Versatile Vanilla Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

12 Apr

I knew I wanted to make a cake on Superbowl Sunday for Robbbb since his Patriots were playing. I wanted to make a vanilla cake since that’s his favorite, but wanted to use chocolate icing since that is MY favorite.

Basic ingredients - except buttermilk is something most people dont have on hand


I looked around for a couple days for some decent recipes. I ended up turning to Martha Stewart. I read some reviews on various cakes and netted out on her Versatile Vanilla and Dark Chocolate Ganache.

Beautiful Layers

Chopped Chocolate

I hadnt made a cake in a long time so I was excited. And I’m ashamed to admit this, but I’ve NEVER made a layer cake with icing before. And as you all know, I am always excited to get out my KitchenAid mixer and mix something!

Cream mixing with the Chocolate

Cooling the Ganache

I set out slowly and with confidence. I followed Martha’s instructions to a T and used quality ingredients. For the icing, you HAVE to use quality chocolate – 60 or 70% cacao at least. I used Ghirardelli brand 8 oz at 60% and 8 oz at 70%.

Iced Cake

It turned out AMAZING. The cake was moist and delicious and so flavorful. The chocolate ganache was the richest icing I’ve ever had. I will ALWAYS use this ganache from now on. It couldn’t have been simpler to make, too. I think the next time I make it, I’ll try using 2 cups of whole milk instead of 2 cups heavy cream just to see if I can make it a smidge healthier.


I have since made this cake again for a Girls Night get together and it was once again, a total crowd pleaser. Robb’s compliment about this cake: “This cake reminds me why I love cake so much“. Believe it.

Versatile Vanilla Cake

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.
  3. Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
  4. Place one cake, bottom side up, on a cake stand. Tuck strips of parchment paper underneath. Using an offset-spatula or table knife, spread top with frosting. Top with remaining cake; frost top, then sides.

Dark-Chocolate Ganache

(Makes 3.5 cups)

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped


  1. In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups heavy cream, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt to a boil. Remove from heat; add 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped, and let stand, without stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk just until combined. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until spreadable, about 1 hour.

5 Responses to “Versatile Vanilla Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache”

  1. Patrick April 13, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    Pretty soon you are going to be responsible for all deserts at Mullaney Family gatherings….now, learn how to make ice cream pie!

    • lmullane April 13, 2012 at 11:50 am #

      I dont know….mom is still the expert baker in the family. Although this cake would give her a run for her money. I’ve been making the ice cream pie for 3 years now – it’s beyond easy!!! I will definitely feature it this summer.

  2. Bethie April 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    I love Robb’s comment!! Like a fat kid loves cake!! (except he’s skinny of course!) gotta love Martha!

    • lmullane April 12, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

      Totally!!!!!! You KNOW how he is about his cake!!! Martha rocks……..totally.


  1. Bacon Chocolate Cupcakes | A Sliver Of Each - February 8, 2014

    […] However when the chocolate icing went on, it was like magic. The icing just pulled it all together and made it SING! The only fault is that this recipe does not come with a recipe for chocolate frosting. So you will need to use your own favorite recipe (don’t buy storebought icing – gross!!!). Or you can do what I did and use my fave chocolate ganache. […]

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