7-Layer Vegan Opera Cake

Making a gluten free and vegan opera cake may sound daunting, but actually, it's not. Understanding how to replace gluten, dairy, and eggs is the key to achieving the same result as the classic recipe.
Vegan opera cake decorated

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A symphony of flavors is playing in my pastry kitchen, and if there’s one dessert that does this concert, it’s the opera cake or, rather, the vegan opera cake. And it’s gluten free too!

Opera cake is a classic French cake with layers of almond sponge called – joconde, a rich coffee buttercream, and a chocolate ganache. These three layers of flavors work together to make up the amazing opera cake.

Making a dairy and gluten free opera cake may sound daunting, but actually, it’s not. We need to understand how to replace gluten, dairy, and eggs so that it tastes like the classic opera cake.

a slice of opera cake

Popular Vegan Recipes


How to make the gluten free and vegan opera cake

Since we are making a wheat-free and vegan opera cake, a gluten free sponge is used as the base. And instead of the greasy buttercream, we will use a whipped coffee ganache.

The layers that made up this vegan opera cake:

  • Joconde Sponge – it’s a sponge cake made with almond flour, vegan meringue, and all-purpose gluten free flour. It’s then baked into half a cm-thick sheet.
  • Chocolate Ganache – is an intense chocolate ganache made with dairy free cream and dark chocolate.
  • Whipped Coffee Ganache – a light and creamy ganache made with vegan white chocolate and coffee.
  • Dark Chocolate Glaze – a simple glaze made with dairy free cream, chocolate and glucose.
the layers of vegan opera cake

Ingredients and substitutes

  • Gluten free flour – an all-purpose flour blend works for the joconde sponge sheet.
  • Dark Chocolate – 70-80% bitter-sweet dark chocolate is best for making ganache.
  • Vegan White Chocolate – Felchlin vegan white chocolate is used in the recipe.
  • Dairy free heavy cream – Alpro Whipping cream is best for making ganache.

Substitution Table


anatomy of opera cake

Step By Step Instructions

STEP 1 – Whipped Coffee Ganache
  • In a mixing bowl, melt the white chocolate. Add the warm espresso and mix until well combined. 
  • Add the cold whipping cream then mix well.
  • Cover with cling film, then set in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
  • Whip until stiff before use.
STEP 2 – Whipped Chocolate Ganache:
  • Quickly boil the whipping cream in a saucepan, then remove it from heat. Pour the hot cream onto the chocolate to melt. Mix well till shiny. 
  •  Add the cold whipping cream, then mix well. Cover with cling film, then set in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
  •  Whip until stiff before use.
STEP 3 – Joconde Sponge
  • Preheat oven to 170°C (338°F). Prepare a flat baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Mix the oat milk and lemon juice, then set aside to thicken.
  • Combine and sieve all dry ingredients.
  • Make the vegan meringue recipe. Adjust the quantity based on what you need.
  • Pour the liquid (oat milk and lemon mixture) to the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter, then mix well until a smooth batter forms.
  • Gently fold the meringue into the joconde batter in two parts. 
  • Spread the batter (1/2 cm/ 0.2 in thick) onto the baking tray, then bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until lightly golden. Let the sponge cool down before cutting.
STEP 4- Chocolate Ganache
  • Heat the whipping cream in a saucepan until it starts to boil. Remove from heat.
  • Pour over the chocolate, then mix using a hand blender until smooth and shiny. Cover and keep in a warm place.
STEP 5 – Cake Assembly
  • Cut three joconde sponge sheets into 24×24 cm (9.5×9.5 in) same size as the square metal mold. If using other mold sizes, cut the sponge sheets according to their shapes. 
  • Place one sponge sheet at the bottom of the mold and brush generously with the coffee syrup (1st layer). 
  • Spread the chocolate ganache evenly over the sponge (2nd layer). Place the second sponge layer moistened with coffee syrup (3rd layer), then spread half of the whipped coffee ganache over it (4th layer). Place the third sponge layer moistened with coffee syrup (5th layer), then spread the remaining whipped coffee ganache over it (6th layer). 
  • Spread the whipped chocolate ganache to finish off the 7th layer. Level the top layer using an offset spatula, then remove excess ganache on the sides. 
  • Freeze for at least 2-3 hours.
STEP 6 – Glazing
  • In a saucepan, boil the whipping cream and glucose. Remove from heat. Pour the hot cream over the dark chocolate. 
  • Mix with the hand blender to remove air bubbles and smoothen the glaze. Rewarm the glaze to about 40°C (105°F) before use.
  • Place the frozen opera cake on a wire rack. Cover the top with a thin layer of warm dark chocolate glaze, then remove the metal cake mold.
  • You may freeze it for 30 minutes to set the glaze before cutting.
STEP 7 – Decoration

Transfer to a serving tray or cake board, then place the chocolate decorations on top.

Chocolate decoration
vegan opera cake serving

7-Layer Vegan Opera Cake

By Bakefree
This gluten free and vegan opera cake uses a joconde sponge as a base. A coffee whipped ganache is used instead of coffee buttercream to make it less greasy and low on sugar.
Note: Use the unit converter if needed. This recipe is measured by weight (metric) for accuracy.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 1 hour
Waiting Time 5 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 12

Equipment

Ingredients
 
 

Joconde Sponge

  • 560 g oat milk barista gluten free
  • 40 g lemon juice
  • 400 g gluten free flour blend
  • 180 g almond flour
  • 30 g baking powder
  • 400 g icing sugar
  • 100 g vegan butter, melted Miyokos preferred
  • 250 g vegan meringue

Whipped Coffee Ganache

  • 200 g vegan white chocolate Pascha is preferred
  • 100 g double espresso or strong coffee
  • 250 g vegan whipping cream, cold Alpro or Silk Double Whip Cream is preferred

Whipped Chocolate Ganache

  • 250 g vegan whipping cream Alpro or Silk Double Whip Cream is preferred
  • 150 g dark chocolate 70-80 % gluten free
  • 200 g vegan whipping cream, cold Alpro or Silk Double Whip Cream is preferred

Coffee Syrup

  • 120 ml water
  • 20 g sugar
  • 20 g instant coffee powder

Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Glaze

  • 130 g dark chocolate 70-80 % Guanaja is preferred
  • 250 g vegan whipping cream Alpro or Silk Double Whip Cream is preferred
  • 60 g glucose

Instructions
 

Whipped Coffee Ganache

  • In a mixing bowl, melt the white chocolate. Add the warm espresso and mix until well combined.
  • Add the cold whipping cream then mix well.
  • Cover with cling film, then set in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
  • Whip until stiff before use.

Whipped Chocolate Ganache

  • Quickly boil the whipping cream in a saucepan, then remove it from heat. Pour the hot cream onto the chocolate to melt. Mix well till shiny. 
  •  Add the cold whipping cream, then mix well. Cover with cling film, then set in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
  •  Whip until stiff before use.

Joconde Sponge

  • Preheat oven to 170°C (338°F). Prepare a flat baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Mix the oat milk and lemon juice, then set aside to thicken.
  • Combine and sieve all dry ingredients.
  • Make the vegan meringue recipe. Adjust the quantity based on what you need.
  • Pour the liquid (oat milk and lemon mixture) to the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter, then mix well until a smooth batter forms.
  • Gently fold the meringue into the joconde batter in two parts.
  • Spread the batter (1/2 cm/ 0.2 in thick) onto the baking tray, then bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until lightly golden. Let the sponge cool down before cutting.

Coffee Syrup

  • In a saucepan, boil water and sugar. Remove from heat, then mix in the coffee powder. Set aside.

Chocolate Ganache

  • Heat the whipping cream in a saucepan until it starts to boil. Remove from heat.
  • Pour over the chocolate, then mix using a hand blender until smooth and shiny. Cover and keep in a warm place.

Cake assembly

  • Cut three joconde sponge sheets into 24×24 cm (9.5×9.5 in) same size as the square metal mold. If using other mold sizes, cut the sponge sheets according to their shapes.
  • Place one sponge sheet at the bottom of the mold and brush generously with the coffee syrup (1st layer).
  • Spread the chocolate ganache evenly over the sponge (2nd layer). Place the second sponge layer moistened with coffee syrup (3rd layer), then spread half of the whipped coffee ganache over it (4th layer). Place the third sponge layer moistened with coffee syrup (5th layer), then spread the remaining whipped coffee ganache over it (6th layer).
  • Spread the whipped chocolate ganache to finish off the 7th layer. Level the top layer using an offset spatula, then remove excess ganache on the sides.
  • Freeze for at least 2-3 hours.

Chocolate Glaze and Glazing

  • In a saucepan, boil the whipping cream and glucose. Remove from heat. Pour the hot cream over the dark chocolate.
  • Mix with the hand blender to remove air bubbles and smoothen the glaze. Rewarm the glaze to about 40°C (105°F) before use.
  • Place the frozen opera cake on a wire rack. Cover the top with a thin layer of warm dark chocolate glaze, then remove the metal cake mold.
  • You may freeze it for 30 minutes to set the glaze before cutting.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • During assembly, freeze the cake for 10 minutes before adding the next layers. Chilling allows the layers to set properly.
  • Add decorations like gold leaf or shaped chocolate decorations.
  • The recipe is long but take your time. Watch the video first and you will finish assembling the cake quickly. It’s easier to follow the video than just reading the whole recipe.
Keyword vegan opera cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

💬 Comments and Ratings

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4 thoughts on “7-Layer Vegan Opera Cake”

  1. 5 stars
    I had the chance to taste this opera cake made by Rommel himself when I arrived in Helsinki! Being vegan myself, I was overjoyed that somebody cooked a pastry I had totally given up on. I was initially apprehensive about the taste of the cream, as before I became vegan I remember that dairy white creams often tasted too rich/fat and heavy to my palate. But astonishingly this did not happened at all with this cake!! The use of a plant-based cream is probably the reason. The sponginess of the base was satistfying and was just what to expect from a top-notch pastry. And as a great amateur of chocolate that I am, I was really delighted by the intensity of the savor!!

    1. I’m glad that you liked it, Samuel. I agree that most of the vegan cream are very high in Hydrogenated fat but as you may noticed on the substitution list, there are plenty of vegan cream that do not contain unhealthy fats. I will continue to make high quality pastries like this Vegan and gluten free opera for people who need them the most😉.

5 from 2 votes

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gluten and dairy free pastry chef

Hello! I bake insanely delicious gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sugar, vegan and nut-free sweets and savory. My neighbors and friends are the tasters.

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