This easy opera cake is made with a simple almond sponge cake, coffee-infused cream, and topped with a rich chocolate ganache.
This delightful dessert is guaranteed to please any chocolate lover. So be sure to try our Nutella fudge cake and chocolate raspberry mousse cake next!
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
- 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 4-5 minutes before adding the sugar and 4-5 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 21 x 15 inch rimmed baking sheet in the oven as instructed in the recipe card below.
How to make the cream
- 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(scroll to printable recipe card for details), 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.
Full Recipe Instructions
Easy Opera Cake Recipe
For the sponge cake
- 2 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 10 eggs
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter melted
For the cream filling
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (12 oz)
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream 36% or higher fat
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tsp Instant espresso powder
For the chocolate ganache
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (12 oz)
- 1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- 6 tbsp honey
For the coffee syrup
- 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
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 4-5 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 4-5 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 21 x 15 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 25-30 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. Add 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips into a heatproof glass bowl. Then pour in 1 1/4 cup boiled heavy cream on top. Then quickly stir with a whisk. Try to use heavy cream that is at least 36% fat or higher.
- Once the heavy whipping cream is mixed in well, add 6 tbsp sliced unsalted 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 into a loaf pan before pouring over the cold cake. Make sure to pour it in one fluid motion. Then give the baking sheet a gentle shake to smooth out any imperfections. Let it set in the refrigerator for an additional 4 hours before serving.
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Enid Sutton says
I just watched an episode of The Kitchen on Food Network this morning and Alex G was making something with a ganache. She put the cream in the bottom of the double boiler and melted the chocolate in the top of it, thus bringing the cream and chocolate to about the same temperature. She said it makes the ganache shinier! Sounds like a good idea—she is an Iron Chef, after all! I might try that with your wonderful-sounding recipe! 😊
That sounds like a really awesome method! I will have to try that out as well 🙂
Excellent recipe! Made it a few times now and it’s always a hit and makes it seem like you’re the fanciest of pastry chefs.
Once I did burn the sponge cake, and subbed a Sara Lee Pound cake in a pinch, texture wasn’t perfect but dang it sure still tasted great!
Thank you for taking the time you write your kind recipe review 🙂 I really appreciate that!
I have a question before I make this. Where it says to pour boiled heavy cream on top of the chocolate chips, does that mean that I should boil the heavy cream first? I just don’t want to mess things up at this stage in the game. Thank you!!
Hi Hannah 🙂 I just microwaved the cream until it started to boil or bubble up. So in other words, you want it to be really hot. I hope this helped!
Thank you so much! That answered my question 🙂
No problem Hannah 🙂
I so want to make this fabulous looking cake but I have a question. We are currently at a high altitude (10,300)
Hi Judy, unfortunately, I have no experience with high-altitude baking so I cannot give you much advice on this. Your best option would be to google “baking with high attitude”.
Just made this recipe at an altitude of 10,300 and it turned out perfect. The only change I had to make was to shorten the baking time! Soooo Happy!
Yay! So happy that this opera cake turned out perfectly for you Judy! I really appreciate you letting me know how it turned out and for your review! 🙂 I hope you find many more delicious recipes on my blog 🙂
Gracie R says
I am making this wonderful looking cake this weekend and want to confirm that
10 eggs (ten) correct with a 25-30 bake time. The pan is so large that it seems it would be a thin
cake and I do not want to overbake. Thanks!!!
Hi Gracie, I am so excited for you to try this cake. Anyone who tries it falls in love with it! In regards to your questions: Yes 10 eggs is correct. As well as the bake time of 25-30 minutes. You want the spongecake to be golden yellow after it is done baking. This will make it easier to transfer and cut later. Also, even if it were to overbake slightly, don’t worry. The coffee soak and frosting with moisten it up. I hope you love this cake. Let me know how it turns out 🙂
Hi Dina, I am a big fan of your recipes. I am wondering if you would consider ever doing a video for the Opera Cake. This recipe sounds soo delicious. I searched to see if I could find a video made by you for this cake. Unfortunately, I could not find anything you did for this Opera Cake. There are so many steps to this recipe and being a perfectionist like yourself, I just want to make sure I am doing everything right and not miss a trick. What an impressive delicious sounding cake. Please let me know if you might consider doing a video for this Opera Cake. I am dying to make this cake. Again, it sounds so delicious and is so impressive looking but intimidating.
Thanks for all your delicious recipes. 😋
Hi Angela 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words. I don’t know if I will make a youtube video for the cake but I may consider doing a quick video on my phone and posting it on my Instagram stories and saving it to my highlights so you can always refer back to it when you need. If you do not have an Instagram, I can always email you the video 🙂
Hi Dina, thank you for responding so quickly to my inquiry about your Opera cake recipe. I went over your very helpful step by step instructions for the Opera cake. It does not seem as intimidating as I initially thought. In the mean time, I viewed your videos on the tiramisu cake and the homemade crepes. Both look looks fabulous and delicious. I love the added extra tip you added to the top design on the tiramisu cake. Thanks so much for taking the time to provide us with easy step by instructions and wonderful videos. It is greatly appreciated. ❤️ Angela
Angela, thank you so much for taking the time to write your sweet feedback 🙂 It truly means a lot to me!
The cake turned out very delicious! I halved the recipe and used a 9 by 13 pan. Added Kahlua to the coffee syrup. Would definitely make again.
I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed this easy opera cake recipe Prachi 🙂 Thank you for the feedback!
Margie Curler-Kohl says
I previously commented re: the proportions of the chocolate cream and coffee syrup. I realized afterwards that I read the instructions wrong for the pan size: I used a 13 x 9 pan instead of a 19 x 13 inch pan. Now I see. why I had so much filling left over. Despite my oversight, my friends who tried the cake loved it and said that it looked like it came from a bakery! Thanks again for sharing an accessible recipe for Opera Cake!
Thank you for taking the time to write a review, Margie. I’m glad this opera cake was easy to follow and came out delicious 🙂
Margie Curler says
Thank you for taking the time to create a recipe for Opera Cake that’s easy and accessible to bake! I followed the directions and measurements very carefully. Although it’s delicious, I found the proportions of cream filling and coffee way more than I needed for the cake. In the future, I would use half the cream filling and 1/4 of the coffee syrup.
donn copa says
I’m trying this tomorrow. Do you did the melted butter to the egg and flour mixture ? I’m a bit confused. Thank you.
Hi Donn, just a quick question. Are you following the instructions in the written post or in the recipe card toward the bottom of the post? The recipe card has a more detailed breakdown of instructions. I just wanted to let you know for future recipes 🙂 To answer your question, using a whisk you would add the melted butter into the cake batter (which already has the egg and flour). This will be found in step 5 in the recipe card. Please let me know if you have any other questions 🙂 and I hope you enjoy this Opera cake recipe!
What baking sheet would you recommend if I need to make the cake in double portion?
I need to feed 30 guests. The original recipie will only serve 10?
Hi Lili, I used a 19×13 inch rimmed baking sheet. So you’ll want to use 3 (19x13inch) baking sheets to triple the recipe for 30 guests.
hi, can i freeze this cake?
Hi Olga, yes you can freeze this cake.
irina khoma says
This is one of the best cakes I tried . Its so soft and the ganache is so smooth! I also love chocolate 😉 Made this a few times and it lasted for 2 days lol
I made this and used it for guests two nights in a row. I cut an good sized rectangle that would be just enough for the group I had. I covered it with ganache about half and hour before serving. And kept it refrigerated as much as possible. This cake, in my opinion, is best COLD. I loved it cold. So delicious! I will be making this again because of how clean and elagant it looks. And of course the taste!
Btw, I totally baked the cake in the wrong sized pan (12X18), and it still turned out great! Just had to do more cutting but it was manageable. I had four layers instead of 3.
I agree with you Lola, definitely tastes best cold. I’m so happy you loved the cake 🙂
Will this cake sit in the fridge for a while? I have an event I need to make a cake for and was wondering if I could make it ahead of time
Yes, Anna this cake can be made a few days in advance. If you plan to slice the edges of the cake off (for a cleaner look). Don’t slice the edges off until the day you plan to serve it. It will also cut a lot easier when it’s refrigerated.
I made this cake and it turned out very good. Thanks for a great recipe:)
Thank you for leaving feedback Anna! 🙂
I made this cake and the dough too thicker , doesn’t turns good to me. I put 2cups plus 1/2 cups almond flour and 1/2 cups all propose flour those dry ingredients together Do u think too much ?
Hi Lucy, if you followed the recipe, it shouldn’t be too thick. Maybe you under beat the batter?