The Secret to Making an Over-the-Top Chocolate Cake Is Surprisingly Simple

Ganache is basically our new favorite magic trick. Learn all about it in the Food Network Kitchen app with Dan Langan.

Dan Langan Baking Courses, chocolate cake

Photo by: Caitlin Ochs

Caitlin Ochs

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Layer cakes can be tricky business: use the wrong filling and they won’t be sturdy enough to stack, try to cover them with frosting that’s just a scooch too stiff and you’ll end up with a crumbly mess. And decorating them? Sometimes it feels like we should just leave that to the pros.

Would you be surprised if I told you that a simple, two-ingredient recipe could solve all of these problems (and more)? Dan Langan shows you exactly how in his Over-the-Top Chocolate Cake class on the Food Network Kitchen app.

It all starts with ganache. Dan mixes up one batch (he flavors his with coffee but you can make yours with just warmed cream and some good-quality chocolate if you prefer) which he divides evenly between two bowls. He then goes on to explain why he loves ganache so much. He says, "Not only can you flavor it however you want but you can use it in different ways. You can let it firm up and use it as a really thick, fudge-like filling; you can whip it and use it almost like a chocolate mousse filling or you can use it like a sauce and glaze your cake with it."

He then goes on to show you how to whip one of the bowls of the ganache (cooled to a peanut butter-like consistency) in a stand mixer until it’s light and fluffy. This whipped ganache is what he uses between the layers of his cake, as a crumb coat on the outside — and as "chocolate glue" to hold his dessert to the cake board. Genius! Because ganache thickens up as it cools this makes the cake sturdy and creates a perfectly smooth surface for the glaze.

After setting up for a few minutes in the refrigerator, his whipped ganache-filled and -coated cake is ready to be decorated. He gently warms the other bowl of chocolate ganache and pours it over the cake for a gorgeous, glossy finish. And, if that wasn’t enough, he uses his leftover whipped ganache just like chocolate buttercream — to pipe decorations onto the finished cake. (He’s got one more decorating trick up his sleeve but you’ll have to watch his class for that!)

"This cake is the perfect example of how much you can do with chocolate ganache," Dan says. "We made one recipe of ganache and divided it up. I mean, who would have though you could do so much with just cream and chocolate?!"

I couldn't agree more, Dan!

Want even more of Dan’s tips, tricks and cake-decorating techniques? Sign up for the all-new Food Network Kitchen app  and you never have to miss a class.

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