The only way I know how to celebrate a birthday is with cake—a proper one with lots of layers. It just feels fancy and festive.
We had a birthday at our house last week, so I baked a triple chocolate ombré cake with white, milk and dark chocolate ganache frosting. This is a cake for the indecisive chocolate lover, which describes so many of us, right?
The ganache frosting was a much thinner coating of frosting than you think of with a classic, fluffy buttercream. It didn’t matter since all the flavors of ganache were chocolatey and rich in their own ways.
I went back and forth about whether the layers should be striped, too. In the end, I decided to keep the inside simple sticking with vanilla cake. Each slice was really all about the chocolate blend.
This was my first time doing ombré frosting. I admit I was a bit nervous about how it would turn out.
I love any cake decorating technique that celebrates imperfection. It takes A LOT of practice to frost a cake with precision. On any baking show I watch, I am always mesmerized and impressed with elaborate cakes.
I accept my skill level and find techniques to match. The best part of doing an ombré is that you don’t need to have perfectly straight stripes.
It didn’t take me long to get the hang of it and frost quickly. The downside with ganache verses buttercream is that it sets before your know it. Since there was no time to fuss, I just went with it, blending each flavor into the next. I was thrilled with the result.
I would definitely do a triple chocolate ombré cake again, but next time I think I will challenge myself with a fruit flavor and do the changing cake layers to match.Print
Triple Chocolate Ombre Cake
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 25-27 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: One 9-inch 3-layer cake
Non-stick cooking spray
3-3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups buttermilk at room temperature
1-1/2 cups roughly chopped dark chocolate
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 cups roughly chopped milk chocolate
1-1/2 cups roughly chopped white chocolate
For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray (3) 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. On medium speed, beat in the eggs one at time, scraping down the bowl as needed, followed by the vanilla extract.
On low speed, mix in the dry ingredients in 3 additions alternating with the buttermilk until just combined. Divide the batter into the prepared baking pans, smoothing into an even layer. Bake for 25-27 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack.
For the frosting, place the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium, heat 3/4 cup heavy cream until it starts to bubble at the edges. Pour the cream over the dark chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds before gently stirring until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
Place the milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium, heat 1/2 cup heavy cream until it starts to bubble at the edges. Pour the cream over the milk chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds before gently stirring until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium, heat 1/4 cup heavy cream until it starts to bubble at the edges. Pour the cream over the milk chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds before gently stirring until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
When all the ganache has cooled, use an electric hand mixer, to beat each ganache until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
Place one cake on a turntable or cake stand and spread dark chocolate ganache across the top before adding another layer. Frost its top with milk chocolate ganache and top with the third layer. Use the white chocolate ganache to cover the entire cake in a thin crumb coat.
Frost the bottom third of the cake with the dark chocolate ganache. Then spread the milk chocolate ganache on the middle third. With the white chocolate ganache, frost the top of the cake down the sides to the milk chocolate ganache. Run a palette knife or offset spatula parallel to the cake around the frosting to blend the ganaches.