Whether for a special occasion or an after-dinner dessert to satisfy the sweet tooth, this chocolate ganache cake is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser that everyone will love. Made with silky chocolate ganache frosting and a single layer of moist chocolate sponge cake, this drool-worthy dessert is delectable to the taste buds and a breeze to make.
With this detailed and easy moist chocolate cake recipe, you'll have the best chocolate ganache cake to impress your family and friends in just an hour or less. It just may be the best chocolate cake recipe you'll find!
- 💡 What is a chocolate ganache cake made of?
- 💡 What is the difference between chocolate frosting and chocolate ganache?
- 🌟 Why this is the best Chocolate Ganache Cake recipe
- 📝 Ingredient notes
- 👩🍳 How to make this recipe
- Flavor variations & Substitutions
- 🎓 Expert tips
- 🥣 Equipment Notes
- ❓Chocolate Ganache Cake Recipe FAQs
- 🍰 More Cake recipes
- Chocolate Ganache Cake
💡 What is a chocolate ganache cake made of?
A chocolate ganache cake is a delicious combination of moist chocolate sponge cake with a creamy and silky chocolate ganache frosting as a topping.
This chocolate cake can come in many shapes and forms; You can make a round cake, sheet cake, layer cake, or even cupcakes. In this single-layer chocolate cake recipe, I use one 20cm / 8 inch round cake pan. For a mouthwatering layered chocolate ganache cake, check out my triple chocolate cake recipe!
💡 What is the difference between chocolate frosting and chocolate ganache?
Chocolate frosting is a sweet mix of butter, cocoa powder/chocolate, and sugar. It usually has a fluffy pipeable texture, and comes in many different forms, including chocolate buttercream frosting, cream cheese frosting, and whipped frosting. Chocolate frosting is mainly used for frosting and decorating cakes and cupcakes.
On the other hand, chocolate ganache is a simple mix of chocolate and heavy cream, sometimes butter. It is heavier in weight, has a creamier texture, and can easily be adjusted to fit your recipe needs in terms of thickness and richness. Chocolate ganache is highly versatile and used for glazing, dipping, and as chocolate filling for cakes. Also, you can use it as frosting and decorating, however for frosting, I suggest using chocolate whipped ganache as opposed to the traditional ganache.
🌟 Why this is the best Chocolate Ganache Cake recipe
- It is simple to make - This easy chocolate ganache cake recipe doesn't require fancy equipment or ingredients. Most ingredients you will already have in your pantry. And with just one layer, it isn't just the easiest chocolate cake to make, but it's also very quick!
- It is 100% homemade - No boxed chocolate mixes, canned frostings, or microwaves are used here! Every part of this moist chocolate cake is made from scratch, making it the best chocolate cake with ganache recipes you'll come across!
- It is the most delicious - I use the highest quality ingredients in all my recipes that provide the most delicious and professional results. It just may become your favorite chocolate cake!
- It is the most detailed - This recipe isn't like most of the other homemade chocolate cake recipes. It is also a detailed guide that shares the science behind the baking technique as well as expert tips and tricks to ensure you make the best chocolate ganache cake ever!
📝 Ingredient notes
The following ingredients are for a one-layer chocolate cake with ganache, using an 8-inch / 20cm chocolate round cake pan. Check my chocolate sponge cake recipe for other cake sizes and a conversion chart for how to adjust the ingredients.
For the chocolate cake
- Flour - For this recipe, I use plain all-purpose flour. However, any low-protein content flour will work. See my flour guide for the different types of flour and how to use them in recipes.
- Cocoa powder - For the most balanced chocolate flavor, use 100% unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably dutch-processed (which contains less acidity than regular cocoa powder). For more info on cocoa powder and its substitutes check my cocoa powder guide.
- Sugar - Both white granulated sugar and brown sugar are required to give the best sweet taste and texture. Check out my sugar guide to learn more about the different types of sugar used in baking.
- Baking soda and baking powder - A teaspoon of each helps give the sponge cake its fluffy texture.
- Salt - Salt is a must to balance out the sweetness. Do not skip this ingredient!
- Oil - A neutral oil such as vegetable oil moistens the cake and gives it the perfect texture, even after you refrigerate it.
- Egg - Room temperature eggs are a must (as with most baking recipes) so that the cake emulsifies appropriately.
- Milk - A high-fat-content milk gives the cake the best taste and texture. I recommend using 3% whole milk. The milk must also be at room temperature for the cake to emulsify properly.
- Coffee - To enhance the chocolate flavor of the cocoa powder, use a strong, freshly brewed coffee or expresso powder. The coffee must be at room temperature before you add it to the recipe.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
For the chocolate ganache
- Dark chocolate - For the best chocolate cake ganache, use high-quality, semi sweet chocolate chips with a high percentage of cocoa butter. In this decadent chocolate cake with ganache recipe, I use Callebaut 811 Dark Chocolate callets.
- Heavy whipping cream - A heavy cream with 36% fat gives the best taste and texture.
- Butter - Unsalted butter is a requirement for complete control over the salt content in the recipe. The butter must be at room temperature before you add it to the cream.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
1. How to make chocolate cake
- Preheat your oven to 200°C / 425°F (no fan). Make sure the fan is not on. In the meantime, line your cake pans with parchment paper.
- With the help of an electric hand mixer, whip together all the room-temperature wet ingredients (egg, milk, and coffee), oil, and sugar in a large mixing bowl for approximately 1-2 minutes.
- Next, sift and combine your dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Once thoroughly mixed, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient mixture.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the wet and dry ingredients together just enough to combine them. Then, pour the chocolate cake batter into the lined cake pan (size of 8-inch / 20cm)
- Keeping the fan turned off, reduce the oven temperature to 180°C / 356°F and place the cake in the oven.
- Bake the cake for approximately 50 minutes or until it is well-baked throughout the center.
- Once the chocolate sponge cake is done, use a cooling rack to let it cool completely, bringing it to room temperature.
- Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill before applying the chocolate ganache icing.
💡 Top Tip: To ensure the cake is well-baked throughout the center, use the toothpick test. Stick a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done!
2. How to make chocolate ganache
- Heat your heavy whipping cream until it comes to a slight simmer.
- Next, pour the warm cream on top of your finely chopped chocolate / chocolate callets. Let it sit for a minute, then stir the two together. Then, stir in the room-temperature butter, and
- Let the mixture sit until it all reaches room temperature.
💡 Top Tip: Do not let the cream reach a boil as that would burn the chocolate. Equally, make sure that you heat the cream enough so that it can melt the chocolate. Remember, aim for "simmering" whenever you make chocolate ganache.
3. How to assemble
- Once the cake chilled, use a piping bag to apply the chocolate ganache on top, or simply pour it on top as desired.
- Let the ganache slightly drip on the side,
- Then, place the cake into the fridge for the ganache to set.
- Serve and enjoy! Any leftovers can be stored refrigerated for 2-3 days.
💡 Top Tip: Before using the chocolate ganache frosting, test its consistency on a plate or glass. The ideal texture should not be too runny or too thick— the perfect texture results from the proper temperature (not too warm nor too cold).
Flavor variations & Substitutions
Milk chocolate / White chocolate ganache cake - You can easily swap dark chocolate for milk chocolate or white chocolate callets for a sweeter, creamier cake. However, since the cocoa butter content is lower in both variations of chocolate, you will need to increase the amount of chocolate that you use.
Nut flour - Try substituting ¼ of your all-purpose flour with almond or hazelnut flour for a nutty flavor.
Make a layer cake - check my triple chocolate cake recipe.
Add fruits or jams - why not try my Austrian Sacher torte cake recipe?
🎓 Expert tips
- To help salt disperse into the batter more quickly, use fine salt.
- Always ensure that you bring your key wet ingredients (egg, milk, and coffee) to room temperature before beginning the recipe. Otherwise, the cake batter will not correctly emulsify.
- Use a toothpick to check the center of the cake for doneness. As soon as it comes out clean, remove it from the oven. Refrain from overbaking the cake as it will dry out the texture.
- When pouring the ganache over the cake, make sure you wait until it is not too hot (that would be too runny). But also do not wait too long as the ganache will set as it cools.
🥣 Equipment Notes
A digital scale will ensure that you use the correct amounts of each ingredient. Baking is a science, and even the slightest inaccuracies can make a big difference. Likewise, as ovens can vary by a couple of degrees, a digital oven thermometer is necessary to ensure the proper temperature.
A cooling rack will help quickly and efficiently cool your sponge cakes before chilling them in the refrigerator.
❓Chocolate Ganache Cake Recipe FAQs
You can store chocolate ganache cake at room temperature for up to 2-3 days. When refrigerated and kept in an airtight container, you can store the cake for a few more days.
This chocolate ganache glaze on top of the cake does set once refrigerated since the chocolate content will solidify. However, it will be to hard so the cake can be easily sliced.
While some pastry chefs will say that you can freeze a fully frosted and decorated ganache cake, it has the best taste and texture when the ganache is applied or a few hours after.
However, you can freeze a cooled, unfrosted chocolate cake in an airtight container for up to three months. But first, wrap the cake in plastic wrap and then place it inside a sealable plastic bag to avoid freezer burn. When you are ready to defrost the cake, allow it to do so at room temperature before decorating.
Adding coffee or espresso powder to a dark chocolate cake with ganache frosting will not change the flavor of the cake. You won't even taste the coffee at all! On the contrary, the coffee enhances the cocoa flavor of the cake (trust me, you'll be glad you added it)!
However, you can omit the coffee from the chocolate ganache cake recipe and still end up with a delicious, decadent cake. Simply replace the room-temperature coffee with room-temperature water.
Since sour cream has a similar high-fat content as heavy cream, it can be generally used as a 1:1 substitute for mainly savory recipes, but not when making ganache.
🍰 More Cake recipes
Chocolate Ganache Cake
For the chocolate cake (Makes 1 x 8 inch /20cm sponge cake)
- 170 g (1⅓ cups) All purpose flour Any low protein content flour eg. pastry flour can work too.
- 45 g (½ cups) Cocoa powder Unsweetened, dutch processed
- 120 g (⅔ cups) Granulated sugar
- 120 g (⅔ cups) Brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 70 g (⅓ cups) Vegetable oil
- 2 Eggs Room temperature
- 165 g (⅔ cups) Milk Room temperature
- 120 g (½ cups) Coffee Freshly brewed strong coffee, room temperature
Chocolate ganache frosting
- 100 g (½ cups) Dark chocolate Good quality semi sweet chocolate eg. Callebaut 811 Dark chocolate callets
- 100 g (½ cups) Heavy cream 36% fat
- 10 g (1 tablespoon) Unsalted butter Room temperature
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
Make the chocolate sponge
- Heat the oven to 200°C or 425°F (no fan) and prepare your 20cm / 8 inch baking tin with parchment paper.
- With an Electric hand mixer whip together the wet ingredients for 1-2 minutes: Room temperature egg, oil, sugar, coffee and milk.
- Sift dry ingredients: Flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients then fold just until combined then pour cake batter into the prepared baking pan.
- Reduce oven temperature to 180°C / 356°F (no fan). Bake for 50 min or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool the chocolate sponge on cooling rack. Chill it in the fridge before glazing.
- Heat cream until simmering, pour the warm cream over the chocolate and let the two sit for a minute then stir, then stir in butter until smooth. Let it come to about room temperature.
- Test the chocolate ganache texture on a plate or glass. It should not be too runny (too warm) and it should not be too thick neither (too cold), but just at the right consistency that is related to being just at the right temperature.
Assembling the cake
- Once the cake is well chilled apply the chocolate ganache drip on top of the cake by either pouring ganache on top or using a piping bag.
- Serve the cake fresh or store for 2-3 days at room temperature or refrigerated.
- Measure your ingredients with a digital scale for accuracy.
- All ingredients for the chocolate cake must be at room temperature to properly emulsify: eggs, milk, coffee etc.
- Do not skip salt that will balance the sweetness of this cake.
- Use high fat content heavy cream (36%) and good quality chocolate (eg. Callebaut) for the chocolate ganache.
- Make sure you read my Expert tips section above to maximize your success. A short recipe alone is not able to cover all the necessary details, and science behind baking. Consider this recipe more like an in-depth tutorial, literally the only recipe you will ever need to make delicious chocolate sponge cake.
- Do not overbake your sponge layers as that will result in a dry texture. Use the toothpick test to check if your cake is ready.
- When pouring the ganache on the top of the cake, make sure that the ganache is at the right temperature (consistency) that is neither too thin (warm), nor too thick (cold).