Favorite Birthday Cake (Chocolate cake w. chocolate ganache and chocolate ganache butter cream frosting)
A small crow: I ran the marathon in 4:43:59, which is quite good for me, and only 8 minutes slower than the PR I ran in DC in 2005 (and, there are LOTS more hills here in SF!). I won’t mention the minutes of walking during the miles around Lake Merced when I felt a bit gross from all the ‘gu’ and sports drink I sucked down along the way and needed a wee break, but instead will focus on the first 16 miles when I was running about 9:30-minute miles (or less!) pretty consistently and felt quite amazing. Really, I was doing this for ‘fun’ and to celebrate my birthday, which happens to be today. And this cake is another way to celebrate. I make it for many birthdays, and it seems fitting I should have a slice on mine, too! It’s just chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache and frosted with chocolate ganache buttercream frosting: plain, simple, utterly decadent. The perfect birthday and post-marathon treat.
Makes 12 servings
For the ganache
1 1/2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
2 cups heavy cream
In a sauce pan, heat the cream until nearly boiling. Place the chocolate chips in a bowl, and pour the hot cream over. Let the cream and chocolate sit for a bit, about 4-5 minutes. Slowly whisk the chocolate into the cream (the ‘resting’ period will help get the chocolate melty), stirring and whisking until chocolate is completely melted and a smooth, velvety ganache forms. Cool to room temperature; mixture will thicken as it cools. I often will stick in the fridge to hasten the cooling/solidifying process. If you do this, remove from the fridge to let soften up a little before filling the cake.
For the frosting
1 stick salted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup ganache
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 cups powdered sugar
milk, as needed
In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add the ganache and vanilla, and beat on high to combine. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time, with a teaspoon of milk at a time if it seems too dry. Add sugar to your desired sweetness and beat until the frosting is fluffy.
Assembly: split the two, 9-inch cake layers in half. Spread the bottom layer with ganache, then add another cake layer, and repeat until cake it stacked up. Frost with the chocolate ganache buttercream.