Yellow Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Nutella Buttercream

I had my first attempt at cake decorating last week, and for a first try, I think it went pretty well! I made the cake for my boss’s last day to wish him luck with his new business venture. It was very moist and had a great flavor. The buttercream wasn’t too sweet, which is something I think is very important when it comes to homemade frosting, and the nutella flavor combined very well with the cake and ganache!

Yellow Cake

  • 1 box of Duncan Hines Classic Yellow Cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Butter and flour your cake pans (I used 3 9-in rounds so I would have 3 thinner layers).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, butter and milk and mix on medium speed until combined.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, with mixing well between each addition.
  4. Pour batter into pan(s).
  5. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center come out clean.

Note: I then wrapped each layer separately, first with saran wrap, then with tin foil, and froze for a day and a half until I was ready to decorate. I thawed them in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours the day I assembled and decorated the cake.

Tip for Moist Cakes: Combine 2 parts water to 1 part sugar (I used 1 cup water to 1/2 c sugar) in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for several minutes and remove from heat. When cool, put the sugar water in a small spray bottle. Before assembling your cake, use a fork to poke holes in the cakes surface, then spray several times with the water (I sprayed about 5 times on each layer). Let it sit for a little bit (maybe 10 minutes) before you begin frosting.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 1/4 c chocolate chips (semisweet)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla
  1. In a double boiler, mix chocolate chips, half and half, and vanilla over simmering water. [Note: I don’t have a double boiler, so I just placed a heatproof bowl (I used a hard plastic bowl), in a saucepan with water]
  2. When there are no more chocolate chunks, you can remove the top (the bowl for me, but use a hot pad or towel).20121127-112729.jpg
  3. Let it cool for several minutes; I waited until mine was just about room temperature.
  4. Pour a generous amount of ganache onto the bottom two layers of your cake and even out with a spatula.
  5. Stick the layers in the freezer for a few minutes to harden up the ganache before you begin frosting.

Nutella Buttercream (from Sugar and Spice by Celeste)

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 13-ounce jar of Nutella
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar (1 bag)
  • 6-8 Tbsp milk
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and Nutella until combined and fluffy.
  2. Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar, and continue creaming until well blended.
  3. Add salt, vanilla, and a couple tablespoons of heavy cream or milk. Blend on low speed until moistened.
  4. Add additional tablespoons of heavy cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency.
  5. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.
  6. Assemble your cake!

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