This Opera Cake is Mary's interpretation of the signature challenge in the French Week episode of Season 2 of The Great British Baking Show. It is explained in further detail by Mary in Season 2 Masterclass: Part 4.
Prep time: 30 Minutes
Cook time: 2+ Hours
Yield: 8 servings
- For the kirsch syrup
- 100g (3½fl oz caster sugar
- 3 tbsp kirsch
- For the joconde sponge
- 3 free-range eggs whites
- 15g (½oz) caster sugar
- 100g (3½oz) ground almonds
- 100g (3½oz) icing sugar
- 3 free-range eggs
- 30g (1oz) plain four, sifted
- 30g (1oz) unsalted butter, melted
- For the chocolate ganache
- 100ml (3½fl oz) double cream
- 100ml (3½fl oz) dark chocolate, 36 per cent cocoa solids, broken into small pieces
- For the crème au beurre
- 3 free-range egg yolks
- 75g (2½oz) caster sugar
- 225g (8oz) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- 2 tsp vanilla paste
- To decorate
- 40 small raspberries
- 200g (7oz) seedless raspberry jam, sieved
- For the kirsch syrup, tip the sugar into a small pan. Pour over 200ml (7fl oz) water and cook over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until the syrup has reduced by half. Remove from the heat, add the kirsch, stir and leave to cool completely.
- For the joconde sponge, heat the oven to 425F. Grease and line a 33x23cm (13x9in) Swiss roll tin with baking parchment. Whisk the egg whites in a bowl until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Add the caster sugar, one teaspoon at a time, whisking between each addition to make a glossy meringue. Cover with cling film and set aside.
- Tip the ground almonds and icing sugar into the bowl of a free-standing food mixer and add the whole eggs. Whisk together for 3-5 minutes, or until doubled in volume. Fold in the flour, and then gently fold in the meringue in three separate batches. Pour the melted butter down the side of the bowl and fold in, until incorporated. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface with a palette knife. Bake for 5-7 minutes until pale, golden-brown and springy to touch.
- Place a sheet of baking parchment over a cooling rack and turn the cake out onto it. Peel off the baking parchment from the base of the cake and leave to cool completely.
- For the chocolate ganache, pour the cream into a small pan and heat until just bubbling. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and glossy. Pour into a bowl and leave to set.
- For the crème au beurre, place the egg yolks in the bowl of a food mixer with the whisk attached. In a pan over a gentle heat, dissolve the sugar in three tablespoons of water and then boil it steadily until the syrup reaches 225F on a sugar thermometer. With the food mixer running, slowly pour the syrup over the egg yolks. Continue whisking until the mixture is thick and mousse-like. Add the butter, a little at a time, whisking continuously and finally add the vanilla paste.
- To assemble, slice the cooled sponge horizontally so you have two 33x23cm (13x9in) sponges. Cut each of the sponges in half vertically, so that you have four sponges.
- Place one of the sponges on a cake board and brush with one-quarter of the kirsch syrup. Spread over one-third of the crème au beurre. Top with another sponge and brush with one-quarter of the kirsch syrup. Spread over the chocolate ganache.
- Top with a third sponge and brush with another one-quarter of the kirsch syrup. Spread over another third of the crème au beurre and top with the final sponge. Brush with the remaining kirsch syrup and spread with the remaining crème au beurre.
- Arrange the raspberries over the top in rows and brush over the melted jam to glaze. Refrigerate the opera cake for two hours to set the layers and make it easier to trim. Trim the edges using a sharp knife to reveal the layers.
Tips/TechniquesNote: This recipe contains U.K. measurements and may require conversions to U.S. measurements. It has also not been professionally tested.