Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dreaming of L'Opera

For 2 months I have been dreaming of Opera cake.  In fact, our whole Master class 2010 was dreaming of Opera cake.....after being wooed by the deliciousness of Clare's L'Opera.

So, I set out on my mission to reproduce the cake that has captivated so many.  Where to look for a recipe though?  I remember the Daring Bakers had an Opera cake challenge a while back but the creativeness of the daring bakers had changed the recipe so much that it wasn't the same cake I was dreaming about.

Dorie Greenspan to the rescue...well sort of....

Paris Sweets: Great Desserts From the City's Best Pastry Shops

As you may know, L'Opera is a layered cake filled with coffee buttercream, chocolate and sandwiched with an almond sponge called Jaconde.  Dorie's recipe is adapted from the original source of L'Opera, Dalloyau in Paris.  The recipe can be found here.

Having no almond meal at home, I thought, why not do a hazelnut dacquoise?  Hazelnuts, coffee and dark chocolate are all good friends, right?  I figured....I made plenty of those at Savour...... and Clare did say she made a pistachio Opera......

First out was the hazelnut dacquoise.  A flourless sponge made with a fluffy meringue and hazelnut meal.  When first made, dacquoise has a chewy texture.  Fear not, as once L'Opera has been completed and allowed to mature overnight, it will be moist and soft.

Brushing the cake with coffee syrup as depth of flavour as well as moisture to the dacquoise.

And then the butttercream....oh.... the buttercream.......

Made with a pate a bombe (pouring hot sugar syrup over fluffy egg yolks), it was the buttercream of my dreams!!  And of course the natural progression of things.....

This continued for about 2 mins..... and some general arrogance that I just made the world's best buttercream......  until of course I realised I might not have enough buttercream for the cake.....
Note to future self:  Make a double mixture of Dorie's coffee buttercream!

Et Viola!  Noisette L'Opera.

Assembly notes:
Dacquoise/ Jaconde base
Brush with coffee syrup
Spread a generous layer with the world's best buttercream
Another layer of Dacquoise/ Jaconde
Brush with more coffee syrup
Spread a generous layer of dark chocolate ganache (Belgium preferred of course)
Another layer of Dacquoise/Jaconde
Brush with coffee syrup
Spread with a thinish layer of the world's best buttercream
Glaze with chocolate glaze or ganache.
Trim the sides (which you can eat right away)
Decorate with some crisp pearls or gold leaf as desired

Let mature overnight and your tastebuds will be singing L'Opera's praises in no time!

My critique: almond jaconde is the better companion in comparison to the hazelnut dacquoise.  Hazelnut will overpower the taste of the delicate buttercream.  And visually, the contrast of colour of the finished product is perhaps better with the delicate jaconde.  Oh well, there is always next time!

A little room for improvement allows one to continue to dream - so, I will continue to dream of that perfect Opera cake that Clare made!!


One of the great things about having a blog is that it forces you into keeping up with what is happening in your little niche.  Mine, of course is all things related to delicious and beautiful things....which keeps me pretty busy.

Jessica who produces the most beautiful flowers is now taking orders for every special occassion

I worked with Jess a couple of months back and just adore her work.  You can find Jess at the House of Flowers.

On a completely different note, check this one out.

They Draw and Cook is the most charming site!  They post a recipe a day submitted by artists all over the world.  I never knew so many people liked drawing food!  It makes me feel much more normal but also a whole lot less confident about my food drawing skills!

Have a wonderful food week!!

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