Opera

Can’t believe this is only the 4th post of the new year. Lol. How efficient. Lol

Well let’s see, this year, I did not bother with any “New Year’s Resolutions”, actually I haven’t since a couple of years ago. no, actually it’s always just these same ‘ol same ‘ol things. #1 Lose weight #2 Spend less #3 Earn more #4Find a boyfriend #5 Eat healthy

And, next thing, what do ya know? I’m binging on a McD chicken prosperity burger and curly fries, maybe spending more money on books other nonsensical things. Haha. New Year’s Resolution? Not my thing.

So back to the Opera.

This is probably the cake (apart from those for business purpose) that I’ve made the MOST times. Note, I usually only make the same cake once or twice. I never repeat them. But for Opera, there’s something magical about this cake that lures me to make it again and again and again.

I’ve only had a few pictures of it these few years.

This was the first time making Opera in Le Cordon Bleu. *proud* *pats back* It’s a cake that needs to be precise in height measurement; aka it needs to be only 4cm tall. 6 layers (excluding the ganache glaze) needs to be, the same height. So, meaning, it’s like 6mm / layer with a 3mm of glaze on top and a 1mm chocolate base to prevent the syrup from leaking out. *I know you want to punch me now, but sometimes I want to myself too :P*

It’s not difficult to make an Opera, but it’s difficult to get all the layers the same consistent height. :S *shrugs* Like the one I did recently, I didn’t check, this one didn’t have the same height consistently. Some other pieces were, but too late for pics hehe.

Apart from that, a good Opera comes with joconde (not generic sponge), arabica coffee for the syrup, good quality couverture dark chocolate for the ganache, and if you can get a good chicory root paste or coffee extract, rest assured, your cake will be the star of the night!

Opera

(makes approximately a 7″ x 12″)

Joconde Recipe
125g icing sugar
125g almond meal (I used 50% almond and 50% hazelnut meal cause I had insufficient of almond meal)
150g whole eggs

33g plain flour
25g melted butter
100g egg whites
16g sugar

Coffee Buttercream recipe
125g egg whites
100g caster sugar
500g soft unsalted butter
10ml coffee essence (amount depends on type of coffee essence used)

Dark chocolate ganache and glaze recipe
300g dark couverture
300ml cream
40g butter

Coffee Syrup
450g sugar
400ml water
20g grounded coffee, fine

Method.

1. Make coffee syrup first. Put everything in a pot and bring to boil. Let it rest and infuse till ready to use.

2. Make ganache and glaze. Chop chocolates and put in a bowl. Bring cream to a light boil, then pour into the bowl of chocolates. Stir with a spatula till all chocolate has melted. Remove 1/4 of it into another bowl, add softened butter to it. Stir till butter has melted. Leave covered in room temperature. For the remaining 3/4, cover with a cling wrap and let it chill in the fridge to harden a little. It is easier to assemble the cake if the ganache filling is semi-hard.

3. Make joconde layer. Mix icing sugar, almond and whole eggs and whisk till light and ribbony stage. Fold in flour and melted butter lightly. Whisk egg whites and caster sugar till medium peaks, fold into the first batter. Pour into a lined 14″ x 14″ and 7″ x 12″ pan and bake for 220 C for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle some caster sugar on the surface to prevent it from drying out. Divide the big tray into 2 pieces, making sure all joconde slices are the same size.

*If you’re using different size of trays / pans, just make sure at the end of the day, you get 3 layers of joconde of the same thickness and size.

4. Make coffee buttercream. Slightly warm egg whites over bain marie and whip to a firm meringue with a handheld mixer, or a whisk. Add sugar graddually and whip till cool on a standing mixer. Add slightly softened butter and whip. Add coffee essence to taste. Divide buttercream to 2 batches.

5. To assemble, brush a thin layer of melted chocolate on a bottom of a joconde. Turn in upside down (meaning now the chocolate is on the cake board. Using a pastry brush, soak the joconde with coffee syrup. Spread coffee buttercream, then add a layer of joconde. Soak with syrup. Pour ganache (make sure the ganache is slightly harden and not runny), add another layer of joconde. Soak with more syrup. Spread the 2nd batch of coffee buttercream ontop. Put a parchment paper ontop, then weigh it down with a tray or a few boards. Let it chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours, or till the buttercream has hardened. Remove from fridge, warm the glaze 5 seconds over a bain marie, then pour ontop of the Opera. Let it rest, trim the sides off with a hot knife.

Mmm.. I’m ok with the taste this time, but not quite with the layering. I guess I’m gonna make it someday soon, again 😉

20 Comments

20 Comments on Opera

  1. Swee San, the cake looks perfect to me, it is calling me to give it a big bite :D.

  2. wendyywy says:

    It was super delicious!
    Thanks for giving me a chance to taste the cake, YUM!!!

  3. tracieMoo says:

    Yes, the recipe, finally!! I want to make again!! 😀 😀

  4. ai wei says:

    thanks for this! i love opera!!!

  5. Jun says:

    Yummy!!! I love this!!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. FINALLY!!! must make this, so yummy!!!

  7. Ju says:

    WOW. Giving you a standing ovation for this Opera. It looks and sounds daunting … all that precision. Kudos, Swee San!

  8. Sonia says:

    you’ve explained it very well. I’ve wanted to make this cake for years but thought it was too hard! After reading your post I’ll give it a try. Thank you.

  9. Anna says:

    Wow! What a coincidence. We just learned to make the Opera today at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. It’s a little different though the assembly and ingredients but more or less the same 🙂 Yours look great!

  10. allie says:

    hi there. did you use a jelly roll pan to bake this?? hope to hear from you real soon as i plan to bake this for my sister birthday.

  11. Pei-Lin says:

    SS, thank you for L’Opera from that Sat evening!! It was super-yummy! When the time comes, it’ll be my turn to try making it lar … Not now, ya know …

  12. Allie says:

    Haha I love your candidness! And your Opera’s lovely, especially the first one you made…it’s gorgeous! But well, I guess making for personal consumption’s a different story altogether, the looks don’t matter as much :). I’m really really tempted to try your opera recipe this time :).

  13. sweesan says:

    Thanks everyone for commenting 🙂

    If anyone do try the recipe please let me know 🙂

  14. sweesan says:

    Hi Allie, I used a flat tray that’s about 1 inch in height. (the tray, the cake should just be less than 10mm thick)

  15. bakeanything says:

    This is every pastry student’s nightmare when it comes to writing down notes. Sweet job!

  16. Janine says:

    this has been something in my to-bake list for some time! just a q – should the almond meal be really fine (ie, almost like powder) or slightly pebbly so that there is some ‘chew’ to it? i’m grinding them from whole almonds!

  17. sweesan says:

    Hi Janine,
    The almond should be like grounded coffee type. not too coarse, or not too fine like milk powder

  18. Lena says:

    finally your opera cake is up..i almost missed this post. Have to be so precise, no wonder your cake looks so perfect. swee san, i want to ask you about the dark couverture choc, does that normally comes with a specific brand..i dont seem to find the composition of those chocs in the label, i’m just not familiar with these..

    • sweesan says:

      Lena, there’s no specific brand to couverture chocolate. the key ingredient is cocoa butter in it, and not oil of any sorts. IF they don’t state the ingredients, they should at least label it couverture, or be 2x / 3x / 4x the price more of cooking / compound chocolate

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