Passionfruit Opera Cake

Upon seeing the recipe choice this month, I was ecstatic! I had seen Opera cakes in the bakery at the store, but I have never tasted one. Not only was I going to make one, I was going to have to offer my own creative touch by making it lighter in color and flavor.

I put a lot of thought to flavor combinations and decided upon passionfruit to blend with the other flavors. Oh, and I am so glad I did! This was truly a cake to conquer as I hadn’t really done anything with exposed layers and certainly had not attempted a 5 part cake. This was my chance to show myself I could!

For the cake, I did switch Brazil nuts for the almonds simply for a factor of cost. I had to grind them to a powder. I also forgot to add the melted butter when I poured out part of the batter. I scooped it back into the bowl and mixed it in before filling the pan again! The first cake was a tad short but the second turned out perfect. The flipping and re-flipping? Not-so-perfect…but since I was cutting this way down to size, I wasn’t too worried.

The syrup and buttercream both had passionfruit in them. I tried a new technique to separate the pulp from the seeds and I am sold. I have made passionfruit juice several times since then. My cake was rather small in size but I felt like there should have been a bit more buttercream. (Okay, I did eat a couple spoonfuls, but, really only a couple!)

The mousse came together beautifully. Some said it was a bit more like ganache, but for me it was very mousse like. I loved it in the cake, but I still have some leftover in the fridge. I think on its own, it was just too sweet.

I wanted to adopt a look I see in so many Peruvian cakes so I used the passionfruit gel toppings for the glaze and absolutely loved it! I tried to pour it on and it seemed to flow right off. So, I decided to catch it with a tin foil trap. It worked okay, but I can see the benefit to having a form of some sort.

All in all, this might have been my favorite Daring Bakers challenge. Maybe it was the taste? Maybe the fact that I could personalize it? Maybe I was just ready for something that would truly challenge me? Needless to say, this is definitely a cake I would make again. And maybe I will…with it’s traditional flavors!

Opéra Cake
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets and
Tish Boyle and Timothy Moriarty’s Chocolate Passion

Passionfruit Syrup



  1. Stir all the syrup ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.


The syrup can be made up to 1 week in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator.

Passionfruit Buttercream


  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 200 grams of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons of passionfruit puree


  1. Combine the sugar, water and vanilla bean seeds or extract in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 225F (107C) on a candy or instant-read thermometer (look for threadlike, mostly syrupy). Remove the syrup from the heat.
  2. While the syrup is heating, begin whisking the egg and egg yolk at high speed in the bowl of your mixer using the whisk attachment. Whisk them until they are pale and foamy.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low speed and begin slowly (very slowly) pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl being very careful not to splatter the syrup into the path of the whisk attachment. Some of the syrup will spin onto the sides of the bowl but don’t worry about this and don’t try to stir it into the mixture as it will harden!
  4. Raise the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the eggs are thick and satiny and the mixture is cool to the touch (about 5 minutes or so).
  5. With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding in two-tablespoon chunks of softened butter. When all the butter has been incorporated, raise the mixer speed to high and beat until the buttercream is thick and shiny.
  6. At this point add in your flavoring and beat for an additional minute or so.
  7. Refrigerate the buttercream, stirring it often, until it’s set enough (firm enough) to spread when topped with a layer of cake (about 20 minutes).


The buttercream can be made up to 1 month in advance and packed in an airtight container. If made way in advance, you can freeze the buttercream. Alternatively you can refrigerate it for up to 4 days after making it. To use the buttercream simply bring it to room temperature and then beat it briefly to restore its consistency.



  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (225 grams) ground Brazil nuts
  • 2 cups of icing sugar, sifted
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 50 grams of unsalted butter, melted and cooled


  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Line two 12½ x 15½- inch (31 x 39-cm) jelly-roll pans with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray. (I only had one, so I baked twice.)
  2. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy.
  3. In another bowl beat the Brazil nuts, icing sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and voluminous, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the flour is just combined (be very careful not to overmix here!!!).
  4. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond mixture and then fold in the melted butter. Divide the batter between the pans and spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of each pan.
  5. Bake the cake layers until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch. This could take anywhere from 5 to 9 minutes (mine took almost 15 minutes) depending on your oven.
  6. Put the pans on a heatproof counter and run a sharp knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Cover each with a sheet of parchment or wax paper, turn the pans over, and unmold.
  7. Carefully peel away the parchment, then turn the parchment over and use it to cover the cakes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.


The joconde can be made up to 1 day in advance and kept wrapped at room temperature.

White Chocolate Mousse


  • 200 grams of white chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cup of heavy cream (35% cream), divided


  1. Melt the white chocolate and the 1/4 cup of heavy cream in a double boiler. Stir to ensure that it’s smooth and that the chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate to form a mousse.
  3. If it’s too thin, refrigerate it for a bit until it’s spreadable. If you’re not going to use it right away, refrigerate until you’re ready to use.


The mousse can be made ahead and refrigerated until you’re ready to use it.

Passionfruit Glaze


  • 4 passionfruit
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered gelatin, hydrated in a tablespoon of water; then heated until dissolved


  1. Cut the passionfruit in half and remove all of the pulp (this equaled almost 1 cup). Heat the pulp in a small saucepan over low heat. Strain & reserve 1/3 of the seeds.
  2. In a bowl, mix the strained pulp, the reserved seeds and the sugar. Add the prepared gelatin and mix well.
  3. Remove cake from the fridge and spread the glaze over the layer of buttercream. (I did make a tin foil “mold” since my glaze was way too runny.


It’s best to make the glaze right when you’re ready to finish the cake.

(Note: The finished cake should be served slightly chilled. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.)

1. Line a baking sheet (I used a cutting board with a handle!) with parchment or wax paper. Working with one sheet of cake at a time, cut and trim each sheet so that you have three rectangles (11×6 inches to fit my serving plate). Divide syrup in three parts. Divide buttercream in two or three parts.

2. Place one piece of cake on the baking sheet and moisten it gently with the flavored syrup using a pastry brush. Spread one half of the buttercream over this layer.

3. Top another piece of cake. (I refrigerated up to this point for over an hour.) Moisten with the flavored syrup using a pastry brush. Spread the mousse on the cake and then top with the third piece of joconde. (Again, refrigerated over an hour.) Use the remaining syrup using a pastry brush to wet the joconde and then refrigerate until very firm (at least half an hour).

4. Spread the remaining buttercream on the top of the last layer of the joconde. Refrigerate for 12 hours to give the ganache/mousse the opportunity to firm up. (Here, I left it only about an hour again.)

5. Make the glaze and after it has cooled, pour/spread it over the top of the chilled cake. Refrigerate the cake again to set the glaze.

6. Serve the cake slightly chilled.

Passionfruit Opera Cake is being served up for the May Daring Bakers Challenge and is dedicated to Barbara of The Opera Cake was chosen by this months hostesses, Ivonne from Cream Puffs in Venice, Lis from La Mia Cucina, Fran from Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie and Shea from Whiskful. Please visit the Daring Bakers Blogroll to see what other Opera Cakes are being served up today!

Gretchen Noelle

My love of food was cultivated early on by my family but has come alive while living in Peru. During the 12 years of living in Lima, Peru, I have also enjoyed numerous trips to other areas of the country. Here on Provecho Peru you will find Peruvian recipes in English, American favorites prepared overseas, news about Peruvian Cuisine and interesting tidbits about life in Peru.

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108 Responses

  1. Hannah says:

    That flavor combination really sounds amazing- I’ve been dying to get my hands on passion fruit for as long as I’ve known they existed, but I can never find them or they’re too expensive. I guess I’ll just have to drool over your pictures with envy instead. 😉

  2. glamah16 says:

    Beautiful .I love the Passion fruit gelee on top. So light and delicate. I’m curious how the Brazillian Nut tastes.

  3. Dolores says:

    I’m with Hannah… I’m intrigued by your flavor combinations and I *love* the way your passion fruit glaze bring beautiful bright color to your cake. Great job!

  4. Rachel says:

    love the glaze….lovely

  5. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    Fantastic Gretchen! Great flavor and beautiful. I don’t know what the deal was with that butter, it seems many of us almost missed putting that in the cake.The passion fruit really is gorgeous!

  6. Zita says:

    Wow…the glaze looks stunning, a summer opera cake, beautifull 🙂

  7. Kim says:

    I think your flavor choices are just wonderful. The color of the glaze is so vibrant. Beautiful Opera!

  8. steph- whisk/spoon says:

    oh, passionfruit is one of my favorite flavors! looks beautiful with that glaze on top!

  9. The Baker & The Curry Maker says:

    How gorgeous! You did a great job, well done. I loved this challenge too!

  10. The Baker & The Curry Maker says:

    How gorgeous! You did a great job, well done. I loved this challenge too!

  11. rainbowbrown says:

    Oh my gosh. That sounds so good. Passionfruit? Heck yeah.

  12. Viv says:

    Wow. Your cake looks wonderful! I especially like the glaze with those black little spots!

  13. Peabody says:

    Turned out beautiful.

  14. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Gorgeous! I love passionfruit! Your glaze looks wonderful…Cheers,Rosa

  15. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Gorgeous! I love passionfruit! Your glaze looks wonderful…Cheers,Rosa

  16. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Gorgeous! I love passionfruit! Your glaze looks wonderful…Cheers,Rosa

  17. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Gorgeous! I love passionfruit! Your glaze looks wonderful…Cheers,Rosa

  18. HoneyB says:

    What a beautiful cake!

  19. Anne says:

    Yum, that sounds delicious!

  20. Suzana says:

    Awesome passionfruit glaze!! It’s perfect for a summer lunch dessert. Just added this version to my list. 😉

  21. Aparna says:

    Very interesting flavours and beautiful cake with an unusaul glaze.

  22. Clumbsy Cookie says:

    Your cake is beautiful, the glaze gives it so much personality!

  23. Aran says:

    Great job Gretchen… I’m glad it turned out and you were happy with the result.

  24. maybelles parents says:

    great job; love your tropical flavor. it looks professional.

  25. Passionate baker...& beyond says:

    STUNNING,LUSCIOUS & FULL OF FLAVOUR! Fatastic challenge;can see why it was your best! It’s an out & out feast for the eyes!

  26. Passionate baker...& beyond says:

    STUNNING,LUSCIOUS & FULL OF FLAVOUR! Fatastic challenge;can see why it was your best! It’s an out & out feast for the eyes!

  27. Lina says:

    wow! your cake looks so fluffy and perfect! great job!!

  28. Dana McCauley says:

    Passionfruit – brilliant! i went with orange and raspberry.

  29. Jeanine says:

    Wow! Your cake looks perfect! I nearly liked the screen with your first pic! 😉 Great job!

  30. Bellini Valli says:

    I love the simplicity of the passionfruit. What an inspired combination. The seeds themselves are the perfect foile for this DB challenge. Great job Gretchen!!!!!!!

  31. Di says:

    Your cake looks beautiful. I love the way the glaze turned out. And I had to laugh at the idea of you putting the batter back in the bowl to add the missing ingredient–sounds like something I would do. =)

  32. Lori says:

    I love, love, love passionfruit! THe cake looks amazing. I wish I could get a bite of each of these cakes. But then that would be a lot of bites wouldnt it?

  33. Engineer Baker says:

    I love the look of the passionfruit glaze – beautiful!

  34. Dayna says:

    Stunning! Closest thing to perfect. Great flavour choice – delicious.

  35. ostwestwind says:

    The passion fruit glaze has such a beautiful colour, it fits perfectly to the rest of that beautiful cake.Ulrike from Küchenlatein

  36. Y says:

    I like the passionfruit gel on top. Great for presentation.

  37. Baking Soda says:

    Gretchen, what a fantastic combination! That top layer is just perfect and so appetizing!

  38. familiabencomo says:

    Amazing! Passion fruit?!?!? How clever! Great job. Tres belle!xoxox Amy

  39. Bumblebutton says:

    What a lovely flavor combination, and it sounds so refreshing. Bet that lightened up the richness of this multi-faceted cake. Just beautiful!

  40. Heather says:

    Looks wonderful! Great job!

  41. sarahmarie says:

    stunning. The passion fruit on top makes the whole thing. And your mousse looks so fluffy and inviting!I have not had passion fruit in years. We used to have a vine down our fence. I miss it now!

  42. Jenny says:

    Oooh that’s pretty. Think I might need to get some passion fruit now.

  43. Dianne says:

    Oh wow…That is just stunning!

  44. Susan/Wild Yeast says:

    The glaze is really spectacular and unique. Gorgeous job!

  45. Megan says:

    Your cake is stunning. I love the gel glaze. simple yet elegent.How I would love to get my hands on a slice!

  46. Dana says:

    This sounds so fabulous — I love passionfruit! I also love your method for removing the seeds from the pulped. Bookmarked!

  47. Judy @ No Fear Entertaining says:

    Passionfruit!!! What a wonderful flavor to add to this! Beautiful cake.

  48. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen says:

    Brazil nuts and passionfruit! Sounds like such a tropical and delicious version of opoera cake! I love how beautiful the color is too!

  49. Allergy Mom says:

    The passionfruit is wonderful! I love how you left the seeds, they are perfect. What a beautfiful cake! Libby

  50. Katy says:

    gorgeous and delicious — does it get any better than that? the color is perfect!

  51. Shari says:

    Wow, I absolutely love your passionfruit idea! It’s one of my favorite flavors, and thanks for the tip about how to separate the seeds from the pulp. I’m definitely going to save this in my favorites file and try it soon! I bet the brazil nuts tasted delicious with the passionfruit.Shari@Whisk: a food blog

  52. Maddy says:

    The flavor combo sounds great and I love the way the passion fruit glaze looks on the top- its so shiny! Yum 🙂

  53. giz says:

    Really beautifully done with great flavor. You’ve done this challenge very proud.

  54. sunita says:

    Gretchen, absolutely love your combinations…simply gorgeous 🙂

  55. Christina says:

    Nicely done! The way the passionfruit glaze looks on top is great. Lovely pictures!

  56. pixie says:

    Beautiful cake! In its simplicity, it just stands out! i’m so curious about the passionfruit. It’s very rare that we get it here…

  57. breadchick says:

    Gretchen,This is just so lovely of a cake that even lovely isn’t lovely enough of a word! I just love the orange look of the glaze.

  58. StickyGooeyCreamyChewy says:

    Gretchen, your cake looks just gorgeous! I love the passionfruit gel. It looks so tropical! Great job!

  59. Deborah says:

    The topping is just gorgeous with that passionfruit gel! Great job on this challenge!

  60. Christine says:

    What a beautiful cake! Flavor combination sounds delish!

  61. Medhaa says:

    Nice cake love the combinations and looks so good, It was my first time and was terrified initially, but it came out ok.

  62. Natalie says:

    How beautiful! I am so impressed. I will have to try this flavor combination. It was fun to look at your other challenges too. 🙂

  63. My Sweet & Saucy says:

    Now this is my kind of Opera cake! The passion top is just breath taking!

  64. My Sweet & Saucy says:

    Now this is my kind of Opera cake! The passion top is just breath taking!

  65. Andrea says:

    Oh. My. I love passion fruit and used to drink the juice when I lived in Colombia. I miss it, and it’s so darned expensive to get it fresh this far north, so I must make due with frozen. That cake looks amazing!

  66. marias23 says:

    Oh my! That is so friggin’ gorgeous!!!

  67. Tammy says:

    that looks beautiful!

  68. farida says:

    Your cake looks absolutely adorable! I love the idea of using passion fruit topping! This is creative!

  69. kellypea says:

    This is really fabulous looking and I know delicious! I love passionfruit. The clear glaze is perfect and those seeds….WOW. I’m inspired to do a clear glaze next time. Nice work.

  70. Kevin says:

    That looks great! I really like the passionfruit top!

  71. briannalee says:

    Stunning cake! I love how you used passionfruit! I bet it tasted wonderful too!

  72. jasmine says:

    So very, very pretty. Love the transluscency of the passionfruit glaze.j

  73. marye says:

    the passionfruit looks wonderful..what a great taste combination.

  74. landa says:

    Beautiful cake.

  75. Lesley says:

    That looks simply mouth watering. I love the seeds in the top. So pretty…

  76. Jacque says:

    Ooooh, how pretty is that? It’s flawless and I too love the passionfruit gel on top.

  77. Chris says:

    I am passionate about your passionfruit opera! Ahhhh…..I hear the singing over here. 🙂 Perfect!

  78. one spicy mama says:

    Mmmmm .. that looks absolutely delicious!

  79. Half Baked says:

    Beautiful cake! Your glaze is gorgeous! Love the flavor combo, nice work!!!

  80. jennifer says:

    great job! i love the look of that glaze. amazing!

  81. dobetter says:

    Beautiful. Just beautiful.

  82. emgray says:

    GORGEOUS! I’d love a piece of that!

  83. Meeta says:

    Simply lovely Gretchen!! Passion fruit is such a fantastic flavor idea. I am drooling all over again! Well done!

  84. Mevrouw Cupcake says:

    Yeah, I love the addition of passionfruit!! Thank you so much also for instructions on how to work with it as well. I’ve never used fresh passionfruit, but I’ve been very curious as of late!

  85. zorra says:

    Passionfruit – wonderful idea!

  86. Ilva says:

    I think passionfruit is an excellent choice here! Looks delicious and beautiful!

  87. Tartelette says:

    I love, love, love your Opera! That glaze is just wonderful and your choice of flavor makes me happy happy…I love passion fruit! Brazil nuts are my favorites too. Can you say I would like a slice of this one?!! Glad you enjoyed the challenge so much!

  88. Katie B. says:

    Stunning! What a cool idea to use passion fruit and brazil nuts – and I adore the glaze! Sets your cake apart – great job!

  89. Cookie baker Lynn says:

    Your cake turned out so beautifully! Great job, Daring Baker! I love the look of the passionfruit glaze on top. What a wonderful idea.

  90. ChichaJo says:

    Fabulous job! The passionfruit seeds in the glaze look so pretty! 🙂

  91. chou says:

    Oh, amazing! I love the glaze, and am intrigued by your combinations.

  92. Maggie says:

    The passionfruit glaze looks stunning! It’s such a great idea.

  93. Sweet Tooth says:

    Leisurely talking about passion fruit pulp and cocoa trees as well – I might have to move to Peru ;-).My passion fruit pulp comes frozen by FedEx or at about $3 a piece. Nice cake!I forgot the butter too in the first layer but did not bother to scoop it off again. I added 2/3 to the rest and went for it – cheating?Alexandra

  94. michelle @ TNS says:

    every single one of these opera cakes is my favorite. I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE.

  95. Venus ~ Vi says:

    Oh dear, the passionfruit glaze is to die for!!

  96. gfgastronaut says:

    I am drooling over the passionfruit flavorings…. yum… and how pretty!

  97. Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats says:

    A beautiful Opera Cake! Not surprised you have so many Comments. Passionfruit flavor must have been wonderful – it’s almost impossible to get here on the Eastern Seaboard and I love it.

  98. Jaime says:

    mmmm passionfruit! i love the glaze you used on this. so beautiful

  99. RecipeGirl says:

    What an absolutely excellent idea to use passionfruit. It’s so beautiful! Nice work 🙂

  100. Ruth Elkin says:

    This looks so beautiful with the passionfruit! Sounds delicious

  101. Barbara says:

    Your cake looks beautiful! And that passion fruit glaze is gorgeous!

  102. Kelly-Jane says:

    You’ve done an amazing job on this months challenge! Really well done 🙂

  103. Amy says:

    Brava! This is gorgeous!!

  104. Pam says:

    Love the passion fruit glaze. I bet the flavor combo tasted great. I love that you used fresh passion fruit and let the seeds show through. Good job!!

  105. Claire says:

    Beautiful! I just love the extra that the passion fruit adds to it…so unique.

  106. Lis says:

    Now that’s a passionate Opera! hehe Yes, I know.. Imma dork. :DI love what you did here.. especially the top – it just makes an already gorgeous cake stunning!Beautiful, Gretchen Noelle!!xoxoxox

  107. Ann says:

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  108. Andrea says:

    Jumping on the lovely opera cake bandwagon here. The passionfruit gel on top is so lovely. Wish I though of using a fruit glaze. Oh, well there is always next time…

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