A Classic French Opera Cake Recipe

I’m a huge fan of opera cake. It’s one of my all-time favorite desserts! I love the combination of coffee-soaked sponge cake, creamy coffee buttercream, and a glossy chocolate ganache. It’s truly the perfect balance of flavors and textures. I’m so excited to share this recipe with you so you can experience the decadent delight of opera cake. Let’s get baking!

Opera Cake Recipe

Prep Time

120 mins

Cook Time

40 mins

Additional Time

20 mins

Total Time

180 mins


5 servings

Opera Cake


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond paste
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder.
  • In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add in the cream of tartar and continue to beat until the whites are glossy. Gradually add in the granulated sugar and beat until combined.
  • In a third bowl, beat the egg yolks until light and creamy. Gradually add in the melted butter and orange liqueur, and beat until combined.
  • Take the egg yolk mixture and fold it into the egg white mixture. Then fold in the flour mixture.
  • Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Now it’s time to make the filling! In a medium bowl, combine the almond paste, cream and confectioners’ sugar. Beat until smooth.
  • Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Let the chocolate cool for about 5 minutes before stirring in the orange zest.
  • To assemble the cake, place the cooled cake on a serving plate. Spread the filling evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Finally, pour the cooled melted chocolate over the top of the cake and spread evenly. Let the cake chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
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Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 418
  • Fat: 20g
  • Carbohydrates: 48g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Sodium: 101mg
  • Cholesterol: 118mg

What is an opera cake and what makes it special?

If you’re a fan of rich, multi-layered desserts, then you’ve come to the right place! An opera cake is a decadent and indulgent dessert that consists of several layers of pastry, coffee buttercream, chocolate ganache, and coffee syrup. And it’s as delicious as it sounds!

What makes an opera cake so special is the combination of flavors. The cake is typically made with a combination of almond and coffee buttercream, creating a deep, nutty flavor. The chocolate ganache and coffee syrup add an extra layer of sweetness and richness, while the sponge cake layer provides a light and fluffy texture to the dessert.

In addition to its delicious flavor, the opera cake is known for its beautiful presentation. The cake is often decorated with a swirl of chocolate ganache or coffee buttercream, which adds a decorative touch to the dessert. It’s a great choice for special occasions, as it looks as stunning as it tastes.

Overall, the opera cake is a unique and delicious dessert that is sure to wow your guests. With its combination of flavors and beautiful presentation, it’s a great choice for any special occasion.

What are the different parts of an opera cake?

You may have seen beautiful pictures of opera cakes, but do you know what they are made of? An opera cake is made up of several layers of flavor and texture. It starts with a base layer of almond sponge cake that is soaked with coffee syrup. The next layer is composed of coffee-flavored buttercream, followed by a thin layer of chocolate ganache. Finally, the cake is topped with a thin layer of a shiny glaze, usually made with chocolate and coffee.

What are some tips for making the perfect opera cake?

Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and lightly greasing an 8-inch round pan.

  • Make sure to use high-quality ingredients for the best results. Use real butter, good-quality cocoa powder, and high-grade espresso.
  • Prepare the cake layers by sifting together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder, then whisk in the egg yolks and softened butter.
  • Beat the egg whites and sugar until they’re stiff and glossy, then fold them into the cake batter.
  • Spread the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely before assembling your opera cake.
  • Assemble the cake layers by spreading a generous layer of espresso-flavored buttercream between each cake layer.
  • Finish the cake by coating the top and sides with a glossy chocolate ganache.
  • Chill the cake for 1-2 hours before serving.
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What types of ingredients are used to make an opera cake?

Making an opera cake is definitely a labor of love, but it’s worth it in the end! To make this classic French dessert, you’ll need several different ingredients. The most important ingredients are almond sponge cake layers, chocolate ganache, buttercream, and coffee syrup.

The almond sponge cake layers are essential for the structure of the cake. To make them, you’ll need all-purpose flour, almond flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and baking powder. The almond flour adds a nutty flavor and a denser texture to the sponge cake.

The chocolate ganache is made with heavy cream, chopped dark chocolate, and butter. This layer helps bind the cake together, giving it a creamy, chocolatey flavor.

The buttercream layer gives the cake a smooth, creamy texture. To make this layer, you’ll need butter, powdered sugar, and heavy cream. This layer adds sweetness to the cake and helps keep it moist.

The coffee syrup adds a pleasant kick of flavor to the cake. To make this syrup, you’ll need sugar, water, and coffee. You can use espresso or instant coffee for this syrup.

These are the key ingredients you need to make an opera cake.

What are the steps to making an opera cake?

Making an opera cake is a lot easier than you might think! All it takes is a few simple steps and you’ll be on your way to enjoying a delicious, creamy dessert. Here are the steps to make an opera cake:

  • Preheat your oven to 350˚F.
  • Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by lining them with parchment paper.
  • Combine the cake ingredients: 8 ounces softened butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 3 eggs. Mix until the batter is light and fluffy.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Let the cakes cool completely before assembling.
  • Prepare the coffee-flavored syrup by combining ¼ cup of water, ¼ cup of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of instant coffee. Boil the mixture until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Assemble the cake by placing one layer of cake on a plate and spreading cooked syrup over the cake.
  • Spread a layer of coffee cream (1 cup heavy cream whipped with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of instant coffee) over the syrup layer.
  • Place the second cake layer over the cream layer and spread a thin layer of chocolate ganache (4 ounces of chocolate melted with ¼ cup of heavy cream).
  • 0. Finally, top the cake with a layer of whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
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And there you have it! An opera cake that is sure to impress.

What are some of the best variations of an opera cake?

If you love opera cakes, you’ll be delighted to discover all the exciting variations out there! From coffee-infused to raspberry-filled, there’s something for every opera cake lover. Here are some of the best variations of an opera cake to try.

  • Coffee Opera Cake: This classic variation of an opera cake features layers of sponge cake soaked in coffee syrup and layered with coffee buttercream and chocolate ganache. The result is a delicious combination of sweet and bitter flavors.
  • Raspberry Opera Cake: For a fruity twist, try making a raspberry opera cake. The base is still the same – sponge cake soaked in syrup – but the buttercream is replaced with a raspberry-infused version, and the chocolate ganache is replaced with a raspberry filling.
  • Chocolate Opera Cake: For a truly indulgent treat, try making a chocolate opera cake. It’s made with layers of chocolate sponge cake soaked in syrup, rich chocolate buttercream, and a chocolate ganache filling.
  • Lemon Opera Cake: This zesty variation of an opera cake is made with layers of lemon sponge cake soaked in syrup and topped with lemon buttercream and white chocolate ganache. The result is an incredibly refreshing and flavorful cake.
  • Pistachio Opera Cake: For a nutty flavor, try making a pistachio opera cake. The cake features layers of pistachio sponge cake soaked in syrup, creamy pistachio buttercream, and a pistachio ganache filling. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and salty flavors.

No matter which variation you choose, you’re sure to love the combination of flavors and textures in an opera cake.

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