Truth be told, when I first came across this Chocolate Layer Cake with Caramel Ganache in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by cake goddess Rose Levy Beranbaum, I skimmed past the recipe and did not even bother to attempt it.
Perhaps it was the lack of an illustration of the cake or maybe the daunting 3-page instructions, whatever the case was, I’m glad I finally rolled up my sleeves and did it. The end result is worth the 2 days effort.
What you’ll get is a full-flavored chocolate fudge cake that is magically light in texture, thanks to the addition of oil. The combination of bittersweet dark chocolate with the caramel balances the sweetness, giving it that perfect mellow flavor.
Since chocolate is the star ingredient in this cake, it is worth getting good quality cocoa powder and dark chocolate. My go-to brand is usually Valrhona.
There are many attractive options to decorate this cake – i.e. chocolate chips, chocolate shavings, caramel sauce, etc. Or you could keep it plain and simple but topping it with some raspberries.
1 cup + 2 tbsp (84 g) unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
1 cup (236 ml) boiling water
4 large eggs (approx. 60 g each) – room temperature
6 tbsp (88 g) water
3 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups + 2 tbsp (312 g) cake flour (or all-purpose flour)
2 cups (400 g) caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 sticks (226 g) unsalted butter – softened at room temperature
4 tbsp (56 g) vegetable oil (I’m using grapeseed)
Caramel Ganache –
5 oz. (142 g) 66% bittersweet dark chocolate – chopped finely
¾ cup (150 g) sugar
3 tbsp (44 ml) water
1 ½ cup (348 ml) heavy cream – warmed
1 ½ tbsp. (20 g) unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
Makes one 2 layered 9-inch cake
Recipe adapted from: Rose’s Heavenly Cakes
Make the caramel ganache several hours or a day ahead before using.
Grate the chocolate with a food processor until very fine. Leave the chocolate inside.
Alternatively, you could use a cheese grater.
In a medium saucepan, preferably non-stick and with a pouring lip, melt sugar and water together over medium high heat, stirring until sugar has completely dissolved.
Stop stirring and allow the syrup to boil and bubble until it turns light amber. Turn off heat and it will continue to change to dark amber color.
Allow to cool for 2 mins before adding in the heavy cream. Be careful as it will bubble furiously.
Stir with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula and return to heat to ensure caramel is fully incorporated with the cream.
Turn off heat and stir in butter. Transfer into a measuring glass.
Turn on the food processor to low and carefully pour in the warm caramel. The heat from the caramel will melt the chocolate.
Once the caramel ganache is well mixed, add in vanilla extract and give it a few pulses.
Pour into a glass bowl and set aside to cool completely. It will thickened further. The texture should resemble softened butter.
If making ahead, keep cooled caramel ganache in the fridge and thaw to room temperature before using.
Preheat oven at 175°C/350°F.
Grease two 9-inch round baking pans with some butter and line the bottom with non-stick baking paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk the cocoa powder and boiling water together until dissolved. Set aside to cool completely.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, water and vanilla together until just combined.
Using a stand mixer (fitted with flat beater) or handheld mixer, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt on low speed for 30 seconds.
Add the butter, oil and cocoa mixture and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Turn up speed to medium high and continue to mix for 1 – 2 mins, scraping down the sides if necessary.
Turn the medium low speed and add in half of the egg mixture.
Turn up speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds before adding the rest of the egg mixture.
Scrape down the sides and pour the batter into the prepared cake tins. Level the top with an offset spatula.
Bake for 30 – 40 mins, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 mins before transferring to a wire rack. The cakes will shrink from the side of the pans and that is okay.
Invert the semi-cooled cake onto a wire rack, top side facing up.
Allow to cool completely.
Set one cake onto a 9-inch round cake cardboard and slice off the top to level it.
Add 2 generous dollop of ganache and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly. You want a thick layer of ganache in the middle of the cake.
Set the other piece of cake on top and level off the top evenly.
Add more ganache and frost a thin layer of ganache all over the cake. At this point, it will look imperfect and that’s okay.
Chill the cake in the fridge for 45 mins and take it out again.
Frost the cake with the remaining ganache and you will be able to achieve a nice even coating all over the cake.
Place in fridge to firm up for another hour.
Thaw the cake for 15 – 20 mins before to serve.