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A chocolate gateaux with 'opera' written on top in white chocolate Tried & Tested

Gateaux opera

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This gateaux opera recipe is beautifully elegant and a wonderful showstopper for any dinner party. This featured in the first series of Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard on Channel 4.

Key Information

  • Prep:
  • Bake:
  • Cakes:1
  • Skill level:advanced

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Ingredients

For the almond sponge

  • 3 3 Egg white(s) (free range)
  • 1tbsp 1tbsp Unrefined golden caster sugar (we use Billington's) Unrefined golden caster sugar
  • 150g 5⅜ oz Almonds (ground)
  • 150g 5⅜ oz Icing sugar (we use Silver Spoon) Icing sugar
  • 3 3 Egg(s) (free range) large
  • 35g 1¼ oz Plain white flour (we use Allinson) Plain white flour
  • 20g ¾ oz Butter (unsalted) melted

For the coffee buttercream

  • 30ml 1 fl oz Water
  • 200g 7⅛ oz Butter (unsalted)
  • 1 1 Egg(s) (free range)
  • 1 1 Egg yolk(s) (free range)
  • 2tbsp 2tbsp Espresso coffee
  • 200g 7⅛ oz Unrefined golden caster sugar (we use Billington's) Unrefined golden caster sugar
  • ½tsp ½tsp Vanilla extract (we use Nielsen-Massey) Vanilla extract

For the ganache

  • 125ml 4¼ fl oz Double cream
  • 125ml 4¼ fl oz Milk (whole)
  • 250g 8⅞ oz Dark chocolate chopped
  • 35g 1¼ oz Butter (unsalted) softened

For the assembly

  • 50ml 1¾ fl oz Espresso coffee
  • 1tsp 1tsp Unrefined golden caster sugar (we use Billington's) Unrefined golden caster sugar
  • 2tbsp 2tbsp Dark rum

For the decoration

  • 100g 3½ oz White chocolate
  • 100g 3½ oz Dark chocolate
  • 50g 1⅞ oz Butter (unsalted)

Change Units

The Method Enter Bake mode

  1. Classic mode Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C, gas mark 7) and line two trays with baking parchment.

    Ingredients for this step

  2. Classic mode Step 2

    Whisk together the egg whites and caster sugar until stiff peaks formed.

    Ingredients for this step

  3. Classic mode Step 3

    Mix together the ground almonds and icing sugar, then add the eggs and whisk until pale and doubled in volume.

    Ingredients for this step

    • 150g 5⅜ oz Almonds (ground)
    • 150g 5⅜ oz Icing sugar (we use Silver Spoon) Icing sugar
    • 3 3 Egg(s) (free range)
  4. Classic mode Step 4

    Sift the flour into this mixture and fold gently to incorporate. Add the whisked egg whites and carefully fold in before including the melted butter.

    Ingredients for this step

    • 35g 1¼ oz Plain white flour (we use Allinson) Plain white flour
    • 20g ¾ oz Butter (unsalted)
  5. Classic mode Step 5

    Divide mixture between two baking trays and spread out evenly with a palette knife. Bake for 7-10 minutes, but watch carefully as it cooks quickly.

  6. Classic mode Step 6

    To make the coffee buttercream, add the caster sugar to a small pan with the water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Place over a heat until a thick syrup is produced, almost like a caramel consistency. It should reach 120°C on a sugar thermometer. When the syrup begins to thicken, add the vanilla extract and stir.

    Ingredients for this step

  7. Classic mode Step 7

    Place the egg and additional egg yolk into a bowl and whisk together in a electric mixer.

    Ingredients for this step

    • 1 1 Egg(s) (free range)
    • 1 1 Egg yolk(s) (free range)
  8. Classic mode Step 8

    Once the syrup has reached 120°C, slowly pour into the egg mixture, continually beating with an electric mixer until fluffy. Leave the mixture to cool before beating in the soft butter. Add the espresso and mix until you reach a smooth consistency.

    Ingredients for this step

    • 200g 7⅛ oz Butter (unsalted)
    • 50ml 1¾ fl oz Espresso coffee
  9. Classic mode Step 9

    To make the ganache, heat together the cream and milk, to almost boiling point, then pass through a sieve into a heatproof bowl of the chocolate. Gently stir the mixture until the chocolate melts. Add the butter and continue to stir until the butter has melted and is fully incorporated. The mixture should become smooth and begin to thicken.

    Ingredients for this step

    • 125ml 4¼ fl oz Double cream
    • 125ml 4¼ fl oz Milk (whole)
    • 250g 8⅞ oz Dark chocolate
    • 35g 1¼ oz Butter (unsalted)
  10. Classic mode Step 10

    To assemble the gateaux, use the base of an 8” cake tin to cut out three sponge discs from your baked sponges.  One of the discs will be made up of two halves of what is left from
    each sponge sheet.  Each baking sheet of sponge should create 1 and a half 8” disc.

  11. Classic mode Step 11

    Place first disc in 8” circular mould. Mix the coffee, rum and sugar together then brush over the sponge base. Spoon over a layer of chocolate ganache, then add the second sponge on the top (use the two half sponges at this point) Brush again with the coffee rum mix and then add a layer of the coffee buttercream on top of second sponge.

    Ingredients for this step

    • 50ml 1¾ fl oz Espresso coffee
    • 1tsp 1tsp Unrefined golden caster sugar (we use Billington's) Unrefined golden caster sugar
    • 2tbsp 2tbsp Dark rum
  12. Classic mode Step 12

    Add the final layer sponge on top of buttercream, then brush once more with the coffee rum mix. Finally top with the remaining ganache and place in fridge to chill for about 30 mins.

  13. Classic mode Step 13

    To decorate, melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. At the same time separately melt the dark chocolate. Add the butter to dark chocolate and stir to incorporate.

    Ingredients for this step

    • 100g 3½ oz White chocolate
    • 100g 3½ oz Dark chocolate
    • 50g 1⅞ oz Butter (unsalted)
  14. Classic mode Step 14

    Remove gateaux from fridge and pour over the dark chocolate mixture. Place aside and
    leave the chocolate to set on top. Once the top has set, remove the mould from around the gateaux (a blow torch will help to do this).

  15. Classic mode Step 15

    Fill a piping bag with the melted white chocolate and snip the end to make a fine point to pipe with. Finish by piping the word ‘opera’ on top of your gateaux.