Thursday, March 27, 2014

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache - made March 21, 2014 from Averie Cooks
I've been trying to clean up my pinterest boards. By "clean up", I meant deleting pins of recipes I pinned awhile ago and never made, thinking if I haven't made them by now, I never will so why am I still keeping them pinned? Answer: turns out I'm a virtual hoarder. I have one pin board titled "Baking Recipes I Want to Try". Once I do try a particular recipe from that board, I move it to another board called "Pinned Recipes I've Already Made". That's how I keep my organization freak happy. At its peak, the first board had over 300 recipes while the second board now has almost 275. So I've made some progress. But not quite enough, hence my virtual decluttering attempt.
At which I failed miserably. I think I ended up deleting two pins from a board of 300. I kept getting distracted by long-ago pinned recipes and thinking I should make that one or try this one. It was my someday syndrome again. Someday I'm going to make this. Problem was, I had so many recipes on my pin board and kept adding more that I kept losing sight of the ones I had pinned earlier. So I compromised and did the sensible thing. I broke up the want-to-try recipes into categories, specifically cakes, cookies and I left the original board as all other desserts. So I still have almost 300 recipes to try but now I've got them classified more cleanly. My inner hoarder wasn't distressed at any more deletions and my organizer freakishness was swooning.
Now it's so much easier to choose which recipe to bake. Like when I was in the mood for a quick, simple cake recipe, I just went to my Let Me Eat Cake pinboard and selected this one from Averie Cooks. I've had lots of success with Averie's recipes and this one was no exception. If you like the fluffy, cakey texture of box cake mixes but want a chocolate cake that actually has chocolate flavor (inner baking snobbery peeks out), this is the cake recipe for you.
This was a really good chocolate cake. Of course, use a high quality cocoa powder so the chocolate flavor will shine through. You'll see the addition of coffee in the batter but if you're not a coffee lover, never fear, this isn't a coffee chocolate cake. The coffee just enhances the chocolate even further but doesn't contribute to the taste. I'm not a coffee drinker but I don't mind coffee-flavored goods. I could detect a hint of the coffee in the background against the chocolate but it doesn't detract from the cake at all. My only down note is I'm not a big fan of ganache as it's a little too rich for me and not sweet enough in general but that's a taste preference and nothing to do with the recipe. Otherwise, this was a fantastic chocolate cake.
1 large egg
1 cup granulated sugar
6 ounces sour cream
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup brewed coffee, room temperature or warm
1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a 9-by-9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine egg, sugar, yogurt, oil, vanilla, and whisk until smooth and combined. Add coffee and cocoa powder; whisk vigorously until batter is smooth and free from lumps.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and whisk vigorously until batter has just combined, about 1 minute. Pour batter, which is a loose and fairly runny batter, into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until top has set and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Allow cake to cool in pan completely, at least 30 minutes, before adding ganache or frosting the cake, or before slicing and serving. Unfrosted cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or store frosted cake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Chocolate Ganache 
9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (about 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips)
3/4 cup cream or half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Place chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power for 1 minute to soften chocolate; set aside. 
  2. In a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, heat the cream (I used half-and-half) on high power just until it begins to bubble and show signs of boiling, about 60 to 75 seconds. 
  3. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let it stand about 1 minute. 
  4. Whisk vigorously until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and velvety. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Set bowl aside for about 10 minutes, allowing ganache to cool and thicken a bit. 
  5. Whisk mixture briefly before pouring all of it over the cake. Lightly smooth and spread the ganache with a spatula or offset knife. Allow ganache to set up for at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving the cake; or speed this process up by placing pan in the refrigerator or freezer briefly.


  1. This cake looks really good. I like that it has sour cream. I have a favorite choc cake recipe that also has sour cream in it, but you can never have too many good choc cake recipes in your arsenal :) I'd like to give this one a try. How did you measure your flour? I always like to weigh my flour. Thanks much!

    1. I like to use weight measurements too, whenever it's available. Otherwise I use the dip and sweep method to measure the flour.

  2. Do you have an alternate frosting suggestion, since the ganache wasn't your favorite?

    1. I'd use a half recipe of a chocolate frosting from one of my Texas Fudge Cake or Texas Sheet Cake recipes. They're easy to make and sweet so they'd be a good complement to the dark chocolate of the cake.