The iconic, classic Opera Cake! If you’ve never tried this famous coffee cake creation, you’re in for a real treat! When you take a bite of this cake, your taste buds will be in cake heaven! This 6-layer coffee cake is made with almond sponge cake, soaked with coffee syrup and frosted with creamy coffee buttercream! Dessert just doesn’t get any better than this! If you want an extra tall cake, just double this recipe!
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The History of Opera Cake
The Opera Cake was created in France in 1955 by French pastry chef Cyriaque Gavillon and named after the Parisian ‘Palais Garnier’ opera house. Cyriaque wanted to create that captured the elegance and style of the city. It’s traditionally made in a rectangle shape and you can find it in just about any Parisian bakery shop!
You’ll also find this classic coffee cake in my dessert cookbook, The European Cake Cookbook. My book features 65 all-new cake recipes you don’t want to miss!
How to Make Opera Cake
The original French recipe for this cake requires many intricate steps, but I’ve simplified this recipe so you can easily make and enjoy this dessert at home. For the cake layers, I used my basic sponge cake recipe and added almond flour for a bit of nutty flavor. I highly recommend adding the almond flour for taste. If you don’t have it, more all-purpose flour will work in a pinch. I have a separate video recipe for my ‘Vanilla Sponge Cake’ recipe – make sure to check it out for an in-depth tutorial!
Make sure to let the layers cool completely, then use a sharp knife to cut the in half. If the layers are too soft, try placing them into the freezer for 30 minutes. This will help make the cake layers easier to work with. The layers are then soaked with a Kahlua liqueur and coffee syrup, ensuring that you’ll get coffee flavor in every bite! Don’t want any alcohol in the cake? Try adding a teaspoon of coffee extract to the coffee syrup to make it extra intense!
The delicate almond sponge cake layers are frosted with a creamy coffee-flavored buttercream, then topped with a simple chocolate ganache. For my original video recipe, I created what I call a ‘cheat version’ of French buttercream, using sweetened condensed milk. If you prefer, you can use my traditional ‘French Buttercream’ recipe instead! This buttercream is my personal favorite, made with egg yolks, hot sugar syrup and butter! I like to let the cake stand in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to really come together. Just take the cake out about an hour or two before enjoying to allow the cake to thaw.
Garnishing the Cake
I finish this coffee cake off with rich chocolate ganache! This ganache is so easy to make and requires just two ingredients. Make sure to check out my ‘Chocolate Ganache’ tutorial for in-depth details! Pour the ganache gently on top of the cake and let it drip down the sides. And to make this cake extra special, try topping it off with cookies, wafers, truffles or even chocolate chips!
Enjoyed this classic cake recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- German Chocolate Cake – very rich and decadent chocolate cake filled with coconut pecan filling!
- Coffee Tres Leches Cake – delicate coffee sponge cake with light and fluffy coffee cream!
- Neapolitan Cake – this iconic cake is made with three different flavors: chocolate, strawberry and vanilla!
- Torte Napoleon – buttery and flaky layers are filled with vanilla cream for this famous cake recipe!
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