Chocolate and Orange Opera Cake

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.

Chocolate orange and coffee cake

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.

Chocolate, orange and coffee layered cake

Tips on creating the perfect Opera Cake

A couple of tips to help you create the perfect slice of this sophistaicated dessert.

Almond sponge

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.

Coffee buttercream

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 have any questions just leave a comment down below. I can’t wait to see what you create and make sure to tag me on instagram @catherine.justdessertsau and hashtag #cattycakes so I can see your recreations. Hope you enjoy this recipe and happy caking!

Chocolate, Orange and Coffee Layered Cake

Chocolate and Orange Opera Cake Recipe

RatingDifficultyAdvanced

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.

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Yields10 Servings
Prep Time1 hr 30 minsCook Time30 minsTotal Time2 hrs

Almond Sponge
 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
Coffee Buttercream
 2 Egg yolks
 40 g Sugar
 50 g Milk
 150 g Unsalted butter
 2 tsp Instant coffee
 1 tbsp Hot water
Coffee Syrup
 60 g Water
 60 g Sugar
 ½ tsp Instant coffee
Chocolate Glaze
 80 g Dark chocolate
 80 g Thickened/Heavy cream
 Orange zest and chopped roasted almond for decoration

Almond Sponge
1

Preheat the oven to 190°C

2

Combine the icing sugar, almond meal, flour and one egg in a medium sized bowl

3

Whisk on high speed until light and fluffy

4

Add the other egg and continue to whisk until doubled in volume, about 5 minutes

5

In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites with caster sugar until stiff peaks

6

Carefully fold the egg whites into the flour mixture
Spread thinly on a 30 x 40cm baking sheet

7

Bake for 8-10 minutes

Chocolate and Orange Ganache
8

Heat the thickened cream and pour over finely chopped chocolate

9

Add sugar, corn syrup, zest of orange and stir well

10

Leave to cool until it reaches room temperature and is a smooth spreadable consistency

Coffee Buttercream
11

Whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl

12

Heat milk on stove top and pour hot milk over egg yolk mixture, whisking until combined

13

Return to heat and stir continuously until a thick consistency is reached, cool

14

Add hot water to instant coffee, cool

15

Beat unsalted butter until pale and fluffy

16

Add the cooled egg yolk mixture and beat until silky and fluffy

17

Add the cooled coffee mixture and beat until combined

Coffee Syrup
18

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan

19

Stir on medium heat until sugar has completely dissolved

20

Remove from heat and cool

Assembly
21

Cut the sponge into three slices along the longer side of the rectangle

22

On a baking sheet place one layer of sponge

23

Using a pastry brush, brush on some coffee syrup

24

Spread all of the chocolate orange ganache in a thin even layer

25

Place the next sheet of sponge on top and brush on the syrup

26

Spread a thin layer of coffee buttercream on the sponge

27

Top with the last layer of sponge and brush with syrup

28

Place in the fridge for 1 hour or freezer for 30 minutes

Chocolate Glaze
29

Heat the thickened cream and pour over the chocolate
leave for 5 minutes

30

Stir to ensure all chocolate has melted

31

Pour onto the chilled cake and spread with a palette knife to ensure an even spread across the entire cake

32

Chill in the freezer for 1 hour

33

Remove, trim the edges and cut into 10 slices

34

Sprinkle with a little orange zest and chopped almonds

CategoryBars and Slices

Ingredients

Almond Sponge
 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
Coffee Buttercream
 2 Egg yolks
 40 g Sugar
 50 g Milk
 150 g Unsalted butter
 2 tsp Instant coffee
 1 tbsp Hot water
Coffee Syrup
 60 g Water
 60 g Sugar
 ½ tsp Instant coffee
Chocolate Glaze
 80 g Dark chocolate
 80 g Thickened/Heavy cream
 Orange zest and chopped roasted almond for decoration

Directions

Almond Sponge
1

Preheat the oven to 190°C

2

Combine the icing sugar, almond meal, flour and one egg in a medium sized bowl

3

Whisk on high speed until light and fluffy

4

Add the other egg and continue to whisk until doubled in volume, about 5 minutes

5

In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites with caster sugar until stiff peaks

6

Carefully fold the egg whites into the flour mixture
Spread thinly on a 30 x 40cm baking sheet

7

Bake for 8-10 minutes

Chocolate and Orange Ganache
8

Heat the thickened cream and pour over finely chopped chocolate

9

Add sugar, corn syrup, zest of orange and stir well

10

Leave to cool until it reaches room temperature and is a smooth spreadable consistency

Coffee Buttercream
11

Whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl

12

Heat milk on stove top and pour hot milk over egg yolk mixture, whisking until combined

13

Return to heat and stir continuously until a thick consistency is reached, cool

14

Add hot water to instant coffee, cool

15

Beat unsalted butter until pale and fluffy

16

Add the cooled egg yolk mixture and beat until silky and fluffy

17

Add the cooled coffee mixture and beat until combined

Coffee Syrup
18

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan

19

Stir on medium heat until sugar has completely dissolved

20

Remove from heat and cool

Assembly
21

Cut the sponge into three slices along the longer side of the rectangle

22

On a baking sheet place one layer of sponge

23

Using a pastry brush, brush on some coffee syrup

24

Spread all of the chocolate orange ganache in a thin even layer

25

Place the next sheet of sponge on top and brush on the syrup

26

Spread a thin layer of coffee buttercream on the sponge

27

Top with the last layer of sponge and brush with syrup

28

Place in the fridge for 1 hour or freezer for 30 minutes

Chocolate Glaze
29

Heat the thickened cream and pour over the chocolate
leave for 5 minutes

30

Stir to ensure all chocolate has melted

31

Pour onto the chilled cake and spread with a palette knife to ensure an even spread across the entire cake

32

Chill in the freezer for 1 hour

33

Remove, trim the edges and cut into 10 slices

34

Sprinkle with a little orange zest and chopped almonds

Chocolate and Orange Opera Cake

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7 Comments

  1. Ivy July 5, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    I’m a new baker and wanted to try this out because I love chocolate and orange. It didn’t look as neat as your picture but it was delicious and I will definitely be making this again. Thank you for the recipe!

    Reply
    1. Catherine Zhang July 6, 2020 at 10:41 pm

      Hi Ivy, Thank you so much, so glad you liked the recipe!

      Reply
  2. Amal July 28, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    Hi Catherine!!! My Name is Amal I’m a New Baker and I wanted to ask for your permission if I could um… use your amazing picture of the chocolate and orange opera cake please I love all of her desserts and pastries and wanted to be kind and ask for your permission before I used your picture

    Reply
    1. Catherine Zhang July 29, 2020 at 11:18 pm

      Hi Amal,
      As long as you give me credit of course 🙂

      Reply
  3. Amal August 11, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    Hi, Catherine Zhang, this has nothing to do with this recipe but I´ve been wanting to ask this question for months how did you make did amazing website and on where did you edited it because I’m making my own blog so I just wanted to know what website you used to make and edit this website. 🙂 😀

    Reply
    1. Catherine Zhang September 14, 2020 at 1:53 am

      Hi Amal,
      I use squarespace!

      Reply
  4. Bella Zhang November 19, 2020 at 12:35 am

    Hi Catherine, is it possible to omit the corn syrup in the ganache? I don’t have it on hand right now, and I’ve seen other ganache recipes that only have chocolate and thickened cream. Thank you!

    Reply

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