A stunning chocolate ganache cake makes for the ultimate dessert centerpiece. With its glossy chocolate exterior hiding moist, tender layers and sweet chocolate filling, it delivers on both visual appeal and irresistible flavor.
But achieving ganache cake perfection requires care and planning. Follow these tips as your guide to baking and decorating a truly mind-blowing chocolate ganache cake.
What Defines A Chocolate Ganache Cake?
The key components of true chocolate ganache cake include:
- Chocolate cake layers – most often, moist chocolate fudge or red velvet cake
- Chocolate ganache – filling between layers and frosting exterior
- Optional extras like chocolate shavings, drizzle or fresh berries to garnish
Ganache made from quality dark chocolate and heavy cream provides pure, concentrated chocolate taste. When used as both filling and coating on cake layers, the result is heavenly if you adore chocolate.
Pick The Right Chocolate And Cream
Not all chocolate and cream are created equal when making luscious ganache.
Choose chocolate with:
- High cacao content – 60% or above
- Bittersweet or semi-sweet work best
- Finely crafted premium chocolate – Guittard, Valrhona, Callebaut etc
- Milk or white chocolate – too sweet, less cocoa flavor
- Compound chocolate – contains unnecessary additives
- Use heavy whipping cream – high fat content
- Make sure cream has not gone ultra-pasteurized – won’t thicken ganache as well
Master The Method
Follow these steps for perfect smooth ganache:
- Chop chocolate into small, even pieces
- Heat cream until just before boiling
- Pour hot cream over chocolate
- Let sit 1-2 minutes until melted
- Emulsify by stirring gently with a spatula in the center until completely smooth
Bake Sturdy, Even Cake Layers
Ganache cakes start with moist, decadent chocolate cake layers.
- Allow ingredients to reach room temperature
- Cream butter and sugar on high speed for lightness
- Alternate dry ingredients and wet ingredients
- Divide batter evenly between same-size pans
- Check for doneness by toothpick test – comes out clean when done
Layer And Assemble For Optimal Ganache Distribution
- Place first cake layer top-down on your cake board/stand.
- Brush simple syrup over the surface for moisture – optional.
- Spread about 1 cup ganache evenly.
- Top with second cake layer and repeat process until all layers are stacked.
- Chill 30 minutes to firm ganache before frosting outside.
Frost Seamlessly For Sharp Edges
- Ganache should be cool and spreadable but still soft – remix briefly in mixer if too stiff.
- Use an offset or regular spatula to apply frosting in smooth, even coats.
- For straight edges, rotate cake turntable as you frost sides in one motion.
- Smooth gently with angled palette knife to level bumps for a polished look.
- Chill frosted cake to set ganache before decorating (at least 30 minutes).
Take It Up A Notch With Decorations
Transform your ganache cake into an elegant masterpiece with artful finishes like:
- Chocolate drizzle – thin ganache, warm slightly to drizzle smoothly
- Chocolate shavings – use room temperature chocolate block and swivel vegetable peeler
- Chopped nuts (toasted almonds, hazelnuts)
- Fresh raspberries, strawberries or cherries
- Edible gold leaf, luster dust or pearls
- Piped borders with buttercream in complementary color
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does the ganache need to be whipped or stabilized?
No. Simple ganache has perfect spreadable texture without additions. Whipping air into it would make piping harder.
2. Should I make the ganache ahead?
Yes, at least a few hours for the best consistency to assemble your cake. Make it 1-2 days early if needed.
3. How long do assembled ganache cakes last?
Fill and frost right before serving for ultimate decadence. Frosted cakes last 2-3 days chilled if glazed to prevent drying. Freeze up to 2 months.
4. What special pans or equipment do I need?
Round cake pans plus a turntable for frosting works great. You can also use square pans or springform.
5. Do I need to temper chocolate for drizzle or shavings?
Nope! The cream helps stabilize ganache so no need to temper – just warm slightly for easy pouring or chocolate curls.
6. What can I garnish with besides fresh fruit?
Chocolate shavings, chocolate drizzle, nuts, freeze dried fruit, edible flowers or gold leaf make stunning accents.