I was a bit confused when I was first introduced to this cake. First thing I know about opera cake is a 6 layers of almond sponge (which three of them are soaked in coffee syrup), 3 layers of coffee buttercream, and 3 layers of chocolate ganache and topped with caramel. The opera cake that I tasted last time in Depok, West Java [Indonesia] when I was invited for lunch for NCC ladies meeting for workshop and demonstrations was a 6 layers of almond sponge and 6 layers of thick chocolate ganache and it was simply heavenly rich! [I think we were all having fun watching the demo and I haven't forgotten it up to now. If I wasn't too busy with my trying-to-adjust-with-the-heat husband and children, I would probably be the first person standing in front of the demo table to let myself sink in the bowls of ganache. Mbak Ita was kind enough to let me lick the rest of what was left in the bowls. Oh, I was so naughty.]
Then there is a reading about dobos torte which is apparently a Hungarian classic chocolate cake and is also similar with opera cake, usually consists of 5 layers of almond sponge, sandwiched with chocolate buttercream, and topped with caramel, while the opera cake itself is told to be a Parisian chocolate cake which was first introduced by Louis Clichy back in 1903 and it's a cake with 6 layers of almond sponge which are soaked in coffee syrup and sandwiched with ganache, and coffee buttercream. Ever there's options to top the whole luscious layered cake is up to one's personal taste, I suppose, as some servings use ganache while others use caramel.
Whatever that is, I just am quite happy to express what I've read about these two cakes from some sources I read at hand. I still have got the recipe Mbak Ita found some time ago to make her popular opera cake. And then there's a recipe of tiramisu torte from the Australian Women Weekly Wicked Sweet Indulgence [ACP Publishing Pty Limited. 2002] which uses the sponge similar to dobos torte with omitting the almond meal. The dobos torte recipe I found on Jacqualine Bellefontaine's 'What's Cooking: Chocolate' [Parragon. 1998] which then I adapted to make this very version of opera cake.
I decided to make 4 layers of almond sponge cake and 3 layers of thick chocolate ganache which then was brushed with coffee syrup and topped with ganache. I didn't write the word 'opera' to save my bad handwriting and also not to choose the caramel as the topping. I didn't also use coffee buttercream as I thought I would just love to enjoy the best of chocolate layers as what they are tasted the best without even have to mingling with other flavours. I just love bittersweet chocolate, therefore, I used 72% extra bittersweet dark chocolate.
I remember that the opera cake should be served chilled but then I just couldn't resist to try it out when it was only at room temperature. I think it tastes as just wonderful. One more day, the flavour would be at its best, I suppose, as all the flavours will then blend well together. I can't wait to cut more slices!!
I made this for our upcoming wedding anniversary. We are 5!
25g almond meal,
100g caster sugar,
4 large eggs,
1 tsp vanilla flavouring,
100g plain flour, sifted
Coffee Syrup: Mix and boil for 3 minutes.
2 Tbs instant coffee,
2 Tbs hot water,
½ tsp caster sugar
Ganache: Heat the cream and add in the chopped dark cooking chocolate. Mix until smooth. Cool.
300g good chopped dark cooking chocolate (I used Whittaker's 72% Dark Ghana),
300g fresh cream
Preheat the oven to 200C. Prepare two 19cm round cake tins, grease and line with baking paper. Put together the eggs, sugar, and almond meal in the mixer bowl and beat until the mixture is light and thick which will leave a trail. Fold in the sifted flour and mix gently until well combined. Pour into the prepared tins, then bake for 6-8 minutes or until cooked. Remove the baking paper and cool on the wire rack.
Cut the cakes to make four layers. Brush each side of the layer with coffee syrup, then spread the ganache over. Repeat until all used and top with the remaining ganache.