Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache & Buttercream Frosting

 

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, what we all need is: chocolate.

True statement? Yes. And to prove it, I have all of you who voted yes before I ever even stepped into the kitchen. Thank you to @sue_obryan, @sharonlily, @daniellprince.coach,  @rach.bires and @crustpiespt for being a part of the development process to create this Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Buttercream Frosting! All those notes about chocolate and vanilla had me swooning. 

As with any layered cake recipe, it takes time. This recipe is indeed complex with the 3 parts, but I’ve integrated time saving solutions.

Turn on your favorite playlist (links below to my personally curated current favorites!), pour a cup of coffee and make room in your weekend for some “you time”. Yes, you have my permission. And – know that it is highly recommended that you taste as you go :). Time to get out that spatula.

Chill Playlist

Rockin’ Playlist

I developed this Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Buttercream Frosting to be rich and decadent, but not too sweet.

With the chocolate ganache filling the cake holds more of the dark chocolate / bittersweet vibe overall. The buttercream frosting lightens it but just a touch. Bonus – it’s made with coconut sugar and date syrup (my new favorite sweetener!).

The chili liqueur here lends to a subtle spice flavor. If you want an extra kick, toss in a pinch of cayenne. One or both will still be subtle, and totally worth it.

Tips:

 

  • If you don’t have standard 9” cake pans around, feel free to use springform pans. Totally works and I love the removable bottom feature. 
  • The weight in grams on the flour will vary depending on the type of gluten free you use. The proportions here are measured for King Aurthur gluten free 1-1 flour. If a gluten free version isn’t a priority for you, substitute the 1-1 flour for cake flour (or regular if that’s what’s in your cupboard).
  • If you don’t have date syrup, substitute for pure maple syrup. 

 

Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache & Buttercream Frosting

Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache & Buttercream Frosting

Yield: Serves: 10 (1 large 6 layer cake (=3 round cakes sliced in half))

This cake is both decadent and rich. Perfect for any special occasion! Note: The weight in grams on the flour will vary depending on the type of gluten free you use. The proportions here are measured for King Arthur gluten free 1-1 flour. If a gluten free version isn’t a priority for you, substitute the 1-1 flour for cake flour (or regular if that’s what’s in your cupboard).

Ingredients

Dark Chocolate Cake

  • 6 eggs
  • 300 grams (2 cups) coconut sugar
  • 225 grams (1 cup or 2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 190 grams (⅔ cup) date syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons chili liqueur (I like Ancho Reyes)
  • 324 grams (4 ½ cups) 1-1 King Arthur gluten free flour (or cake flour)
  • 98 grams (1 ½ cups) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 230 grams (1 cup) sour cream (full fat)
  • 21.3 ounces (2 ⅔ cups) lukewarm water

Chocolate Ganache Filling

  • 9½ ounces (270 grams) dark chocolate, around 70%,, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) heavy cream
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch sea salt

Buttercream Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (to desired consistency)

Instructions

Dark Chocolate Cake

    1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat the bottom and sides of three 9" cake pans with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pans with parchment-paper rounds.
    2. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs and sugar until doubled in volume and velvety, about 3-4 minutes. 
    3. While the mixer is whipping, in medium bowl, whisk all dry ingredients. Set aside.
    4. Back at the mixer, add softened butter to eggs and sugar, whip until creamy.
    5. With mixer on medium low speed, pour in date syrup. Add vanilla and liqueur.
    6. Change speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions, starting by adding sour cream, and then  alternating with lukewarm water in 4-5 additions. Scrap the bowl as needed and ensure no clumps remain in batter. If using regular flour, make sure to not overmix.
    7. Scrape batter into 3 pans, dividing evenly.
    8. Bake cakes, rotating halfway through, until a tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, 25–35 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks and let cool 20 minutes before turning out onto racks. Let cool completely.
    9. Place 1 cake layer on a plate. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice through the center to create 2 thinner pieces. Set aside carefully on racks. Repeat with remaining cakes.
    10. Start the cake layering process by choosing your base layer (1 of 6). Place on a cake platter and/or plate. Remove ganache from the fridge. Stir to ensure the consistency is creamy. Over at cake, top with about ½ - 1 cup ganache filling. Spread evenly.
    11. Repeat this process with remaining cake layers, using all your ganache as evenly as possible and keeping the top layer free (you’ll place frosting on the top layer and around the sides of the cake).
    12. Once your top layer is set, take a good look at the cake and ensure it’s even and not sagging on any sides. If you see some irregularity, adjust by using a knife to slide around ganache in layers where needed. If you find your cake is starting to get wobbly, pin it down with a longer toothpick like stick in 1-2 places. Make a note to be aware of the pin when slicing later. Note: there may be a need to spin the cake and use a knife to wipe clean the edges on the entire outside before moving onto the next step. This is to ensure the frosting remains mostly white. If you want a swirl effect, you can skip the cleanup and move onto step 13.
    13. Next, spread frosting over the cake. Work through this gently, covering the top and all over the sides evenly.
    14. Garnish your cake as you like! Anything is possible. Fresh flowers, raspberries, etc are a beautiful option. Enjoy within 3-4 days. Store in fridge, covered and airtight if you can, and rewarm slices for a few seconds in a microwave to get the texture back to day one.

Chocolate Ganache Filling

  1. While cakes are baking, prepare the ganache. 
  2. In a double boiler over medium heat (water to be at a simmer), melt chocolate.
  3. Pour ½ cup heavy cream over, whisk and warm until smooth. Remove from heat to slightly cool while you prepare the whipped cream.
  4. In an electric mixer bowl, whip heavy cream with syrup, sea salt and vanilla just until peaks form.
  5. Gently fold in warm chocolate mixture until incorporated.
  6. Cover and place in a bowl in the fridge to cool while cakes cool for up to 30-45 minutes.

Buttercream Vanilla Frosting

  1. Prepare a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip butter until creamy.
  2. Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar slowly until well blended. Increase speed when added and whip until creamy, scraping bowl as needed.
  3. Add vanilla, sea salt and heavy cream (to desired consistency), continuing to whip until creamy for about another minute. 
  4. Cover and set aside for final cake step.

 

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