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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chocolate Opera Cake

Yesterday was my boy's 15th birthday.  A handsome, well-mannered, shy, responsible teenage boy any parents could ask for! Made this Opera Cake for him since he loves any cake I bake.  Took me 3 hours to make this cake but definitely worth it especially if it's for someone you love with all your heart.

We bought him the beginners guitar set for his birthday present and he was elated since he's picking up playing the guitar.  He also received his expensive 'Steven Gerard's' adidas football boots from his aunts & uncles.  Being a die-hard fan in football and an avid Liverpool supporter and also in his school's football team, he's more than happy in getting this wonderful present. To top it all, he received lots of angpows from more aunts & uncles and his godparents as well.  Last night he told me 'Mom, this is my best birthday ever!'.  Yes my son, have a blast birthday and enjoy just being 15!  Love you lots!

This recipe is from William Sonoma cook book.  No adjustments needed to the recipe.  It's perfect.  Not too sweet and it's spongy soft.  The espresso buttercream is so creamy, flavored with espresso and kahlua..simply irresistible.

Chocolate Opera Cake
4 large eggs
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup blanched almonds
1 1/4 cups icing sugar
5 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1. Pre heat oven to 180d C. Butter 2 9-inch cake pans, line bottom with parchment paper.
2. In large bowl, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar.  Using electric mixer, beat on medium speed until whites begin to thicken.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form. slowly add the granulated sugar and continue to beat until stiff, shiny peaks form.
3. Using a food processor, process the almonds and 1/2 cup of the icing sugar until the nuts are finely ground. In a large bow, combine the ground almond mixture, eggs and the remaining 3/4 cup icing sugar.
4. Using a wire whisk, beat vigorously until the mixture is light and thick, about 5 mins. Whisk in the vanilla, then whisk in the flour.
5. Using rubber spatula, fold in the beaten egg white mixture until incorporated. Fold in the melted butter.
6. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 25 mins or until cake is done.  Cool on wire rack and split each cake into 2 (horizontally).  You will have 4 layers of cake.

1. Using a pastry brush, coat one layer heavily with the espresso syrup. Using an icing spatula, spread a thin layer of espresso buttercream over the syrup. Repeat the process with 2 more cake layers.
2. Place the remaining cake layer on top and brush the top and sides of the entire cake with the syrup. Using a clean spatula, spread a thick layer of chocolate glaze over the top of the cake. Frost the sides of the cake with remaining buttercream.  Cool in refrigerator for up to 1 day.

 Espresso-flavored Cake Syrup:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
Juice of 1/2 lemon, strained
2 tsp instant espresso powder and 1 tbsp Kahlua or brandy

1. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil.
2. As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and espresso and kahlua.  Let cool before using.

Espresso Buttercream:
4 large eggs yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp instant epresso powder dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
1 tbsp Kahlua (optional)

1. With a wire whisk, stir the egg yolks gently in the bowl of a stand mixer or another deep bowl.  Set aside.
2. In a small heave saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar and water and bring to boil.
3. Cover and allow to boil for 1 min. (The steam created in the pan will wash the sugar crystals down the pan sides). Uncover and continue to boil until the syrup reaches soft-ball stage or 115dC on a candy thermometer, about 5 mins.  (To test without a thermometer, scoop up a few drops fo the syrup with a wooden spoon and immerse the spoon in a glass of ice water. When you trap the drops between your fingertips, you should be able to form them into a soft, pliable ball).
4. Once syrup is ready, begin beating the yolks with a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment set on medium speed.  While beating continuously, slowly pour the hot syrup onto the yolks. Be careful not to burn yourself.
5. Beat until all of the syrup is incorporated then continue to beat until cool and thick.
6. Beat the butter into the egg mixture until smooth and satiny.  if mixture looks curdeled and the bowl feels cold, warm it over hot water and beat the mixture again until it looks shiny and smooth.
7. Beat in the espresso and Kahlua, if using.
(Makes 2 cups, enough to frost a 9-inch cake.

Chocolate Glaze:
375g semsweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
2 tbsp corn syrup

1. Place the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in the top of a double boiler placed over (not touching) barely simmering water and heat until the chocolate and butter melt, stirring often.
2. Remove from heat and pour the glaze through a sieve. Let cool before using.
(Makes 1 1/2 cups)

 Brush syrup on cake

 Frost with Espresso Flavored Buttercream

Top with Chocolate Glaze

Super-duper-licious lip smacking yummy!

Happy 15th Birthday, Bry!

Family with lil cuz!

Today is the Chap Goh Mei, the 15th day of the Lunar Calendar which is the last day of the Chinese New Year.  Tonight all the single maidens and bachelors will be throwing oranges into the river or sea in the hope of finding their life partner.  Tradition has it that when the singles throw the oranges and gets pick by the opposite sex, then that is the one for him or her.  Although in this modern world many young ones don't believe in this tradition but they still participate in this orange throwing for the fun and the spirit of Chap Goh Mei.

Happy Chap Goh Mei to all and good luck if you are throwing oranges tonight.  Make sure to write your h/p no. on it.. you might get lucky! If you are looking for a rich partner, go throw into the pond in the golf course!! lol


  1. Hello, just stumbled onto your page! Happy birthday to your son & the cake looks absolutely delicious! I recently just started a youtube Korean food channel, EasyKoreanFood, where you can learn how to make fast & easy Korean food! It would mean the world to me if you could check it out because I'm just starting out! Thanks!

  2. Hi Jenn, Happy birthday to you son. He's looking good, wish him many happy return and all the best in the coming years. ;)
    Your opera cake look very luscious and well baked. You're a good baker, keep up the good work. Always enjoy visiting your blog. Love the yummy cream and chocolate.

    Happy chap goh meh to you and your family. I'm not eligible to throw oranges but I'll be eating oranges tonight. LOL

    Have a nice weekend, regards.

  3. Hi,
    Happy birthday to your son. "Wishing him many many happy returns of the day"
    You made a perfect birthday cake. lovely cake..looks so cute, soft and moist.

  4. Happy birth day to your son. My best wishes to him.
    Wonderful cake. nice clicks.

  5. Happy birthday to your son! I love the cake and the pictures family, what nice family!!!

  6. oh my! this cake looks... brillant! It is excellent!
    Happy Brithday to your son! He must be very happy of this present :]

  7. Happy Birthday... great cake you ve made!

  8. Happy Birthday, Bryan! You are lucky that he is such a big boy now... and he is lucky too having you as his mum... I can see a lot of love and dedications in Bryan's birthday cake. Very nice!

    Btw, every time I visited your blog, I can't find your comment icon and can't leave a comment... Good that this time is ok for me to leave this comment :D


  9. Yo, Bry! Happy Birthday! Muakkkk, muakkkk!! :)
    Beautiful and delicious looking cake! Very perfectly baked with love! Still got some-more huh?
    And fantastic birthday presents! Will be expecting a full guitar performance when we see you? hehehe! If you are too shy, then we'll just close our eyes but keep our ears open!!
    May you be blessed with all good things in life! With love from all!

  10. Happy birthday to Bryan! What a lovely cake, those layers are beautifully done.

  11. Belated Happy Birthday Bryan! Such a pretty cake...

  12. What a glorious cake. It is no wonder he loved it. I suspect you are having a "they grow to fast moment". Not to worry, the best years are still to come :-). I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  13. belated birthday wishes to your son...your cake looks so good and delicious...
    first time visiting your site....
    New follower to your blog..
    If you get a chance, visit my blog..

  14. This chocolate opera cake looks really good, especially with that espresso-flavoured buttercream! Happy belated birthday to Bryan!!

  15. Gorgeous family and the cake looks amazing! Happy Birthday to you son!

  16. looks amazing! perfect for such occasion like B-Day

  17. Thank you my dear friends, for all you well wishes!

  18. Complimenti per la torta bellissima e golosa!!! Un abbraccio

  19. Happy Birthday to your boy that is one awesome looking cake

  20. lovely family photo! now i can see your face much clearer! LOL! good work on the opera cake, i always think making an opera cake is quite challenging and the cake looks fabulous! wishing bryan all the best! i wonder if people really pick up those oranges in the river, always see pics of people throwing oranges but not the ones that show picking up the orange. So you sudah pergi BBW aftermath sales?? bet you had!!

  21. Happy belated birthday Byran & he's handsome boy too. Love the family pictures & I can feel lots of love in this post! Love it & your Opera cake looks divine & yummilicious. A perfect birthday cake made with lots of LOVE! BTW is that you in purple? You look so young , more like Byran's sister!! No kidding :)


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