Here is an elaborate cake assembled on a cake stand. Whipped chocolate ganache is used between the cake layers and chocolate buttercream to frost the top and sides. Buttercream is best for the top and sides because it is smoother and shinier than whipped ganache. You can also fill the cake with buttercream, but that makes it extremely rich. I decorate the finished cake with chocolate curls.
Buy or cut a round of cardboard about
Have ready a
Put a dollop of buttercream on the cardboard round to hold the cake in place. Place one of the cake layers on the cardboard, put it on a cake stand if using, brush with the syrup, and spread with about one-fourth of the ganache, using a metal offset or regular spatula. Add a second cake layer, brush with syrup, and spread with one-third of the remaining ganache. Put on the third layer, brush with syrup, and spread with the remaining ganache. If you have ganache left over, save it to crumb coat the cake before spreading on the buttercream.
Use the reserved bottom layer, turned over, as the top layer. As you layer the cake, keep smoothing the ganache that oozes out between each layer. This makes it easier to put on the buttercream frosting.
Spread any leftover ganache on the sides and top of the cake to crumb coat it and refrigerate the cake for 15 minutes to harden the ganache.
Dollop the buttercream on top of the cake and spread it evenly. With a spatula, scrape up buttercream that accumulates around the edges of the cake and use it to ice the sides of the cake. Scrape any excess buttercream off the spatula into a small bowl to avoid getting crumbs in the main batch. If you’re using a cake stand, hold a bench scraper or the spatula straight up and down on the side of the cake and rotate the cake to smooth the sides.
Spread the buttercream that accumulates along the top rim of the cake to smooth off the top. Continue doing this, alternating between top and sides, until the cake is perfectly smooth. While you’re working, scrape the spatula along the edge of a bowl to eliminate excess frosting and to make it easier to smooth the cake. When you are nearing completion, wipe off the spatula between two sheets of paper towel to keep it clean and smooth.
To make small chocolate curls, scrape the wide end of a pastry bag tip against a block of chocolate; to make large curls, use a vegetable peeler. If the curls are too brittle and break, heat the block of chocolate for a few seconds in the microwave; if too soft, put it in the refrigerator. Decorate the cake by arranging the chocolate curls over the top.
© 2009 James Peterson. All rights reserved.