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Easy and Incredible Buttermilk Chocolate Ganache Cake with Perfect Chocolate Frosting

Spread ganache on cake layers, leaving some in the bowl for licking!

A rare thunderstorm in San Diego, after days of 100+ degree heat.  A few drops of rain and enough crashing to make my dogs nervous.  They are happily taking advantage of my push-over self and are in the living room, while my cats are furious in the rest of the house.  The cooler fallish weather and darker skies makes me want to cook!

I bake for friends, and this is one of my most requested cakes.  It is easy, it is wonderful, it is satisfying: it is chocolate.  I don’t like wimpy chocolate cakes; if I’m going to invest my calories in a dessert, it better pay off in flavor and texture.   Making this cake a day ahead allows the flavors to meld, but it can be eaten right away in case of chocolate emergency.  This recipe does use dairy products, and the acid reaction between the buttermilk and baking soda helps it rise and makes the chocolate flavor be yum.   I have directions for a layer cake or sheet cake, but it makes great little bundt cakes, too.  I have a humongous sheet cake pan and I quadruple the recipe with complete success.  I’ve given directions for chocolate frosting, which is absolutely great, by the way, but feel free to use other colors for decorations.  Although I enjoy dark chocolate, I find semi-sweet is best in the ganache, although I’ve used extra-dark baking cocoa for the batter and frosting with much success.  Enjoy!

Easy and Incredible Buttermilk Chocolate Ganache Cake with Perfect Chocolate Frosting
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 - 12
My best and most satisfying chocolate cake recipe, without a lot of hassle!
  • Buttermilk Chocolate Ganache Cake
  • For Cake:
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • cups powdered unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • For Ganache:
  • cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate in pieces
  • For Frosting:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • ⅔ cups powdered unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ⅓ cups milk, water or buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease and flour 2 9-inch round baking pans, or one sheet cake pan.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).
  6. Pour evenly into baking pan(s).
  7. Bake 30 – 35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out cleanly.
  8. Cool ten minutes.
  9. For layer cake, or for the more adventurous sheet cake bakers, turn cake(s) out onto wire racks and cool completely.
  10. For ganache, combine heavy cream and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  11. Turn off heat.
  12. Add the chocolate pieces and swirl around to cover them with the hot milk mixture, and then cover for five minutes until chocolate is melted.
  13. Stir until smooth and creamy.
  14. Pour into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until ganache is thick enough to spread.
  15. For frosting, melt butter and pour into bowl.
  16. Stir in the cocoa.
  17. Alternately add sifted powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency.
  18. Add more milk if needed.
  19. Stir in vanilla.
  20. Makes about 2 cups.
  21. To finish: If making a layer cake use the ganache as filling.
  22. Cake may then need to be chilled to keep ganache firm before and after frosting. Ganache can also be used both as filling and as a coating for the top layer, and the frosting spread around the sides of the cake and piped decoratively around the top edge as a barrier to contain the ganache.
  23. If making a sheet cake, spread thickened ganache on top of cooled cake.
  24. Pipe frosting decoratively around edge to contain ganache and, if you’ve managed to turn the cake out of the pan, spread the frosting around the sides.
  25. This cake is excellent if made the day before serving, to give the flavors a chance to meld.



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