Opera Gateau

Servings

10

Prep

20 min

Cook

2 hr 30 min

This is a classic cake that I made for my dinner guests for dessert.  It has several aspects to it so allow plenty of time.

Opera Gateau

INGREDIENTS 

Joconde almond sponge

25g unsalted butter, melted

3 large eggs

3 large egg whites

120g ground almonds

110g icing sugar

30g plain flour

30g cater sugar

Coffee essence

150g caster sugar

100ml strong espresso coffee

30g instant espresso powder

Coffee syrup

150ml water

150g caster sugar

2 tbsp coffee essence

Coffee Buttercream 

1 tsp instant espresso powder

60g caster sugar

3 large egg yolks

150g unsalted butter, softened and diced

Chocolate ganache

60g milk chocolate

60g dark chocolate

70ml double cream

20g unsalted butter

Chocolate glaze

60g dark chocolate, chopped

50g unsalted butter

2 tbsp golden syrup

50g double cream

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan and line two 33cm x 23cm baking trays with greased baking parchment.

For the Joconde sponge, sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl.  In a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment or, in a large bowl with an electric whisk, beat the whole eggs together until pale and aerated.  Gently fold in the dry ingredients followed by the melted butter. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites to soft peaks then add the sugar, a little at a time, until combined. Fold a third of the meringue mixture into the yolk mixture then carefully fold in the remaining meringue. Divide the cake batter equally between the baking sheets and carefully level the cake batter.  Bake for 8 -10 minutes. The cakes should be a light golden brown.  Remove the sponges from the tray, leave them on the baking parchment, and trim the edges while hot.  Then set them on a wire rack to cool.

For the coffee essence, combine all the ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to the boil, simmer until thick and syrupy then set aside to cool.

For the coffee syrup, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for about 5 minutes then set aside to cool.

For the buttercream, make a paste with 2 tsp of boiling water and the espresso powder, set aside.

In a saucepan, bring to the boil the sugar with 2 tbsp of water and bring the syrup to 121C.  Meanwhile, (this is best done in a stand mixer) or with an electric whisk beat the egg yolks until light and fluffy.  When the sugar has come up to temperature, slowly pour it onto the egg yolks in a slow thin stream, whisking continuously.  Continue to beat on a low speed until the mixture has cooled to room temperature.  Gradually add the butter to the cooled egg mixture and add the espresso mixture, beating until well combined.

For the ganache, break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl.  Combine the butter and cream in a saucepan and bring to a soft boil.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth.  Leave to cool until spreadable.  (I left it in the fridge for 5 minutes)

To assemble, cut each Joconde sponge in half making sure that all 4 sponges are of equal size.  Take the first half of the baking parchment and place on a serving board.  Brush the sponge generously with coffee syrup, then apply half the buttercream in a thin, even layer.  Place another Joconde sheet on top, lightly pressing, brush with coffee syrup and then cover with a thin even layer of ganache. Repeat with a layer of sponge, coffee syrup and buttercream. Finish with the fourth Joconde sponge brushed with the syrup and spread with a very thin layer of the buttercream.  Allow to set in fridge.

Once set, make the glaze.  Place the chocolate, butter, golden syrup and cream in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of gently simmering water.  Stir until smooth.  Do not let the bowl touch the water!  Remove the bowl from the heat and let the mixture cool a little.  Pour the glaze onto the cake and using a pallet knife, smooth and level the glaze.  Once again, let it set in the fridge.

Once set, trim with a hot dry knife that has been dipped in hot water and wiped dry with a tea towel.  Heat and dry the knife again each time before cutting and cut a rectangle for serving.

The cake will keep for up to a week in the fridge in an airtight container.  Do let it come to room temperature before serving.

The coffee syrup will keep in the fridge in a sterilised jar for about a month.

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