Opera Cake

Opera Cake

Watch the video for this recipe:

Opera Cake is a rich French dessert, that uses one of the most loved flavor combinations, chocolate and coffee. The cake is consisting of layers of almond sponge cake soaked in coffee syrup, filled with coffee buttercream and chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate glaze. For an elegant finish its name is written on top of each slice and is decorated with gold leaf.


This recipe is time consuming, no doubt about that, but each step is quite easy to prepare and the work can easily be divided for 2 days. The final result is rewarding and really satisfying. Don’t be intimidated by the volume of work or ingredients, I encourage you to try this recipe as will definitely be a crowd pleasure. Enjoy!

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Strawberry Chocolate Mirror Cake



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  • Makes about 10 servings
  • Joconde (Almond Sponge Cake)
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 5 oz (140g) ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 5 oz (140g) powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup (30g) flour
  • 2 tbsp (30g) butter, melted
  • 5 egg whites
  • 2 tbsp (30g) sugar
  • 1/4 tsp (1g) salt
  • Coffee Syrup
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 3 tsp (6g) instant coffee
  • Chocolate Croustillant
  • 2.5 oz (70g) semisweet chocolate
  • 2.5 oz (70g) Paillette Feuilletine
  • Chocolate Ganache
  • 5.5 oz (160g) semisweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup (160g) whipping cream
  • Coffee Butercream
  • 5 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
  • 3 tbsp (45ml) water
  • 2 tsp (4g) instant coffee
  • 1 1/4 cup (280g) butter, softened
  • Chocolate Glaze
  • 7 oz (200g) semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) canola oil
  1. Prepare joconde (almond sponge cake). Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Grease and line with parchment paper two 9x13 inch (23x33cm) baking pan.
  2. Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a large  bowl. Add the whole 5 eggs and mix until the mixture is creamy and fluffy. Incorporate flour.
  3. In another bowl whip the egg whites and salt until foamy. Gradually add sugar and continue mixing until stiff peaks form.
  4. Fold the whipped whites into the almond mixture and add melted butter.
  5. Divide batter evenly into prepared pans.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden.
  7. Cool completely.
  8. When completely cooled use a 8 inch (20cm) square ring to cut the sponge cakes into three
  9. Prepare coffee syrup . Place the water, sugar and coffee into a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat.
  10. Set aside to cool completely.
  11. Prepare chocolate croustillant. Melt the chocolate over bain-marie. Add Pailleté feuilletine and stir to combine.
  12. Spread the croustillant on top of one square sponge cake. Refrigerate to set.
  13. Prepare chocolate ganache. Place chocolate into a bowl. Heat cream into a small sauce pan until it starts to boil. Pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute. Stir until completely melted. Set aside to cool, at room temperature. 
  14. Prepare coffee buttercream. Mix egg yolks in a heatproof bowl until creamy and light yellow colored.
  15. In a small saucepan combine sugar with water and instant coffee and place on medium heat. Using a candy thermometer measure syrup temperature. When it reaches 240 F (115C) pour it gradually over the creamy egg yolks, while mixing continuously. Continue mixing until the mixture is cooled.
  16. Gradually add softened butter, mix on low until  butter is incorporated and then mix on high speed until smooth and fluffy.
  17. Cake assembly. Take the croustillant coated sponge cake layer from the fridge, flip on a serving plate with chocolate croustillant facing down.
  18. Brush the sponge cake layer with coffee syrup.
  19. Spread half of coffee buttercream. Add another layer of sponge cake, soak well with coffee syrup.
  20. Spread the cooled chocolate ganache.
  21. Add the last layer of sponge cake and brush well with coffee syrup.
  22. Spread the other half of buttercream on top and even the surface using an offset spatula or cake scraper.
  23. Cover and refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours or even overnight.
  24. Prepare chocolate glaze. Before preparing the glaze place the chilled cake over a rack placed on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate over bain-marie. Add oil and stir to combine.
  25. Pour the glaze immediately over the chilled cake to create a smooth surface. Refrigerate for about 1 hour to set.
  26. Using a hot knife cut the edges of the cake and cut the cake in 8 or 10 rectangular pieces. Using the leftover chocolate glaze write “Opera” on each and decorate with gold leaf. Enjoy!
Opera Cake-1
Nutrition facts 1 Serving of 10 - Calories:798, Fat:56.3g, Saturated Fat:28.2g, Carbohydrates:73.3g, Sugar:64.4g, Fiber:3.9g, Protein:11.1g , Cholesterol: 248mg, Sodium 308mg, Vitamin D 33mcg, Calcium 85mg, Iron 3mg, Potassium 232mg, daily percent values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
On December 07, 2017 at 03:29 pm, Katherine Sidener said...
How can this recipe be adapted to a round pan?

Hi Katherine.

You can use an 8 inch pan with same quantities.

On December 07, 2017 at 04:19 pm, G Bryan said...
That cake love so good because you put so much care into putting it together. And it looks so good. Keep up with your great talent, in baking.
On December 09, 2017 at 08:10 am, heba said...
Hi Ella Kindly help me as i do not have thermometer and i don't know how i can measure it without using it Can i replace the canola oil with another kind of oil Thank you

Hello Heba.

If you don' t have a thermometer than let it boil for 5 minutes, and the canola oil can be substituted whit any other oil ,preferably flavourless

On December 09, 2017 at 10:04 am, Cristina said...
Thank you for your recipe, It is amazing. Please can you tell me what is paillete feuilletine? I've never heard about It and I am not sure I can find it.

Hi Cristina.

Paillette Feuilletine is a crunchy crepe but you can leave it out if is not available in your area..use only chocolate instead.

On December 09, 2017 at 03:50 pm, Dorothée said...
Hello, my ganache is too liquid why? I put 160g de chocolat and 160g of whipping cream!

Hi Dorothee.

Make sure to let the chocolate cool first before adding the whipped cream.

On December 16, 2017 at 02:45 pm, Kimo said...
Hi from upload this recipe i was continueouslly watch it i have two questions first can substitute semisweet by dark chocolate second can i use nescoffee i can not get instant coffee around tnx for ur passionate work.

Hello Kimo.

The answer is yes for both questions.

On December 29, 2017 at 10:36 pm, Lilly said...
Hello! I wanted to ask for the paiellete thing i cant find it anywhere, can i use choose ganache by itself?

Hi Lilly.

You can leave the Paillette Feuilletine out.

On December 31, 2017 at 06:29 am, heba Ahmed said...
hi Ella Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2018 :) for you and your family. kindly note that I tried this recipe it taste so good but I have two questions first one piece size was small not similar to your photo in height and size I do not know the reason while I am using same measurements and amounts. the other question regarding chocolate glaze after spreading it on cake I refrigerate it for one hour but when I tried to cut it the glaze layer was tough and cracked and broken. thanks in advance for you assist

Hi Heba.

I wish you a Happy New Year, too.

About the first question, i am sorry but i don't know what might have happened.

For the second question make sure you use a hot knife when cutting the cake ; you can also leave the cake at room temperature for about 10 minutes before cutting.

On January 04, 2018 at 01:20 pm, Stella Blinderman said...
Hi Ella, I am so inspired to make this opera cake. Please advise how to make it a 3 layer 8" round cake...Looking forward to your response. Thank you very much Regards, Stella

Hello Stella.

I suggest to bake 3 layer in the 8 inch pan.

On February 17, 2018 at 12:27 am, Gregory said...
Two questions, 1. in the recipe you seemed to have skipped the section on how to make the chocolate ganache. 2. You say to use the extra glaze to write Opera on the cakes, but you give no quantity of how much to use as glaze and how much to leave for writing?

Hi Gregory.

1. The chocolate ganache is in step 4.

2. Use the glaze until the cake is covered and use what's  left for writing.

On March 11, 2018 at 12:10 am, Natalia said...
Hi Ella, in your recipe it only states 5 egg whites. but in the video, u added 5 full eggs to the almond flour & powdered sugar mix on top of the egg white that you whipped to a merengue. so does that mean its 5 eggs + 5 egg whites? just needed clarification

Hi Natalia.

Yes, it is 5 eggs +5 egg whites.

On April 26, 2018 at 01:33 am, Hyde said...
Hi Ella, Can I substitute the Paillette Feuilletine with Kellogg's Corn flakes? Thanks in advance.

Helo Hyde.

Yes, with Kellogg's Corn flakes should be ok.

On April 27, 2018 at 04:55 pm, Andy said...
I made this for an event at work and it was a winner. A bit time-consuming but each step was doable and it was so, so good. I really appreciated the metric measurements. It worked well to adjust quantities to make a 10" cake. Would definitely recommend!
On May 09, 2018 at 03:48 am, Aubrey said...
Hi Ella, thank you for sharing your recipe. I have the following questions: 1) what type of flour do you use? 2) what type of sugar do you use? is fine sugar ok? 3) what brand of instant coffee do you use? 4) do you use dairy or non-dairy whipping cream? 5) do you use salted or unsalted butter? Thank you for your time.

Hi Aubrey.

1. All- purpose  type of flour

2. Fine sugar is ok

3. The one you like best

4. Dairy whipping cream

5. Unsalted butter.

Happy cooking.!

On June 14, 2018 at 01:51 am, Amelia said...
The recipe is great! When I slice the cake, the chocolate croustillant breaks into pieces. Any tips, should I add more chocolate? Also, how should I transfer this 8 x 8 inch cake onto a cake board? Again, it's hard as the chocolate croustillant keeps falling apart.
On June 29, 2018 at 06:30 am, Tasnim said...
hello , the cake seems wonderful i appreciate your work very much but i'm facing one big problem my family members are not so accepting towards eating something with raw yolks can i possibly replace the raw yolk with something else ..thanks you very much ????
On July 03, 2018 at 01:54 am, Tasnim said...
Hello! I wanted to ask if I can possibly replace raw yolks with something else ?

Hello Tasnim.

They are not used raw ...yolks get cooked.

On July 04, 2018 at 08:49 pm, Tasnim said...
aren't the yolks in the coffe buttercream raw? would they get cooked from the syrub temperature alone or by getting mixed?? sorry I'm a total rookie so I really know nothing about these things hope you reply and thank you very much for answering..

Hi Tasmin.

Yes, the yolks  will be cooked from the syrup temperature.

On July 05, 2018 at 09:41 am, Melvin C said...
Hi Ella can i bake the cake layers one by one in the oven? I only have one cake pan :(

Hi Melvin.

Sure you can. 

On July 18, 2018 at 12:31 am, Eamonn said...
Hi Ella, Congratulations on a wonderfully produced video, so far it the best one I have seen for this recipe hands down! I have one question regarding the "Semi-sweet chocolate" I noticed that you seemed to use couveture pieces in your video. I am wondering do you think that semi-sweet chocolate chips will give a similar result to using couveture? Also I am a bit concerned about the oil to chocolate ratio in the glaze, I want to have that silky smooth finish on the cake top but would also like to have it cut like a soft ganasch like in yor video.

Hi Eamonn.

it is ok to use semi- sweet chocolate chips , follow  the recipe and the result will be good.

On August 04, 2018 at 11:49 pm, Hasitha Jayasinghe said...
Hi Ella, can I use cooking chocolate instead of semisweet chocolate ?

Hi Hasitha.

Jes, you can.

On September 21, 2018 at 02:17 am, Pierre said...
Hi Ella, love the detailed video. Perfect for novice bakers like myself :) Is it possible to substitute the 30g of regular flour for the Joconde with 30g of Almond flour making a total of 170g Almond flour? My brother is celiac so would be nice to make this gluten free (I'd substitute the Feuilletine also)

Helo Pierre.

Yes,  you can use more almonds flour.

On October 14, 2018 at 02:26 pm, Brittany said...
Hello. I know coffee is a big part in this recipe but my aunt requested a cake like this but doesn't like coffee. Is there anything I can substitute for flavor in the butter cream and syrup? Thank you!

Hello Brittany.

If you don't use the coffee it will not have  the same taste.

On November 02, 2018 at 04:40 pm, Doug said...
Can I bake the cake over a weekend and freeze it for several days to preserve freshness prior to serving it a week later?

yes.. it keeps very well in the freezer

On November 22, 2018 at 11:21 am, SUSAN said...
Wonderful video and wonderful cake. I cant wait to try another one of you recipes!
On January 07, 2019 at 04:55 pm, Mien said...
Hi Ella, Just wanted to say what a clear video and amazing cake this is! I will be making it for the second time this weekend. Have a great day!
On March 04, 2019 at 10:26 pm, Amrita said...
The recipe is so well written. I could follow it so well.bakes my first opera cake , the only difference being the bottom most layer was just plain melee chocolate. Rest everything as per rrecipe. Turned out awesome. thanks a ton. Amrita.
On November 13, 2019 at 04:52 pm, Andrew said...
Made this a few weeks ago with my father. The only issue we had was that even chilled overnight the buttercream top layer quickly liquefied and started to slough off when we put the glaze on. Hindsight we should have used some kind of form/mold to keep it together at the end. We weren't too worried about presentation though and these were still amazing.
On December 18, 2019 at 08:09 pm, Evalyne B. said...
hi, I was making the and I got to the last step. pouring the glaze over the chilled cake. I did so and the chocolate ran off the sides and did not stay onto the cake. it seemed like it separated? I followed the instructions to a T and yet this happened. any tips or advice will be much appreciated

I am glad you tried the recipe.. hope you enjoyes it even though the glaze made you problems. What type of chocolate did u use.. hope u used semisweet chocolate (55-70% cocoa).. not the milk one.. every time try to use good quality chocolate so you can have the best results .. also.. is it possible that you melted to a higher temperature and got too runny?  Every time you melt chocolate over bain marie .. don't hurry.. let it melt slowly over low heat  (especially when you melt white chocolate which is more sensitive to heat)

On January 18, 2020 at 01:06 am, ATEF said...
The almond flour in the video looks like almond meal as I can see bits of almond skin. Is this almond flour or almond meal ?

almond flour is same with almond meal.. you can ground your almonds with or without skin.. use the one you have on hand

On June 16, 2020 at 01:09 am, rysha said...
can I use the same recipe for a 8' round pan??, if it is possible should I bake it in the same temperature while dividing the batter into 3 equal amounts?? and can I coffee flavored whipped cream instead of buttercream?? really looking forward to make this cake!!
On June 26, 2020 at 07:34 am, Bita said...
Pleas answer My chocolate ganache is too runny and too liquid What's my wrong?
On June 28, 2020 at 01:24 am, Malika said...
Hi is this the traditional recipe or has it been modified.
On July 09, 2020 at 07:58 pm, Raphael said...
Hello, first of all this recipe and this cake looks wonderful. I would like some advice, do you know wich element i can make in advance ? I think that making it all the same day would be too stressfull for myself Thx in advance for the response
On July 25, 2020 at 09:51 pm, Vandana said...
Hi, My chocolate croustillant layer was delicious but a hard to cut. Needed a sharp knife to cut into it. Any idea why that could have happened? I used a dark compound chocolate. Thank you
On October 10, 2020 at 09:45 am, Tina said...
I made this two times. Every time came out wonderful. Thanks for the recipe and video.
On November 03, 2020 at 11:28 pm, Joel said...
what can i replace Paillette Feuilletine with ? something easy to find maybe ?
On November 19, 2020 at 02:01 pm, Regina said...
OMG!! I watch a ton of baking shows, and have desperately wanted to make this for so long....I finally did a "trial run" to see if it was as good as it looked, so I could impress for Thanksgiving.....It is NOT as good as it looks...IT IS 100 TIMES BETTER!! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! Cannot wait until Thanksgiving!!!
On December 20, 2020 at 09:06 pm, Amy said...
I made the cake and it was really good! I was a bit sweet for my taste so I'll probably try reduce the sugar next time. Also, after serving, I realized the layers didn't really stay together. Can you tell me why? Should I not serve it right out of the fridge?

Yes.. you should let the cake for about 15 mins at room temperature before serving. 

On April 08, 2021 at 11:41 am, Ruben said...
Wonderfull cake One question: the square ring, where can I get those? Thank you very much! Amazing video!!
On May 19, 2021 at 12:22 pm, Kalea said...
Hello, I would like to make in stages over a few days. Any suggestions on what holds up ok? I plan to assemble the day before to allow time for chilling and setting. Thank you ????
On June 16, 2021 at 04:11 pm, elizabeth said...
On August 14, 2021 at 12:42 am, Rachel said...
Hi what size eggs do you use?

I usually use medium eggs

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