comfort zone and experiment. The amazing members of this group make everyone feel welcome and there is lots of advice for the novice baker. Thanks a lot dear Daring Bakers.

This month's challenge for the Daring Bakers is the classic Opera cake. This recipe is based on Opéra Cake recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets and Tish Boyle and Timothy Moriarty’s Chocolate Passion. It's a cake that is made up (usually) of five components: a joconde (a cake layer), a syrup (to wet the joconde), a buttercream (to fill some of the layers), a ganache or mousse (to top the final cake layer) and a glaze (to cover the final layer of cake or of ganache/mousse). But we had to make it in line with spring - to celebrate the colors and flavors of this season. I decided to twist the original coffee and chocolate version and made a Mango Opera cake. It was my first challenge for the Daring Bakers and hence the accompanying nervousness. But the end result was totally worth it!

It took me more than a day to get the whole thing done. I started by making my own almond meal which was surprisingly easy but time consuming (when you have to peel all the almonds yourself!) I then made the joconde as per the recipe but added some mango extract to the syrup. I flavored my buttercream with mango puree and extract. I prepared a mango mousse for the penultimate layer and a white chocolate glaze to go on top.

For the joconde

(Note: The joconde can be made up to 1 day in advance and kept wrapped at room temperate)

✅ Equipment
  • 2 9-inch square baking pans
  • a few tablespoons of melted butter (in addition to what’s called for in the ingredients’ list) and a brush (to grease the pans)
  • parchment paper
  • a whisk and a paddle attachment for a stand mixer or for a handheld mixer
  • two mixing bowls

  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. (15 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cups (112.5 grams) ground blanched almonds (Note: If you do not want to use almond meal, you can use another nut meal like hazelnut. You can buy almond meal in bulk food stores or health food stores, or you can make it at home by grinding almonds in the food processor with a tablespoon or two of the flour that you would use in the cake. The reason you need the flour is to prevent the almonds from turning oily or pasty in the processor. You will need about 1 cups of blanched almonds to create enough almond meal for this cake.)
  • 1 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (35 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  1. Divide the oven into thirds by positioning a rack in the upper third of the oven and the lower third of the oven.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425◦F. (220◦C).
  3. Line two 9-inch square baking pans with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a handheld mixer), beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy. If you do not have another mixer bowl, gently scrape the meringue into another bowl and set aside.
  5. If you only have one bowl, wash it after removing the egg whites or if you have a second bowl, use that one. Attach the paddle attachment to the stand mixer (or using a handheld mixer again) and beat the almonds, icing sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and voluminous, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the flour is just combined (be very careful not to overmix here!!!).
  7. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond mixture and then fold in the melted butter. Divide the batter into 2 parts and spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of each pan.
  8. Bake the cake layers until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch. This could take anywhere from 5 to 9 minutes depending on your oven.
  9. Put the pans on a heatproof counter and run a sharp knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Cover each with a sheet of parchment or wax paper, turn the pans over, and unmold.
  10. Carefully peel away the parchment, then turn the parchment over and use it to cover the cakes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.
Opera Cake

For the syrup

(Note: The syrup can be made up to 1 week in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator.)

✅ Equipment
  • a small saucepan

  • 4 cup (62.5 grams) water
  • 1/6 cup (32.5 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. mango extract
  1. Stir all the syrup ingredients together in the saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

For the buttercream

(Note: The buttercream can be made up to 1 month in advance and packed in an airtight container. If made way in advance, you can freeze the buttercream. Alternatively you can refrigerate it for up to 4 days after making it. To use the buttercream simply bring it to room temperature and then beat it briefly to restore its consistency.)

✅ Equipment
  • a small saucepan
  • a candy or instant-read thermometer
  • a stand mixer or handheld mixer
  • a bowl and a whisk attachment
  • rubber spatula

  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/8 cup (30 grams) water
  • 1/2 large egg
  • 1/2 large egg yolk
  • 100 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp mango extract
  • 1/4 cup mango puree
  1. Combine the sugar, water and mango extract in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 225◦F (107◦C) on a candy or instant-read thermometer. Once it reaches that temperature, remove the syrup from the heat.
  3. While the syrup is heating, begin whisking the egg and egg yolk at high speed in the bowl of your mixer using the whisk attachment. Whisk them until they are pale and foamy.
  4. When the sugar syrup reaches the correct temperature and you remove it from the heat, reduce the mixer speed to low speed and begin slowly (very slowly) pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl being very careful not to splatter the syrup into the path of the whisk attachment. Some of the syrup will spin onto the sides of the bowl but don’t worry about this and don’t try to stir it into the mixture as it will harden!
  5. Raise the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the eggs are thick and satiny and the mixture is cool to the touch (about 5 minutes or so).
  6. While the egg mixture is beating, place the softened butter in a bowl and mash it with a spatula until you have a soft creamy mass.
  7. With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding in two-tablespoon chunks. When all the butter has been incorporated, raise the mixer speed to high and beat until the buttercream is thick and shiny.
  8. At this point add in the mango extract and beat for an additional minute or so.
  9. Refrigerate the buttercream, stirring it often, until it’s set enough (firm enough) to spread when topped with a layer of cake (about 20 minutes).

For the white chocolate ganache/mousse

(Note: The mousse can be made ahead and refrigerated until you’re ready to use it.)

✅ Equipment
  • a small saucepan
  • a mixer or handheld mixer

  • 2 ounces white chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 large marshmallows
  • 1/2 tsp mango extract
  • 1/8 cup mango puree

  1. Melt the white chocolate and marshmallows in a small saucepan.
  2. Stir to ensure that it’s smooth and that the chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool completely.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the 1/2 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form and add the mango puree and extract to it.
  4. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate to form a mousse.
Opera Cake

For the glaze

(Note: It’s best to make the glaze right when you’re ready to finish the cake.)

✅ Equipment:
  • a small saucepan or double boiler

  • 4 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (35% cream)

  1. Melt the white chocolate with the heavy cream. Whisk the mixture gently until smooth.
  2. Let cool for 10 minutes and then pour over the chilled cake. Using a long metal cake spatula, smooth out into an even layer.
  3. Place the cake into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.

Assembling the Opéra Cake

(Note: The finished cake should be served slightly chilled. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 day).

  1. Working with one sheet of cake at a time, cut and trim each sheet so that you have two pieces (from each cake so you’ll have four pieces in total).
  2. Place one big piece of cake on the baking sheet and moisten it gently with the flavoured syrup.
  3. Spread about three-quarters of the buttercream over this layer.
  4. Top with the two rectangular pieces of cake, placing them side by side to form a square. Moisten these pieces with the flavoured syrup.
  5. Spread the remaining buttercream on the cake and then top with the third big piece of joconde. Use the remaining syrup to wet the joconde and then refrigerate until very firm (at least half an hour).
  6. Prepare the ganache/mousse (if you haven’t already) and then spread it on the top of the last layer of the joconde. Refrigerate for at least two to three hours to give the ganache/mousse the opportunity to firm up.
  7. Make the glaze and after it has cooled, pour/spread it over the top of the chilled cake. Refrigerate the cake again to set the glaze.
  8. Decorate with thin mango slices.
  9. Serve the cake slightly chilled. This recipe will yield approximately 10 servings.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Opera Cake Opera Cake Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on October 14, 2021 Rating: 5


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