Mary Berry's Opera Cake
I cannot take credit for this delicious recipe, but I know it is worth sharing! It is worth the time and love that it takes to make. Although each step is pretty simple, it definitely takes some time. This is unlike any other cake I have ever made but I will make it again, for sure! THIS RECIPE WAS CONVERTED FROM UK METRICS and TRIED AND TRUE.
3½ oz fine grain baking sugar
3 TBSP Kirsch (cherry brandy) (You can use brandy instead)
Jaconde Sponge cake:
3 egg whites
1/2 oz fine grain baking sugar
3-1/2 oz finely ground almonds
3-1/2 oz. confectioners sugar
1 oz. flour, sifted
1 oz. unsalted butter, melted
3-1/2 oz. heavy cream
4 oz dark chocolate (60%) broken into small pieces
Crème au Beurre:
3 egg yolks
2-1/2 oz fine grain baking sugar
8 oz. unsalted butter, cubed and softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
40 small raspberries
7 oz. Polaner All Fruit Seedless Raspberry Fruit Spread
1 TBSP water
For the kirsch syrup, Pour the sugar into a small pan. Add 7 oz. water and cook over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until the syrup has reduced by half. Remove from the heat, add the kirsch/brandy, stir and leave to cool completely.
For the jaconde cake, heat the oven to 425F. Grease and line a 13"x9" jelly roll pan with baking parchment. (if you don't have a jelly roll pan, use a 13" x 9" glass baking dish lined on bottom and up the sides with a sheet of parchment. Spray the dish so the parchment sticks and cut the corners so it fits up the sides smooth.)
Whisk the egg whites in a stand alone mixer until stiff peaks form (medium high speed for about 7-10 minutes). Add the fine baking sugar, one teaspoon at a time, whisking between each addition to make a glossy meringue. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Pour the ground almonds and confectioners' sugar into the bowl of a stand alone mixer and add the whole eggs. Whisk together for 3-5 minutes, or until thick and frothy. Fold in the flour, and then gently fold in 1/3 of the meringue, then add another third and fold it in, then fold in the last 1/3 of the meringue. Pour the melted butter down the side of the bowl and gently fold it in, until all mixed in. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface with a rubber spatula or palette knife. Bake for 5-7 minutes until light golden-brown and springy when touched.
Place a sheet of baking parchment over a cooling rack, turn it upside down over the cake so the parchment is on the cake and the cooling rack is on top and quickly and carefully flip it over. Remove the pan, peel the parchment and let the cake cool on the cooling rack. Let is cool completely.
To make the chocolate ganache, pour the cream into a small pan and bring to a quick boil. As soon as it begins to boil, remove it from the heat and add the chocolate pieces. Stir it all up until all the chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and glossy. Pour into a bowl and let stand to cool.
To make the crème au beurre, pour the egg yolks in the bowl of a stand alone mixer with the whisk attachment. Turn mixer on medium speed and let it go.
In a saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in three tablespoons of water and then boil it until the syrup reaches 225F on a candy thermometer.
While beating the egg yolks in the stand alone mixer, slowly pour the hot sugar syrup over the egg yolks. Continue whisking until the mixture is thick and frothy. Add the butter, a little at a time, keeping the mixer on a medium/high speed and finally add the vanilla extract. You should have a thick, creamy substance.
To assemble, slice the 13" x 9" cooled cake the entire length of the cake horizontally so you have two 13"x9" cakes. Cut each of the sponges in half vertically, so that you have four cakes total. You should have four (13" x 4.5") cakes.
Place one of the cakes on a long plate and brush with one-quarter of the kirsch/ brandy syrup. Spread about 1/3 of the crème au beurre across the soaked cake layer.
Top with the second cake and brush one-quarter of the kirsch/brandy syrup. Spread the chocolate ganache over the kirsch/brandy syrup soaked cake.
Top with the third cake and brush with another one-quarter of the kirsch/brandy syrup. Spread over another third of the crème au beurre.
Top with the final (4th) cake.
Brush with the remaining kirsch/brandy syrup and spread the remaining crème au beurre over the kirsch/brandy syrup soaked cake. NOTE: The cake will look pretty rough, but rest assured it won't stay that way. After it is refrigerated and set for 2 hours, you will slice off the raw edges and it will look beautiful!
In a small saucepan, add Polaner Allfruit and water and heat while whisking until you have a liquidly glaze. Remove from heat and let cool about 15 minutes.
Arrange the raspberries over the top. Leave about 1/8" open on all edges because you will be cutting the edges off. I did 4 rows of 10 raspberries. Brush over the melted jam to glaze and fill in the gaps between the raspberries. Refrigerate the opera cake for two hours to set the layers. After 2 hours, trim the edges using a sharp, serrated knife to reveal the layers.