Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mmm, cake

Dave chose the Martha Stewart Rich Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting for his birthday this year. It was delicious and looks impressive (even if you have a three-year-old helping!), so I thought I'd share it here. It isn't a difficult recipe, though the multiple chilling periods for the ganache make it a little time-consuming. I originally found the recipe adapted into mini-tortes on Annie's Eats

We made a few minor changes from the original recipe:
  • Used 8"x2" cake pans because Hobby Lobby didn't have the 7"x3". One of the commenters on Martha's recipe made the same substitution and noted that she baked the cakes for 35 minutes instead of 45, so I'd start checking ours at 35 next time to avoid overcooking.
  • Used instant coffee granules because we didn't have instant espresso. Either way, the purpose is to enhance the chocolate flavor. It doesn't actually make it taste like coffee.
  • Used bittersweet chocolate for the top layer of ganache because it was what we had on hand.
  • Melted the ganache ingredients in the microwave instead of a double boiler. It's easier, and if it's good enough for Alton Brown, it's good enough for us.
  • Left off the chocolate shavings & truffle eggs. It looks impressive even without that. 
  • Martha's recipe says it's 8 servings, but I'd estimate we got at least 10 because we used 8" cake pans and due to the cake's richness and density.

Rich Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting and Truffle-Egg Nest

Martha Stewart Living, May 2007 
Adapted from Martha Stewart.com 


  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Whipped Ganache Frosting:
    • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Top Ganache Layer:
    • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream
    • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • Optional:
    • 1 pound bar of milk chocolate for chocolate shavings
    • Truffle Eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 3-inch-high, 7-inch-round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms with parchment paper. Coat parchment with cooking spray, and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out excess.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa and espresso powders and water; whisk until dissolved. Whisk in sugar until smooth. Remove from heat, and whisk in eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda, and salt; whisk until combined.
  3. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 45 minutes (start checking @ 35-40). Let cool 20 minutes. Unmold, and remove parchment; let cool.
  4. Make whipped ganache: Put 8 oz. chocolate and 1/2 cup cream into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth. Alternately, melt in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat in 15 second increments until melted. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until the consistency of stiff cream cheese, about 10 to 15 minutes (ours took about 20). Whisk until fluffy and smooth.
  5. Trim tops of cake layers level. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Spread with 1/2 cup ganache frosting. Place remaining layer, cut side down, on top. Coat top and sides with remaining cup frosting. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
  6. Put remaining 8 oz. chocolate, 3/4 cup cream, and corn syrup into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, and stir until smooth. Let cool 5 minutes. Pour over cake, and then refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Transfer cake to serving dish.
  7. Optional decorations:
    1. Using a chef's knife, scrape milk chocolate bar at a 90-degree angle, forming enough curls and shards to measure 1 1/2 cups. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate until ready to use.
    2. When ready to serve, form a nest with chocolate shavings on top, and fill with truffle eggs.

No comments: