Tuesday, 18 August 2009


Opera Cakeby Lucie Renaud / May 1, 2002
Version française...
photo: Russell Proulx

Gioconda biscuit

125 g non bleached powdered almonds
125 g sugar
30 g flour
4 egg yolks
25 g butter
4 egg whites
20 g sugar

Chocolate ganache

5 g instant coffee
200 g bittersweet couverture chocolate
150 g 35% cream

Coffee buttercream

15 g instant coffee
200 g sugar
70 g water
2 eggs
200 g unsalted butter


80 g bittersweet couverture
80 g 35% cream

Gioconda biscuit:

Whip together the almonds, sugar, flour and egg yolks for approximately 15 minutes. Beat the egg whites and sugar until stiff. Gently blend in the egg whites to the rest of the preparation using a spatula. Melt the butter, let cool and add to the mixture. Spread the preparation on parchment paper. Cook at 250 ºC 5–7 minutes. Remove the biscuit from the plaque as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Coffee buttercream:

Cook the sugar in 70 g of water until it reaches the small ball degree. Add 1 whipped whole egg and one yolk to the sugar mixture. Whip the mixture until it cools down. Gradually add previously softened butter and continue whipping. The mixture should double in volume and whiten. Add 15 g of coffee dissolved in a small amount of water.

Chocolate ganache:

Bring the cream to a boil with the remaining coffee. Blend in the chopped chocolate. Allow to cool.

Divide the rolled out Gioconda biscuit dough into 3 equal parts. Spread the ganache on a first layer of dough. Cover with the next layer, garnishing with the coffee buttercream. Cover with the last layer. Cool. Chop up the topping chocolate and mix with the cream. Bring to a boil. Glaze the cake.

Traditionally the word "Opera" is written on the cake. Certain pastry chefs would rather cover the cake in black or white chocolate in which musical instruments or notes are imprinted. Others choose an edible gold leaf cover giving the dessert a more "theatrical" touch. Jacques Torres, a star pastry chef at New York's chic Le Cirque restaurant, serves the cake with a small, 10 cm-high chocolate stove. The waiter then takes two tiny chocolate pans from the two "burners" on the stove and pours a fruit sauce directly on the cake.