Editing and Eating: Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Ganache

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Hope you got to unplug (seems impossible these days) and enjoy friends and family and hokey holiday television specials.

I had every intention of doing “nothing”, but unfortunately our book writing schedule (which is not coming out until Fall 2014) got in the way. I ended up torturing myself with a hardcore editing session, which I had promised to do before Thanksgiving, but…was hit with a nasty case of writer’s block. One minute I was zooming along at the keyboard. And then…boom: took me four or five long hours to describe ganache.

fireking icingbowl

There is only one thing to do when writer’s block hits: BAKE! I needed something quick. Yet, something substantial…not just a cookie. I settled on this Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cake from Yvonne Ruperti’s new book, One Bowl Baking.

brownsugar cake

The idea behind this book, is that everything can be made in “one bowl” – less mess and less fuss. And I will always gravitate to a book that collects “wacky” cake recipes (mix in a pan cake) . And this cake? It is dreamy. The cake layers themselves may as well be giant chocolate chip cookies…in fact, the entire time they were in the oven baking my brain kept thinking “yum…cookie”. They are hearty layers. Very old-fashioned and sturdy – something grandma might make – none too delicate.


And the frosting is a simple chocolate ganache. I probably subconsciously picked this recipe for the ganache. After all, it is the word that was haunting me. Yvonne’s ganache is thick and toothsome. One full pound of gorgeous chocolate to 1 ¾ cups heavy cream.

brown sugar cake frosted side view

The cake came together quickly. I iced it, sliced it, poured a glass of wine (wine and cake are best buds), and returned to the keyboard. My block didn’t entirely disappear…but at least it seemed more manageable.

brownsugar cake slice

Notes about Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cake:

-Though the directions in the book are literally “one-bowl”, I was too nervous. I whisked the drys (flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda) together first before adding to the butter/sugar. This is just ingrained in my head. Best way to evenly distribute the leavening agents.

-I am also a little lazy. I used a stand mixer. I always use a stand mixer. I suppose the cake could be made by hand, but….why?….

-Only other recipe alteration I made was to the ganache. I heated the cream in a small pot until bubbles formed along the perimeter (not quite boiling) and just poured the cream over the chocolate. It worked beautifully.

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Ganache slightly adapted from Yvonne Ruperti’s book, One Bowl Baking.

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cake Batter

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 large yolk
¾ cup whole milk, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups plus 2 Tablespoons cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Butter the sides and bottom of two 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment. Butter the parchment.

In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes on medium speed).

Add eggs and yolk, one a time, beating well after each addition until combined. Add the milk and vanilla beat again until well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add this to the batter in the stand mixer (all at once) and beat until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. Divide the batter between the pans and bake until golden, just firm (do not overbake these cakes), and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.

Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Turn cakes out of pan. Remove parchment and allow to cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache

16 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarsely
1 ¾ cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar

Place chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl. Heat cream in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until bubbles form around the perimeter of the pan (just about to boil). Pour over the chopped chocolate. Wait one minute, then whisk (from the center out) until combined. Whisk in confectioners sugar. Chill until spreadable, stirring occasionally (I checked in and stirred every 15 minutes), about one plus hour.

Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread 1 cup ganache over the top. Top with second cake layer (bottom side up) and use remaining frosting to frost the top and side of the cake. Sprinkle with a handful of chocolate chips (I didn’t do this, but it sure sounds like a good idea). Chill the cake for 5 minutes to set before serving.

brown sugar cake slice out