Cuban Opera Cake
This cake can be made a day ahead of time and kept refrigerated. Just allow to stand at room temperature for an hour before serving.
- 4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups light brown sugar (packed)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup crème de cacao
- ½ cup freshly brewed coffee, lukewarm
- 8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup half and half
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso or coffee powder
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin softened in 1 tablespoon water 10 minutes
- 1 cup chilled whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Butter two 9" diameter cake pans with 2" high sides; line bottoms with parchment paper rounds.
- Dust pans with flour; tapping out any excess flour.
- Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring until melted and smooth.
- Remove the top part of the double boiler and allow the mixture to cool until it is lukewarm.
- Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium-sized bowl.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, and vanilla in large bowl.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl.
- Gradually beat in the lukewarm melted chocolate.
- Beat in the dry ingredients using one third of the ingredients at a time alternately with half the sour cream, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
- Gradually beat in the crème de cacao and coffee.
- Divide batter evenly between the two pans and smooth out the tops.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean (about 35 minutes).
- Cool cakes in pans on racks 10 minutes.
- Invert cakes onto 9-inch cardboard rounds or removable tart pan bottoms and allow them to cool completely on racks.
- Melt milk chocolate in top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring until smooth.
- Set the top portion of the double boiler aside to the allow the chocolate to cool.
- Whisk the sugar, egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of water, and the corn syrup in medium-sized metal bowl to blend.
- Add ¼ cup of butter.
- Set the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the mixture reaches 170°F (about 4 minutes).
- Remove the bowl and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture until it is completely cool and thick (about 6 minutes).
- Gradually beat in ½ cup butter a bit at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next bit and stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl.
- Beat in the lukewarm melted chocolate.
- Bring the cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and espresso powder to a simmer in a small saucepan on medium-high heat.
- Whisk egg yolks and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar together in a medium bowl.
- Gradually whisk in the hot cream mixture into yolk mixture.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and stir constantly over medium heat until thermometer registers 160°F (about 2 minutes).
- Pour into a large bowl.
- Add the softened gelatin, stirring until it is completely dissolved.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture until it is cool (about 10 minutes).
- Using clean, dry beaters, beat cream and vanilla in medium bowl until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the whipped cream into the coffee mixture.
- Cut both cake layers horizontally in half.
- Place 1 cake layer in bottom of 9-inch-diameter spring-form pan.
- Cover with ¾ cup the buttercream.
- Place a second cake layer on top of the buttercream layer and cover with mousse.
- Top with a third cake layer.
- Refrigerate 1 hour to allow the mousse to set.
- Remove from the refrigerator and spread ¾ cup of buttercream over third cake layer.
- Top with a fourth cake layer (don't worry, the cake now be taller than the sides of the pan).
- Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Stir sugar and 1 cup water in medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Whisk in the cocoa then remove from heat.
- Add the chocolate and whisk the mixture until it is smooth.
- Let stand until cool but still pourable (about 2 hours).
- Run knife around sides of the pan to loosen the cake, then release pan sides.
- Scrape any excess mousse from sides of cake.
- Transfer cake (still on the spring-form pan bottom) to a rack set over a baking sheet or other shallow pan.
- Pour the glaze over the cake, allowing it to drip down edges onto baking sheet (use spatula to spread glaze over any uncovered spots).
- Refrigerate at least 2 hours to allow glaze to set.