Bake one, make two! Easy vanilla cake with dark chocolate ganache… for two!
Here’s the second installment of my Valentine’s Day Treat Series. I made this cake recipe for my son’s birthday last year.
Don’t worry, we will not make this one as complicated and messy as that. It’s just a simple cake – bake, cut, frost… done!
Decorate by piping roses and garnish with heart sprinkles for more Valentine’s Day vibe… 💞
All the ingredients you need might be already in your kitchen. It’s just a basic cake so please please do not scrimp on the ingredients because the
life flavor of the cake depends on them:
- Butter – Use real butter. Not margarine, not oil and especially not butter wannabes.
- Egg – Use fresh eggs as possible.
- Vanilla – Imitation is okay, just find a good one. But it would be really great if you can use real vanilla extract.
- Milk – I always use full cream milk in this recipe. It’s my favorite type of milk for baking and cooking because I like its rich and creamy taste.
- Baking powder – Please don’t use expired and if the package has been opened for more than 6 to 8 months. Buy a new one.
- Sprinkles – Use jimmies or quins. Avoid nonpareils because it bleeds easily in the batter.
Note: Don’t forget to add the sprinkles before pouring the batter into the pan (because I did LOL!) Just look at the photos… see how the sprinkles are all in the center? It’s because I mixed it in the baking pan 😂 Can you believe that? How can I forget the main highlight of this recipe! 😅
Serve this cake to your bae if you plan to go on a picnic or a simple dinner at home on Valentine’s Day. It’ll be a lovely gift. 💝
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg (or 69g when weighed w/ shell)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (8 ounces or 240ml) full cream milk
- 1¾ cups (219g) all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons (30g) red sprinkles (jimmies) or quins, more for sprinkling
- 12 ounces (340g) dark chocolate
- 6 ounces heavy cream
- Place dark chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat heavy cream in a sauce pan (no need to boil). Pour hot heavy cream on chocolate and let it sit for a minute. Stir with a wired whisk or spatula until smooth and no lumps. You can also do this entire step using a double boiler - place chocolate and cream in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water, stir until chocolate is dissolved.
- Let the chocolate mixture cool and SET as you prepare the cake ingredients. It should set even if you leave it at room temperature. If you're in a hurry, place it in the fridge for 15 minutes checking the consistency every 5 minutes. The mixture must be: set but not too hard, can be spooned but not runny and it should be thick and can hold its shape when piped. If the you left the ganache in the fridge for too long and becomes hard, take it out and let it thaw/soften at room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line 8x8 pan with foil or parchment paper leaving an overhang on the sides for easy lift.
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Don't forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl to cream evenly. Add egg and vanilla, beat until combined.
- Alternately add dry ingredients and milk, starting with: dry - milk - dry - milk - dry. Beat until just combined. Do not over mix/beat. I suggest to slightly stir the flour and milk (in the batter) with a spatula before turning on the mixer to avoid flour from flying and milk splattering everywhere.
- Fold in red jimmies or quins into the batter. Slowly pour batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (no wet crumbs). You can check doneness at 25-minute mark.
- Let the pan cool on the wired rack. Once cooled, gently lift the cake (lift the overhang of foil/parchment) and place it on the wired rack to cool completely.
- Cut the cake into four equal squares. Two squares will be paired for each set of cakes. Trim top with a knife to make an even layer.
- Spread ganache on top of each square cake, covering the entire surface only (this is the surface where you will pipe the rose/flower design) Spoon remaining ganache into a piping bag with 1M tip (or any star tip).
- Pipe ganache on top of a square cake. Place another square cake on top of the piped ganache. Pipe ganache on top of the 2nd cake layer. Sprinkle with red jimmies or quins. Do the same step for the second set of cake.
- Chill in a covered container in the fridge until ready to serve. Soften the cake at room temperature before eating (recommended) Always keep leftovers in the fridge.
If you just want to cover the cake with "soft or runny" ganache, use this ratio instead: 8 ounces of dark chocolate and 4 ounces of heavy cream. Once the ganache has slightly cooled and still runny (no need to set), pour it over the square cake, stack another cake then pour again the ganache to cover the entire cake.
If you want a simple piping design and not the roses like in the photos above, use this ratio instead: 10 ounces of dark chocolate and 5 ounces of heavy cream.
If you want to make the cake ahead of time, always keep in an airtight container in the fridge (or wrap in cling/plastic wrap) until ready to frost.
You can also make my ganache recipe into chocolate truffles!