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Friday, April 8, 2011

Chocolate Cake with Creamy Caramel Ganache

Last Thursday I realized how much this blog has become part of not only my life, but David's as well. I took the day off to cook a Cuban Pork roast which involved hours of marinating and then basting in citrus juice. It was David's Birthday and the dinner was a surprise as he was at work all day. The dinner turned out amazing. As we were getting ready to eat David asked if I was going to photograph our meal. I honestly had no intention of using the dinner as a blog post. It was his Birthday and I wanted us to be able to sit down and enjoy it. When I first started this blog, getting the camera out always resulted in pacing and eye rolling. Now, it is just assumed that there will be photos when there is something good to eat. For this meal I did insist that we sit down and eat, no photos.
I did however sneak in a few shots of the cake. If you have been following along here for a while you will remember that I am Birthday Cake challenged. This year for the first time I actually managed to pull off a really good cake on David's Birthday. I asked if this made up for the other three years of flops and the reply was, "Only if you make three more of these before my next Birthday". Sounds like I have a busy year ahead of me!

Chocolate Cake with Creamy Caramel Ganache
adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

Chocolate Cake
3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups hot water, I used tap water
2/3 cup sour cream
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Creamy Caramel Ganache Frosting
1 pound dark chocolate (60 to 70% cacao), chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust with flour.

In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, hot water, and sour cream and set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a medium bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until ribbonlike, about 5 minutes. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.

Add the flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let cool completely. Remove the parchment.

Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over very low heat. Meanwhile, keeping a close eye on the cream so it doesn’t burn, in a medium saucepan combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar, and corn syrup, stirring them together carefully so you don’t splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees F., 6 to 8 minutes. (I actually only bring mine to 325 as it continues to get hotter even after I remove it from the stove)

Carefully, add the cream to the caramel and stir to combine. The mixture will bubble up and steam, be careful not to burn yourself. Stir slowly for 2 minutes, then pour the caramel over the chocolate. Let the caramel and chocolate sit for 1 minute, then, starting in the center of the bowl, and working your way out to the edges, slowly stir the chocolate and caramel mixture in a circle until the chocolate is completely melted. Let the sit for five minutes, then transfer it to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Mix on low speed until the bowl feels cool to the touch. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the butter, beating until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and beat on high speed until the mixture is fluffy.

Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread the ganache frosting over the top, then top with the second cake layer. Spread with caramel frosting. Then top with the third layer. Crumb coat the cake and put the cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up the frosting. Frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting.

This cake will keep beautifully, covered at a cool room temperature for up to 3 days. If your room is not cool, place the cake in a cake saver and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.


  1. I have to make this cake. Not only does it look amazing - my mother is going to lose her mind - but the recipe is clear and well written. Thanks!

  2. I printed your recipe with your photo on it and have just promised my husband to make it in the morning.

  3. I saw your post on Sweets for a Saturday. This cake looks amazing. I keep hearing good things about the recipes from Baked. I'll have to check it out.

  4. The icing, the cake look so good. I may have to try this sometime in the near future. Thank you Andi

  5. This cake looks amazing!! I love all the extra icing on top! YUM

  6. Oh mylanta! My mouth is seriously watering. That cakes looks beautiful and I bet it creates a party for the taste buds! That is definitely a birthday success. Will you make me one for my birthday? :) Thanks for posting!

  7. that cake looks amazing! you did a great job! visiting from Sweet as Sugars link party. Hope you have a great weekend!

  8. Slice me off a piece of that cake!! WOW! Your cake look amazing!! I will be using this recipe the next time someone wants chocolate cake!

  9. My mouth rarely waters over sweets (I'm a salt grrl, ya know), but not only is it watering, I'm tempted to lick the screen.

  10. Oh, oh, p.s, happy belated birthday, David!

  11. Wow, this looks incredible. This is my kind of cake with all that frosting! Happy Birthday to David!

  12. Wow! Looks beautiful. I love chocolate, cakes, and caramel. Did you get a very distinct caramel taste from the frosting?

  13. Can you gain weight just from reading Sweets for a Saturday? I think so. Wow, I have already copied this off. I love how much frosting you layer on, I am such a frosting girl. This looks and sounds fabulous.

    I know what you mean about brining out the camera. I used to get such flack and the other night I made dinner and didn't bring out the camera and I got flack! Now that is progress!!!

  14. This looks heavenly. I don't always like chocolate cake, but I think I could manage to eat a slice or two of this baby.

    I'd love to have you share this recipe on my linky, Sweet Tooth Friday. I hope to see you there!

  15. You had me at caramel ganache. :)

  16. This looks so good. I think it will be hubbys birthday cake this year.

  17. I think this is going to have to be my birthday cake this year~! Looks wonderful!

  18. Oh my heck! I wish I had a giant slice of this right now. It looks amazing!

  19. I'm drooling...I haven't had dinner yet but I may have to go straight to dessert!

  20. Wow, You all love the chocolate cake. This is awesome. I'll have to keep this in mind.

    Allison- Thanks for the compliment about the recipe writing. I always try and include the little details, but I don't have an editor, so I am never sure it makes sense to anyone but me!

    Beyond My Garden- Chocolate Cake for breakfast sounds like my kind of morning.

    The Pastry Chef- I have never met a Baked recipe I didn't like. I own both of their cookbooks and every recipe I have tried has been a hit.

    Andi- The icing is great and would probably be good on any chocolate (or other) cake.

    Kristy- Thanks.

    Kimmy- You buy me a plane ticket from Fairbanks and I will make you a Birthday cake! Deal? :)

    Martha- Thanks. Hope you had a great weekend too.

    Goddess of Baking- Thanks. :)

    Jain- I don't think they have invented scratch and taste screens yet. A great idea for a food blog app!

    Jain and Jenn- David thanks you for the Birthday wishes.

    Jeanie- I could definitely taste the caramel. I was thinking I might even let the caramel get a little darker next time for a more distinct flavor.

    Lindsey- Thanks

    Jacqueline- I think you can, and I have!!

    Allison- I have trouble with the link last week, but I will try again this week.

    Mama J- :)

    Cindy- Your hubby will be happy!

    Cara- Thanks and enjoy!

    Erin- Thank you. I wish you had a slice right now too!

    Sensiblelessons- I agree with your completely, why bother with dinner?

  21. Mmm, this looks so decadent. What a way to celebrate. Your cake made the Top #1 spot for last week's Sweets for a Saturday. Congrats!!!

  22. That looks for FABULOUS! I am normally not a cake person but might make an exception for this beauty! YUM! I am pregnant...that maybe why I am now wanting this cake so badly haha!! Thanks!

  23. Wow - this looks incredible! I'd say it makes up for any previous flops for sure!!

  24. I am going to make this for an old friend that's coming for dinner this week, I think it's going to be awesome. Thanks!

  25. oh this looks wonderful! i just posted about a cake like this! so tasty!

  26. wow, you had me at caramel ganache! looks great, i will definitely be trying this out

  27. Wow that is some awesome cake. I am so digging the frosting job!

  28. the pictures and descriptions of this cake are like sex for the eyes... drooling here sir, drooling!


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