Cuban Opera Cake
4 oz Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped (not unsweetened)
2 Cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter, room temperature
3-1/2 teaspoons Vanilla
4 large Eggs
1 Cup Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Creme de Cacao
1/2 Cup Coffee, lukewarm
Preheat oven to 325*. Grease, flour, and line with parchment paper 2 9-inch cake pans.
Melt Chocolate in double boiler over simmering water. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.
In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
In mixer, cream Brown Sugar, Butter, and Vanilla. Add Eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in melted Chocolate. Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with Sour Cream in 2 additions. Gradually beat in Creme de Cacao and Coffee. Divide batter between pans and bake until done, about 35 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on cooling racks 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto cardboard rounds or tart pan bottoms; cool completely. (At this stage I freeze the cakes and assemble them later.)
1 teaspoon Unflavored Gelatin, softened in 1 Tablespoon Warm Water for 10 minutes
1/2 Cup Half-and-Half
4 Tablespoons Sugar, divided
1 Tablespoon Instant Espresso Powder or Instant Coffee
4 large Egg Yolks
1 Cup Whipping Cream, chilled
1 teaspoon Vanilla
In a small dish, soften the Gelatin in the Warm Water; set aside.
Bring the Half-and-Half, 2 Tablespoons Sugar, and Espresso to simmer in small saucepan over medium-high heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk the Egg Yolks and remaining 2 Tablespoons Sugar to blend. Gradually whisk the hot Half-and-Half mixture into the Egg mixture. Return to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thermometer registers 160* F, about 2 minutes. Pour into a large bowl; add softened Gelatin and stir until dissolved. Using an electric mixer, beat until cool, about 10 minutes.
Using clean dry beaters, beat Whipping Cream and Vanilla until stiff peaks form. Fold the Whipped Cream into the Coffee mixture. Chill in refrigerator until ready to assemble.
12 oz Milk Chocolate, chopped
3/4 Cup Sugar
6 large Egg Yolks
3 Tablespoons Water
3 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
9 Tablespoons Butter, room temperature, divided
Melt Chocolate in top of double boiler, transfer to small bowl and set aside. Whisk Sugar, Egg Yolks, Water, and Corn Syrup in double boiler to blend. Add 4 Tablespoons Butter. Set over simmering water; whisk constantly until mixture reaches 170* F, about 4 minutes. Transfer to mixer bowl; beat until completely cool and thick, about 6 minutes. Gradually beat in remaining Butter, about 1 Tablespoon at a time. Beat in melted Chocolate.
To Assemble Cake:
Cut each cake layer in half horizontally. Place 1 layer in bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Cover with half of the Chocolate Buttercream. Top with second cake layer, pressing firmly to ensure that the Buttercream is completely covering the first layer (some Buttercream may ooze out between the layers). Top with all of the Coffee Mousse, adding the third cake layer and repeating pressing firmly. Spread with the remaining Buttercream and top with the final cake layer. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
1-1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
12 oz Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped (not unsweetened)
Stir Sugar and Water together in a medium saucepan; bring to boil. Whisk in Cocoa; remove from heat. Add Chocolate; whisk until smooth. Let stand until cool but pourable, about 2 hours.
Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake, release pan. Scrape excess Buttercream and Mousse fro sides of cake. Transfer cake on pan bottom to rack set over baking sheet with sides. Pour glaze over cake, allowing glaze to drip down edges onto baking sheet (use spatula to spread glaze over any uncovered spots). Transfer cake to refrigerator to set Chocolate Glaze, about 2 hours. Transfer the excess glaze which ran off the cake back to pan, removing any crumbs which may have fallen in. Rewarm the glaze and pour over chilled cake again, recoating the cake for a smooth finish. Allow glaze to set again.
Keep refrigerated. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Serves 16.
I love to make this cake and had the pleasure of making it for a Tea my sister-in-law was giving. I wish I had a picture of a slice of it, but I don't. Because of the amount of time it takes to make this cake (it is a minimum two-day process), this is strictly a special-occasion cake. I hope you enjoy it, too!
Adapted from Bon Appetit, September 2003