Chocolate Ganache Cake

Fluffy and moist chocolate cake filled with creamy chocolate ganache, frosted with whipped chocolate ganache and topped with a chocolate drip. This cake is dark and rich and not for the faint of heart!

Why you’ll love this chocolate ganache cake

  • It’s rich and indulgent but not to the point where you can’t eat more than one or two bites.
  • The frosting, filling and drip all use the same TWO ingredients.
  • The chocolate cake recipe is very forgiving and allows for many substitutions and dietary restrictions. 

For more chocolate heavy recipes, make sure to check out my chocolate mousse cake for something lighter, double chocolate cookies, triple chocolate macarons, and double chocolate banana bread.

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Flour: I use all purpose flour in most of my recipes and I HIGHLY recommend using a digital scale, as flour (and cocoa) is so often over measured. 
  • Cocoa Powder: make sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder. I use dutch process but natural cocoa powder also works. The color and flavor will be slightly less intense with natural cocoa powder. 
  • Baking Powder: I used just baking powder here. If you only have baking soda, you can just use 1 tsp of that instead. 
  • Sugar: I used granulated sugar and I don’t recommend cutting any out as it affects the texture and the flavor. The ganache is dark and not super sweet so it balances well.
  • Butter: I like to use salted butter in my cakes but you can also use unsalted butter. Dairy free butter also works well. 
  • Oil: I usually use a neutral oil like sunflower, vegetable or canola oil but olive oil also works well here as it pairs well with chocolate and is hardly noticeable. 
  • Eggs: make sure to use room temperature, large eggs. 
    • Pop them in hot water for a few minutes if they’re cold.
  • Sour cream: I love the combination of sour cream and milk for cakes. The sour cream can be replaced with plain yogurt or greek yogurt. Make sure they are unsweetened.
  • Milk: I use whole milk or 2% milk but any milk works fine, even dairy free milk. 
  • Chocolate: I used dark chocolate for all the components in this recipe. My favorite chocolate is the pound chocolate from Trader Joes but any high quality chocolate chip or chocolate baking bar will work here.
    • If you’re not a fan of dark chocolate, you can make this with semi-sweet chocolate as well.
    • I don’t recommend making this with milk chocolate or white chocolate as the ratio of chocolate to cream will be significantly off and will result in a ganache that is too soft (my Tuxedo cake has a white chocolate ganache). You can refer to my cookbook, Frosted, for more on types of ganache and the appropriate ratios.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Make the cake first. Start by creaming the butter with the sugar for 1-2 minutes. Then add the oil and beat at full speed until it’s pale and fluffy. 

Step 2: Add the eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next egg. Then add the vanilla and sour cream, mixing just until they’re combined. 

Step 3: Add half of the dry ingredients, followed by the milk and the other half of the dry ingredients. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl well so it’s evenly mixed. 

Step 4: Distribute the batter evenly. You should get about 18oz in three 8 inch cake pans. 

Step 5: Bake for about 30-35 minutes. When the cake is done baking, it will release itself from the edge of the pan and spring back when you press on the center. Flip the cakes over onto a cooling rack or a tea towel right away. Allow them to cool completely to room temperature. 

Step 6: Make the chocolate ganache by chopping up the chocolate and placing it in a large bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan and pour it over the chocolate. Cover the bowl for 3-5 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt.

Step 7: Stir the chocolate ganache gently until it’s completely melted and smooth. Allow it to cool to room temperature. You can also refrigerate it but make sure to stir it every 10 minutes or so, so that it cools evenly and doesn’t harden around the edge. 

Step 8: Once the chocolate has cooled, split it in half, reserving plain chocolate ganache for the filling. 

Step 9: Use a mixer to beat the other half of the chocolate ganache at full speed, until it lightens in color and resembles more of a frosting. 

Step 10: Use the whipped chocolate ganache to pipe a border around the edge of the cake. Then fill it in with the plain chocolate ganache. Repeat with the second layer and then place the third layer on top.

I use a similar method to assemble my chocolate caramel cake, chocolate chip cake, chocolate blueberry cake, biscoff cake and ferrero rocher cake

Step 11: Frost the cake with the rest of the whipped chocolate ganache and refrigerate the cake.

Step12: For the chocolate drip, repeat the steps for the chocolate ganache (but with a smaller amount of ingredients). Let it cool for about 15-30 minutes, until it’s no longer warm and has thickened just slightly. Spread it on top of the chilled cake, allowing it to run off the edge a little. 

How to make a chocolate drip

Chocolate drips are simple to make. Just follow the same process as making chocolate ganache with a few differences in how it’s used:

  • You want the ganache to be runny but not hot.
  • Make sure the cake is chilled when you pour the chocolate drip on top. 
  • Work quickly so it doesn’t set before it’s done dripping off the edge.
  • For a waterfall drip, pour the chocolate on top of the cake and use an offset spatula or a spoon to spread it out to the edges, allowing it to fall off of the cake naturally.
  • For a more uniform drip, allow the chocolate to cool slightly more so it’s not quite as runny. Then place it in a piping bag with a small tip and pipe the drips along the edge of the cake. Then spread the rest on top, being careful not to ruin the drips on the side of the cake.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this dairy free?:

You can use dairy free butter, dairy free milk/cream to make any of my cakes. You can also use a dairy free cream to make the ganache.  

Can I make this gluten-free?: 

All my cake recipes work well with a 1:1 gluten-free flour like Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Flour

Can I make this in a different size pan?

You can make this cake in:
– Three round 8 inch baking pan – what I used
– Three square 8 inch baking pan – reduce bake time by about 5 minutes
– Two or three round 9 inch baking pan (two will be thicker and three will be thinner than the cakes in the photo) – increase bake time by 5-10 minutes
– Two or three square 9 inch baking pan (two will be thicker and three will be thinner than the cakes in the photo) – increase bake time by 5-10 minutes
– One 9×13 inch pan (will be taller than traditional) – bake at least 10-15 minutes longer, look for ques. 
– Cupcakes – Should make about 36 cupcakes, bake for 16-19 minutes.

How do I know when it’s done baking?

Just like all the rest of my cakes, I test if it’s done baking by pressing gently on the tallest part of the cake. The cake will spring back if it’s done baking. If it stays indented, give it a few minutes in the oven, before testing again. 
You can also insert a toothpick into the center of the cake (the tallest part) and make sure it comes out clean or with a few crumbs but without any batter on it. 

What if I want to decorate the cake with frosting

The amount of ganache I made is enough to frost the cake semi-naked. If you want to fully cover it with ganache and decorate a bit, double the amount of ganache and whip ¾ of it. 
Alternatively you can also just make one batch of swiss meringue buttercream, french buttercream or american buttercream (flavor it however you like) to decorate the outside of the cake.

How to make the cake ahead of time

To make the cake ahead of time you can make the cakes even a month in advance. When you remove them from the oven, let them cool for about half an hour and then wrap them individually  in plastic wrap. Then place them in a freezer bag, squeezing out all the excess air. 

Bring back to room temperature before frosting. If you frost them while they’re frozen, the whipped ganache will set way too quickly from the cold cake and make it difficult to spread. 

To make the ganache ahead of time just follow the instructions until it’s done, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for a few days. Bring back to room temperature before assembling the cake. 

Ganache can be sensitive to temperature sometimes so I prefer to use it fresh as I don’t like to refrigerate it. To save time, make it the night before and allow it to cool overnight at room temperature. Then assemble the cake in the morning. 

How to store finished cake

I usually just cover it with a cake dome or place it in an airtight container and store it at room temperature for 1-2 days. 

Refrigerate for an additional up to a week but I recommend freezing it to keep it more fresh.

To freeze the whole cake, refrigerate it until it’s firm. Then wrap it in plastic wrap so it’s completely covered. Then wrap it in aluminum foil and freeze. 

To freeze slices, place the slices in an airtight container and then place the container in a freezer bag, squeezing out all the excess air. 

Bring it back to room temperature by thawing at room temperature for a few hours before serving. 

Thanks so much for reading today’s post, if you have any questions just comment down below. Make sure to leave it in the comment section because I can’t answer in the rating section.

If you make this, I’d love it if you left a star rating for me. If it’s less than five stars, please leave a comment with the rating so I know why! 🙂

As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!

Love, B

Yield: 16-20 servings

Chocolate Ganache Cake

chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling, whipped chocolate ganache frosting

Fluffy chocolate cake filled with creamy chocolate ganache, frosted with whipped chocolate ganache and topped with a chocolate drip. This cake is dark and rich and not for the faint of heart!

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours 35 minutes

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • 2 1/4 cup (270g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 3/4 cup (60g) unsweetened cocoa powder, spooned and leveled (I use dutch-processed)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (118mL) vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (225g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 cup (237mL) milk, room temperature

Chocolate Ganache

  • 18 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 18 oz heavy cream

Chocolate Drip

  • 3 oz dark chocolate, chopped (chips work too)
  • 3 oz heavy cream

Instructions

Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C) and grease and line three round 8 inch cake pans with baking spray and parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until they’re evenly distributed.
  3. Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and use an electric mixer to beat them at full speed for 1-2 minutes. Add the oil and beat for another 1-2 minutes at full speed. 
  4. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating for at least 30 seconds between each one, until it’s incorporated. 
  5. Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix just until it’s combined.
  6. Add half of the flour mixture, turn the mixer the low speed and stream in the milk. Add the other half of the flour mixture and increase the speed to medium for another 30-60 seconds, just until there are only a few streaks of flour left. 
  7. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and give it one more good mix by hand. 
  8. Distribute the batter evenly among the prepared pans, about 18-19oz in each pan. 
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the edge of the cake releases from the pan or springs back when you gently press on the tallest part. 
  10. Flip onto a tea towel or a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature before frosting. 

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Place the dark chocolate in a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) and place the heavy whipping cream into a small saucepan. 
  2. Heat the cream over medium heat until it comes to a simmer (bubbling all around the edge).
  3. Pour the cream over the dark chocolate and cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap for about 5 minutes, so the chocolate melts.
  4. Use a rubber spatula to gently stir the ganache until they're completely smooth.
  5. Cover again and allow it to cool completely to room temperature. You can refrigerate to speed up the process but make sure to stir it every 5-10 minutes so it cools evenly.
  6. Split the chocolate ganache in half. Reserve half of the ganache for the cake filling and place the other half in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl.
  7. Use the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, at full speed, to beat the ganache for 3-5 minutes, until the ganache has lightened in color and grown in volume.

Assemble

  1. Place the first layer of cake on a flat surface. Place the WHIPPED ganache into a piping bag and pipe a border around the edge of the cake. Fill the center with half of the reserved ganache. Repeat with the next layer and then top with the last layer.
  2. Use the rest of the WHIPPED ganache to frost the outside of the cake. You should have enough to lightly frost the cake.* Refrigerate the cake.

Chocolate Drip

  1. Place the dark chocolate in a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) and place the heavy cream into a small saucepan. 
  2. Heat the cream over medium heat until it comes to a simmer (bubbling all around the edge).
  3. Pour the cream over the dark chocolate and cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap for about 5 minutes, so the chocolate melts.
  4. Use a rubber spatula to gently stir the ganache until they're completely smooth.
  5. Cover again and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Pour the ganache on top of chilled cake and spread it out so it drips off the edge.

Notes

*if you want to decorate the cake with frosting, you can double the amount of the chocolate ganache and whip 3/4 of it. Or you can make a batch of buttercream (a batch with 1 cup of butter) to decorate the outside.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 623Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 275mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 4gSugar: 45gProtein: 8g

Nutrition information may not be fully accurate.

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