Mexican Opera Cake Recipe

Recipe Category: Mexican

Mexican Opera Cake Recipe

Ingredients

Recipe for: Opereta Mexicana

Serves 30

Almond Cakes

  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1? cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 7 egg whites

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch processed
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Crunchy Layer

  • 3 cups hazelnut-chocolate spread like Nutella (you’ll need the large 26.5-ounce jar)
  • 3 cups plain crispy rice cereal

Ganache

  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tequila (preferably reposado or anejo)
  • buttercream
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter (6 ounces), cut into pieces
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground canela
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream

Tequila Syrup

  • 2 cups tequila (preferably reposado or anejo)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar

Method

TO MAKE THE ALMOND CAKES

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F
  2. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets and line with parchment paper
  3. Heavily butter the paper and dust with flour, tapping out the excess
  4. Whisk together the almond flour, ½ cup of the granulated sugar, the cake flour, and the baking powder in a bowl
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the water, oil, and egg yolks
  6. Beat the egg whites with a mixer on high speed until starting to thicken but not yet forming soft peaks, gradually add the remaining 1 cup sugar, and continue to beat until medium peaks form
  7. Add the flour mixture to the yolk mixture and blend well
  8. Fold in the egg whites
  9. Spread on the prepared baking sheets as evenly as possible with an offset spatula and bake until they spring back to the touch, 8 to 12 minutes
  10. Let cool
  11. Loosen the edges of one of the cakes with a paring knife
  12. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on top and carefully but rapidly flip over
  13. Peel the parchment paper away carefully and flip over again
  14. Repeat with the second cake

TO MAKE THE CHOCOLATE CAKE, preheat the oven to 350°F

  1. Lightly grease a baking sheet and line with parchment paper
  2. Heavily butter the paper and dust with flour, tapping out the excess
  3. Whisk together the flour and cocoa powder in a bowl and then sift
  4. Combine the eggs and granulated sugar in a metal bowl and set over a pot of simmering water (the water shouldn’t touch the bowl); whisk until warm to the touch, 3 to 5 minutes
  5. Remove from the heat and continue beating (a stand mixer works best for this) until tripled in volume and a ribbon forms when you lift the beaters, 5 to 8 minutes
  6. In a separate bowl, combine the melted butter and vanilla and keep warm
  7. Place the bowl with the egg mixture on a kitchen towel to prevent it from sliding and add the cocoa mixture in thirds, alternating with the butter mixture, folding with a whisk or spatula until just combined
  8. Spread on the prepared baking sheet as evenly as possible with an offset spatula and bake until it springs back to the touch, 5 to 7 minutes
  9. Let cool
  10. Loosen the edges of the cake with a paring knife
  11. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on top and carefully but rapidly flip over
  12. Peel the parchment paper away carefully and flip over again
  13. If you are making the opereta ahead of time, put each layer of cake between two pieces of parchment paper
  14. You can stack them on top of one another, but keep the layers on a tray so they are flat
  15. Wrap well in plastic wrap

TO MAKE THE CRUNCHY LAYER, open the Nutella jar, remove the aluminum cover, and close it again but not too tightly

  1. Fill a small pot halfway with water and bring to a simmer over low heat
  2. Place the jar in the water and heat until melted
  3. Pour the Nutella into a measuring cup to reach 3 cups
  4. Put the Nutella in a bowl, add the rice cereal, and stir until well combined
  5. Lightly grease the back of a baking sheet and line with parchment paper
  6. Pour the Nutella-covered cereal in the center, put another piece of parchment paper on top, and spread evenly to all edges with a rolling pin (enjoy any excess that may peek over the edges)
  7. Freeze until set, 30 to 40 minutes

TO MAKE THE GANACHE, scald the heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat

  1. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour the heavy cream over; let stand for 3 minutes
  2. Whisk until smooth, then add the tequila
  3. If making ahead, let it come to room temperature or reheat it slightly in the microwave until it is a spreadable consistency

TO MAKE THE BUTTERCREAM, combine the butter and confectioner’s sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment

  1. Beat on medium-low speed until blended
  2. Increase the speed to medium and continue to beat, scraping the sides as necessary, for 3 minutes
  3. Add the canela and 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream and whip for 1 to 2 minutes longer
  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon heavy cream, if needed, to make a spreadable consistency
  5. If making ahead, let it come to room temperature or reheat it slightly in the microwave until it is a spreadable consistency

TO MAKE THE TEQUILA SYRUP, combine the tequila and granulated sugar in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, being careful so that the tequila doesn’t catch fire (if it does, simply cover it immediately with a lid)

  1. If making ahead, reheat it on the stove or in a microwave before using
  2. To assemble the cake, turn a baking sheet upside down or use a cutting board as a cake stand
  3. Pour one-third of the warm tequila syrup over one of the almond cakes and let it soak in
  4. Spread with half of the warm ganache and allow to cool slightly (you can refrigerate it if you want to speed the process)
  5. Place another almond cake on top and moisten with another third of the syrup
  6. Let it soak in, and then spread with half of the buttercream
  7. Take the crunchy layer out of the freezer and carefully peel away the paper
  8. Flip it onto the cake and carefully peel away the remaining paper
  9. If you have a blowtorch, lightly warm the crunchy layer so the cake adheres to it (otherwise, you can rub your hands on top or be patient and wait)
  10. When the crunchy layer has softened, place the chocolate cake on top and moisten with the remaining one-third syrup
  11. Place a sheet of parchment or wax paper on top of the cake, place 2 full baking sheets on top, and weight with a couple of cutting boards (you want to press the layers together slightly, but not use too much weight or the cake will collapse)
  12. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour
  13. Remove from the refrigerator; remove the weights, pans, and parchment paper, place a baking sheet upside down on top; and carefully but rapidly flip over
  14. Spread with the remaining half of the buttercream and freeze until set, 10 to 15 minutes
  15. Warm the remaining half of the ganache in a water bath or the microwave and spread on top rapidly because it will harden
  16. Using a ruler, measure as many ½ by 3½-inch pieces as you can (you should have around 30 when you cut the edges so that all pieces are straight)
  17. Cut, dipping a sharp knife into very hot water and quickly drying with a towel between each slice (this will make nice clean edges)

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