Southern-style Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

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OK, Valentine’s Day has me on a chocolate roll.  Come along for the ride!

I’d say my treasure trove of chocolate cake recipes rivals the most enthusiastic of chocolate cake recipe collectors.  I have countless recipes for the be-all, end-all chocolate cake in cookbooks, folders, electronic files, and plain old piles on my desk.  As I spot them and add them to my collection, there’s no telling whether I’ll try an old recipe I’ve had for a while or a new one that strikes my fancy.  Recently, I saw the photo of this cake in a blog—and it stopped me in my tracks.

I had the perfect excuse and opportunity to make it.  One of my girls was flying in for the weekend and Valentine’s Day was on the horizon.  Unfortunately, the winter storm Nemo intervened; and her flight was cancelled.  Sigh…

I, nevertheless, decided to drown my sorrow in chocolate and made the cake.  Roger and I invited Amy’s boyfriend over so that we could commiserate at not having her home this weekend and comfort ourselves with a slice of this outrageously delicious chocolate cake.  It easily qualifies as one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever eaten.  The ganache is so good that I foresee it becoming a go-to ganache for me.  As it set up (a two-hour process), I was checking it every 10 or 15 minutes by eating a spoonful of it.  Hey—I just wanted to be sure it was ready before frosting the cake.  Anyway, that’s what I told Roger…

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One year ago:  Brownies with White and Dark Hearts

Southern-style Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

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Ingredients for the Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 oz. good-quality unsweetened or 82% extra dark chocolate, chopped (I used unsweetened)
  • 1 cup hot double-strength brewed coffee (I used one tbl. of instant espresso powder in one cup of hot water)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Ingredients for the Ganache Frosting

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup double-strength brewed coffee (I used 3/4 tsp. instant espresso powder with 1/4 cup of hot water)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract


For the frosting, heat the cream, butter, sugar and salt over low heat until butter is melted.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted and smooth.  (I pre-melted the chocolate in the microwave at 50% power before stirring into the melted butter mixture.)  Add coffee and vanilla; stir until blended.  Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, stirring minimally, until it reaches a spreadable consistency (about 2 hours).  (You might want to eat a spoonful, say, every 15 minutes or so just to make sure the frosting is setting up properly.  🙂 )  While the frosting is cooling, make the cake.

For the cake, preheat oven to 325°F.  Generously coat the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with shortening.  Line the pans with parchment paper rounds and coat the bottom and sides with additional shortening; toss with flour, discarding the excess.  (I used Baker’s Joy, a shortening spray with flour added.  It is much easier!)

In a medium bowl, sift together sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.  In a separate bowl, whisk the chocolate into the hot coffee until completely melted.  (I once again pre-melted the chocolate in the microwave at 50% power and then whisked the hot coffee into the chocolate.)  In another large mixing bowl combine the eggs, oil, sour cream, and vanilla and whisk until combined.  Stir the melted chocolate into the egg mixture.  Lastly, fold in the flour mixture in 1/3 increments, stirring well after each addition, making sure the flour is completely incorporated and there are no lumps.

Divide batter between prepared cake pans.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow cakes to cool in pans, approximately 30 minutes.  Run a flat spatula around the edge of the pans and remove cakes to wire racks to cool completely.  (Do not remove parchment paper layer until cool.

Spread a thick layer of frosting on top of one layer.  Top with the second layer and spread remaining frosting over top and sides.  Allow cake to sit at room temperature, covered by a cake dome or large glass bowl, for at least two hours before serving, or overnight.  The flavors only get better with time.

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Source:   A recipe from The Kitchn

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