½ cup sugar
¾ cup water
3 tablespoons Chambord (black raspberry liquor)
Joconde sponge (cake)
3 egg whites, at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup almond flour (Bob's Red Mill brand can be found in the baking aisle)
1 cup powdered sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup all purpose flour, sifted
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup heavy cream
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
16 tablespoons butter (2 sticks), cubed and softened
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
70 to 80 raspberries
½ cup seedless raspberry jam, warmed until smooth
Soaking syrup: Place sugar and water in small pan. Heat gently, stirring frequently, until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, and simmer 4 to 5 minutes until liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat, add liquor, stir and allow to cool to room temperature.
Joconde sponge (cake): Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease and line a 9X13-inch pan or baking sheet with sides with parchment.
Whisk egg whites in bowl, or mixer, until stiff peaks form when whisk is removed from the bowl. Add granulated sugar one tablespoon at a time, whisking between each addition to make a glossy meringue. If using mixer, carefully remove meringue from bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside. Wash mixer bowl.
Combine almond flour and powdered sugar in mixer bowl; add whole eggs. Whisk together with mixer 3 to 5 minutes, or until doubled in volume. Fold in flour, and then gently fold in meringue, in three separate batches. Pour melted butter down the side of the bowl and fold until evenly incorporated.
Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and spread evenly with spatula. Bake 5 to 7 minutes until pale, golden-brown and springy to the touch. While cake is baking, place a sheet of parchment on top of cooling rack.
Turn baked cake out onto parchment lined cooling rack. Remove lining paper and leave to cool completely.
Ganache: Pour cream into a small saucepan and heat until just bubbling. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and glossy. Pour into bowl and set aside.
Pastry Cream: Place egg yolks in bowl of electric mixer with whisk attached. In a pan over gently heat, dissolve sugar in three tablespoons of water; boil until candy thermometer registers 225 degrees. With mixer running, slowly pour syrup into egg yolks. Continue whisking until mixture is thick and mousse-like. Add butter, a little at a time, whisking continuously and finally add vanilla extract.
To Assemble: Slice cooled sponge in half lengthwise, so you have two, 4½- by 9-inch pieces. Now, with a serrated knife, slice each piece in half vertically, so you are left with four, 4½- by 9-inch pieces.
Build cake in the following order:
Sponge/ Brush with ¼ syrup/ Spread with 1/3 pastry cream/ Sponge/ Brush with ¼ syrup/ Spread with all ganache
Sponge/ Brush with ¼ syrup/ Spread with 1/3 pastry cream/ Sponge/ Brush with remaining syrup/ Spread with remaining pastry cream
Arrange raspberries in rows atop cake and brush with melted jam to glaze. Refrigerate the opera cake for two hours to set the layers and make it easier to trim. Trim the edges using a sharp knife to reveal the layers.