La Opera Cake


Blogging Marathon #123 Week 4, Day 2
Theme : A-Z recipes – Something sweet

This is a cake way back from the past, it has been in the drafts folder for a really long time. La Opera cake is one of the best cakes I have ever made, but this is a slightly labor intensive cake. It’s best to plan this ahead and do it in steps than trying to do everything together in a single day.

I have made a lot of changes to the traditional recipe to suit our needs. Traditionally it’s a square cake with the sides exposed to show the layers but this was a birthday cake so I wanted to cover the sides as well. That was not a good move from my end as the sides turned out to be too sweet because of the double layer of buttercream and ganache on top. So it’s best to cover with buttercream and leave ganache just with the top of the cake.

The other main change is that I decided to go with my go-to vanilla cake as against the traditional almond flour based Joconde cake. I didn’t have any almond flour with me that day but still was determined to make this cake 😬. I also kept the coffee flavor to just the syrup as we do cake cutting during nighttime and coffee – even in cakes – is not a good idea when you are my age.

I had kept the pictures in the drafts folder in the hope that I will make this cake again and then update the pictures. Well, it’s been a long time and I haven’t done that yet. One main reason is because I want to avoid coffee based cakes for night time. And the other is that the cake sounds more appropriate for adults than kids because of the lesser decorations and flavors involved. Anyway, I am determined to make it again sometime so will update the post with better pictures then!

Read on for the recipe.

img_3021 Ingredients and how to prepare them:

  • Sponge cake of your choice (Ideally Joconde, but I took the easy way and baked a basic vanilla cake )
  • French buttercream (can be coffee flavored, but I didn’t flavor it)
    • 6 egg yolks (at room temperature)
    • ~450 gms (1 pound) butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup water
    • Cut butter into cubes and keep aside. In a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they are very light in color and thickened a little. Heat the sugar with water until it reaches 240F (or soft ball stage. A little syrup added into cold water will form a soft ball. When taken off the water, you will be able to flatten the sugar ball slightly with your fingers). Add the sugar syrup slowly while beating the egg yolks at low speed. Continue to beat until the mixer bowl is no longer warm, about 10-15 minutes. Once the bowl is at room temperature, add the butter cubes one at a time and beating it in. Beat until all the butter is in and no lumps remain. This is the time to add flavorings, a teaspoon of vanilla in this case. A tablespoon (or even two) of instant coffee dissolved in a tablespoon of water is also good here along with vanilla. Beat everything until it smooth and velvetty.
  • Chocolate ganache
    • I used about 1 1/3 cups of chocolate chips with 1 cup heavy cream. Microwaved it together for 30 second bursts, mixing every 15 seconds until the chocolate is completely melted. Set aside to rest overnight on the kitchen counter top before using it. It’s ready to use next morning, but refrigerate if not using immediately.
  • Coffee syrup
    • Sugar syrup is water to sugar in 2:1 ratio. Heat water with sugar and 2 Tablespoons of instant coffee powder until sugar is dissolved. Take off the heat, let it cool and refrigerate.

Assembling the cake:

Slice the cake (9″ cake here) into 4 thin layers. Place the first layer on the cake base and soak it with coffee syrup prepared earlier. Add a 1/4 inch uniformly thick layer of French buttercream. Top this with 2nd layer of cake and soak it again with syrup.

Spread a layer of Ganache on top of the 2nd layer of cake. 3rd layer of cake goes on top of ganache. Soak with coffee syrup again and this time, I added a layer of buttercream and another layer of Ganache too.

Final cake layer soaked with syrup. Cover everything with buttercream. This is a good time to STOP.

I added a layer of Ganache for a smoother finish, but I would definitely avoid this last step. It made the cake too rich. Decorate as you wish.



4 thoughts on “La Opera Cake

  1. Yum yum yummy! Love this cake. This has been in my list for a long time and want to try right away. Thanks for the recipe and step by step instructions.


  2. All your cakes look so sinful and labour intensive for sure. Not sure how you manage, but kudos they are out of the world! this must have tasted great Rajani..:)


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