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The Tuesday Treat: Favorite Birthday Cake

For an explanation of The Tuesday Treat, see here.



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 cake

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.




  1. Happy Birthday, Nicole! You began your “new year” in awesome fashion, a marathon and this delicious-looking cake! I’m wishing you the best with all new challenges in the coming year.

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