Ron Ben-Israel Bakes a Better Chocolate Cake

Assistant Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Ron_Ben_Israel 2255.tif

Assistant Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Photo by: Pernille Pederson

Pernille Pederson

It is no secret that Chef Ron Ben-Israel tastes some of the best, most impressive dessert dishes around on his show, Sweet Genius. But did you know that Chef Ron also creates his own ingeniously inspired and impeccably decorated cakes? Yes, he is a New York City-based wedding cake baker who has a passion for designing whimsical confectionary creations that taste as heavenly as they look.

A few weeks ago I caught up with the Sweet Genius himself and we chatted about what it takes to make a classic, tried-and-true dessert: chocolate cake. Not surprisingly, Chef Ron shared that he has discovered two tricks to baking the best-ever chocolate cake and they are both easy, no-fail techniques.

Assistant Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Ron_Ben_Israel 2155.tif

Assistant Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Photo by: Pernille Pederson

Pernille Pederson

“The different thing about my recipe is that it gives the strongest chocolate flavor possible. I learned to pour boiling water or very hot coffee on the cocoa powder. The cocoa powder is actually very rich with cocoa fat, and if you pour the hot liquid on it, the liquid brings out the aroma and deep flavor and makes the chocolate much more intense,” explains Chef Ron. If you’re worried about the cake tasting like coffee, don’t be — the hot coffee will merely enhance the chocolate’s natural flavor, not cover it up.

His second technique is a lesson in what not to do. Chef Ron says, “I eliminated milk from the recipe because I found that milk actually tapers the flavor of the chocolate and makes it a little bit less intense and even a little bitter.” Ron’s Chocolate Layer Cake (pictured above) recipe featured in Food Network Magazine does not include milk, unlike many chocolate cake recipes, but rather calls for hot strong coffee. He stacks rich, decadent cake with whipped ganache then covers the entire tower with even more creamy, bittersweet ganache and decorates the sides with paper-thin chocolate bark.

Check out how Ron prepares this four-layer showstopper and learn how to bake it at home.

Assistant Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Ron_Ben_Israel 1522.tif

Assistant Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Photo by: Pernille Pedersen

Pernille Pedersen

Assistant Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Ron_Ben_Israel 1596.tif

Assistant Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Photo by: Pernille Pederson

Pernille Pederson

Don’t miss Ron Ben-Israel on Sweet Genius, Thursday nights at 10pm/9c.

Next Up

How to Make Box Cake Better

We baked fourteen cakes to figure out the best tips and tricks — here are the five you should remember.

Bake Your Cake and Eat It Too: A Lighter, Naked Chocolate Cake with Fruit

Stick to your New Year's resolutions and enjoy the process of doing so, with the help of this lightened-up chocolate cake.

7 Kids Birthday Party Treats That Are Better Than Cake

Got a little one who only eats the frosting? Make them one of these sweet treats instead.

How to Make Better Stuffing

Get the right stuff for your stuffing.

The One Hack You Need to Bake Extra-Light Cakes

Never worry about dense desserts again.

Is Guinness Actually Better in Ireland?

Many say yes, but is it all just in our heads? Here’s what experts think.

Are McDonald’s New Burgers Actually Better?

We did a side-by-side comparison. Here’s what we found.

Chicken Is Better with Grill Marks

When this go-to white meat hits the grates and lets out a searing sizzle, the meat that always has your back becomes tender, juicy and full of charred flavor.

How Long to Bake Pork Chops

Dig into juicy, perfectly-cooked pork chops every single time.

How Long Should You Bake Chicken?

Your best bet when baking chicken is to follow the recipe and use a thermometer. If you’re winging it, we can help.