Opera Gateau recipe by Jessica Humphreys, Damson at MediaCity

PUBLISHED: 14:00 07 April 2015

Opera Gateau

Opera Gateau


Try your own hand at creating Jessica Humphrey’s prize-winning Opera Gateau. You will need some small metal rectangular moulds to complete this recipe.

Commis Pastry Chef Jessica Humphreys at Damson RestaurantCommis Pastry Chef Jessica Humphreys at Damson Restaurant


For the almond dacquoise:

6 egg whites

2tbsp caster sugar

222g ground almonds

156g sifted icing sugar

6 whole eggs

75g plain flour

3tbsp melted butter

For the espresso syrup:

8tbsp water

75g caster sugar 1.5 tbsp instant espresso

For the dark chocolate ganache:

300g dark 70% chocolate, cut into small pieces

150ml double cream

60g unsalted butter

Vanilla pod

For the coffee buttercream:

200g unsalted butter, softened

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp instant coffee, mixed with 1tbsp hot water

200g caster sugar

30g water

½ tsp vanilla extract

For the Amarula custard:

290ml milk

1.5 tsp Amarula cream liquor

2 egg yolks

1tbsp caster sugar


For the almond dacquoise:

Line two 15” by 12” trays with parchment and brush paper with butter. Beat egg whites until foamy, add caster sugar gradually. Whisk until glossy with stiff peaks.

In a separate bowl, beat the ground almonds, icing sugar and whole eggs until light and fluffy. Gently fold the flour into this batter.

Gentle stir ¼ of the almond butter into the meringue. Fold the rest in, along with the melted butter. Divide between two tins and bake at 175 degrees for five minutes.

Once baked place upside down and parchment paper. When cool use the rectangle moulds to cut the sponge, you will need four layers.

For the espresso syrup:

Bring all ingredients to the boil and leave to cool. Brush onto the dacquoise sponge.

For the dark chocolate ganache:

Boil the cream in a heavy based sauce pan. Gradually pour the cream over the chocolate. Whisk together until it has emulsified and is shiny

Whisk in the softened butter. Cool over ice until the mixture has the required consistency.

For the coffee buttercream:

Boil the sugar and water in a heavy based pan to 121 degrees. Whisk the egg and egg yolk in a mixer then slowly pour on the hot sugar syrup whilst whisking.

Once the mixture is fluffy allow to cool slightly and then add the softened butter and vanilla. Then stir in the coffee.

For the Amarula custard:

Bring the milk to the boil. In a large bowl mix together the eggs and sugar.

Pour the hot milk over the eggs whisking at the same time. When combined pour the mixture back into the pan.

Stir over a low heat until the mixture thickens and coat the back of a spoon. When done stir in the Amarula.

How to assemble

100g melted chocolate

Piping bag

Brush a thin layer of melted chocolate on one side of each sponge. Let it set.

Place the first piece of sponge at the bottom of the mould with the chocolate on the bottom and spread a thin layer of coffee syrup.

Pipe/spread the coffee butter cream evenly on top of the sponge then place the second piece of sponge on top of that with the chocolate facing down. Again, spread a thin layer of coffee syrup.

For this layer pipe/spread the chocolate ganache evenly across the layer of sponge. Place another piece of sponge on top.

Repeat step two to three for the final layer. However, instead of spreading coffee syrup on top of the sponge, spread a think layer of ganache and a thin layer of melted chocolate.

If you’re feeling brave, pipe the word Opera on top. Serve with Amarula custard.

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