This easy opera cake is made with a simple almond sponge cake, coffee-infused cream, and topped with a rich chocolate ganache.
What is an opera cake?
Opera cake is a classic French dessert that is notorious for its decadent layers of almond sponge cake, chocolate-coffee cream, and gorgeous ganache glaze. It is truly a masterpiece of a cake!
More French desserts to try!
- Braided Nutella brioche bread
- Nutella croissants (from scratch)
- Almond croissants (from scratch)
- Chocolate espresso macarons (fool-proof)
How to make Easy Opera cake
How to make an almond sponge cake
- Sift the dry ingredients– Before making any kind of cake batter, make sure to use a mesh sieve to sift everything in order to avoid any clumps. This is especially important since almond flour tends to clump up.
- Beat the eggs– This is where you need to use a fast speed mixer, preferably a stand mixer. And beat the eggs on the highest speed for at least 4 minutes before adding the sugar and 4 more minutes after adding it in.
- Add butter and flour mixture– these ingredients will need to be gently folded in with a spatula. Over mixing the opera cake batter will cause it to lose its volume.
- Bake the cake– in a 19×13 inch rimmed baking sheet in the oven as instructed in the recipe card below.
How to make the cream for opera cake
- Beat the COLD heavy cream in the beater bowl at high speed while gradually adding the instant espresso and sugar.
- Once you see the stiff peaks forming, start pouring in the melted chocolate.
- Continue mixing using the whisk attachment until you have a thick and smooth cream. Careful not to overmix.
How to assemble an opera cake
- Start off by slicing the sponge cake into 3 equal rectangles. Then brush them with the coffee syrup (see recipe card for details).
- Now spread a layer of the coffee cream and place another piece of soaked sponge cake on top.
- Repeat this until you have your final cake layer on. Then evenly coat the opera cake with the chocolate ganache. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
How to glaze a cake with Ganache
- Once your ganache is made, you’ll want to strain it through a mesh sieve to catch and pieces of chocolate that may have not fully melted.
- Now pour the ganache into a loaf pan and pour it over the finished cake in one fluid motion. You don’t want to go over the cake multiple times or it will cause it to have weird-looking streaks.
Is opera cake Tiramisu?
Tiramisu is also a cake that consists of coffee and cream, but it is very different since its origin is Italian and it is often made with ladyfingers instead. It is a very delicious and indulgent cake that I happen to have a recipe video for!
Can I make this cake ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the cake layers, coffee syrup, and chocolate cream an entire day in advance! That way, the next day all you need to make is the ganache and assemble the cake.
How long does an opera cake keep?
Whether is storebought or homemade, it will taste best for up to 5 days if stored properly in the fridge.
Easy Opera Cake Recipe
For the sponge cake
For the cream filling
For the chocolate ganache
Make the sponge cake
- Sift almond flour, baking powder, and all-purpose flour into a bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 10 eggs on high speed for about 4-6 minutes or until the eggs are light and fluffy. Mixing time may vary according to your mixer.
- Continue beating at high speed as you add the sugar to the eggs. Mix for an additional 4-6 minutes.
- Gently fold 1/3 of the flour mixture into the eggs using a spatula. Once it's mixed in well, repeat this 2 more times (1/3 mixture each time). Careful not to over mix.
- Using a whisk, gently mix the melted butter into the eggs. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl as you mix.
- Line a 19 x 13 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray. Spread the cake batter onto the baking sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes or until the cake becomes golden in color.
- Let the cake cool completely on a cooling rack. Then cut it into 3 equal pieces. So you're left with 3 ( 6 1/2 x 13-inch pieces).
Make the chocolate cream
- Melt 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips until smooth.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer beat 3 cups heavy whipping cream, espresso powder, and sugar on high speed until stiff peaks form. Make sure not over-beat or you'll end up with coffee butter.
- Gradually add the melted chocolate chips while the mixer continues to beat the heavy cream. Mix until the chocolate is well incorporated.
Mix the coffee syrup together
- Mix 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder with 1 cup hot water and 1 tbsp sugar. This will be the coffee syrup.
Assemble the opera cake
- Begin assembling the cake by placing 1 of the 3 cake pieces on parchment paper. Using a pastry brush lightly brush the sponge cake with coffee syrup.
- Spread about 1/3 of the chocolate filling on top of the first sponge cake layer.
- Place the second spongecake on top and repeat steps 13 & 14.
- Place the third spongecake layer on top and repeat steps 13 & 14. This time the entire outside of the cake will be covered with the chocolate filling. Place the cake into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Make the chocolate ganache and pour it over the cake
- Meanwhile, prepare the ganache. Fill a saucepan with about 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer. Place a heatproof bowl on top of the saucepan and add 12 oz of semisweet chocolate chips.
- Stir the chocolate chips with a spatula until they are melted. Then very slowly stir in 1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream.
- Once the heavy whipping cream is mixed in well, add 6 tbsp sliced butter. Once the butter is melted, mix in 6 tbsp of honey. If you end up with small bits of chocolate strain the chocolate through a mesh strainer to ensure a smooth ganache.
- Transfer the refrigerated cake onto a wire rack with a rimmed baking sheet under (to catch all the leftover ganache). Pour the chocolate ganache over the cake and let it set in the refrigerator for an additional 4 hours. Once the ganache has set, you can leave the cake as is or slice off about 1/4 inch off each side of the cake so all the layers are exposed.