Gateau Opera

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The decadent Gateau Opera – one of those blissfully luxurious things that make the act of eating orgasmic.  A tiny forkful of indulgent chocolate, coffee, butter-cream and almond meal sponge, all together.  A mixture of rich, creamy, nutty delight and a crescendo of flavors.  You can’t help but close your eyes and savor each moment with every single bite.

Gateau L’opéra is also referred to as Gâteau Clichy after Louis Clichy who is said to have first introduced the cake. Allegedly, years later, another Parisian patisserie called Dalloyau reintroduced the cake as Gâteau L’opéra after the Paris Grand Opera.

Conflicting? Kind of. But there is nothing conflicting about the elegance & luxuriousness of this cake.  It  simply is beautiful and completely sensuous.

Since I first made this cake a few months ago, I tried different versions of the cake. The final composition of the cake, that I loved came from a combination of various techniques and recipes.

This looks like a lot of work, but the secret is that it just looks like it.  I always make the coffee ganache and coffee essence first. That gives them time to cool down.

Gateau Opera

Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes


For Making Jaconde / Almond Sponge

  • 4 Whole eggs
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 150 gm + 35 gm Powdered Sugar measured separately
  • 150 gm Almond Flour
  • 60 gm Flour
  • 30 gm Melted Butter

To Make Coffee Essence:

  • 3 tbs Sugar
  • 1 double shot Espresso
  • 3 tbs Instant Coffee

To Make Coffee Syrup:

  • ¼ c Warm Water
  • 2 tbs Coffee Essence.

To Make Coffee Butter Cream:

  • 3 Egg yolks [ use the leftover egg yolks from the jaconde]
  • ¼ c Baker’s Sugar
  • ¼ c light Corn Syrup
  • 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter room temperature, Diced

To Make Chocolate Ganache:

  • 200 gms Chocolate pieces /Chips
  • 100 ml Whipping Cream
  • ½ tsp butter


Make the Ganache:

  1. Heat up the whipping cream until scalding hot.
  2. Put the chocolate into a microwave proof bowl. Microwave for about half a minute to a minute.
  3. Add in the butter and then the cream.
  4. Stir to combine.
  5. Mix well and cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or until set.

Make the Coffee Essence

  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Cook on low heat and keep stirring often until mixture thickens and looks glossy.
  3. It should have a thick syrup like consistency.
  4. Allow it to cool.

Make the Buttercream – For best results use a handheld mixer.

  1. Start by beating the egg yolks until well combined and slightly light in color.
  2. Coat a glass measuring jug with some butter/oil spray and keep it handy. This tip from Rose saves a lot of heartache later. So just do it 🙂
  3. Take a small saucepan and add the sugar & corn syrup.
  4. Stir and mix until the sugar and corn syrup mix together.
  5. Now place the saucepan on medium heat and keep stirring until sugar dissolves.
  6. As soon as the mixture begins to boil around the edges, Stop stirring. Completely STOP stirring.
  7. Keep an eye on the boiling mixture though and let it come to a full rolling boil.. all over the pan’s surface.
  8. Transfer this instantly into the glass measure jug.
  9. Now add the syrup into the yolks in a steady stream while beating simultaneously with the hand held mixer.
  10. Take care to not allow the syrup to fall on the beaters or you will have a sugar candy monster.
  11. If there is some syrup in the measuring jug, scoop it out with a spatula and mix it in the yolks and beat.
  12. Beat for about five minutes on medium speed. And then let the mixture cool down completely.
  13. When the mixture is completely cool, beat in the butter, a little at a time on medium speed. This will take some time, so hang in there and keep beating and adding the butter. The buttercream will start to look like silky smooth buttercream as soon as you add in the last bit of butter.
  14. Now add two – three tbs of coffee Essence and gently fold it in. your coffee buttercream is ready.

Make the Coffee Syrup

  1. Add in the water to the remaining coffee Essence after you have made the buttercream

Make the Jaconde

  1. Sift and mix all the dry ingredients except the 35 gms of sugar that we kept separate earlier.
  2. Whisk the whole eggs until light in color.
  3. Now Whisk the egg whites and gradually add the 35 gms of sugar into them, whisking until soft peaks form and all the sugar is added.
  4. Fold in the dry ingredients into the egg yolks. Then add in the butter.
  5. Now, fold the egg whites slowly into the batter .
  6. Spread evenly into a rectangular shape onto 2 baking sheets lined with parchment
  7. Bake in a 375* F Oven temperature for 8-10 mins. (your cook time will vary based on your oven and where you live. So keep and eye on it )

The Big Moment!

  1. Now that all the components are ready, get ready for the big event – compose the cake.
  2. Measure and cut the Almond sponge in halves. Now you should have 4 pieces.
  3. Place the first sponge on an even surface – like a cake square or plate and brush it with coffee syrup, then apply a layer of butter cream.
  4. Place another sponge on top of the buttercream. Do not worry about the icing oozing out the sides. We will fix that later.
  5. Brush this one also with coffee syrup and then apply a layer of ganache.
  6. Complete the layering, finishing with a thick chocolate layer on top of the cake.
  7. Refrigerate until completely set and then trim out the sides to make the presentation neat.
  8. For a classic presentation, decorate with a gold leaf when you serve individual pieces. Or follow your heart and go with your instinct.

Recipe Notes

The time includes the time it would need to chill before the cake is cut for serving.

To store the buttercream, place in an airtight container. If using immediately do not refrigerate.
If you are making it ahead, refrigerate it. But ensure you bring it to room temperature before using.

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