Wednesday, 11 June 2008
Opera Cake without terrorists....
After succesfully completing what I called the Albino Opera Cake. for the May Daring Bakers Challenge, I decided to make the traditional Opera Cake. For those of you that read my DB post, you'd know that my son thinks our Daring Bakers logo looks like a bunch of terrorists attacking a town. So, since this post doesn't really involve the Daring Bakers, no terrorists were involved in the making of this cake - and hence the title!
A Traditional Opera Cake is full of flavours from the Dark Side - coffee soaked Joconde, layers of coffee buttercream and chocolate mousse and finally covered with a chocolate glaze. Yoda will definitely not be happy.
Hmmmm... Evil the Dark Side is....
I made a small rectangle Opera rather than the large square Opera. So does that make my Opera an Operetta?!! I'll try to stop being funny...
The recipe I used was adapted from Dorie Greenspans Paris Sweets. I halved the recipe and rather than using Dorie's recipe for Coffee Buttercream, I made my own. This is the halved recipe together with my coffee buttercream
- 2 tbsps (30g) unsalted butter, melted
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 tbsps granulated sugar
- 1 cups (110) almond flour or finely ground almonds
- 1 cups icing sugar, sifted
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 425F (220C). Line jelly-roll pan with parchment paper, and coat parchment with 1 tbsp of the melted butter.
In a clean, dry mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, whip on low speed until the whites become foamy, then whip on medium-high speed until the whites reach soft peaks. Add granulated sugar, and whip on high speed until the whites are stiff and glossy.
In a separate mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat almond flour, icing sugar, and eggs on medium speed for 3 minutes or until light and voluminous. Add flour and beat at low speed until it disappears. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold meringue into the almond mixture, then fold in the remaining melted butter until just combined. Spread mixture into pan and spread evenly.
Bake cake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and let cool to room temperature.
- ¼ cup water
- 1/6 cup granulated sugar (half of 1/3)
- ¾ tbsps (7g) instant coffee powder
In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar and coffee powder, and bring to a boil, while stirring to dissolve ingredients. Remove from heat and allow syrup to cool.
- 3oz butter
- 2 tbsps instant coffee powder
- 2 tbsps (15g) boiling water
- 3 oz Icing Sugar
In small bowl, combine coffee powder and boiling water and stir until dissolved.
In a mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar till light and fluggy. Slowly add the coffee mixture while beating.
- 4oz (120g) bittersweet chocolate (70% +), finely chopped
- ½ cup (60g) heavy cream
Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a saucepan, bring milk and cream to a boil, and pour over the chocolate. Let the chocolate melt for 30 seconds, then gently stir the mixture until smooth and fully combined.. Beat till thick
On a cutting board, measure joconde into three.
Place one piece on cake pan and moisten with 3 tablespoons of coffee syrup. Use an offset spatula to evenly spread half of the buttercream over the joconde. Freeze the cake for 10 minutes to allow it to firm.
On top of the buttercream, place another sheet of joconde. Moisten with 3 tablespoons of coffee syrup and use and offset spatula to evenly spread the ganache/mousse over the joconde. Place the last joconde piece on top of the ganache, and moisten with the remaining coffee syrup. Freeze the cake for 10 minutes to allow it to firm.
Use an offset spatula to evenly spread the remaining buttercream over the joconde. Make sure the surface is very smooth and even. freeze the cake for 20 minutes.
- 4 tbsps (60g) unsalted butter
- 3oz bittersweet chocolate (70% +), finely chopped
Transfer the cake to a rack on a level surface.
Melt butter and chocolate over double boiler.
Working quickly, pour the glaze onto the cake and use an offset spatula to smooth the glaze evenly across the top, allowing the glaze to drip off the sides. If more than one minute has elapsed, do not return to fix any small imperfections, as the buttercream underneath the glaze may have melted, and smoothing the surface may mix the buttercream with the glaze. Refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes, or until the glaze has hardened.
I decided to cover the tops and sides with chocolate to make it more decadent. I served this for dessert one night and our guests couldn't quite believe that it was home made.
I absolutely love this dessert and it's really not that difficult to make although there are quite a few steps to it. The Lovely Wife and the Kids loved it too. I much prefer the chocolate/coffee version to the "albino" version. The Opera Cake is truly a very spectacular and yummy dessert to serve as well as eat!