This is what I made for my dad’s birthday in December (yes I know it’s already end of March now). There is actually nothing new about this cake but a combination of different things I’ve made before. Apart from a cake layer, the almond sponge cake could also be used as a cake wrapper. For detailed recipes, please read about my blog posts Joconde Imprime with Salted Caramel, Coffee and Chocolate Entremet, Joconde Imprime with Dark Chocolate Mousse and Strawberry Yogurt Cheesecake Entremet, Joconde Imprime with Coconut-Mango and Purple Yam Entremet, Biscuit Joconde Imprime with Strawberry White Chocolate Mousse and Raspberry Gelée Entremet. My foolproof way of making Swiss meringue buttercream with fresh egg whites is here.
Opera Cake 歌劇院蛋糕
Makes a 5.5” square cake
For the Almond Sponge Cake (for 11” square pan)
60 g almond flour
45 g icing sugar
20 g cake and pastry flour
2-1/2 large eggs
3 large egg whites
10 g granulated sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
20 g unsalted butter, melted
Notes: The eggs I use are 50 – 55 g each without shells.
For the Chocolate Ganache
50 g dark couverture chocolate
50 g whipping cream
10 g unsalted butter, softened
For the Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream
2 tsp meringue powder
2 Tbsp water
25 g granulated sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
a pinch of salt
85 g unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder (dissolved into 1/4 tsp of hot water)
For the Espresso Syrup
1 tsp instant espresso powder
60 g hot water
40 g light corn syrup
For the Chocolate Coating
80 g couverture chocolate
20 g grapeseed oil
無鹽牛油 (溶化) 20克
無鹽牛油 (室溫軟化) 10克
For the Almond Sponge Cake 杏仁海綿蛋糕
In a mixing bowl, beat almond flour, icing sugar and whole eggs with a hand mixer until pale and thickened. Fold in sifted flour followed by the melted butter. In another impeccably clean bowl, whip egg whites with a hand mixer until soft peaks. Add sugar and beat until firm (but not stiff) peaks form. Fold into the egg mixture gently.
Pour mixture into a parchment paper lined square cake pan then smooth top. Bake in a 325°F/160°C preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the cake springs back to the touch. Remove from oven and transfer cake to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Chocolate Ganache 朱古力夾層
Heat cream in the microwave to almost a boil. Place chopped chocolate in the hot cream and let sit for 2 minutes before stirring. Mix until the chocolate is melted. Stir in softened butter until well incorporated. Let cool.
For the Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream 特濃咖啡瑞士蛋白奶油霜
Place meringue powder and water in an impeccably clean mixing bowl. Stir to combine then set aside for 5 minutes. Add sugar and salt to the mixing bowl and stir well. Set bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk constantly until sugar has completely dissolved (the temperature of an instant-read thermometer would read about 140°F/ 60°C). Remove from heat then whip mixture with an electric mixer until it forms glossy and firm peaks.
把蛋白霜粉和水放在無油無水的鋼盆內拌勻， 靜置五分鐘後加入糖和鹽拌勻，小鍋內加水煮至微滾，將鋼盆放在小鍋上，開小火隔水用蒸氣加熱至糖溶(大約140°F/ 60°C)，離火後用電動打蛋器打發成挺身和有光澤的蛋白霜備用。
Place butter in a separate mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until fluffy. Add meringue into the bowl of butter in three additions, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl with a spatula if needed. Add vanilla bean paste and espresso mixture and beat with low speed until blended.
For the Espresso Syrup 咖啡糖漿
In a bowl stir together the espresso powder, hot water and light corn syrup until the espresso powder is dissolved. Cool to room temperature until use.
For the Chocolate Coating 朱古力淋面
Warm chocolate and oil in a bowl over a pot of simmering water or in the microwave until chocolate is melted. Stir with a spatula until smooth. Let cool to room termperature.
For the Assembly 組合
Wrap the bottom of the pastry ring with plastic food wrap. Divide sponge cake into 4 equal sections (only 3 pieces are needed). Spread a thin layer of chocolate coating onto the smooth side of a cake layer. Chill for 5 minutes until set.
Remove cake layer from the fridge and place, chocolate side down, into the pastry ring. Brush cake layer with espresso syrup. Spread a layer of buttercream evenly over the top and smooth with an offset spatula.
Cover with another cake layer and press firmly to level the top. Brush on espresso syrup. Spread chocolate ganache evenly on top then smooth with an offset spatula.
Cover with the last cake layer and press firmly to level the top. Brush on espresso syrup. Spread buttercream evenly over the top and smooth with an offset spatula. Chill cake for 30 minutes or until the buttercream has hardened.
Remove cake from the fridge and pour on lukewarm chocolate coating. Tap cake on the kitchen counter several times to level the top, popping any bubbles if necessary. Refrigerate the cake overnight in order to develop flavor.
Unmold cake by warming the sides of the cake ring with a hair dryer. Trim off the sides with a warm serrated knife and decorate cake as needed. Let cake sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.
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