Last Christmas, 2010, I introduced Sydney to a white opéra cake, with a crème bavaroise filling; she became an admirer from the first bite. I can still see her eyes wide and the glow of complete palate satisfaction. She normally prefers bittersweet chocolate over the ivory; however there was something about the ivory opéra cake that grabbed her attention. L’opéra gâteau blanc (white opera cake) is her favorite cake; she was hoping to be able to prepare, bake, and enjoy one for this Christmas, 2011. This year, however was DF’s turn to choose the Christmas dessert, he chose a Bûche de Nöel. I promised we would bake a very special opera cake in the New Year, this past weekend we baked a L’Opera Gâteau together.
Gâteau Opéra à la Fraise à la Crème Bavaroise:
- 6-large egg whites, at room temperature
- 30grams/ 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 225grams/ 2-cups ground blanched almonds or hazelnut
- 225grams/17/8-cups icing sugar, sifted
- 6 -whole large eggs
- 78 grams/ ¾cup cake flour
- 28-grams/ 2-Tablespoons clarified beurre noisette
Prepare your mise en place.
Preheat the oven to 218ºC/ 425◦F. Line two ½ sheet jelly roll pans with a silpat or parchment paper and brush with melted butter or use two flexipans.If using either flexipan or silpat do not brush with melted butter.
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan.
Brown and clarify the butter.
Sift the almond flour and the icing sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer.
In the standing mixer on medium-low speed, beat 1 egg at a time into the bowl making sure each egg is beaten for a couple minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides. It is imperative that each egg is added and beaten for a couple of minutes.
Once all six eggs are incorporated continue to beat,on medium speed for 4 minutes insuring that as much air as possible has been incorporated. The mixture should be pale yellow in color, fall back on itself in ribbons, and quadruple in volume. Set the batter aside, or if you do not have another mixer bowl scrape the batter into a different bowl.
In a very clean bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites and egg white powder on medium speed to aerate. When the egg whites begin to form soft peaks slowly add the granulated sugar and whisk until the peaks are stiff and glossy.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond mixture, in three batches. Sift the flour over the batter and fold quickly, but carefully, as not to deflate the batter.
Take about ½ cup of the batter and fold into the melted butter, this method keeps the butter from falling to the bottom of the bowl, and then fold the melted butter back into the batter (making sure it is completely incorporated into the batter).
Carefully pour the batter equally into the prepared pans, smoothing it into an even layer. DO NOT press down or the batter will loose volume and the cake will be tough and have craters.
Bake the cake layers until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch, about 5 to 8 minutes (every oven is different so keep a close eye on it). Remove from the oven and invert the cake onto a cool sheet pan, peel off the parchment paper and cool completely. If using a flexipan wait a few minutes and invert the pan on a cool jelly roll pan.
Since L’Opéra Cake is tedious the filling and assembly will be in tomorrow’s post.