Almond Sponge Cake:
- Allow egg yolks and egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease three 8x8x2-inch baking pans.* Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper or waxed paper. Grease paper and lightly flour pans; set aside. In a food processor combine almonds and powdered sugar. Cover and process with on/off pulses until nuts are finely ground; set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl beat egg yolks with an electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon color. Add milk and vanilla; beat on low speed until combined. Fold in almond mixture; set aside.
- Thoroughly wash beaters. In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add granulated sugar, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold half of the beaten egg whites into egg yolk mixture; fold egg yolk mixture into remaining beaten egg whites. Divide batter among the prepared pans, spreading evenly.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until tops are golden. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; remove paper. Cool completely on wire racks (cake layers will be thin).
- In a small saucepan combine sugar and coffee. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir in liqueur; cool.
- In a heavy medium saucepan combine sugar and the water; bring to boiling. Remove from heat. Gradually stir about half of the hot mixture into egg yolks. Return egg yolk mixture to saucepan. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in coffee and vanilla; cool. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until fluffy. Add cooled egg yolk mixture, beating until combined. If necessary, chill until mixture reaches spreading consistency.
- In a small saucepan bring whipping cream just to boiling over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate (do not stir). Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Cool for 15 minutes.
- To assemble, place one Almond Sponge Cake layer on a serving plate. Brush with one-third of the Coffee Syrup. Spread with half of the Coffee Buttercream. Top with another cake layer; brush with one-third of the syrup. Spread with half of the Chocolate Ganache. Top with the remaining cake layer; brush with remaining syrup. Spread with remaining buttercream. Chill for at least 1 hour or until layers are firm. Spread top with remaining ganache. Using a long sharp knife, trim sides of layers to make even.
- Place melted white chocolate in a small resealable plastic bag. Snip a small hole in one corner of the bag. Drizzle white chocolate over top of cake.** Chill about 30 minutes or until set. If desired, sprinkle with glitter and/or luster dust.
From the Test Kitchen
*Test Kitchen Tip:
If you don't have three 8x8x2-inch baking pans, bake one or two pans at a time, keeping the remaining batter chilled until ready to bake. Cool, grease, line, and flour pans between each batch.
**Test Kitchen Tip:
If you like, decorate the cake with musical notes instead of drizzling with white chocolate. Line a baking sheet with brown paper. Draw musical notes and designs on brown paper; cover with waxed paper. Pipe melted white chocolate onto waxed paper following the outlines of the notes and designs. Chill about 30 minutes or until set. Carefully lift notes and designs off waxed paper and arrange on top of cake.
Nutrition Facts (Opera Cake)
- Per serving:
- 417 kcal cal.,
- 29 g fat
- (14 g sat. fat,
- 3 g polyunsaturated fat,
- 10 g monounsatured fat),
- 180 mg chol.,
- 149 mg sodium,
- 36 g carb.,
- 2 g fiber,
- 30 g sugar,
- 8 g pro.
- Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet