Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stop Chasing Ganesh! a.k.a. Chocolate cake with Dulce de Leche filling and Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Dulce de Leche Layer Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

I know, I know!! The title’s misleading!  There is no Indian elephant god Ganesh in this cake, however honestly if there was to be a cake that represented a god, this would be, at the very least, a contender!

The title comes from a line out of an episode of The Simpsons, where Homer dressed up as Ganesh and tries to stop Apu from getting married.  In turn, my lovely friend Joe always says “Ganesh” instead of “Ganache”, and frankly, that stuff is pretty godly so it does make sense in a way ;)

Anyway, I was looking for a cake that would fit perfectly with one of my best mates – she adores chocolate and toffee like substances, so what better cake for her than a moist dark chocolate cake, filled with lashings of dulce de leche, topped with smooth dark chocolate ganache??  YUM! 

This is definitely, no doubt about it, a celebration cake.  This isn’t something you do on a weekend to have something with tea.  This is a cake to be placed at the centre of attention, shared and enjoyed. 

I have accidentally also found one of the best chocolate cake recipes ever!  I will most definitely be using this when I make chocolate layer cakes.  It’s moist, dense, insanely dark (I don’t know what it is about an almost black chocolate cake that just excited me!), wonderfully chocolatey, and yet, somehow, it still manages to be delicately soft and light.… YUM!  For the Maltesers, what I was looking for essentially was a cake I can make from scratch that rivaled the old school Fontanella cake.  Unfortunately, I believe they have gone downhill over the last few years, hence the need to replace it with something! AND.. SUCCESS!!   I have finally found the right cake!  And to top it off, I know exactly what goes into it as I’ve made it myself (always a concern when ordering cakes from out) J

This cake recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s sour cream chocolate cake  by  and then slightly adapted again into the recipe you see below.  Yoghurt in a cake is fantastic, and I’ve been replacing milk and buttermilk in my cakes with yoghurt for over a year now, so this really appealed to me.  Also with a filling as heavy as dulce de leche, and a topping as intense as ganache, I really thought that sour cream was slight overkill!

An extra bonus is that this cake is truly a one bowl cake!  I used a jug to whisk the oil and yoghurt separately but honestly could have just added them straight into the bowl without mixing before. 

The ganache recipe is the one I normally use, so thought I’d stick to what I know.  I have no regrets!

I cannot get dulce de leche here, so I made it using a tin of sweetened condensed milk (method below). 

The original recipe calls for 3x 8 inch rounds.  I made 2 x 8.25 inc rounds and it worked perfectly.  It says serves 12 but 9 of us ate only half a cake.  Serve in thin slices, ideally a day after making (it was a little too soft about 6 hours after making and could have done with an overnight fridge stay.  The taste was sublime though and I’m pretty sure that had it spend overnight in the fridge, a little “mouse” would have attacked it anyway hehehe!)  Also, serve with a cup of tea/coffee, or some milk.  You’ll need it!
Here goes!!!

Dulce de leche:
1 tin sweetened condensed milk

Before you do anything, you’ll need to make the Dulce de Leche.  This will take 3 or so hours, so I actually made it a few days before.  You can make it even weeks before if you like, as it will keep in the can for a while!
Get a large pot and put the unopened can of sweetened condensed milk into it.  Fill with water, the water needs to completely cover the can, with a few cm on top (you can put the can on its side if you like).  Bring to a boil, then cover and lower the heat (possibly even change the burner to the smallest one) and simmer as gently as possibly for around 3-4 hours.  Check every 30 minutes or so and top up with water if necessary.  Once the 3 hour mark has passed, switch the stove off and allow the can to cool in the water.  Once it’s cool, remove and you can use or store in the cupboard for as long as needed. 
Word of advice – you might as well make 2 tins of the stuff to keep it for next time.  It lasts ages as you won’t have opened the tin. 

Just before using, open the tin, pour out contents into a bowl and whisk and mix until the lumps removed.  You can also slightly heat it up to make it a more spreadable consistency (I needed to do this).  You can do this either by pouring out contents of jar into a bowl microwaving, or making a bain marie and stirring until it’s reached the right consistency.

2 cups (200 grams) cake (00) flour - use plain if you can't find! 
2 1/2 cups sugar (500g) (i use either granulated, caster or even demarera, whatever i have in the house!)
3/4 cup (90g) unsweetened good quality cocoa powder (the better the quality, the better the cake.  Try and avoid your average bournville type cocoa)
2 teaspoons instant coffee
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (250ml) sunflower oil (or any other neutral tasting oil)
1 cup (250ml) plain yogurt (I used low fat)
1 1/2 cups (375ml) water
2 tablespoons white vinegar (use apple cider in a pinch)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 170 degrees

Grease 2 x 8.25 round cake tins and line bottom with baking paper. (I used the same cake tin so washed and regreased/papered it between baking)

In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, coffee granules, bicarb and salt together.
In a small bowl or jug whisk oil and yogurt together.  
Add yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and mix until incorporated. 
Gradually whisk in the water and mix until smooth
Blend in vinegar and vanilla.
Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended.
Pour half the mix into the tin (or pour equal amounts into 2 tins if you have them!)

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick (or raw spaghetti strand as I use) inserted in the center comes out almost clean.
Cool for at least 15 minutes in the tin, as it will break apart slightly if you try and pop it out straight away (don’t’ worry too much if that happens as dulce de leche also makes great cake glue!).  I might even cool IN the pan next time!

While the cakes are cooking, prepare the chocolate ganache.

Ganache (Ganesh :P)
250 mls fresh cream (double)
200g good quality dark chocolate (70%), cut into small pieces/chips/shavings.

Place the chopped chocolate into a mixing bowl.
In a small saucepan, bring cream to a near boil (as soon as the bubbles start appearing on the side).  Switch off immediately and pour the cream over the chocolate.  Leave for 30 seconds then start stirring slowly until it all melts and mixes together.  Keep stirring until it is completely smooth.  Scrape the sides with a silicone spatula and place in the fridge until a little harder (I like to stir every 15 minutes or so).  Once it’s reached the right texture, you can remove from the fridge and as long as it’s not over 27 degrees, it’ll remain quite solid.  If it hardens a little too much, just take it out of the fridge for a while, it should get back to the right texture.   

Assembling the cake
Once cakes are completely cool, warm the dulce de leche to make it more spreadable (method above).

The dulce and ganache can be quite messy, so if you can place pieces of baking paper around the cake as you decorate, you’ll have a much easier time to get it all neat.
Put the first layer of cake on the plate. Using a fork, poke the top of the cake several times, this will help the dulce de leche seep into the cake. Spread a nice thick layer of dulce de leche across the cake.  I didn’t use all of it, but I did use quite a bit, especially as the first of the cakes I’d made had been taken out of the tin prematurely too, so I needed to “glue” the cake to the bits using the dulce!

Add the second layer of cake, placing carefully as not to break it! Carefully smooth out any dulce on the sided, and glue any broken bits of cake back on the sides with any leftover dulce.  

Spread the ganache over the sides first with a knife or spatula, then dollop a whole bunch on top and spread it out in a semi spiral fashion to get the pattern you see above.

I would highly recommend putting this cake in the fridge overnight before serving.  As difficult as it might seem, it does actually improve the flavour and texture allowing everything to marry and set, plus it makes it infinitely easier to slice (even if you take it out of the fridge for an hour before serving as I did) J  I will, however, not judge you if you tuck into it pretty much straight away, which is exactly what we did!

Cake keeps fine for several days covered in the fridge. The dulce de leche keeps it incredibly moist.

ENJOY!!! :D 


  1. Oh my Lala !!! This cake looks incredible !!!! I must try it one of these days.
    Well done !!

    Bianca xxxxxxxxxxx

  2. This looks wonderful. BTW I love your site and have bookmarked a few recipes to have a go at, especially the Maltese recipes.
    Cheers Yvonne

  3. I'm gonna bake this in a large rectangle cake tin and was thinking of doubling the recipe as I need quite a large cake. What do you think?

    1. I think it'll be fine as long as you bake it into 2 layers! not sure how long it would go in for! Also i highly recommend having the cake almost completely cool in the pan, it's very soft and might break! :) enjoy :)

  4. I am gonna bake it in one large foil pan in one layer and frost it in the same pan. I will not be taking it out of the pan. I have tried this cake in cupcake form and found it very moist but not sweet. Maybe because I didn't use dulce de leche. I am going to try to increase the sugar in the cake mixture! :) Thanks!

  5. is baking in my oven as we speak! Can't wait to eat it! There is no way it is going to sit in a fridge overnight before we dig in!