When I’m planning for a birthday, I often start with the cake I want to make, then build all the decor off of it. If you’ve read my posts over the past few weeks you’ll know our littlest guy just turned one! The cake went over as a big hit! The caramelized white chocolate ganache especially.
Even our little Denver liked it. Although, this kid eats everything… I mean it. If it’s in reach of his hands, it goes in his mouth. Paper, grass, flowers… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken bits of baby wipes out of his mouth. He gets the container and if there is the tiniest bit sticking out from under the lid … he pulls it off in the mouth it goes! Bleh! Not nearly as good as cake. You can bet there is noooo way I’m using tinsel on my tree this Christmas. Just think about it for a few minutes.. if you don’t know what I mean. Some pet owners out there know what I’m talking about!
I love to do layer cakes whenever I can. I’m still learning with them… especially with fillings and such, so for this one, I decided to use a traditional butter cake recipe. It’s a firm and a bit more dense kind of cake, great for layering because of it’s stability. It is also a thicker batter that can hold the chocolate chips quite well, keeping them from sinking to the bottom before it has baked. I baked the cake about a week in advance, trimmed and levelled the layers then wrapped them (individually) in plastic wrap, then foil before freezing.
Something else I made in advance was the caramelized white chocolate, which is used to make the ganache. Once it was cooled, I stored it in a covered container, on the counter. If you make it, don’t put it in the fridge or freezer. In a cupboard or on the counter is fine. Also, I can’t stress enough to be sure you use 100% pure white chocolate. None of those fakers out there. I used some from the baking section at my grocery store and it turned out just as it should. If you’ve never had it, you’re in for a treat! It takes on this amazing nutty caramel type toasty flavour. Even those who don’t like white chocolate may be converted after trying this.
It’s sooo good. So good.
After that, it’s just about the frosting and assembly. A nice stiff butter cream is what I used. It also develops a little crust, which I loooove. Because it is such a stiff frosting, do be sure you do a crumb coat first. Chill the cake well then do your final frost. I left mine with some exposed cake because I wanted it to be a little more rustic. Not so perfect. I did make the top of the cake as flat as possible so the ganache would be nice and even once poured onto it.
In my family, when we have cake, it’s a big ole hunk. However, this cake is more dense and the frosting and ganache are richer so … if you too are a ‘hunk of cake’ type of person, scale it back just a bit on this one lol. Like normal size.
I don’t really know what normal size is for cake… so start with less. You can always have seconds!
Any leftovers should be stored in a cool place. Press parchment or plastic wrap against any of the exposed cake layers so they do not dry out. If you have a cover for your cake, even better. I just use a giant mixing bowl.
- 3 cups sifted cake flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3-4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 2-4 Tbsp milk or heavy cream
- 6 oz Pure white chocolate
- 3 oz Whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper.
- Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
- Cream sugar and butter together until light. Add eggs, vanilla and almond extract to creamed mixture and beat until thoroughly mixed.
- Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Continue beating one minute. Fold in chocolate chips.
- Spread batter evenly in prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean (rotate the pans half way through baking).
- Loosen sides of cake and cool layers in pans on wire racks for about 10 minutes. Remove from pans and peel off parchment paper. Allow to completely cool before frosting.
- Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Reduce speed to low and add 3 cups of powdered sugar a cup at a time until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes.
- If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time.
- On a pan lined with parchment paper, spread out the chocolate and melt in the oven preheated to 250F. Stir the chocolate every 10 minutes or so until it takes on a deep caramel colour and has smoothed out. It should look the colour of peanut butter. This can take 30 minutes or up to an hour. Use your judgment. The caramelized chocolate will harden again once cooled.
- Put caramelized chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Scald the heavy cream and pour over chocolate and allow it to sit for about a minute, then with a spatula, stir until smooth and incorporated.
- Allow the ganache to cool to body temperature.
- Place cake on a cooling rack with a tray underneath it. Poor ganache over top so it runs down the sides of the cake or to desired look. Chill cake for a few minutes to help set the ganache if needed.
I highly recommend brushing the cake layers with a simple syrup. It will do wonders to keep the cake moist! You can make simple syrup by heating equal parts of water and granulated sugar until the sugar has completely dissolved. Allow to cool before use. Apply it to cake with a pastry brush. You can also flavour your syrup with vanilla, almond extract, coffee or liquors if you choose... the options are endless.
We didn’t get a picture of him with this cake, but we did get a pic of the birthday boy on the actual, official day, with a single cupcake. His cuteness kills me!