Daring Bakers – My leaning Opéra

Do you know the leaning Tower of Pisa? Finally the small village I live has a similar attraction: My leaning Opéra. Fortunately it took me not 177 years to build. It costed me just some hours and nerve.

Of course you already know why I did this construction: The Daring Bakers challenge – this month hosted by the founders Ivonne and Lis and two newer members Fran and Shea – asked for an Opéra Cake. Another scary recipe with buttercream and tons of calories! I hope next month we will get a more bikini-friendly recipe. ;-)

Once I’ve finished the building work, and cut the edges of the cake, it looked not so bad anymore.

I did just 1/3 of the joconde, so I’ve got a very thin biscuit. The batter seemed too liquid to me, I added 20 g flour. Accidentally I used salted pistachios, but I did notice this only before baking. It didn’t matter, the final joconde tasted good also with salted pistachios. Lucky me!

Then I started with the buttercream, of course I did 1/3 of the recipe, too. Instead of a 1/3 egg I just used the remaining egg yolk of the joconde. I added bitter orange zest and Cointreau to flavor the buttercream. It came out just perfect, but not enough quantity for the joconde.

Daring Bakers - Opéra Cake - Step 1

I cut the joconde again, but still it‘ wasn’t enough buttercream. I did an additional batch of buttercream, and instead of 3 layers I did 4.

Daring Bakers - Opéra Cake - Step 2
On one layer I spread some homemade Bitter Orange Marmalade, too.

Can you still follow me?

I skipped the syrup and soaked the cake directly with Cointreau: We are grown-ups en la casa de zorra!

The white chocolate ganache/mousse was optional.

Daring Bakers - Opéra Cake - Step 4
This is the glaze.

But for this challenge I did the full program.

Et voilà, L’Opéra de zorra:

Daring Bakers - L'Opéra Cake

L’Opéra Cake
makes 1 small cake


2 egg whites, at room temperature (M)
10 g granulated sugar
75 g ground salted pistachios
60 gramm Icing sugar, sifted
2 eggs (M)
50 gramm All-purpose flour (+ 1 tb)
1 tb unsalted butter, melted and cooled

30 g Cointreau

100 g inverted sugar (homemade)
2 egg yolk
140 gramm Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tb Cointreau

White chocolate ganache/mousse
100 g white chocolate
70 g whipped cream + 1 tb cream
1 ts Cointreau

50 g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tb crème fraîche
1 ts walnut oil


1. Divide the oven into thirds by positioning a rack in the upper third of the oven and the lower third of the oven.

2. Preheat the oven to 425 F. (220C).

3. Line one 12½ x 15½- inch (31 x 39-cm) pan with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a handheld mixer), beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy. If you do not have another mixer bowl, gently scrape the eringue into another bowl and set aside.

5. If you only have one bowl, wash it after removing the egg whites or if you have a second bowl, use that one. Attach the paddle attachment to the stand mixer (or using a handheld mixer again) and beat the almonds, icing sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and voluminous, about 3 minutes.

6. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the flour is just combined (be very careful not to overmix here!!!).

7. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the pistachios mixture and then fold in the melted butter. Divide the batter between the pans and spread it evenly.

8. Bake the cake layer until it is lightly browned and just springy to the touch. This could take anywhere from 5 to 9 minutes depending on your oven.

9. Put the pan on a heatproof counter and run a sharp knife along the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Cover with a sheet of parchment or wax paper, turn the pan over, and unmold.

10. Carefully peel away the parchment, then turn the parchment over and use it to cover the cake. Let the cake cool to room temperature


1. Whisk the egg yolks and inverted sugar at high speed in the bowl of your mixer using the whisk attachment. Whisk them until they are pale and foamy.

2. While the egg mixture is beating, place the softened butter in a bowl and mash it with a spatula until you have a soft creamy mass.

3. With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding in two-tablespoon chunks. When all the butter has been incorporated, raise the mixer speed to high and beat until the buttercream is thick and shiny.

4. At this point add in your flavouring and beat for an additional minute or so.

5. Refrigerate the buttercream, stirring it often, until it’s set enough (firm enough) to spread when topped with a layer of cake (about 20 minutes).


1. Melt the white chocolate and 1 tb of cream in a small saucepan.

2. Stir to ensure that it’s smooth and that the chocolate is melted. Add the tablespoon of liqueur to the chocolate and stir. Set aside to cool completely.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form.

4.Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate to form a mousse.

5.If it’s too thin, refrigerate it for a bit until it’s spreadable.

6.If you’re not going to use it right away, refrigerate until you’re ready to use.


1. Melt the white chocolate with the crème fraaîche and walnut oil. Whisk the mixture gently until smooth.

2.Let cool for 10 minutes and then pour over the chilled cake. Using a long metal cake spatula, smooth out into an even layer.

3. Place the cake into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.

Assembling the Opéra Cake:

(Note: The finished cake should be served slightly chilled. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 day).

Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

Cut and trim the cake so that you have 5 pieces

Place one square of cake on the baking sheet and moisten it gently with the Cointreau.

Spread about three-quarters of the buttercream over this layer.

Top with the two rectangular pieces of cake, placing them side by side to form a square. Moisten these pieces with the flavoured syrup.

Spread the remaining buttercream on the cake and then top with the third square of joconde. Use the remaining syrup to wet the joconde and then refrigerate until very firm (at least half an hour).

Prepare the ganache/mousse (if you haven’t already) and then spread it on the top of the last layer of the joconde. Refrigerate for at least two to three hours to give the ganache/mousse the opportunity to firm up.

Make the glaze and after it has cooled, pour/spread it over the top of the chilled cake. Refrigerate the cake again to set the glaze.

If necessary cut and trim the edges of the cake.

Serve the cake slightly chilled. This recipe will yield approximately 20 6 servings.

This piece of cake is for you!

Daring Bakers - L'Opéra Cake

Don’t forget to vist Daring Bakers Blogroll.

More entries and recipes in English.

Daring Bakers

November 2007 Challenge – Tender Potatoe Bread
December 2007 Challenge – Yule Log
January 2008 Challenge – Lemon Meringue Pie
February 2008 Challenge – French Bread
March 2008 Challenge – Perfect Party Cake

48 Gedanken zu „Daring Bakers – My leaning Opéra

  1. Your cake looks wonderful. I love Cointreau and am impressed you made pistachio meal. I love how tall your top layer is

  2. I don’t see your cake leaning anywhere (not in these pictures, anyway). It looks very nice. I wish mine was anywhere near this good.:)

  3. sooo schoen! Ein bisschen neidisch bin ich schon auf deinen tollen opera cake.
    Ich hab’s diesen Monat leider nicht geschafft.
    Deine Idee alles zu dritteln ist super, dann hat man nicht das Problem mit zwei Leutchen eine ganze Torte verspeisen zu muessen,…

  4. Standing ovation for a spectacular cake Zorra…wow! I love salted pistachios & then bitter marmalade just makes things ROCK!! My slice was delicious (wish it wasn’t virtual though)…muchas gracias!! Great pictures too!

  5. Great choice to use all orange flavours, very grown up syrup; I’d have loved that!
    I think the salted pistachios added a much needed bite to this sweet cake. Everyone has such nice and even slices, I am jealous!

  6. Zorra, it looks wonderful, and the flavors make my mouth water. I like the idea of soaking the joconde in the liqueur, and skipping the syrup!

  7. REPLY:
    Wonderful flavours. Beautiful assembly.
    I never would have known anything was leaning. It looks pretty perfect to me.

  8. oh wie geil.. das sind genau meine kuchen… schaut super aus und gut, dass ich auch schon erwachsen bin :-) krieg ich ein stück???

  9. Oh my, that looks delicious! I love that you just soaked your layers with straight Cointreau. That must be some cake. Great job!

  10. Your own meal and adult libation soaked cake. Yup, heading to your place right now!! I’m hoping for ANYTHING without buttercream next month too.

  11. I love the flavours Zorra. I omitted the white chocolate mousse even though it would have been a great addition. Maybe someday we’ll be eating Opera Cake in Paris:D

  12. You did a fabulous job on your cake. I love the idea of using Cointreau too…sounds scrumptious. For my adult versions, I added whiskey to the mousse…it was delicious. My kids thought they stunk.

    Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

  13. I love the bitter orange marmelade. Zorra leaning tower of opera? I have no idea what you are on about the cake looks grand!

  14. Even though you had troubles in the beginning, your finished cake looks great!
    I think it was a good idea to saturate the cake with pure liquer, the syrup with flavour was not as flavourful. Good thinking! I will try that next time.

  15. Great job Zorra! Too bad some of the parts did not work out quite as you hoped. I hope you all enjoyed the taste of it!

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