Opera Cake

It’s time again for Daring baker’s challenge. I joined daring baker’s group in Jan 2008. I had to miss the last two challenges because of my India trip. According to rules of the group, we can’t miss more than 2 in a row. So I had to do this challenge if I wanted to stay in the group :) and here I am.

This moth’s challenge is Opéra cake – hosted by Lis, Ivonne, Fran and Shea. Their explanation of the cake is as follows:

Opéra cake’ is a cake that is made up (usually) of five components: a joconde (a cake layer), a syrup (to wet the joconde), a buttercream (to fill some of the layers), a ganache or mousse (to top the final cake layer) and a glaze (to cover the final layer of cake or of ganache/mousse).

Traditionally, a joconde is flavoured with darker flavours such as chocolate or coffee. But in honour of the season (spring in our neck of the woods) and as part of our decision to tie our posts in with the LiveSTRONG theme, we are making Opéra Cakes that are light in both colour and flavour.

This means NO CHOCOLATE, COFFEE OR COCOA. But it does mean vanilla, coconut, lemon, almond or whatever other light flavours you can think of. It means NO DARK COLOURS when decorating your cake. But it does mean lots of white, cream, ivory, yellow, light blue, light pink, light green or whatever other light colours strike your fancy.

When I read the challenge, I was all hooked to it. I love those layered cakes and I wanted to learn baking one on my own. I had no idea how someone could get such uniform thin layers. I thought it was challenging. Soon I realized I didn’t have any of the ingredients/baking pans required. Anyway, I decided to give it a try.

First hurdle was “jelly roll pans”. No clue, what they were. I googled and saw some pictures of it. Then went to every supermarket I know here and started searching for them. Looks like I was having my “brain dead” days. I should have read about them instead of just looking at the pictures. After searching for 2 weekends, I gave another search in google, by then a small bulb in my head had started blinking indicating those pans look a lot similar to baking sheets. So I searched again “what are jelly roll pans” and I got the answer here.

Oh well, I was happy because I had a baking sheet with 1 inch depth. But we needed two and in 12½ x 15½-inch size. I used my newly acquired measuring tape to measure the one I had. It was 11½ x 17½-inch size. I didn’t want to buy one more baking sheet and used the one I already had. So cake layers came out thinner than needed. Anyway…

Then other daring bakers started showing the glimpse of their beautiful creations. I knew for sure that I cannot make half decent one. So instead of waiting till the last moment, I decided to make it on a Saturday. I had many grand plans for my cake. But I ran out of patience pretty soon, so I didn’t do any of the decorations that I had thought of initially.

My white chocolate ganache got messed up, or thats what I thought and threw the whole batch. Then I realized I was out of chocolate, so I had to run to the store. Somehow I could not get the buttercream in right consistency. I used whatever I had. It was way too runny even after refrigerating for some time. So the layers came out too thin. I still haven’t completely understood the difference between Ganache and Glaze. In my case, both of them almost turn out the same.

Finally I decided to decorate the cake with few mango pieces. The cake was very very tasty. Only problem was it was bit too sweet for our taste buds. It was more like an ice cream. But still, I definitely want to make it again sometime (will try to reduce the sugar). I would also love to try this cake with coffee and dark chocolate. I wish I had put few more mango pieces in between layers, because these pieces gave really nice flavor and texture to the cake.

Since the proportion was too big, I halved the quantity except for the buttercream. I used the same quantity as in the recipe for buttercream. Click here for the recipe.

Blanched and peeled almonds

Ground almonds (almond meal)

Egg whites beaten till they are stiff

Cake batter ready to go in oven

Baked cake. After removing it from the sheet, I cut it into 3 equal horizontal pieces

Melted chocolate with cream for ganache

First cake layer

Buttercream spread on top. Keep 4 thin strips of paper towel on all sides of cake. When all the decoration is done, pull out the strips. This helps in getting clean cake base and avoids the mess at the bottom of cake.

Second layer

Third and final layer

Cake, in it’s final avatar (It was very thin, so was hard to click a picture)


Check out the vegan version (without eggs and dairy products) here.

58 Comments for “Opera Cake”



hi ,

looks really yummy. is there a way i can mke this cake without eggs, as we donot take eggs. great job! well done.


Wow..m hooked on to this one..truly a beauty Shilpa..
(Pls chk after few hours on my new post! Some more appreciation from me awaits to b honored by u!! :D)



Loved the way you have explained step by step. I have a big rectangular cake tin, shall try with that. I have never tried any cake with layers or icing. Liked the way you have cut those mango hearts.


Hai ,

first thanks for your beautiful comment about my blog thank you so much wow shilpa what a cake my mouth is full of water ha what to do i can not eat because iam in abudhabi. that is anice idea for layers thanks.


wow, the color reminds me of Pista, The mango hearts are so sweet. This was my first challenge, I was terrified but it came out ok and we loved the cake and did not find it too sweet.


First of all, ur selection of tht shade of green is just too good. It looks so appealing right away with the little mango pieces on top too. I think your did a great job with the cake..Looks lovely..


I don’t know, I think your opera cake is quite lovely. I also used the larger sheet pan and got thinner layers… but mine are nowhere near as uniform as yours. Great job!


Absolutely beautiful….despite all of your usual self-criticisms! :-) I don’t have any friends here who can make cakes like you: keep up the good work with this intricate, edible craft!



Hey Shilpa,
Cake looks wonderful.. loved the blue frosting and mango pieces on them. Though you said you lost patience.. it does not reflect in the cake :)



Hi shilpa,
I am ver curious to see your photograph. why not post one if you do not mind? My weight has gone up just reading your recipies.


You certainly rose to the challenge. As long as it tasted good, that’s all that matters in the end. I’m sure it will be better next time.
My glaze is the same colour. I didn’t make the ganache, too scared to.:)


Wonderful step-by-step photgraphs. I am amazed to see the eg whites whipped so nicely. Mine never turn to this cloud like consistency. Excellent looking cake and would have tasted great too :)



Wow shilpa…the first picture of cake looks fabulous…the color is so pleasing to eyes! Lovely..keep up the good job :-)


Hi shilpa,

To me your cake looks awesome!!!!!wow all u gurls do a grt job on daring bakers challenge….keep it up!!!!

Best regards,



Hi shilpa,
Very interesting & feels yummy… will try it soon & let u know…ohhh i have to wait till mon to try it..weekend is busy…



Wow-what a lovely cake – and how did you get that lovely light turquiose color?

Shilpa: Chitra, I mixed food colors in the buttercream.



I love what you are doing keep it up. Please make me your friend to teach me on cake and decorating tips and latest recipes I hope am noe asking too much, thanks a lot.

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hi.. this is not the opera cake something looking like novelty pastry… i am the pastry chef …. change the name of the cake

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