Perfect Birthday Cake

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Preparation info

  • Makes one 9 inch 23 cm ) 2-layer cake, about


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Modern Baker

The Modern Baker

By Nick Malgieri

Published 2008

  • About

I’ve always loved the combination of yellow cake layers with a chocolate filing and frosting, and so this is my dream birthday cake. You can make the ganache filling while the layers are baking and assemble the cake as soon as they both cool off. If you prefer an all-chocolate cake, use the devil’s food layers instead.


  • 1⅓ cups heavy (whipping) cream
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 pound (450 grams) semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
  • Two 9-inch (23-cm) Yellow Cake Layers, baked and cooled (see opposite page)
  • Chocolate shavings for finishing


  1. For the filling, combine the cream and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and whisk well to mix. Place over low heat and bring to a gentle simmer—there will just be some bubbles around the inside edge of the pan. Pour the cream into a bowl and cool it to lukewarm, about 110°F (45°C).
  2. Add the cooled cream to the melted chocolate and whisk until smooth. Distribute pieces of the butter all over the chocolate cream and whisk it in—make sure the butter is very soft or it won’t incorporate smoothly.
  3. Refrigerate the ganache until it thickens to a spreading consistency.
  4. Put a dab of the cooled ganache on a cardboard or platter and place one of the cake layers on it. Spread the layer with half of the ganache. Invert the second layer onto the filling so the cake s smooth bottom is on top. Spread the outside of the cake smoothly with the remaining ganache.
  5. Use a spatula to adhere some chocolate shavings to the side of the cake.


Cut the cake at the table, and serve the first slice to the birthday boy or girl.


Keep under a cake dome at a cool room temperature.

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