Opera cake with hazelnut praline ice cream

Opera cake with hazelnut praline ice cream

This recipe for a decadent hazelnut version of the classic French opera cake filled with rich hazelnut praline buttercream and chocolate ganache. It's a show-stopping and elegant dish, finished off with a rocher of rich homemade ice cream.
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  1. Step 1

    Warm the milk, cream, trimoline, milk powder and glucose powder to 50°C. Add in the stabiliser and bring to a simmer
  2. Step 2

    Whisk a little of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk. Slowly pour the rest of the mixture onto the egg yolk, whisking constantly. Transfer everything back to the pot and cook, whisking constantly, until it reaches 82°C
  3. Step 3

    Blend in the hazelnut praline and then chill completely in the fridge. Once cool, churn in an ice cream machine. Transfer to the freezer to set
  4. Step 4

    For the cocoa nib tuile, heat up the sugar, milk, glucose and butter to 100°C, stirring constantly. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cocoa nibs and cocoa powder
  5. Step 5

    Line an oven tray with parchment paper and pour the tuile batter onto the tray - it should be about 0.5 cm thick
  6. Step 6

    Allow the tuile to cool and then freeze it
  7. Step 7

    Preheat the oven to 160°C
  8. Step 8

    Sieve together all of the dry ingredients for the sour cream sponge
  9. Step 9

    Use an electric whisk to cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk the eggs into the butter and sugar mixture, little by little
  10. Step 10

    Once the eggs are incorporated, add the flour mixture and the sour cream in alternating spoonfuls, about a third of each at a time.
  11. Step 11

    Grease and line the three 15 cm square trays. Divide the cake batter between the three trays equally, spreading it out to the edges
  12. Step 12

    Bake the cake for 14 minutes, or until the sponge springs back when pressed lightly. Once cooked, transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely
  13. Step 13

    For the chocolate crémeux, first mix together the cream, sugar, milk and egg yolk. Warm the cream mixture in a bain-marie until it reaches 82°C, then remove from the heat
  14. Step 14

    Whisk the chocolate into the warm cream until smooth, then set aside to cool
  15. Step 15

    For the hazelnut buttercream, first whisk together the egg white and sugar. Warm the mixture in a bain-marie to 55°C. You will need to whisk it constantly, and be careful that the bottom of the bowl doesn't get too hot or the egg whites might cook a little and become grainy
  16. Step 16

    Take the egg whites and sugar off the heat, and whisk until it cools down to room temperature and forms stiff peaks
  17. Step 17

    If using a stand mixer, switch to the paddle attachment. Add the butter to the meringue, piece by piece, while it's running. Once all the butter is incorporated, beat in the praline and season with salt to taste and set aside
  18. Step 18

    Use the 12 cm square pastry frame to cut out each sponge. Place the frame on a lined tray and add the first layer of sponge cake. Brush the sponge with coffee liqueur
  19. Step 19

    Add 200g crémeux and spread it out over the sponge. Add in another layer of cake and then brush it with coffee liqueur
  20. Step 20

    Add 300g of the hazelnut buttercream onto the second sponge layer and top it with the final piece of sponge cake
  21. Step 21

    Brush the final layer with more coffee liqueur and then top it with 40g of crémeux. Place in the fridge and allow to set, and transfer the rest of the crémeux to a piping bag
  22. Step 22

    Preheat the oven to 170°C
  23. Step 23

    Transfer the frozen tuile to a silpat mat, removing the parchment paper. Cook in the oven for 5–7 minutes, or until the mixture stops bubbling
  24. Step 24

    Remove from the oven but don't turn off the oven. Allow to cool slightly, then cut out into 4cm discs
  25. Step 25

    Lightly toast the hazelnuts in the oven until golden brown, then cut them all in half except for three or four
  26. Step 26

    Remove the mould from the set opera cake (lightly blow torching the outside of the mould can help release it) and cut into 6 × 3 cm wide portions
  27. Step 27

    Place a tuile on top of each piece of opera cake, pipe some crémeux on one half, and microplane the whole toasted hazelnuts on top of the crémeux. Scatter a few hazelnut halves and cocoa nibs on top of the cake. Place a rocher of ice cream on top of the tuile next to the crémeux, and sprinkle with more cocoa nibs