Saturday, February 6, 2010

German Chocolate Ganache Cake

Remember the iCake I made for my husband for his birthday last year? If you missed it, click over ... it was one of a kind. It was a lot fun to make, but what a labor of love rolling and cutting all that fondant to make the Apps!

This year, I made him his favorite cake-- a German Chocolate Cake, but with a twist. Normally, German Chocolate Cake is made with layers of chocolate cake that are filled and coated with coconut pecan frosting. This sophisticated version that I made today still has two layers of chocolate cake with a coconut pecan filling, but instead of having the coconut pecan frosting coating the outside of the cake ... the cake is drenched in chocolate ganache. Ooo la la.

The cake, coconut pecan filling and the chocolate ganache are all made from scratch, so this cake turned out to be more labor intensive than the iCake! But he's so worth it. ;)

Happy Birthday to my sexy, smart and fun husband.
I love you.

Recipe adapted from the Martha Stewart Living recipe for Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake.

German Chocolate Ganache Cake
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Coconut-Pecan Filling
1 fourteen ounce can sweetened condensed milk
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups shredded coconut

Chocolate Ganache
12 oz. package semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups heavy cream

To prepare the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place butter, chocolate chips and cocoa powder in a heatproof bowl and set bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water.

Stir the ingredients frequently as mixture melts.

Stir until smooth and remove from heat.

At this point, you may want to dip a spoon into the chocolate and butter mixture to taste. You know... a girl's gotta make sure her ingredients are top quality and oooh mmmmm so good, right?

Cut parchment to fit two 9" round baking pans.

Butter the bottom of the baking pans, insert the parchment circle and butter the top of the parchment paper as well.

Sift flour and salt in a small bowl.

Combine sugar and egg in a large bowl.

Beat until smooth.

Add vanilla extract and melted chocolate mixture to the sugar mixture.

Isn't that pretty? It looks like splattered paint. That you can eat.

Mix on low speed of your electric mixer.
I love this part!
Look at the pretty swirls...

mmmm doesn't that look yummy?

This is the part at which you ask yourself how I managed to hold the mixer in one hand and focus and shoot the camera in the other hand.

Add the flour mixture to the batter.

Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 20 minutes or until the cake tests done.

Let cakes cool completely before removing cakes from pans.

Set cakes on wire racks until filling is prepared.

To prepare filling:

Chop pecans and measure 1 1/2 cups.

Combine condensed milk, vanilla extract and butter in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently until butter is melted.

While milk mixture cooks, place egg yolks in a small bowl and beat with a whisk until smooth.

Continuously whisk the egg yolks as you slowly add a small amount of the milk mixture (about 1 cup). If you don't whisk constantly, the hot milk mixture will cook the egg yolks, solidifying them, which you do not want. Eww.

Now add the egg yolk and milk mixture into the pan with the remaining milk mixture and continue to cook for 5 more minutes, stirring constantly

Remove mixture from heat and gently stir in the chopped pecans and coconut.

You may want to taste the filling at this point. You know... for quality control. You need to make sure it tastes perfect.

Let filling stand to cool. Store in refrigerator if not assembling cake right away.

Place one cake layer on a piece of 9" cake cardboard. If you don't have one, make one from a cut up cardboard box covered with parchment paper like so:

Spread filling evenly over top of the cake.

Carefully transfer second cake layer on top of filling and press gently.

Set aside until ganache is ready. Store in refrigerator if you're not preparing the ganache right away.

To prepare the ganache:

Place chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl.

Note: Do you see how the chocolate in the photo has that dull, white or chalky looking hue to it? This just means that the chocolate has been exposed to a shift in temperatures. For example, if you store your chocolate in a cabinet along an outside wall of your house, believe it or not, the seasonal shift in the temperatures outside your house are enough to make the chocolate develop this change in color. Be assured that the taste of the chocolate is not affected and it is perfectly fine for eating, baking and candy making. When heated or melted, the chocolate will regain a smooth, dark hue.

Heat 2 cups of heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium hight heat until it boils. Watch it carefully so it doesn't boil over.

Pour cream over chocolate chips and let stand for 10 minutes.

Gently fold and stir the chocolate and cream to fully melt the chocolate chips.

The cream may curdle a bit when combined with the cold or room temperature chocolate and look like this:
See the white lumps?

If that happens, simply use a whisk to whisk mixture until smooth.
Voila! Smooth chocolate ganache!

More taste testing would not be frowned upon at this stage.

Place cake on a wire rack over a rimmed cookie sheet.

Slowly pour some of the ganache over the cake, allowing the excess to drip over the sides, coating the cake completely.

Let the ganache set for several minutes and then repeat with more of the ganache to fully coat the cake.

Transfer the cake to a large serving plate.

The cake is dense and rich, so can serve up 12-15 people a 1 inch slice.

We've been eating the cake since Saturday evening and everyone loves it. It is rich, but not sickeningly sweet. The cake layers are a similar density of brownies, but are not fudgey like brownies, but have the more subtle chocolate flavor of German chocolate cake.

The ganache is amazing.

Ooo la la.

The end.
Enjoy! :)

I have about 1 cup of ganache left over, maybe more, that I've been storing in my refrigerator. I'm thinking of using it for a special Valentine's Day dessert, but I'm not sure how just yet. So help me out...

What would you do with a cup of leftover, decadent ganache?


  1. Delicious! Happy Birthday to your hubby!

    Mother Nature gave him snow for his bday, isn't he lucky ;)

  2. Happy Birthday to your husband Christine! Oh, and good luck to your daughter for her volleyball tournament!

    And that cake looks....yu, yum yum!

  3. Happy BIrthday to your Hubby! That cake looks delicious!

  4. Ohwwwwwwww, that is soo sweet of you Christine. Happy Birthday to your hubby...waiting for more pictures.

  5. Oh that cake looks delicious! Lucky husband. :) Happy Birthday to him. Can't wait to read your recipe.

  6. I posted a ton of photos from my cake making on Saturday. If you need a visual chocolate fix this Monday morning... come back and take a peek. ;)

    Mariana : Thanks! I gifted my husband an excuse note out of shoveling the snow for his birthday. Wasn't that sweet of me? ;)

    orannia : Thanks! :)
    The volleyball tournament was a lot of fun and my daughter and her team played well and hard, but they didn't do so great in the placement. This was the first tournament for nearly every girl on her team and they played up a level, so were very likely the youngest and most inexperienced team there. There spirits were a wee bit squashed, but overall, a lot of smiles to be had.

    Brandy : Thanks. Cake was ... is .. very good. Most importantly, my husband LOVES it and already requested a repeat for his birthday next year. :)

    Natalie : Thanks! The pics are up. Don't come back if you're hungry, though. ;)

    Hilcia : Thank you! I posted the recipe a little while ago, if you're interested. :)

  7. I think I'm drooling. I'm not a chocolate cake fan, but that looked absolutely delicious. Um, leftover ganache? Covering Doughnuts? *G*

  8. Gorgeous! I love german chocolate cake, and this sounds like a wonderful rendition.

    My guy made your pomegranate sherbet last night, and it was soooo good. And, it was really quick, with so few ingredients.

    If I weren't to eat the ganache with a spoon, I'd make it into truffles (that's what I did for wedding favors when I got married). Roll cold ganache into balls and roll in powdered sugar or cocoa powder.

  9. omg, christine, this looks absolutely fabulous! i would probably eat the leftover ganache with a spoon, but i'm sure there are more productive uses. lol.

    i am loving these step-by-step cooking blog entries. :)

  10. Ohhh, mercy Christine! Have mercy on us poor souls! That is just wicked!

  11. OK - YUM! This looks heavenly! This is no doubt a terrible admission, but I never knew what a ganache was until now *ducks*

    Sorry to hear that the tournament didn't go so well for your daughter and her team, but the experience will surely stand them in good stead!

  12. Happy belated birthday to your hubby, Christine!

    and wow!! This cake looks really good and the amount of work in it!! I hope your husband appreciates it :D

  13. Brandy: Oooo! Ganache covered doughnuts! What a great idea! Doughnuts are one of my biggest weaknesses. *sigh*

    Renee : Yay! I'm so glad your man tried my recipe for the pomegranate sherbet and you guys liked it! That makes me so happy! :)

    Truffles is a great idea! Easy, too! Thanks for the suggestion.

    sula : I confess that I did dip a spoon into the ganache a few times while making this cake. And ran a finger through the ganache that dripped onto the cookie sheet.

    Glad you're enjoying these blog entries, with all the excessive photos and all. They sure are fun to do! :)

    Hilcia : LOL! Imagine the restraint I must possess knowing there's 2/3 of a cake in the fridge... nearly 20 feet away from me as I type this.... argh!

  14. orannia : That's okay... I only figured out what ganache was a few years ago myself. Now I know how to make it at home! So easy, by the way. Too easy. Scary easy that you can make it in a few short minutes. LOL.

    I agree with you. The team will only gain from this first tournament experience. They're looking forward to the next one, already. :)

    nath : Thanks! Oh he definitely appreciates it. All of the mmmm's ooooohhh's aaaaaah's sooo gooood's with every bite certainly get his point across. :)

  15. Wow Christine;

    What an amazing baking accomplishment. You are my "baking idol". I am so impressed and I'm sure your hubby LOVED it.

    Thanks again for joining in for our "Indiscreet" chat, it was so great to hear your voice that evening.

    I hope you husband had a wonderful Birthday.


  16. I just had a huge dinner I told myself I wouldn't eeat anymore for the next few days. Then I thought of visiting your latest post and saw the pictures. OMG - I AM HUNGRY NOW for a choco cake. And with the snow coming soon, I'm afraid I won't be having one 'till atleast Friday. Are you up for a 6-12 inches of snow? I'm too excited ;-)

  17. Lea : Thanks! We still have half the cake left and no one's touching it now. I think we overdosed on chocolate and sugar. I'm going to try to freeze slices... we'll see how that goes.

    Thank YOU for including me in the Indiscreet discussion. It was a lot of fun!

    Natalie : YES! I was so ready for a snow day. I LOVE snow days!!! Although this one is a serious one, don't you think? It's soooooo pretty. I've been taking pictures, but they don't do justice to the beauty of it. We shoveled about 6-7 inches just before noon and now there's another 8-9 already and it doesn't even look like we were out there!

    We actually lost power for almost an hour and a half this afternoon. I'm just grateful it didn't last longer. It would NOT have been fun to have no heat.

    Stay warm and be safe!


Leave a comment! I love to hear what YOU think.
[I apologize, but I've had to disallow anonymous users to comment on my blog due to an influx of spam. I'll change it back as soon as I can. Thanks for understanding.]