A twist on the classic French opera cake with a touch of orange. Layers of chocolate orange ganache and smooth coffee buttercream between layers of moist almond sponge. A sophisticated looking dessert perfect with a side of coffee.
Chocolate and orange. It’s one of those flavours that you either hate or love. Personally I don’t love the combination that much either, BUT this is an exception. You might be thinking, why would I make a recipes with a flavour combination that I don’t even like that much myself? Well when it comes to making desserts and cooking in general it’s all about working with the seasonality of fresh produce! Here in Australia citruses are at their peak deliciousness and I have to take advantage of them while I can right?! And so the chocolate and orange opera cake was born.
Common Opera Cake Questions
What is an Opera Cake?
An opera cake is a classic French cake made with layers of almond sponge soaked on coffee syrup, chocolate ganache and coffee buttercream, all covered in a chocolate icing. It's a sophisticated little dessert that looks incredible, and tastes just as good!
Why is it called Opera Cake?
It's said that this cake was invented by famous French pastry chef Cyriaque Gavillon in a pastry shop in Paris called Dalloyau. When he made the cake his wife said it reminded her of an Opera, and thus the name was born.
How many layers does an Opera Cake have?
The cake itself is made of 6 layers: sponge, ganache, sponge, coffee buttercream, sponge, chocolate glaze.
Tips on creating the perfect Opera Cake
A couple of tips to help you create the perfect slice of this sophistaicated dessert.
When adding the final eggs and whisking them make sure you beat them until they are light and doubled in volume. This step is important as it gives rise to the sponge, making it fluffy. A tip is to continue beating the eggs until you can draw a figure eight on the surface of the batter.
This is a french style buttercream which uses cooked egg yolks. It is important when making buttercream that everything is cooled sufficiently. In this case make sure the cooked egg yolk mixture and coffee are at room temperature before adding them to the butter. This prevents the cream from curdling and splitting.
Layering the opera cake
To create the perfect opera cake cross section make sure to spread the ganache and buttercream evenly between the layers. Once you place the next layer of sponge on top I like to use something flat, like a baking sheet, to press on the layers lightly. This creates perfect, straight layers!
My twist on the Opera Cake
With this twist on the opera cake I’ve added that extra hint of orange which changes it up and makes things interesting! Despite having rich flavours like coffee and chocolate, this cake is surprisingly light. Making it perfect with a cup of tea or an after dinner treat.
The layers of the cake make it look super sophisticated, but when it comes down to the components it’s really just sponge, ganache and buttercream! I hope it’s not too intimidating and you can all give it a go.
If you liked this recipe make sure to leave me a comment and rating down below, I would love to know how you went.
Also, don't forget to tag me on Instagram @catherine.desserts and hashtag #cattycakes so I can see and share your desserts. Follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, and TikTok for more of my baking creations and updates! Until next time... happy caking!Print
Chocolate and Orange Opera Cake
A twist on the classic French opera cake with a touch of orange. Layers of choc orange ganache and smooth coffee buttercream between layers of moist almond sponge. A sophisticated looking dessert perfect with a side of coffee.
- Prep Time: 90 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 120 minutes
- Yield: 10 1x
- 70 g Icing/Confectioners sugar
- 70 g Almond meal
- 10 g Plain flour
- 2 Eggs
- 65 g Egg whites
- 10 g Caster/Superfine sugar
Chocolate and Orange Ganache
- 100 g Dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
- 70 g Thickened/Heavy cream
- 20 g Sugar
- 10 g Corn Syrup
- Zest of one orange
- 2 Egg yolks
- 40 g Sugar
- 50 g Milk
- 150 g Unsalted butter
- 2 tsp Instant coffee
- 1 tbsp Hot water
- 60 g Water
- 60 g Sugar
- ½ tsp Instant coffee
- 80 g Dark chocolate
- 80 g Thickened/Heavy cream
- Orange zest and chopped roasted almond for decoration
- Preheat the oven to 190°C
- Combine the icing sugar, almond meal, flour and one egg in a medium sized bowl
- Whisk on high speed until light and fluffy
- Add the other egg and continue to whisk until doubled in volume, about 5 minutes
- In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites with caster sugar until stiff peaks
- Carefully fold the egg whites into the flour mixture
Spread thinly on a 30 x 40cm baking sheet
- Bake for 8-10 minutes
Chocolate and Orange Ganache
- Heat the thickened cream and pour over finely chopped chocolate
- Add sugar, corn syrup, zest of orange and stir well
- Leave to cool until it reaches room temperature and is a smooth spreadable consistency
- Whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl
- Heat milk on stove top and pour hot milk over egg yolk mixture, whisking until combined
- Return to heat and stir continuously until a thick consistency is reached, cool
- Add hot water to instant coffee, cool
- Beat unsalted butter until pale and fluffy
- Add the cooled egg yolk mixture and beat until silky and fluffy
- Add the cooled coffee mixture and beat until combined
- Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan
- Stir on medium heat until sugar has completely dissolved
- Remove from heat and cool
- Cut the sponge into three slices along the longer side of the rectangle
- On a baking sheet place one layer of sponge
- Using a pastry brush, brush on some coffee syrup
- Spread all of the chocolate orange ganache in a thin even layer
- Place the next sheet of sponge on top and brush on the syrup
- Spread a thin layer of coffee buttercream on the sponge
- Top with the last layer of sponge and brush with syrup
- Place in the fridge for 1 hour or freezer for 30 minutes
- Heat the thickened cream and pour over the chocolate
leave for 5 minutes
- Stir to ensure all chocolate has melted
- Pour onto the chilled cake and spread with a palette knife to ensure an even spread across the entire cake
- Chill in the freezer for 1 hour
- Remove, trim the edges and cut into 10 slices
- Sprinkle with a little orange zest and chopped almonds