Dark Chocolate Cake with Whipped Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache

Photography by Mark Weinberg / Recipe Development by Jesse Szewczyk / Food Styling by Erin Jeanne McDowell

With essentially every type of chocolate, this dark chocolate cake by Jesse Szewczyk is for all you chocolate fanatics. It’s coated in a luxe frosting made with a real star, Caramelized White Chocolate, and the top is showered in shimmering sea salt flakes that crunch like sprinkles. The salt is a nice contrast to the chocolate’s sweetness, making this cake dangerously easy to eat.

Dark Chocolate Cake with Whipped Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache
 
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups (660 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs (200 grams)
  • 1 cup (227 grams) sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon (13 grams) vanilla extract
  • 2¼ cups (281 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (101 grams) black cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • 1⅓ cups (320 grams) boiling water
  • Whipped Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)
  • Dark Chocolate Drip (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: flaked sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour 3 (9-inch) round cake pans.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add sour cream and vanilla, beating just until smooth.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, black cocoa, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just until combined. Slowly add 1⅓ cups (320 grams) boiling water, beating until smooth. Divide batter among prepared pans.
  4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pans for 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
  5. Using a serrated knife, trim top of cake layers. Lightly spread Whipped Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache between layers and on top and sides of cake. Pour Dark Chocolate Drip over cake, letting it drip down sides. Let stand until chocolate is set, about 20 minutes. Garnish with flaked salt, if desired. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
Notes
PRO TIP: It's best to frost your cake as soon as you make the frosting because the frosting won't go on as smoothly if you wait. (Make sure your layers are cool.) Because it's a whipped ganache, the frosting will deflate a little but that's OK.

Whipped Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache
 
Makes about 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces (455 grams) Caramelized White Chocolate (recipe follows), chopped
  • 1½ cups (360 grams) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon (13 grams) vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Place Caramelized White Chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring cream and all remaining ingredients to a simmer over medium heat. Pour hot cream mixture over Caramelized White Chocolate; stir until melted. Freeze for 1 hour.
  3. Transfer cooled mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat at high speed until light and fluffy, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Use immediately.
Notes
If your chocolate breaks while whipping it, just melt 3 tablespoons ganache in the microwave, and slowly add it back in while whipping. This
can happen if it has chilled for too long, but it’s easily fixed.

Caramelized White Chocolate
 
Makes about 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces (455 grams) white chocolate baking chips
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250°F (130°C). In a completely dry 9-inch round cake pan, combine chocolate and salt.
  2. Bake until chocolate is smooth and deep golden and smells like toasted marshmallows, 30 to 60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. (At times, the chocolate will look very dry and chalky, but keep stirring until smooth.)
  3. Pour chocolate onto a parchment-lined sheet tray, and let set for at least 7 hours or overnight.
  4. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container for up to 4 months.
Notes
PRO TIP: For a lighter flavor, roast just until color starts to change, about 30 minutes. This is best for pairing with subtle flavors, such as fresh berries. For a stronger flavor, roast until chocolate resembles peanut butter and has a strong nutty fragrance, about 1 hour. This will produce something slightly less sweet with an assertive caramel flavor.

Dark Chocolate Drip
 
Makes about 1½ cups
Ingredients
  • 6 ounces (175 grams) 60% cacao semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • ¾ cup (180 grams) heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter
Instructions
  1. Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring cream and butter to a simmer over medium heat. Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate; stir until melted. Let cool for 20 minutes before using.

 

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