This is one of my go-to chocolate cake recipes because it always come out perfectly. It is a dense, moist, delicious chocolate cake with a layer of flavored buttercream frosting and chocolate ganache over the top. Does that sound complicated? Well, it's really not - if you've never really attempted a good homemade cake, this is a great one to try.
The originial recipe called for making an espresso buttercream layer, but I much prefer the taste of orange with chocolate. You can make whichever flavor you like. The ganache top layer is super easy - you just heat all the ingredients together and let it cool for a little while until it is thick enough to pour over the cake but yet still thin enough that it will run down the sides.
The cake is baked in a rimmed baking sheet and then cut into thirds. It's super easy to do - just make sure you line the cake pan with parchment paper and the cake will come out easily. Baking one large cake and cutting it into thirds and layering it makes it the easiest layer cake ever!
Chocolate Cake with Orange Buttercream and Ganache
for a printable recipe, click here
adapted slightly from Oprah.com
Servings: Makes 16 servings
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
6 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup very hot water
For the buttercream:
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter , softened
2 tablespoons orange juice
For the ganache:
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened and diced
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 15 1/2" x 10 1/2" jelly-roll pan with parchment paper; spray paper with nonstick cooking spray.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt at medium speed until blended. In another bowl, whisk eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Gradually beat egg mixture into flour mixture, about 5 minutes. Shift mixer to low speed; add hot water until blended. Pour batter into pan. Bake until toothpick comes out of the center clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cake completely.
separate your eggs the easy way - like Jacques Pepin - by letting the whites
pour through your fingers.
For the orange buttercream:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg yolks at medium speed until they become lemon colored and ribbonlike when beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1/4 cup water. Cook over medium-low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until sugar completely dissolves and syrup just comes to a boil. Increase heat to high; boil syrup until it registers 238°F on a candy thermometer. With the mixer on medium speed, immediately add syrup to beaten egg yolks in a thin, steady stream. Beat mixture until it cools to room temperature and is light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Gradually add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until completely incorporated. Add orange juice and stir.
cut a little slit in the corner of the parchment paper - this will
allow the parchment to fit nicely into the corner and your cake will come out perfectly
For the ganache:
In a large bowl, combine chocolate and butter. In a small saucepan, heat cream and sugar over medium-high flame, stirring occasionally, until small bubbles appear around edge of pan. Pour hot cream over chocolate; stir until chocolate and butter melt and mixture is completely smooth. Cool, stirring occasionally, until thickened but not pasty, about 15 minutes.
Invert cake onto a large wire rack; peel off parchment paper. Invert cake again onto a large cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut cake into equal thirds.
Set a large wire rack over a sheet of waxed paper. Arrange one cake layer on rack; spread half of buttercream evenly over top. Add another cake layer; spread top with remaining buttercream. Place remaining cake layer on top.
Pour ganache over top of cake, spreading with a spatula so it coats the sides. If ganache does not cover sides completely, pour any excess that has collected on the waxed paper back into bowl and spread again. Refrigerate cake until ganache sets, about 1 hour. Use two large spatulas to transfer cake onto a serving platter.