This is the third hors d’oeuvre recipe in our kosher-fied royal wedding canape reception menu. The total menu serves a 40-person reception.Traditional gateau opera (opera cake) is made with butter and cream, which is a kosher clash with the meat hors d’oeuvres in our overall menu. So I developed this parve version with some creative substitutions. The biggest substitution is taking out the coffee-flavored buttercream and the ganache and instead using a parve chocolate mousse flavored with coffee and coffee-flavored liqueur. The mousse comes from Evelyn Rose’s The New Complete International Jewish Cookbook. Traditionalists might say that this version isn’t really gateau opera. They might be right, but as someone who attends weddings, I’m not going to feel bad about upping the chocolate quotient in a reception menu.
Ingredients for Parve Gateau Opera Canapes
Makes approx. 70 1″-square canapes
Almond Sponge Cake
- Vegetable oil cooking spray for pan
- 2 cups finely ground almond flour
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 6 large eggs, plus 6 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons margarine, melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 8 oz. parve semi-sweet chocolate
- 8 large eggs, separated
- 4 teaspoons coffee dissolved in 2 Tablespoons hot water
- 3 Tablespoons Tia Maria of other coffee-flavored liqueur
- 1 Tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
- 6 tablespoons margarine
- 7 oz. fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened, preferably 70 to 71% cacao), coarsely chopped
Instructions for Parve Gateau Opera Canapes
Make Almond Sponge Cake
- Heat oven to 425 degrees. Coat two rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray. Line with parchment; spray again.
- Sift together almond flour and confectioners’ sugar in a mixer bowl. Add whole eggs; beat on medium until light, about 3 minutes. Mix in flour until just incorporated. Transfer batter to a separate bowl.
- Whisk the egg whites on medium-high in a clean mixer bowl. Gradually add granulated sugar, whisking until stiff, glossy peaks form.
- Fold meringue, then butter, into batter with a rubber spatula just until combined. Divide between pans. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely, then remove from pans and peel off parchment. Store, tightly wrapped, up to overnight.
Make Coffee Syrup
- Bring sugar and the water to a boil in a small pan over medium heat, stirring until dissolved.
- Stir in espresso powder.
- Let cool. Refrigerate up to 3 days.
Make Chocolate Mousse
- If you haven’t already separated the eggs, do that now.
- Break up the chocolate and stand in a basin over hot (not boiling) water. Heat gently until melted, then remove from heat (Alternatively, melt uncovered for 1½ on 100 percent power in the microwave).
- Immediately drop in the egg yolks and beat vigorously until the mixture begins to thicken.
- Stir in the coffee and liqueur. Allow to go quite cold.
- Beat the whites until they just hold soft peaks, then beat in the caster sugar.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl containing the egg whites and blend together. Chill.
Make Chocolate Glaze
- Melt margarine and all but 2 tablespoons chopped chocolate in a double boiler or in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth.
- Remove top of double boiler and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons chocolate until smooth, then cool glaze until room temperature but still liquid.
Assemble the Cake
- To assemble, cut cakes exactly in half crosswise into two equal pieces, ending up with four (set one half aside for another use). Place one cake layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a cake board. Gently brush 1/3 of coffee syrup over cake; spread. Using an offset spatula, Spread 1 cup mousse over top. Place another layer on top, brush on 1/3 of the syrup, and spread 1 cup of mousse over top. Add third layer, brush on remaining syrup, and smoothly spread 1 cup mousse over top. Cake can be refrigerated, covered, up to 2 days.
- At least 2 hours before serving, pour glaze over cake; gently spread to completely cover top (don’t worry about sides). Refrigerate until glaze is set, about 1 hour.
- Trim edges, and cut cake into 1-inch squares using a warm serrated knife (dip in hot water after each cut, and quickly wipe dry, to make sure slices are very clean).
Make Ahead Options
- Make mousse up to 4 days ahead.
- Make coffee syrup up to 3 days ahead.
The next canape: Poached Asparagus with Lemon Sauce
- Recipe: Mini Orange Almond Cakes, Dessert Hors D’Oeuvre (Parve, Non-Dairy)
- Hors D’Hoeurves Recipe: Haddock Fishcake with Pea Guacamole (Parve, Vegetarian)
- Recipe: Poached Asparagus with Lemon Sauce for Dipping (Parve, Non-Dairy Canape)