Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake: The fudgiest and most tender chocolate cake with layers of dark chocolate whipped ganache filling and frosting. Completely sinful!

Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake

There are few things that befuddle me in the kitchen these days more than ganache.

Then again, I haven’t yet tackled macarons so I realize there are plenty of other things out there that could potentially test my limits.  But regardless, ganache seems so straightforward.

Heat cream, pour over chopped chocolate, stir.  Why I keep screwing it up, I don’t know.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake

And why I decided to frost an entire cake it with, I don’t know either.  Buuuut, this dark chocolate ganache cake did turn out pretty darn fantastic, in spite of some “user-error” issues.

And so you all get to hear about it today.  Happy Monday!

Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake

I decided to make this cake for Valentine’s Day and because we don’t eat nearly enough chocolate cake around here, I figured this would be the perfect treat for us.

I’ve made and looooved the fudgy chocolate cake itself before (and tons of you guys have told me you love it too!) but the ganache was a new touch.

And after eating hospital food for two days, I couldn’t help but dream of a rich chocolate cake frosted to the gills with a deep dark ganache casing, even if there was a chance it would send my heart rate a-flurry.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake

The three cake layers came together in a snap. I mean, this is one of the easiest homemade chocolate cakes I’ve ever made.

My user-error issues come into play when I started to whip the ganache into a frosting state.  I got impatient.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake

You, when you make this cake – because you must make this cake – should try to not be impatient.  Wait for the warm ganache too cool down enough before you whip it.  And then don’t overwhip the frosting once it comes together because it will become clumpy.

And no one likes a clumpy frosting.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake

What people do like is a super moist and fudgy chocolate cake with an impossibly rich chocolate frosting and this cake hits all the marks!

It will feed a ton of people (12-16) so be prepared to clean up the house (or you know, throw stuff in boxes) and invite a few friends over to help you eat all of this dark chocolate ganache cake!

  • Prep Time: 15min (cake) + 2hrs (frosting) + 15min (assembly)
  • Cook Time: 30-35min
  • Yield: 12-16 servings

Notes

The key to a glossy and smooth ganache frosting is to allow the chocolate enough time to cool before you whip it. Don’t be impatient like me.

Ingredients

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 ½ cups water
2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

For the ganache frosting:
20 oz heavy cream
20 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate (between 60% and 72% cacao, depending on how dark you want your frosting to be.  A higher percentage will also be less sweet.)

Instructions

  • 01

    To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease (no flour is needed here) three 8-inch round cake pans with butter or baking spray. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper and lightly grease the paper.

  • 02

    In a very large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water – splashing may occur if you add it too quickly (trust me). Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and be sure the batter is well-mixed and no flour bits remain. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans – using a kitchen scale really helps to ensure the layers will be equal in size.

  • 03

    Bake for 30 to 35 minutes on the same rack, if possible, without the cake pans touching each other, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.

  • 04

    To make the frosting: Weigh out 20 oz of heavy cream in a bowl using a kitchen scale.  Pour the cream into a small sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat.  Meanwhile, finely chop the chocolate and place it in a medium bowl.  When the cream is hot (it doesn’t need to simmer or boil – just hot and steamy), pour it over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes.  Whisk the cream and chocolate together to completely melt the chocolate.  Cool the mixture until it is thick but still soft, 1 to 2 hours.

    Whip the ganache with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until it becomes light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes.

  • 05

    To frost the cake: Frost the cake immediately after whipping.  Use 2/3 cup between each cake layer and the remaining frosting on the outside of the cake.  If the frosting becomes difficult to work with, warm it quickly in the microwave for 5 second intervals until it softens enough to work with.  If desired, transfer the remaining frosting to a piping bag fitted with a pastry tip and decorate the top and/or sides of the cake.

  • 06

    Storage:  The cake will keep well covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.  If you choose to refrigerate it, allow the cake to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

cake adapted from this recipe | frosting adapted from The Kitchn