Slideshow: Behind the Scenes: Making Opera Cake With Tiffany MacIsaac, Washington DC

Tiffany MacIsaac
Tiffany MacIsaac
MacIsaac was recently announced as a semi-finalist for the 2013 James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef award for the second year in a row.
Rolling Tuile
Rolling Tuile
One of the adornments of the cake is a couple of shards of a cocoa nib tuile. MacIsaac prepares it ahead of time by rolling out the cocoa nibs into thin sheets and baking them until they obtain a crunchy, cracker like consistency.
Baking Tuile
Baking Tuile
Prepping the cocoa nib tuile.
Shaping the Base
Shaping the Base
Layer #2: Hazelnut Praline
Layer #2: Hazelnut Praline
The second layer adds texture to the cake. It's a hazelnut praline with mixed feuilletine and cocoanibs.
Smoothing the Praline
Smoothing the Praline
Layer #4: White Chocolate Ganache
Layer #4: White Chocolate Ganache
The fourth layer is a white chocolate ganache mousse that complements the rich, dark chocolate of the base layer.
Chocolate Glaze
Chocolate Glaze
Serving as a middle and top layer is a chocolate glaze.
Red Currant Pâtes de Fruits
Red Currant Pâtes de Fruits
Another small touch to the finished dessert are a few circles of red currant pâtes de fruits. They provide a strong, fruity sweetness that plays against the coffee and chocolate.
Crushed Feuilletine and Pâtes de fruits
Crushed Feuilletine and Pâtes de fruits
The crunchy chocolate feuilletine and pâtes de fruits serve as a bed for the espresso ice cream.
Espresso Ice Cream
Espresso Ice Cream
A second shot of coffee flavor to complement the espresso butter cream.
Plating the Tuile
Plating the Tuile
Baked and crispy, a couple of sheets of the cocoa nib tuile are plated along side the Opera cake.
The
The "Opera" Terrine ($10)
The finished product is artful, but minimal. The Opera Terrine has numerous layers, in both the cake and in the flavor profile, of chocolate, coffee, and tart currants. Textures range from dense chocolate cake to creamy ganache and crispy cookies. In both presentation and flavor, the Opera Terrine is subtle, but complex.