Monday, August 13, 2012

Chocolate Ganache Cake

ga·nache noun \(ˌ)gä-ˈnäsh, gə-\

Definition: a sweet creamy chocolate mixture used especially as a filling or frosting
Origin:  French, literally, jowl, from Italian ganascia, modification of Greek gnathos jaw

This cake is a chocolate lovers dream. The alternating layers of moist chocolate sponge cake and the rich and creamy ganache will make anyone swoon. It is perfect for any occasion, dress it up with berries, or add sprinkles for a birthday.  Whatever the occasion, I would highly recommend pairing it with a very tall, icy glass of milk. 

1 lb semisweet chocolate very finely chopped
1 lb bittersweet chocolate very finely chopped
4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup good-quality honey
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 tbs pure vanilla extract

Note: Use good chocolate - the better quality chocolate you use, the better it will taste. 

Chocolate Sponge Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
11 tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 1/3 cups brewed American coffee

1. To make ganache; place all the chocolate in a heatproof bowl; set aside.   In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, honey and salt.  Bring mixture to a boil, pour over the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes to melt the chocolate.  Whisk until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract and cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for at least 6 hours or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9 by 2-inch round cake pans.  Line the bottoms with a round of parchment paper and dust with cocoa powder.

3. To make the cake; In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, sift in the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix on low speed to combine. 

4. Add the eggs, vanilla, melted butter, buttermilk and coffee.  Mix on low speed until fully combined.  Pour the batter into prepared cake pans.  Bake on a baking sheet until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes.  Then unmold the cakes onto the rack and let cool completely. 

5. Using a serrated knife, slice each cake horizontally into two layers for a total of four layers.  Place the bottom layer on a nine inch cake round, a turntable or a platter and using an offset spatula, spread thickly about 1 1/2 cups of the ganache.  Repeat with the second or third layers, spreading another 1 1/2 cups ganache over each layer.   Add the final cake layer and spread it with a very thin layer of ganache (the crumb layer).  Place the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or until the crumb layer is set. 

6. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and place it on a wire rack set over a sheet pan.  IN the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, heat the reserved ganache just until liquid.  Pour the ganache over the top of the cake, allowing it to run down the sides.  Using a large offset spatula, help spread the ganache from the center to the edges so the cake is completely covered.  Smooth the top and sides. Refrigerate to set, about 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature.


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