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Rich and delicious, the traditional French Opera Cake is a delicacy that goes wonderfully with a cup of coffee. Rich, velvety, chocolaty, and supple in texture, it is also bursting with the robust flavor of espresso. This cake, which consists of chocolate ganache, coffee buttercream, and almond sponge cake soaked in almond syrup, is ideal for every occasion on which it is served.

There is absolutely no need to be terrified of this opera cake recipe. Even though it takes some time to put together, this cake is well worth the effort. This decadent cake is built with layers of almond sponge, also known as joconde, that have been covered with homemade coffee syrup and filled with a combination of French buttercream flavored with coffee and chocolate ganache. The exterior of this cake features a handmade coffee syrup that has been drizzled over it. This cake involves a few more steps than the typical cake, but it is still easy to make and may be prepared ahead of time.

Opera cake is a well-known dish that originated in France and is thought to have been created by Cyriaque Gavillon. However, the French bakery Dalloyau is credited with popularizing the cake in the 1950s. According to one version of the legend, the opera cake got its name from the fact that its layers look like the stages of a stage. Even the most discerning coffee aficionados are sure to be wowed by this sweet and indulgent meal.


  • For this opera cake recipe, you are going to need eggs, and a lot of eggs. Make sure you have enough supplies on hand before you run out!
  • The layers of a traditional opera cake are created from a light almond sponge cake, which calls for almond flour in its preparation. For this, you will need to use almond flour. It is almond flour, not almond meal, that is required in order to get the desired consistency after baking with almonds.
  • This cake is made with both powdered sugar and regular sugar instead of just regular sugar. If you find yourself in a situation where you do not have any powdered sugar, you can make some by following the directions that I have provided below.
  • The instant espresso powder, which is used to produce the coffee syrup and the coffee buttercream, is responsible for imbuing the entire cake with the signature flavor of coffee. This flavor is distributed evenly throughout the cake. Instant coffee that has been condensed to create espresso powder has a deeper color and richer flavor than regular instant coffee. Espresso powder is also darker.
  • A coffee syrup that contains alcohol, like brandy or cognac, can be used.
  • It is my recommendation that you use semi-sweet chocolate for the chocolate frosting that is spread on top of the cake; but, milk or dark chocolate would also work just as well.
  • When going shopping for butter, it is better to stick to unsalted versions because the amount of salt that is contained in salted butter can vary greatly. It is important to remember to let the butter get to room temperature in advance so that it may be readily incorporated into the coffee buttercream.


For the Almond Sponge Cake:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups almond flour (125g)
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar (90g)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour (30g)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

For the Coffee Syrup:

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar (50g)
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • ¼ cup water (60ml)
  • ¼ cup brandy or cognac

For the Chocolate Glaze:

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped (225g)
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed (100g)

For the Coffee Buttercream:

  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 4 tablespoons hot water divided (60ml)
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (125g)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened (227g)


Calories: 670kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 50g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 271mg | Sodium: 56mg | Potassium: 210mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 1192IU | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 3mg


Prep Time 2 hours

Cook Time 10 minutes

 Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes

 Servings 10 servings

 Calories 670kcal


  • Electric or stand mixer
  • Large jelly roll pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Saucepan
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Piping bag


  1. To begin, place the eggs in a big mixing bowl and beat them at a medium speed until they become foamy. Incorporate the powdered sugar as well as the almond flour. After beating the mixture until it is pale and thickened, sift in the flour, and continue beating until it is almost completely combined.

2. Using a basin and beaters that have been thoroughly cleaned, whisk the egg whites with the mixer until they form stiff peaks, and then add the sugar in a slow and steady stream. The egg whites should be beaten until they form stiff peaks, and then they should be folded into the flour mixture in three different batches. After combining the melted butter with the other ingredients, transfer the mixture to a jelly roll pan measuring 17 by 11 inches that has been prepared in advance. After 8 to 10 minutes of baking, invert the pan so that the bottom is facing up, and let it cool on a rack.

3. Using a mixer on medium-high speed, whisk the egg yolks until they reach the desired consistency; this will be the foundation for the coffee buttercream. In the meantime, place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring them to a boil over medium heat. Continue boiling them until the temperature reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the sugar syrup in a thin stream into the egg yolks while continuing to be careful. The egg yolk combination is ready to use when the circumference of the bowl feels very little warm to the touch. It will have gotten pretty solid by that point and will have accumulated around the beater.

4. The espresso powder and the one tablespoon of water should be mixed together in a smaller bowl. It is best to incorporate the butter into the buttercream one teaspoon at a time. While continuing to beat at a medium speed, gradually put in the coffee. By scraping the basin, you may ensure that everything is thoroughly combined. Throw away the container which has been opened.

  1. Bring about two inches of water in a small saucepan up to a simmer over medium heat; this will be the water that is used to produce the chocolate glaze. Reduce the heat on the stove to a low setting. Combine the chocolate and the butter in a big bowl that can withstand heat but is not placed in direct contact with water. By stirring the mixture, you can ensure that the chocolate and butter have both melted fully and are thoroughly combined. Remove it from the heat and place it in the refrigerator, continuing to mix it every so often, until it is thick enough to spread but not so cool that it is sticky.

6. Once the cake has had enough time to cool, transfer it to a cutting board. Cut a strip that is 4 inches wide down one of the longer sides of the cake so that you may break it into two pieces of equal length. After you have cut the two halves in half lengthwise, you will have four separate pieces.

7. On a cake plate, arrange a single massive rectangle in an orderly fashion. Applying it with a brush after spreading a third of the cooled coffee syrup on it. Spread half of the coffee buttercream onto the surface of the cake in an even layer, and then spread it all the way to the cake’s edges.

8. The next step is to place the two strips with a width of four and a half inches close to one another on top of the buttercream. Cover with one-fourth of the coffee syrup that is still available. Apply half of the chocolate frosting on the cake and spread it out to the edges so that it completely covers the cake.

9. Place the final layer of cake on top, and then glaze it with the coffee syrup that was left over. The leftover buttercream should be spread evenly over the top of the cake. Place in the refrigerator for at least half an hour, or until the buttercream has reached the desired consistency.

10. Reheat the remaining chocolate glaze until it is just warm enough to use, keeping in mind that it should not be hot. Put two tablespoons away by putting them in a piping bag or the corner of a large plastic bag and setting them aside. Apply the remainder of the glaze to the surface of the cake in an even layer, making sure to distribute it all the way to the cake’s borders. It should be fine after being refrigerated for two hours. After the cake has had time to set, you can cut the sides to make them nice and straight. When the remaining icing or piping is used to spell out “Opera” on top of the opera cake, the cake is said to be finished.


  • After adding the butter, your French buttercream may have the appearance of being curdled if either the egg yolk mixture or the butter was too cold when you were mixing them together. The easiest way to rapidly defrost the buttercream is to use a kitchen torch or hairdryer and heat it on the lowest setting for a few seconds at a time. You also have the option of placing the bowl in a sink that is filled with hot water in order to warm up the exterior of the bowl. Then you should keep beating him up. It is not unacceptable to begin again if this becomes required. The finished product ought to have a silky consistency and briskly rising peaks.
  • If you combine the ingredients for the cake for an excessive amount of time, the gluten will become overdeveloped, and the finished cake will be harsh, dry, and dense. It is also essential that the egg whites maintain their airy texture.
  • It is recommended that a scale be utilized while measuring both the almond flour and the all-purpose flour for the opera cake. This will ensure that the measurements are as exact as possible. If an excessive amount of flour is added to the recipe, the cake will have a dense texture when it is baked. If you do not have a scale, fluff your flour with a spoon and then spoon it into your cups; use a knife to level it off if you do not have a scale. This is the correct method to follow in order to obtain an exact measurement of flour.
  • If you find that your flour or powdered sugar has clumps in it before you use it, you need to make sure to sift it. The batter will not get lumpy as a result of this change.
  • If the ganache is excessively runny, either stir in some additional chopped chocolate or wait for it to cool down.
  • If you break the chocolate into smaller pieces, the butter will have a greater surface area to work with, allowing it to melt the chocolate in a shorter amount of time. If you want the chocolate to melt more rapidly, you should break it up into smaller pieces beforehand.
  • If you use an offset spatula, the procedure of putting everything together will be much less stressful.



Both cakes have coffee and cream in them, but that doesn’t make them identical. The foundation of traditional Italian tiramisu is soaked ladyfingers, while the light almond sponge cake of the French dessert known as opera uses.


There are a lot of moving parts to this opera cake, and putting it together can be a lot of work. Each element can be prepared one to two days in advance and stored in the refrigerator in airtight containers. The cake can be made in its entirety in advance, and the tastes improve with time as the coffee syrup soaks into the cake layers.


The opera cake will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days if it is covered loosely and stored there. Store the slices in an airtight container if you have any leftovers.


The opera cake can be frozen. The cake can be frozen for up to three months if it is first wrapped in plastic and then in aluminum foil. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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