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Classic French Opera Cake Recipe

Classic French Opera Cake
How to Make Classic French Opera Cake

Classic French Opera Cake Recipe: The Classic French Opera Cake, doubled in layers to make six layers of almond sponge cake, three layers of coffee French buttercream, three layers of rich chocolate ganache, and topped with a chocolate glaze!

  • Total Cook Time 55 mins
  • Prep Time 15 mins
  • Cook Time 40 mins
  • Recipe Servings4
  • Easy

Ingredients of Classic French Opera Cake

  • Joconde Sponge
  • 100 gram Almond Flour
  • 150 gram Granulated Sugar
  • 3 gram Salt
  • 5 gram Vanilla Extract
  • 3 gram Eggs, Room Temperature
  • 3 gram Egg Whites, Room Temperature
  • 60 gram All-Purpose Flour
  • 28 gram Melted Butter
  • Coffee Soak:
  • 180 gram Coffee
  • 50 gram Granulated Sugar
  • Chocolate Ganache:
  • 150 gram Dark Chocolate
  • 120 gram Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Coffee French Buttercream:
  • 200 gram Granulated Sugar
  • 60 gram Water
  • 4 gram Egg Yolks (at room temperature)
  • 240 gram Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)
  • 3 gram Salt
  • 10 gram Espresso Powder (dissolved In 1 tablespoon hot water)
  • Chocolate Glaze:
  • 120 gram Dark Chocolate
  • 15 gram Coconut Oil

How to Make Classic French Opera Cake

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Joconde Sponge:

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) for convection (350°F/177°C for conventional) and grease a 6" square cake pan (or multiple pans as needed for six layers).
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and whole eggs. Beat the mixture at high speed for 2-3 minutes until the colour lightens and the batter becomes fluffy.
In a separate bowl, beat 1/4 cup of granulated sugar with egg whites at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form (about 1-2 minutes). Avoid over-whipping (check the troubleshooting section if needed).
Gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter with a clean spatula until fully incorporated. Repeat with the remaining egg whites in two more additions.
Gradually sift half of the flour over the batter, folding gently until combined. Then repeat with the remaining half. Pour the melted butter around the bowl’s edge and fold gently until fully incorporated.
Pour 1/6 of the batter (about 3.5oz) into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly. Bake the cake for 7 minutes on the middle rack until it releases slightly from the pan’s edge and springs back when pressed.
Invert the cakes onto a flat surface and repeat with the rest of the batter, yielding six thin layers in total.

Coffee Soak:

Brew coffee and mix it with sugar until the sugar dissolves. Set it aside to cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache:

Place the chocolate in a medium-heat-safe bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it simmers (not boils).
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, cover the bowl, and let it sit for 2 minutes. Stir the chocolate until the cream is fully incorporated. Cover the bowl and allow the ganache to cool completely to room temperature.

Coffee French Buttercream:

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Swirl the pan until the sugar dissolves completely. Place the saucepan over medium heat until the mixture simmers gently. Lower the heat to low, cover with a lid, and let the mixture simmer for a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer with the fitted whisk attachment. Turn the mixer up to high speed and let it whip while the sugar mixture cooks.
Use a candy thermometer to monitor the sugar, aiming for 240°F (116°C). Lower the mixer speed to medium, and slowly drizzle the hot syrup into the egg yolks while whipping. Increase the mixer speed to high and whip for 5–10 minutes until the yolk mixture becomes pale, fluffy, and cool to the touch.
Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, until each chunk is fully combined and the buttercream appears smooth and creamy.
Scrape the bowl’s sides and bottom, add vanilla, dissolved espresso, and salt. Increase the mixer speed to high for 1-2 minutes until fully combined.


To assemble the cake, place the first cake layer on a flat surface and generously brush it with coffee soak. Spread a layer of buttercream, matching the cake layer's thickness, on top.
Add another cake layer, repeat with coffee soak, and spread a layer of chocolate ganache, matching the cake's thickness. Repeat with the remaining layers and smoothen the edges as much as possible. Refrigerate the cake for 2–3 hours to set.
Trim the cake’s edges to smooth them. Use the remaining buttercream to frost the chilled cake until it is fully covered. Refrigerate for about an hour until the buttercream firms up, then prepare the chocolate glaze.

Chocolate Glaze:

Place the chocolate and oil in a small aluminium bowl. Set the bowl over a small simmering pot of water (about ¼ - ½ cup of water) to create a double boiler.
Stir the chocolate frequently until smooth and silky. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes before pouring it over the cake.
Chill the cake in the fridge for a few minutes to let the chocolate set.
For clean slices, run a large serrated knife under hot water, dab off the excess water, and slowly cut grooves into the chocolate before slicing down to avoid cracking.
Serve each slice on a plate, appreciating the intricate flavours and textures of the Joconde Sponge, complemented by the coffee soak, luscious buttercream, and rich chocolate ganache.
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