We have a fun tradition in our office - once a month we celebrate everyone who has a birthday that month. I often make the cake for this special occasion. This month we celebrated the addition of a new team member. She mentioned that she loves chocolate, so I made a decadent chocolate cake.
The layers were Cook's Illustrated's Sour Cream Chocolate Bundt cake baked in 2 8-inch round pans. The filling and icing were simply chocolate ganache, and because I am lazy and didn't want to spend the time getting smooth edges, I pressed almond slices around the sides. A few rosettes finished the look.
Ganache is probably in my top 5 of delicious things that are easy to make. When I'm eating it, it's number one on the list. Hardly anything could be easier to make but be so impressive. What's more, you can tart it up by infusing the cream with any number of flavors. However, if I have a really good chocolate nothing more than a dash of vanilla is needed to make it transcendent.
If you have never made ganache you must give it a try. You can even use chocolate chips if you don't want to splurge for high-end chocolate (but you should use the best chocolate you can afford, and for goodness sake don't waste your money on any chocolate-flavored stuff - keep it real, yo).
Makes enough to decandently fill and frost an 8" cake
12 ounces good quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Place chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Heat cream to boiling in the the microwave on high (watch carefully as cream will boil over easily). This usually takes about 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour cream over chocolate and let it sit for a minute. Whisk the chocolate and cream until smooth (don't worry, it will come together even though at first it looks hopeless).
Stir in cream and set aside until it's at room temperature. Spread on your cake and enjoy! If you want a fluffier icing, beat the room temperature ganache with a hand mixer for a couple of minutes.
It's that easy. And that good.