Triple Chocolate Cake

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Preparation info

  • Makes one 9 inch 23 cm ) 3-layer cake, about


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Modern Baker

The Modern Baker

By Nick Malgieri

Published 2008

  • About

This combination of chocolate cake, chocolate filling, and chocolate glaze is a classic. And the best thing about it is that you can assemble it over a period of several days, or even bake and freeze the cake layers several weeks in advance. The cake is filled and glazed with two different forms of ganache, a chocolate cream made principally from chocolate and heavy cream. The ganache used for filling the cake and spreading over the outside contains more chocolate than the glaze. The former has to be able to hold its shape to fill and cover the cake, while the latter has to be liquid so it can be poured over the cake. This is a cake for a milestone birthday or other very special occasion. By the way, if you don’t want to use alcohol to flavor the sugar syrup, use cup of orange juice or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.


Moistening Syrup

  • ½ cup water
  • cup sugar
  • ¼ cup dark rum or a sweet liqueur, such as an orange- or raspberry- flavored one

Rich Ganache for Filling and Spreading

  • cups heavy (whipping) cream
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 18 ounces (500 grams) semisweet or bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate (55% to 65% cocoa solids), melted and cooled
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft

Ganache Glaze

  • ¾ cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 6 ounces (175 grams) semisweet or bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate (55% to 65% cocoa solids), cut into ¼-inch (6-mm) pieces
  • Chocolate shavings for finishing the side of the cake


  1. For the syrup, combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl (or a container with a cover if you are preparing it in advance) and let it cool. Stir in the rum. You may prepare the syrup up to a week in advance and keep it refrigerated.
  2. For the rich ganache filling, combine the cream and corn syrup in a saucepan and whisk well to mix. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, about 160°F (70°C). Remove the pan from the heat and allow the cream to cool to lukewarm, about 110°F (45°C). Pour the cream mixture over the melted chocolate and thoroughly whisk it in. Distribute dabs of the butter all over the surface of the ganache (the butter has to be very soft, roughly the consistency of mayonnaise, or it won’t incorporate smoothly) and whisk them in. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand in a cool place, not the refrigerator, until it is of spreading consistency. You may prepare the ganache up to 1 day in advance, but leave it at a cool room temperature—if you refrigerate it, it will be too stiff to spread.
  3. To assemble the cake, use a long serrated knife to split the Cocoa Génoise into 3 horizontal layers. Put a dab of ganache on a cake cardboard or a tart pan bottom the same size or slightly smaller than the cake and invert the top layer of the cake onto it. (The cake will be assembled so that the top of the cake layer is the very bottom, and what was the smooth flat bottom of the layer will be the top.)
  4. Use a brush to moisten the layer with about ⅓ of the syrup. Use a large rubber spatula to beat the rich ganache for a few seconds to loosen it. Spread about ⅓ of it on the layer, using a medium offset metal spatula. Place the middle layer on the ganache and moisten with half of the remaining syrup. Spread with half of the remaining ganache. Invert the last layer onto the ganache, so that its smooth bottom is on top. Moisten the cake layer with the remaining syrup. Smoothly spread the entire outside of the cake with the remaining ganache. Slide the cake to a cookie sheet or the back of a jelly-roll pan and refrigerate it, uncovered, while preparing the glaze.
  5. For the glaze, combine the cream and corn syrup in a saucepan and whisk well to mix. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, about 160°F (70°C). Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Let the mixture stand for 2 minutes to melt the chocolate, then whisk smooth. Don’t whisk any more than necessary or the glaze will he riddled with bubbles. Pour the glaze into a small bowl and allow it to cool to about 90°F (30°C).
  6. As soon as the glaze has cooled, remove the cake from the refrigerator and place it on a rack over a jelly-roll pan. Pour the glaze onto the top of the cake, in a spiral pattern beginning in the center and ending at the edge so that the last of the glaze drips down the side of the cake. Quickly use a medium offset metal spatula to smooth the top and side of the cake, picking up more glaze from the portion that dripped onto the pan if you need to patch the side. Let the cake stand until the glaze has set, which will be fairly quickly as the cake was chilled. Use a metal spatula to press the chocolate shavings against the side of the cake.


Remove the cake from the rack to a platter. Cut wedges of the cake at the table, using a long, thin-bladed knife. The icing is sticky, so wipe the knife with a wet cloth every time you cut through the cake to avoid tracking crumbs into it.


Keep the cake at a cool room temperature, uncovered or under a cake dome. Attempting to cover the cake with plastic wrap or foil will mar the glaze.


Spread 3 tablespoons of seedless raspberry preserves or orange marmalade on each of the interior layers of the cake before spreading on the ganache. (It won’t seem like enough, but adding too much preserves or marmalade to the cake will make it overly sweet.) Flavor the syrup with a similar flavored liqueur.