Speckled Chocolate Chip Cake with Ganache

Speckled Chocolate Chip Cake with Ganache


·         1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, granulated sugar

·         4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

·         2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

·         2 eggs

·         ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

·         1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

·         ½ teaspoon kosher salt

·         ½ teaspoon baking powder

·         Pinch (about 1/16 teaspoon) baking soda

·         2/3 cup buttermilk

·         2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate


·         3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

·         3 ounces heavy whipping cream


·         1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

·         ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

·         2 cups powdered sugar

·         1 tablespoon meringue powder

·         1-2 tablespoons milk or cream

·         ½ cup grated or finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (about 3-4 ounces)

Baker’s Note: For a standard sized cake (three 8 or 9-inch layers), double the recipe and prepare  as instructed.

Bake the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray the bottoms of three 6-inch pans with non-stick baking spray, line with parchment paper, then spray the paper as well.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, cream cheese and butter on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla bean seeds/extract.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour, stirring just until moistened.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Divide batter between the pans.  Bake cakes for 24-27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack, covered loosely with a clean kitchen towel.

Make the Ganache:

While the cake is cooling, place the chopped chocolate in a bowl.  Gently warm the cream over low heat, just until it begins to bubble around the edges, then pour over the chocolate.  Let stand for 3 minutes, then stir with a spatula until smooth.  Set aside to cool and thicken at room temperature for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

Make the Buttercream:

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and vanilla bean seeds until smooth.  In a separate bowl, combine the powdered sugar and meringue powder.  With the mixer on low, add by spoonfuls.  Add the milk and increase speed to medium high, whipping until very light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.  Stir in the chopped chocolate.


Remove the cooled cakes from the pans.  Place one cake, bottom side up, on a cake pedestal or cake board.  Pipe a “dam” of buttercream around the edge of the cake and spoon half the ganache inside the buttercream.

Stack a second cake on the first and repeat with the rest of the ganache.  Add the third layer of cake, bottom side up.  At this point, you may want to stick a wooden skewer straight down the middle of the cakes to hold them in place while you frost the cake, as ganache is more slippery than buttercream and your cakes can slide around if you’re not careful.

Frost all over with a very thin crumb coat of buttercream; chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Finish frosting with the rest of the buttercream and store, covered, at room temperature.  If covered tightly, this cake will still taste fresh and moist for about five days.

Yields about 8-10 servings

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen