Monday, January 9, 2012

Just a cake


A cake with a little ganache.


Or maybe a little too much.

Nope. Not possible. Not sure there’s such a thing as too much ganache.

I like to eat it by the spoonful, but by the cakefull is even better.

The cake inside is chocolate. And actually the recipe for the chocolate cake in this post is not the actual cake in these pictures.

Why? Well, while it looks nice enough, it just wasn’t satisfied. So I made a few changes and made a better version the same day that I didn’t have time to decorate.

Instead, I’ve just been eating it straight up.

I like the simple look of the decorated one though.

High contrast.

The cake is frosted in buttercream first.


But for the middle layer of frosting, I tucked away a few of these inside.


Buttercream, speckled with miniature chocolate chips for kicks.




Then the rest of the cake gets covered in plain white buttercream.

Easy enough.


Then comes the best part.

A reason to lick my spoon.


You’ll want the ganache to set up and thicken before you pour any on the cake.


Thicker, like this.


Oh my! Start pouring in the center, but be careful not to go too fast.

Ideally, you wouldn’t want too much to go over the sides and puddle around the cake.


Yeah, like this.

Okay, I got a little excited.

Ganache does that to me.

Now for the recipe of the second chocolate cake I made. The better one.

That said, I welcome any of your chocolate cake suggestions. I’m looking for the best homemade chocolate cake ever. Got one? Know of one? Care to share? This one’s good! But I’m not done searching.

What fun would that be anyway.


Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting …and a good amount of ganache!

Chocolate Cake:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup hot water

Buttercream Frosting:
1 1/2 cups butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

6 cups powdered sugar
4-8 Tablespoons milk

2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels, if desired

Chocolate Ganache:
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

For the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease the bottom of two 9-inch cake pans. Then place parchment paper cut to size on the bottom of each pan and grease paper. Dust pans with cocoa.
  • Sift dry ingredients together and place in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add eggs, oil, milk and vanilla and beat for a couple of minutes until combined.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add hot water and mix together.
  • Pour into prepared pans and bake for about 28-30 minutes. Batter will be very liquid.
  • Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

For the frosting:

  • Beat the butter in a mixer until smooth.
  • Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Add the powdered sugar in several additions, scraping down the sides after each addition.
  • Add milk a tablespoon at a time and mix together until you achieve a smooth consistency.
  • Note: If you want your frosting whiter without using shortening, add a little white icing color to tint.

For the ganache:

  • Heat cream and butter in a saucepan until melted and remove before it starts to boil.
  • Place chocolate morsels in a small bowl and pour cream on top. Let sit for a few seconds and whisk by hand until completely incorporated and smooth.
  • Let cool until thick and pourable.
  • The ganache can take a bit to thicken. You can make it before the buttercream, to save time. Just use a wire whisk to stir it every few minutes and keep it smooth

To assemble: trim tops off of cake layers with a long serrated knife so they have a nice, flat top. Place one layer bottom side up on cake stand. Mix about 2/3 cup morsels with about 1 cup of the frosting. Spread frosting on top of bottom layer. Place second layer on top. It helps to have a crumb coat on the outside of your cake first. Simply apply a thin coat of frosting to the entire cake to catch andy excess crumbs. Then place cake in freezer for a few minutes to firm up frosting and cover the entire cake again with a thick layer of buttercream. This will help you keep all those crumbs from getting caught in your pretty work. Slowly, pour ganache over center of cake. Pour just enough to start dripping down the sides.



A. Karno said...

Oh ganache with just a tad of Java Juice liquid coffee extract!

January 9, 2012 01:41 AM
PupCakes said...

That looks more than delicious. I need pants with an elastic waistband to even look at the photos!

January 9, 2012 01:43 AM
Aurora said...

Beautiful cake…. Beautiful pictures!!!

January 9, 2012 01:43 AM
Jessica@MakingHomeSweeter said...

Oh my dear heavens…..yes please.

January 9, 2012 01:43 AM
Jessica said...


January 9, 2012 01:45 AM
Stephanie (bake with ginger) said...

Hershey’s perfectly chocolate chocolate cake is to die for!

January 9, 2012 01:49 AM
Nejla said...

This is soooo not just a cake!! It must be something from heaven. Like the black and white composition!!

January 9, 2012 01:50 AM
Pamela said...

this looks divine! i’ve never made ganache but you’ve inspired me to do so, as always! :)

January 9, 2012 01:56 AM
Diana said...

Oh my! My mouth was salivating reading this blog after baking 3 chocolate cakes last week I’ll have to try out this recipe!

Love your blog and all your fab ideas! Thank you for sharing your amazing work with us !

January 9, 2012 01:57 AM
hafizah said...

thanks for sharing the recipe! :)

January 9, 2012 01:58 AM
Charlie Cook said...

It’s funny that you asked for good chocolate cake recipes, because I was going to suggest my favorite, luscious, deep dark chocolate cake recipe, but it’s the same one you posted!! Ha!

The hot water always throws me off. Seems like a weird addition to rich a rich, dark cake…but it’s such a great recipe. Love it. Well done–that is one gorgeous cake.

January 9, 2012 02:01 AM
Jennifer said...

Gorgeous! Ina Garten’s Beatty’s chocolate cake recipe has been very successful for me.

January 9, 2012 02:01 AM
Amy Martin said...

This looks YUMMY!!! Mmmmm. Loving the white/black contrast too…. And the mini chocolate chips…. Mmmmm!

If you haven’t, try this chocolate cake… link to is the bomb… A Very rich, very sinful bomb. The whole thing = chocolate peanut butter coma.

January 9, 2012 02:02 AM
Charlie Cook said...

Oh, I make a few changes to my version of that recipe, though.

I add a tablespoon of coffee liquor to intensify the chocolate flavor, and I use chocolate milk instead of plain.

January 9, 2012 02:03 AM
Lindsay said...

My favorite chocolate cake is the one from Bakewise- it’s so moist!

January 9, 2012 02:03 AM
sunny said...

Beautiful and elegant and oh so yummy looking. Can’t wait to try this one.

January 9, 2012 02:07 AM
Anonymous said...

hey,, i just ADORE this thing! im in LOVE, again!! ur terrific:3

January 9, 2012 02:09 AM
Melissa @ Best Friends For Frosting said...

Too bad you didn’t live closer. That chocolate drizzle looks too inviting!

January 9, 2012 02:10 AM
Diane (Created by Diane) said...

Oh yes, you can never have too much ganache! your cake looks devine, lone that there are mini chips in the filling. They are my favorite.

January 9, 2012 02:20 AM
Sarah said...

I am five months pregnant and this is literally torture. Needless to say my husband is at the store right now getting me ingredients! Thanks for sharing!!!’ :)

January 9, 2012 02:24 AM
Leyla Kaynar said...

Hi im not familiar with the word Morsels what is it? Thanks!

January 9, 2012 02:46 AM
Connie said...

Best chocolate cake I’ve made, and I’ve made a lot…that one on the back of the Hershey’s can. It’s just amazingly good. The frosting recipe is pretty darn good also. (course, remember to doctor it up with your vanilla…)

January 9, 2012 03:04 AM
Bailey said...

Yum!! that looks really good! :)

January 9, 2012 03:15 AM
Stef @ said...

Makes me wish I could eat chocolate!

January 9, 2012 03:20 AM
Miss Overballe said...

Looks delicious!!
I usually use this chocolate cake for filling and decorating:
link to
or this one, for eating plain!
link to

January 9, 2012 03:21 AM
Mimi said...

The Hershey recipe didn’t do it for me, until I tried it using Scharffen Berger cocoa, sour cream for the milk, and coffee instead of plain water.

(My next experiement is to bump the cocoa amount from 3/4 cups to 1 cup…I think THEN my search for the perfect chocolate cake will be over!)

January 9, 2012 03:33 AM
Zee said...

Thanks to you I cant work now cuz I can take my eyes of this cake ! :D
oooh I am so loving the sight of it, I think ill faint if i get a bite.. I know a great moist chocolate cake recipe where should I send it?
Although when I have little time on hand I prefer Betty Crocker’s
moist chocolate cake.. that one is hard to beat ;)

January 9, 2012 03:36 AM
Avanika {Yumsilicious Bakes} said...

I like Ina Garten’s Beatty Chocolate Cake, or the cake from the Sweet and Salty cake by the Baked guys. I’ve done a ton of experimenting, and these two have been consistently good.

January 9, 2012 03:57 AM
Out Of Ours said...

No cake is ever “just a cake”…especially when it looks this good!

January 9, 2012 04:21 AM
Mira said...

I love how simple and beautiful this looks!

January 9, 2012 04:37 AM
Tanya said...

Oh my gosh heat attack cake ! mmm it looks amazing .going to try it tomorrow .My waste line not looking too good after christmas lol !

January 9, 2012 04:40 AM
anna said...

god it’s beautiful!

January 9, 2012 05:06 AM
Amy Karatz said...

That looks sooo luscious–I may need to Pinterest some of your photos! My step-mother’s almost flourless Very Fine Chocolate Cake may not be the best ever, but it gets raves every time. AND, it can be made with two screaming kids hanging on your legs–how many recipes survive that? Anyone want the recipe?

January 9, 2012 05:25 AM
Lauren at Keep It Sweet said...

You are so right, no such thing as too much ganache! This cake looks wonderful.

January 9, 2012 06:05 AM
dee whisnant said...

YUM! where was this just a few days ago, when no one made me a birthday cake?!!? Guess I’ll have to make a belated birthday cake for myself!
Thanks for the visual calories!

January 9, 2012 06:49 AM
Nana B said...

Add a little expresso powder to that boiling water and you have the BEST chocolate ckae ever.

January 9, 2012 06:51 AM
EVELYN said...


January 9, 2012 07:43 AM
shelly (cookies and cups) said...

There is never too much ganache. I actually went swimming in some last night. True Story.

Looks spectacularly gorgeous!

January 9, 2012 07:44 AM
Brieanne said...

I think I just found my next birthday cake!! And not a moment too soon as Wednesday is my birthday. Thanks for the beautiful and no doubt tasty creation.

January 9, 2012 08:02 AM
Janice Mason said...

Looks so beautiful! I’m in charge of making the cake for a 1 year old’s birthday party. This may be the ‘adult’ cake now (cake pops for the kids, of course!)

January 9, 2012 08:13 AM
Bronya said...

Oh my…..yum!!!

The Primrose Bakery chocolate layer cake is my fave!

January 9, 2012 08:17 AM
Sara S. in WI said...

Gorgeous! I love it! When can I come over for a slice?!

January 9, 2012 08:23 AM
Lisa said...

I agree with Connie. The recipe on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa container makes a great cake and cupcakes. I also really like this one by Ina Garten. It’s moist, chocolatey and if you can keep it it stays that way. link to
One thing you can’t make with it is cupcakes. They come out too flat. That’s when I use the Hershey’s recipe.

January 9, 2012 08:26 AM
jen said...

Yummmmmo!!! Looks devine!

January 9, 2012 08:27 AM
Katrina said...

That ganche looks awesome! Love this pretty little guy!

January 9, 2012 08:32 AM
jennifer said...

that looks amazing! I cant wait to try it! I usually just use Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe

January 9, 2012 08:34 AM
Sue @ Cakeballs, cookies and more said...

it looks amazing, I would want the puddles of chocolate too, they make it look even better.

January 9, 2012 08:34 AM
Ursula said...

I am NOT a chocolate lover- in fact I avoid it. I order any other flavor but chocolate. Except for one thing, my mother’s chocolate cake and it is actually titled “The Best Chocolate Cake Ever”. It’s a moist layered chocolate cake, with sweet cream between each layer and then frosted all over with a milk chocolate fudge like frosting. OMG! You keep it in the fridge because it has to stay cold, but when you slice a piece and eat it with a cold glass of milk……heavenly. Did I mention I hate chocolate?

January 9, 2012 08:39 AM
Hannah said...

I love this chocolate cake from Iambaker: link to It’s the only one I ever make now. Super moist, super fluffy. It’s got that perfect box-mix texture, but it’s at least ten times better.

January 9, 2012 08:42 AM
Carrie said...

You just made me weak in the knees! What an amazing way to start off a Monday! The photos are gorgeous, and I’ll be making this plate of sinful delish today! Thank you for all you do ~ and sharing it too!

January 9, 2012 08:50 AM
Maria said...

I Love Love ganache!! Can’t wait to try this recipe! You are so AWESOME!!!

January 9, 2012 08:53 AM
Marcia K said...

That’s not “Just a Cake” that’s Ummm Yummm!

January 9, 2012 08:55 AM
Deb said...

Well, not having tasted yours yet, I don’t know if it’s better but I’ve been loving the one at the link below lately…not sure if it’s cause it’s super easy or because it’s yummy but it’s been what I’ve been making lately! :-))

link to

January 9, 2012 08:57 AM
Deb said...

although after compairing them closer….I think they sound a LOT alike. LOL

January 9, 2012 09:00 AM
Linda Burt Independent Willow House Design Consultant said...

My daughter made a cake like this for a Bridal Shower she threw for a girlfriend! Since the Brides colors was white and black, it was a stunning dramatic choice! Thanks for sharing. Hoping for the very best in health for you in this New Year 2012!

January 9, 2012 09:06 AM
Jo and Sue said...

This is the BEST chocolate cake ever. E.V.E.R.! I wouldn’t lie about something like that. :)
link to

January 9, 2012 09:10 AM
Emily said...

Oh wow. This looks divine. I would eat…all of that. I’m on a sugar-free diet (BOO) and this is making me swoon.

January 9, 2012 09:14 AM
Miriam @ Overtime Cook said...

My mouth is watering right now. Delicious…now I want to bake a layer cake.

January 9, 2012 09:23 AM
Julie Reed said...

I think I just found my birthday cake for this year!!! I will definitely have to have my mom check this one out!

P.S. How did you get your slice so straight and even and CLEAN???

January 9, 2012 09:37 AM
Emanuella said...

just gorgeous…….

January 9, 2012 09:40 AM
Beth V. said...

This looks incredible!! I like that you but a lot of frosting in the middle. It looks really nice. I usually end up putting only a little in the layers because I’m afraid of not having enough for the rest of the cake. But then the layers aren’t as pretty. I’m going to try your way next time.

January 9, 2012 09:53 AM
Beth V. said...

oops, I meant to say PUT a lot of frosting

January 9, 2012 09:53 AM
Ryan said...

I agree, you definitely can’t ever have too much frosting and this looks amazing. You take such beautiful photos!

January 9, 2012 09:55 AM
Kelli said...

This is very similar to the cake recipe I use. My addition? A box of chocolate pudding poured in with the cocoa. Extra chocolate, plus it helps give the cake a thicker consistency when baking so it rises more but still has that lovely sticky, moist texture.

January 9, 2012 10:02 AM
Aimee said...

Oh My Ganache World!! amazingggg.. To me the best chocolate cake recipe its from the great Sweetapolita @ link to .. its simple , super easy and super fast to make and bake.. not to sweet, any frosting combo goes, and super Moist…

January 9, 2012 10:04 AM
Aimee said...

Something else, the difference its the good cocoa and coffee.. my budget does not always allowed the good cocoa but the Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa so perfect..

January 9, 2012 10:06 AM
Heather C said...

My favorite chocolate cake is this Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake I found at 17 and baking. link to
She found it in a book called Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes.

I also love making this cake with Martha Stewarts Dark Chocolate Frosting or with Ina Garten’s Peanut Butter Frosting.

January 9, 2012 10:11 AM
Marian (Sweetopia) said...

Beautiful Angie!
So perfect and neat. I’d love me a bit of this at the current 10:21 am. ;-)

January 9, 2012 10:22 AM
Becky said...

Use Pioneer Woman’s Best Chocolate Sheet Cake Ever…it’s AMAZING! :)

January 9, 2012 10:22 AM
Georgia said...

Chocolate cake with white icing has been my favorite since I was a kid. Topping it with ganache is even better. This is not “just a cake.” Thanks for the post. The ingredients are things everyone can find everywhere. My kind of recipe.

January 9, 2012 10:24 AM
Lindsay (Young Married Mom) said...

So pretty. So yummy. I could go for a slice right now :)

January 9, 2012 10:27 AM
Rebecca Hawkes said...

Years ago I found this chocolate cake on the Hershey website. In real life I like brownies, not cake. But I will stop everything I am doing to make this cake for any birthday coming up. You can TASTE the cocoa! It has such a warm and satisfying element to it. It’s amazing:
link to

And it’s lovely with cream cheese frosting.

Love ya!

January 9, 2012 10:27 AM
bridget {bake at 350} said...

Angie! Oh my word! That looks AMAZING!!! And the middle part, the the chocolate chips?!? Faints.

OK…the best chocolate cake I’ve found comes from the Martha Stewart Living Cookbook (from about 10 years ago). Her Devil’s Food Cake is fantastic.

January 9, 2012 10:31 AM
Verónica Cake said...

looks beautiful and DELICIOUS!

January 9, 2012 10:32 AM
MC said...

My birthday’s coming up in a few weeks, this seems like just the excuse I need to make myself this cake. I think I would make more of a sour cream icing to go under the ganache though, I find that sets off the taste of chocolate cake better.

January 9, 2012 10:34 AM
Theresa said...

This looks absolutely delicious!

January 9, 2012 10:36 AM
Courtney said...

I second (third, fourth) the Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake. I always substitute hot coffee for the hot water – it really jumps the taste to the next level.

January 9, 2012 10:39 AM
MINDY1 said...

Yummy :D

January 9, 2012 10:42 AM
Jennie - Duryea Place Designs said...

Ohmygosh! That looks heavenly!!

January 9, 2012 11:12 AM
Jackie said...

“Just” a cake?? Oh no….that cake is spectacular. I really have to get some cake pans soon!

January 9, 2012 11:24 AM
Heidi Gore said...

This cake looks totally amazing!!! My question is how do you keep the buttercream from melting when you are pouring the ganache over it?

January 9, 2012 11:39 AM
Allie said...

Beautiful! Our favorite chocolate cake recipe around here is Wacky Cake, of which there are a million versions to be found via Google. Whatever the version, I use half a cup of cocoa powder instead of whatever the recipe calls for.

January 9, 2012 11:41 AM
Jill said...

I made the ‘Ultimate Chocolate Cake’ from the Nestle website for my husband’s birthday this year and it was wonderful! Chocolatey and rich and totally yummy!

January 9, 2012 11:41 AM
Seanna Lea said...

I love the contrast. It makes it look so much fancier than even my well decorated cakes look!

January 9, 2012 11:46 AM
Kimberly said...

Angie…you are KILLIN’ me. I have to lose 15 pounds before my brother’s wedding in May. So I just can’t make this yet… but I”m going to make this cake after get back from the reception!

January 9, 2012 11:59 AM
MammaDucky said...

I haven’t looked at all the comments, as there are a ton, so it has probably been said. Replace your hot water with strong hot coffee and it will knock your socks off. It REALLY brings out the chocolate flavor (and no coffee flavor, by the way). if that doesn’t do it I’ll send along my favorite chocolate cake recipe. It’s from The Whimsical Bakehouse. Their chocolate butter cake. I’m a chocolate lover and this is by far the best homemade chocolate cake recipe. They use, guess what? Coffee instead of water. Purdy cake, though!

January 9, 2012 12:09 PM
shannon said...

I cannot wait to try this. How beautiful!! I’ll have to admit that my go-to chocolate cake recipe is from the barefoot contessa called “Beatty’s Chocolate Cake” – promise you its fab!

January 9, 2012 12:10 PM
melva said...

This looks so pretty & delish. Going to have to make this even though I’m on dang diet. I know my family will gooble it up. I’ll just sneak a bite:)

January 9, 2012 12:18 PM
Robin @ Bird On A Cake said...

Oh, how I love ganache! I love having some in the fridge, to pour on ice cream, brownies, my finger. Yum!! My favorite chocolate cake recipe is similar to yours, but the measurements are a little larger and I use buttermilk. It makes just the right amount for three 8 inch cake pans. Here it is on my blog… link to

January 9, 2012 12:37 PM
Grace said...


January 9, 2012 12:41 PM
Anne said...

How do you frost it without the plate it is sitting on get all lame looking with frosting everywhere? My homemade cakes end up looking…dare I say it…homemade. :( Yours looks lovely. I’m going to try this out this weekend for my daughter’s 8th b-day. That is how much confidence I have in you!

January 9, 2012 12:45 PM
Becky said...

link to
This is the best chocolate cake in the world! (though not great pictures of it) It’s a pound cake with frosting. It stays delicious for up to a week if you don’t eat it all by then! :)

Your cake is gorgeous!

January 9, 2012 12:48 PM
Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet said...

With all the fancy cake/frosting flavors that are going around nowadays, it’s so refreshing to see a simple and delicious chocolate and vanilla cake. Classic for a reason!

January 9, 2012 12:54 PM
Nathalie said...

This looks amazeballs! I have a question- I’m always having an issue with making buttercream frosting. Does the butter need to be softened?

Thanks for your help!

January 9, 2012 12:58 PM
Gina said...

I can’t imagine a chocolate cake recipe better than this!

January 9, 2012 01:04 PM
Bonnie said...

This looks Awesome! Now I need a reason to make it.. oh yeah, because it’s MONDAY!

January 9, 2012 01:33 PM
Miri Leigh said...

This cake looks absolutely delicious, as always! Thanks for sharing!

January 9, 2012 01:40 PM
pearse said...

will the ganache stay glossy and with a sheen ?
please rply to

January 9, 2012 01:59 PM
Mary @ Bake Break said...

YES! Ganache is perfection – and this cake looks too good!

January 9, 2012 02:05 PM
Dawn said...

Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake is my go-to recipe! It’s absolutely perfect—-moist, chocolately, easy, YUMMY!

link to

I differ the frostings depending on my mood: chocolate ganache, chocolate buttercream, vanilla buttercream, whipped vanilla icing, peanut butter icing, mocha whipped cream, etc.etc. etc. :)

January 9, 2012 02:05 PM
Comment Pages

Random Sweetness
Bakerella T-Shirts
Show off your inner Bakerella with a super-cute T!
FM Media Survey