Cardamom & Coffee Cake with fresh Raspberries & Chocolate Ganache

Cardamom & Coffee Cake with fresh Raspberries & Chocolate Ganache

This is one of those cakes where I was like, hmm, what more can I add? It was for the combined birthday of the Frenchman’s parents (they were born three days apart!). His mom loves Opera cake and coffee in desserts in general, so that was my starting point.

Opera cake is a classic French pastry with layers of genoise sponge cake, coffee buttercream, chocolate ganache, and more coffee in the form of a coffee syrup. But how to make it fresh? A warm spice note from the addition of cardamom in the cake and a fresh pop with raspberries. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

Cardamom & Coffee Cake with fresh raspberries and chocolate ganache | MOLLYJWILK

Cardamom & Coffee Cake with fresh raspberries and chocolate ganache

A delicious cake made with a spiced sponge cake and coffee buttercream, then garnished with fresh raspberries and chocolate ganache.


For the Cardamom cake:

  • 400 g all purpose flour (in France, T45 or T55)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 335 g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 380 g granulated sugar
  • 50 g brown sugar
  • 235 ml whole milk
  • 8 egg whites
  • 55 g granulated sugar

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 75 g chocolate (bittersweet 60-70%)
  • 75 ml heavy cream

Coffee Buttercream:

  • 150 g egg whites (5)
  • 300 g granulated sugar
  • 250 g unsalted butter (room temp!) (might need more)
  • 1/2-1 tbsp espresso powder or coffee extract (Trablit) to taste

Carton of fresh raspberries (about 15 or so)


Start by Making the Cardamom Cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F/175C. Grease and line three 8″ cake pans.

  2. In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, the flour, salt, baking powder, and cardamom. 

  3. Beat the butter in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment with the sugars. 

  4. Alternate adding the milk and the dry ingredients. Starting and ending with the dry, mixing just until it comes together.

  5. Whip the egg whites separately, adding the 55g of granulated sugar gradually after the whites start to foam. Beat to stiff peak.

  6. Fold the egg whites into the batter with a spatula until no streaks remaining.

  7. Divide the batter between three 8″ round cake pans and bake for 30-40 minutes until the top springs bake when touched.

  8. Set aside to cool completely.

Make the Chocolate Ganache:

  1. Place the chocolate in a bowl, large enough to have enough space to double in quantity.

  2. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until steaming and just starting to boil.

  3. Pour over the chocolate. Wait 30 seconds or so, and then start whisking the two together.

  4. Set aside at room temperature to cool and thicken.

Whip up the Coffee Buttercream:

  1. In a small saucepan, add the sugar and enough water to wet the sugar completely. (It will look like wet sand). Heat until the mixture is 238F/114C. **While this is on the heat, start beating the egg whites when the mixture hits 190F/88C.

  2. Immediately take off the heat. 

  3. Make sure your egg whites are at stiff peak, then slowly pour in the hot syrup with the electric mixer on low speed. 

  4. Whip on medium to high speed until the sides of the mixing bowl are barely warm. 

  5. Meanwhile, cut the butter into cubes. It's very important that the butter is very soft. When pressed, your finger should easily leave a mark. (I leave my butter out for several hours or overnight)

  6. Turn the mixer to low-medium and start adding the butter, piece by piece, waiting for each to be incorporated before adding the next. This will take almost 10 minutes (more or less).

  7. The buttercream will look liquid and then start to come together as you add more butter. If it breaks (curdles), heat the bowl with a torch (easiest but not everyone has one), or by taking a wet tea towel that has been run under the hottest water you can get and then wrung out, and wrapped around the bowl. Another tactic is to take a small portion, melt it in the microwave, and then add it back in whipping to combine.

  8. Add a half tablespoon of espresso powder or extract (Trablit). Taste, and then add more as you like.


  1. Cut off the tops of the cakes if needed to even out the layers.

  2. Divide the buttercream in two. One part will be for the layers, the other for the top and sides. 

  3. Divide the buttercream that is for the layers in half. This can be a ballpark, but lets you know about how much you need to put in each.

  4. Start with the chocolate ganache spreading half on top of the first layer, then topping this with the buttercream, and fresh raspberries that have been cut in half. 

  5. Top with the next layer and repeat.

  6. Use the remaining icing to frost the top and sides. 

  7. This cake should be kept in a cool spot or refrigerated. It’s best at room temperature, so take it out of the fridge about an hour before serving, this will allow you to display it for all your guests to see as well!


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