(This recipe appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
The Opéra cake is actually the first dessert I learned to make when I started my career as a trainee; it’s a huge classic of the French dessert repertoire. Besides the difficulty of obtaining a perfect regularity with all the layers, it’s also quite challenging to have the right balance between the cream, sponge and syrup, which is important to achieve a perfect taste. To do this, we soak the sponge pretty well in the infused coffee bean syrup to soften it, and then layer it with a creamy dark chocolate ganache and a soft coffee bean cream with a touch of sea salt, which really helps bring out all the flavors. We finish the cake with chocolate glaze, which gives a textural “crack” to the dessert.
Yield: 70 servings
- 1259 g whole eggs
- 315 g trimoline
- 534 g granulated sugar
- 472 g almond powder
- 534 g heavy cream
- 534 g T45 flour
- 32 g baking powder
- 314 g melted butter, cold
- 6 g salt
- Mix all ingredients together well with an immersion blender.
- Spread 900 g of the batter onto silicone baking mat-lined 16ʺ x 24ʺ (40 x 60 cm) trays and bake in a vented oven at 338˚F (170˚C) for 9-10 minutes.
- 750 g heavy cream
- 563 g Valrhona Caraïbe 66% dark chocolate
- 188 g Valrhona Jivara 40% milk chocolate
- Heat the cream, then pour slowly onto the chocolates. Mix well to achieve a good emulsion.
- 1556 g heavy cream, divided
- 4 g sea salt
- 25 g coffee beans
- 6 g gelatin sheets, bloomed
- 348 g Valrhona Caramélia 36% milk chocolate
- 61 g liquid coffee extract (St. Lucie brand)
- In a saucepan, bring 778 g of the cream to a boil with the sea salt and infuse it with the crushed coffee beans for 10 minutes.
- Add the bloomed and melted gelatin to the infused cream (rewarm it, if necessary), then pass through a fine-mesh sieve. Pour the infused cream over the chocolate one-third at a time, mixing well to create a good emulsion. Mix in the remaining 778 g of the cold cream and the coffee extract. When ready to use, whip the ganache.
- 1918 g water
- 460 g granulated sugar
- 614 g liquid coffee extract (St. Lucie brand)
- 8 g gelatin sheets, bloomed
- In a saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil, then remove from heat and stir in the coffee extract. Stir in the melted gelatin.
Chocolate Opéra Glaze
- 500 g Cacao Barry brown pâte à glacer
- 400 g Valrhona Caraïbes 66% dark chocolate
- 100 g grapeseed oil
- Melt the brown pâte à glacer with the chocolate and mix well with a whisk. Add the oil and whisk well to emulsify. Cover and keep at room temperature.
- Valrhona Caraïbe 66% dark chocolate, melted and tempered, as needed
- Cut 5 layers of the Joconde biscuit to fit a 22.5ʺ x 14.5ʺ x 1.4ʺ-high (57 cm x 37 cm x 3.5 cm-high) mold. Spread a thin layer of the melted and tempered dark chocolate over one of the layers and allow the chocolate to set.
- Place the chocolate-coated biscuit layer, chocolate side down, in the mold, then imbibe it generously with the cold Coffee Syrup. Top with 600 g of the Whipped Coffee Ganache, spreading it into an even layer. Top with another biscuit layer, pressing it down gently all over to remove any air bubbles. Imbibe it generously with more Coffee Syrup. Top with 600 g of the soft Chocolate Ganache, spreading it into an even layer. Top with the last biscuit layer, pressing it down all over and imbibing it with the Coffee Syrup. Top with 600 g of the Whipped Coffee Ganache, spreading it into an even layer. Top with another biscuit layer, imbibe it, then top with 600 g of the soft Chocolate Ganache. Top with another biscuit layer and imbibe it. Top with 600 g of the Whipped Coffee Ganache. Freeze until set.
- When the cake is well frozen, unmold the cake. Glaze with the Chocolate Opéra Glaze. Slice and serve.
About Maxime Maniez
Maxime Maniez is the Executive Pastry Chef of the Signiel Hotel and STAY, a one-Michelin-star restaurant by Yannick Alléno in Seoul, South Korea. He describes his signature style as “gourmand,”, efficient, classic, modern, generous, honest, and pleasing.