Decadence and the winter holidays are absolutely synonymous in my opinion. Wouldn’t you agree? You can’t have one without the other! Whether your vice is egg-nog, Christmas cookies, mulled wine, or all of the above, I am here to fully support all of your holiday food addictions! First and foremost however, I believe that chocolate and Christmas-time go hand-in-hand, and I think that this recipe is a perfect opportunity to pair the two! All the bells and whistles for this chocolate extravagance!
OH and let’s not forget about that garnish..It’s been about four years since I candied cranberries, and I think that they are such a great (and easy!) way to decorate (and add a little sparkle) to a Christmas cake. Keep scrolling for the step by step directions! (It’s like 3 steps lol)
Happy December! Now that the calendar has officially flipped past November, are you the kind of person who lets the flood gates open on all-things festive? I think it’s easy to go overboard in the first few weeks and get a little overwhelmed by it all once the 25th rolls around. A gentle stream of holiday festivities is how I am trying to approach things this year! My first promise to myself is that I will go easy on the Christmas tunes… Nothing worse than getting Jolly Old Saint Nicholas stuck in your head on repeat… or the Little Drummer Boy :o.
So far I’ve picked up a little potted tree from this special little East Van nursery, and lined my mantle and dining room table with some cedar boughs. I love keeping decorations simple and clean, focusing on crisp greens and whites! Do you like to decorate your home for the holidays?
So, back to this gargantuan cake! I was craving a moist, rich, and flavourful chocolate cake, so I turned to the internet to do some research. What I found was a recipe that was listed as the “best-best chocolate cake” (insert eye-roll), so I thought it was worthy of a try just to test that boastful title! ;) After testing… I have to say it is certainly up there in the ranks!! I decided to pair a smooth chocolate ganache as a filling and dripping for the cake, as well as a fluffy whipped chocolate buttercream frosting on the exterior. Triple chocolate heaven. :)
Triple Chocolate Christmas Ganache Cake
The Best-Best Chocolate Cake
Preparation: 45 min. Cooking: 50 min. Cooling: 1 H. Makes 8 to 10 servings
Chocolate Cake Ingredients:
2 cups (300 g) unbleached cake/pastry flour 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 2 eggs 2 cups granulated sugar 1 cup buttermilk 1/2 cup canola oil 2 tsp vanilla extract 3/4 cup cocoa powder 3/4 cup strongly brewed coffee, warm
1 3/4 cups (430 ml) 35% heavy cream 2 tbsp (30 ml) corn syrup 16 oz (450 g) dark chocolate, chopped
- With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil and line two 8-inch (20 cm) pans with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside
- In another bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, buttermilk, oil and vanilla with a whisk. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and coffee with a whisk. Add to the egg mixture. Add the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely before removing from pans.
- In a saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a simmer, whisking constantly
- In a bowl, pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate. Let melt for 2 minutes. Stir until the ganache is smooth. Refrigerate covered for about 1 hour or until it has thickened and is still spreadable, stirring four or five times.
- On a work surface, cut and remove the rounded tops of each cake. Cut each cake in half horizontally to make four slices. Place first cake layer on a cake turntable or your cake stand. With a spatula, spread the ganache evenly over the surface of the first cake slice. Repeat with remaining slices Layer the four slices and place on a cake stand. Save some of the ganache for the drip!
- Make whipped chocolate buttercream
Whipped Chocolate Buttercream
12 ounces/340 grams good quality dark/bittersweet chocolate 60-70% cocoa, chopped 8 ounces/227 grams/1 cup unsalted butter room temperature 1/4 cup cocoa powder either natural or dutch process are fine 1/2 cup icing sugar pinch salt 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract 1/4 cup whipping cream
Set up your double boiler by filling a saucepan with about 2 inches water. Select a heat-proof mixing bowl, and set it over the simmering water making sure the bottom doesn’t touch the water. Place chopped chocolate inside bowl and stir to melt. Remove mixing bowl from double boiler, and allow chocolate to cool until it is slightly warm.
Combine butter, cocoa powder, icing sugar and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until well combined, about a minute. Reduce speed to low and incorporate vanilla extract, whipping cream and cooled chocolate, then turn speed back up to medium and beat for about 2 minutes, until pale and very fluffy. Take offset spatula and frost stacked cake (with ganache already spread between layers). It is easiest when the cake is on the cake stand already, and the cake stand is on the turntable. Frost the cake on the turntable to allow for best consistency and even spreading!
Frosting may be made up to 48 hours in advance – refrigerate until needed, then bring back to room temperature and beat again for a minute or two before using. Frosted cake may be stored at room temperature for up to two days.
- Zap the remaining ganache in your microwave for about 20 seconds or until it is “drippy”. Take a spoon and drip the ganache over the edge in any style you like! Messy is OK! :)
1/2 cup fresh or thawed whole cranberries 1 cup sugar1/2 cup water
- Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in cranberries until well coated.
- With a slotted spoon, remove the cranberries from the syrup, and let cool on a cooling rack set over paper towels. Let dry for at least an hour.
- Working in batches, roll cranberries in remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar until well coated; let dry for at least 1 hour
Happy holidays and Merry Christmas. All my love to you and your families at this time!
PS: How was your weekend? I checked out this secret Vancouver bar and LOVED it!
PPS: This brunch recipe is a saving grace when you are hosting brunch, yet want to snooze in on a weekend and avoid any early morning prep. (That was me on Saturday morning!) :)
PPPS: I can’t wait to get up here this winter!! Join me?
I am with you about this being the season for indulging, and this cake looks so. stinking. good. I love the candied cranberries on top!
Thank you so much Mandy!! I’m in love with the pairing of these cranberries with chocolate too! They balance each other out so well. Best wishes for your holiday season!