Opera Cake


If you have not experienced the delicious enjoyment of eating forkfuls of an opera cake recipe, here's everything you need to make it happen. Traditionally opera cakes are topped with a bit of gold leaf. If you can find that, feel free, but we offer a more common substitution of edible glitter or luster dust, commonly found at your local crafts store.

Opera Cake
Prep Time:
1 hrs
Stand Time:
30 mins
Bake Time:
8 mins
Cool Time:
45 mins
Chill Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 53 mins


Almond Sponge Cake:

  • 6 egg yolks

  • 6 egg whites

  • 1 ⅓ cup slivered almonds

  • cup powdered sugar

  • cup milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

Coffee Syrup:

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • ¼ cup strong brewed coffee

  • 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur

Coffee Buttercream:

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 2 tablespoon water

  • 3 egg yolks

  • 1 tablespoon strong brewed coffee

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • ¾ cup butter, softened

Chocolate Ganache:

  • cup whipping cream

  • 4 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Finishing Touches:

  • 2 ounce white baking chocolate, melted

  • Edible glitter and/or luster dust (optional)


Almond Sponge Cake:

  1. 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.

  2. Preheat oven to 425°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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

Coffee Syrup:

  1. 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.

Coffee Buttercream:

  1. 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.

Chocolate Ganache:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

Finishing Touches:

  1. 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.

*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 opera 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 (per serving)

417 Calories
29g Fat
36g Carbs
8g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 417
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 14g 70%
Cholesterol 180mg 60%
Sodium 149mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Total Sugars 30g
Protein 8g
Calcium 81mg 6%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 217mg 5%
Folate, total 24mcg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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