Opera cake

Opera cake (French: Gâteau opéra) is a French cake. It is made with layers of almond sponge cake (known as Joconde in French) soaked in coffee syrup, layered with ganache and coffee (or Grand Marnier) French buttercream, and covered in a chocolate glaze. Its namesake originates from the layers resembling the levels of an opera house.

Opera cake (Gâteau Opéra)
Place of originFrance
Created byCyriaque Gavillon
Main ingredientsSponge cake, coffee syrup, ganache, coffee buttercream, chocolate glaze

According to Larousse Gastronomique, "Opéra gâteau is an elaborate almond sponge cake with a coffee and chocolate filling and icing."[1] Traditionally, the word Opera is also written on top of the chocolate glaze. Edible gold leaf is sometimes added to the presentation.[2]


An advertisement in Le Gaulois in 1899 offers a "gâteau opéra".[3]

The cake was popularized by the French pâtisserie house Dalloyau, but its origin is unclear. Cyriaque Gavillon claimed to have created the cake there in 1955[4][5][6] and that his wife Andrée Gavillon named it after the Opéra Garnier.[5]

Gaston Lenôtre (1920–2009) claimed he invented the dessert in 1960.[7]

See also


  1. Larousse Gastronomique
  2. Greenspan, Dorie. "Opera Cake". The Splendid Table. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  3. "Pâtisserie du Grand-Hôtel, 1 rue Auber. Spécialités : Gâteau Grand-Hôtel, Gâteau Opéra, Plum-cakes. Salon reservé au Five-Oclock Tea". Le Gaulois. 18 March 1899. p. 3.
  4. Grand Larousse Gastronomique. Larousse. 2007.
  5. "L'Opéra" (in French). Dalloyau. Retrieved 9 April 2016. L'Opéra. Le fameux gâteau, composé de trois feuilles de biscuit joconde, garni de crème au beurre café et de ganache au chocolat, est une invention de Cyriaque Gavillon, le grand-père de Christelle Bernardé, actuelle coprésidente de la maison Dalloyau. L'histoire veut que cet entremets ait été baptisé en hommage aux entrechats d'une danseuse étoile et de ses petits rats qui venaient à l'heure du thé s'égailler dans la boutique du faubourg Saint-Honoré. [The Opera cake. The famous cake, consisting of three sheets of joconde biscuit, topped with butter cream coffee and chocolate ganache, is an invention of Cyriaque Gavillon, the grandfather of Christelle Bernardé, current co-chair of Dalloyau. The story goes that the pudding was named in homage to the capers of a star dancer and her young rats who came to tea is the talk of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré boutique.]
  6. MC de La Roche (4 March 2012). "Dalloyau au Moulin-Rouge, la fête des sens — Des petits rats de l'Opéra aux Doriss girls" [Dalloyau at the Moulin Rouge, a festival of the senses — From little rats of the Opéra to the Doriss girls]. Madame Figaro. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  7. Jean-Claude Ribaut (10 January 2009). "Gaston Lenôtre". Le Monde. p. 21. Gaston Lenôtre avait revendiqué l'invention du gâteau « opéra » (biscuit et ganache au chocolat parfumé au café). Rendons à César... Le père de l'« opéra » est Cyriaque Gavillon de la maison Dalloyau. [Gaston Lenôtre has laid claim to the invention of the 'opera' cake (biscuit and ganache flavoured with chocolate coffee). Render unto Caesar ... The father of the 'opera' is Cyriaque Gavillon of maison Dalloyau. ]

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