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No-Bake Opera Cake [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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When I think of Vienna, my mind always jumps to Opera Cake. A beautiful layer cake with thin alternating delicate layers of chocolate ganache, chocolate-coffee mousse and almond cake. In Vienna they are sold both as whole cakes and as perfect individually wrapped cake slices which highlight the beauty of the cake's many layers. This is a mostly raw version of the beautiful Opera cakes I found in Vienna. I say mostly raw because I use maple syrup as a sweetener, canned black beans and brewed coffee in the chocolate-coffee mousse layer. It is also but free as I swap pumpkin seeds for almonds in my version.

No-Bake Opera Cake [Vegan, Gluten-Free]


Coffee Mousse Layer:

  • 2/3 cup strong coffee (decaf is fine)
  • 1 can aduki beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained
  • 2  dashes coarse sea salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut nectar or agave
  • 2.5-3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp size hunk cacao butter, melted over lowest heating setting in a pot (or substitute equal amounts solid virgin coconut oil)
  • 1.5 tbsp solid cacao paste (or use equal amounts of very dark chocolate)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp golden flaxmeal
  • 3 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp white vinegar

Sponge Cake Layer:

  • Just under 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, ground in batches in  a coffee grinder to a fine light green powder
  • 1 tsp agave or coconut nectar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • dash coarse sea salt
  • 4-5 tbsp golden flaxseed, ground in a coffee grinder to powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp size hunk raw cacao butter
  • 2 tsp water

Raw Ganache Layer:

  • 1/4 cup cacao paste
  • 1.5 tbsp size hunk cacao butter
  • 1.5 tbsp agave nectar or coconut nectar
  • 2.5 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch coarse sea salt

Additional Ingredients (to add during assembly):

  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 1 tsp maple syrup


Coffee Mousse Layer:

  1. Blend all ingredients together thoroughly until very very smooth. Taste!
  2. Add more maple if not sweet enough. Add more salt if the flavor seems dull. Blend again. The texture should be like thick chocolate pudding. When satisfied, transfer to a bowl and place in the freezer.

Sponge Cake Layer:

  1. Blend everything except water in food processor until it looks like coarse cornmeal. Check the sides to ensure the agave and maple has not stuck, scrape and blend again.
  2. Add the water and pulse until mixture looks a little more wet but still crumbly. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Clean and dry food processor.

Raw Ganache Layer:

  1. Melt cacao paste and cacao butter together over lowest heat setting on stovetop, stirring often.
  2. Whisk the agave into the melted cacao once the cacao has fully melted. Remove from heat and whisk in maple syrup. Whisk in sea salt.


  1. Remove chilled coffee-bean mousse mixture from freezer. Place in food processor and blend until smooth with the maple syrup and zucchini.
  2. Layer the dessert in a square non stick baking pan lined with parchment paper — starting with 1/2 the pumpkin seed mixture on the bottom, then a layer of the mousse (all of it), then the remaining pumpkin seed mixture, then 1/2 the chocolate sauce.
  3. Place in freezer for 5 minutes then spread on remaining chocolate sauce for a smooth finish.



*To make a taller cake, I sliced this cake all the way down the middle and stacked the half pieces.





Danielle Dewar is a passionate baker and the woman behind the blogs Baking Backwards and Our Vegitable. Danielle has been tinkering with gluten-free baking for the past three years to improve her health and quality of life. Danielle's recipes are totally from scratch and use no gums or stabilizers and no pre-made flour mixes.



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