Monday, February 15, 2010

Chocolate Ganache cake

This was one of the easiest cakes I made, under the least amount of pressure. One of those snow days this season, I asked Big A what he would like for dessert and he said chocolate cake with icing. Little A agreed wholeheartedly! My job was 50% done already!

I used the Hershey's perfectly chocolate cake recipe since I've heard rave reviews of the same. The only change I made was I replaced the cup of boiling water with a cup of fresh brewed coffee per one of the reviewer's advice. I think instant coffee would work well too. You don't taste the coffee in the cake, but it definitely deepens the flavor of the cake.

Here's the cake recipe:

Hershey's perfectly chocolate cake:
2 cups granulated sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey's cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water (brewed coffee)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9 inch pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Peel off the parchment paper and flip the cake. Let the cake cool completely before frosting it.

The cake layers came out quite flat to my delight and needed very little trimming on the top.
I frosted the 2 layers with chocolate buttercream. I used the Hershey's frosting recipe. Unfortunately it is not a crusting buttercream so you won't be able to smooth it very well. (More on crusting buttercream in another blog post). I tried to get it relatively smooth since I was going to be pouring ganache on it later.

Hershey's chocolate frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar (10x or confectioner's sugar)
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter in the microwave. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.

Next get the ganache ready.

Chocolate Ganache:
9 oz semi sweet chocolate chips/chopped chocolate
1 cup heavy cream

Get 9 oz of semi sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (I used a mix of milk and SS chocolate chips) in a glass or metal bowl. In a saucepan, heat 1 cup heavy cream until small bubbles appear around the edges. Turn off the heat and pour the hot cream on top of the chocolate. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes, until the chocolate has melted, then whisk until smooth.
The ganache will thicken as it cools. In fact I put it in the fridge for about 30 mins or more until it is pourable but thick enough to make a decent layer.
Place the frosted cake on a wire rack over a baking sheet or large pan to catch (and re-use) drips. I didnt do that and ended up with pools of ganache over the counter top :-(
Pour the ganache slowly over the cake so it drapes the entire cake. Depending on the thickness of the ganache, you may need to pour a second layer so it gets thicker but it won't look as smooth as the 1st one.
Left over ganache can be refrigerated and then stored or once chilled, beat into a creamy frosting.
Here's the finished product....the paper liners are just flattened pastel cupcake liners you get at the grocery store.

Note: I am no expert at cake baking..but there are a few tips and tricks I have picked up from all my web reading and searching. I'll put up a blog post just on them.


  1. This looks yummylicious!!! Is it necessary to frost the cake before pouring the ganache.

  2. Thanks Ameeta..I just saw your comment. You don't have to...but having a smooth top before pouring the ganache will result in an even finish. Since the ganache is thin, you can probably see the uneven cake surface, holes, crumbs etc through it (you can see the sides on my cake looks uneven in the 1st pic...because I didn't put much icing)