Tuesday 26 June 2012

Chefette's Take on Gâtéau Opera

There's something about a French Gâtéau which just screams, class and sophistication. I had never tried making a gâtéau of any sort before, but the other day I was looking through some cook books and then I remembered the delectable cake made by those beautiful Italian boys on My Kitchen Rules a few months back. It looked tricky, time-consuming and too delicate for my style of cooking and that's exactly why I wanted to try it out. 

The Gâtéau Opera was made famous in Paris of course, by Dalloyau Patisserie in 1955. Cyriaque Gavillon from Dalloyau, wanted to created a new cake shape with visible layers and for which only one bite would give the whole cake's taste. It was named "Opéra" as a tribute to an Opera prima ballerina. The Opera is a rectangular cake composed of three layers of "Joconde" biscuit soaked in coffee syrup and garnished with coffee butter cream and chocolate ganache. (source)

Yum, I'm not much of a fan of strong coffee tastes in cakes and desserts, but this Opera Gâtéau is like the snobby (and delicious) cousin of Tiramisu!

I adapted the recipe slightly from the good old Women's Weekly Classic Cakes Book and although my version does look slighly shabbier and less refined than it should, I think the flavour was quite good and I LOVED baking and plating up this little beast! So here's my adaptation of the Gâtéau Opera.

Gâtéau Opera

Almond Sponge
1 ¼ cup almond meal
1 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup plain flour
25 grams unsalted butter
4 egg whites
2 tablespoons caster sugar

Coffee Butter Cream
¼ cup milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons instant coffee (I used Nescafe Espresso)
1 egg yolk
125 grams unsalted butter

Coffee Syrup
1/3 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 ½ tablespoons instant coffee

160 grams dark eating chocolate chopped
1/3 cup cream

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease and paper line to square cake tins.
2. Beat eggs, almond meal and sifted icing sugar with an electric mixer until  creamy, then slowly add flour whilst beating transfer to a large bowl and stir in butter.
3. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, add caster sugar.
4. Fold almond batter into egg white mixture slowly in three batches.
5. Divide mixture between the two pans and bake for 7-10 minutes until sponge springs back and skewer comes out clean.
6. Allow to cool.

Coffee Butter Cream
Stir milk, sugar and coffee in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Allow to cool for a little and gradually add in whisked yolk. Return to low heat ensuring mixture does not boil, continue whisking until mixture thickens slightly (allow to cool). Beat butter in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, gradually add the milk coffee mixture and beat until combined. Coffee butter cream should be thick and glossy, mixture is a bit too runny a small amount of icing sugar can be added to stabilise the coffee butter cream.

Coffee Syrup
Combine all ingredients in a cup.

Stir ingredients in bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until smooth and combined.

Putting it all together!
1.Place one of the sponges on the plate you will serve on and generously cover the sponge in Coffee Syrup with a pastry brush.
2. Spread half of the butter cream mixture over the sponge so the cake is nice and flat.
3.Place the second sponge on top and repeat steps 1 and 2.
4.Spread ganache on top of the final layer of butter cream so it is smooth and flat, a rubber spatula will help you achieve this finish.
5.Allow to chill in the refrigerator and remove and allow to rest for about 20 minutes before serving.
6.Serve with desired ingredients, I chose to serve mine with vanilla bean ice-cream, cherries, strawberries and toffee.
7.Bon appetite!


  1. This is such a fabulous blog! Top idea! It was sooooooooo delicious! Xxx

    1. Thanks Mezzie! I look forward to marrying the flavours of other ingredients together lol xxx


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