I recently learned the word: tchotchke. I was talking to my mother-in-law and she said, “I hear you like tchotchkes!” I immediately assumed it must be some kind of dessert. Then she told me what they were and I guess I do, in a way, like tchotchkes, but only ones with meaning or purpose so I’m not sure you can really call them that.
Our living room is decorated with vintage camera’s displayed from my father’s camera collection, and much of my kitchen decor is either props that I use for the blog or pieces that my mother or father made when they worked in his family’s ceramic shop. Like my adorable ceramic canisters with strawberries and daisies on them. Or my “Smith Castle” cookie jar shaped like a castle.
So after I confirmed that I do in fact like “tchotchkes” especially kitchen related ones, Mr. BB’s family added two to our collection!
The first being a ceramic bowl with “The Hoffmans” painted on it and the second being this adorable copper cake carrier. It was our brother-in-law’s grandmother’s. I love it! It looks so adorable sitting among my other kitchen tchotchkes, and it’s functional too! I didn’t have a container to store a cake in before and now I do. It’s so cute! I love it!
Mr. BB’s birthday was last weekend and I shared this photo on instagram of how I secretly celebrate his birthday without him realizing it. He’s weird about birthday’s. Doesn’t like people to make a fuss over him. So I made this cake “for the blog.” But really it was for him. Don’t tell him! Shhhh!
We snacked on it a little bit each day all week and it was sooo good. Intensely chocolate, not too sweet, super moist, and oh that creamy ganache! Let me tell you what. It is just so darn good. And his birthday was celebrated all week without him even knowing it. Mwaahahahaha!
Remember that Ganache 101 post from last week? If not. You should check it out. Ganache is so easy to make and it has so many uses. I used the 1:1 ratio ganache, with a little bit of butter stirred in for richness, for the icing on this cake. I am obsessed with how velvety smooth the mouthfeel is and it isn’t sickeningly sweet like most frostings. Definitely rich, but not too sweet.
In case you missed it. I also used my ganache knowledge to make one of the most “feels fancy but is stupidly easy to make” desserts. Chocolate Truffles! You can check those out here too!
At 8 hours before serving and preferably the day before: Put the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in a medium bowl with a large pinch of kosher salt. Bring the cream to a simmer, almost boiling, in a saucepan over medium-high heat (don't walk away from the stove while doing this as your cream will quickly boil over).
Pour the hot cream directly over the chocolate and let it sit without stirring for 5 minutes. This will melt the chocolate and allow the cream to cool slightly making and emulsion easier. Put a whisk in the center of the chocolate cream mixture and begin whisking in a small, tight circular motion until fully combined.
Add the 2 TBSP butter and stir until it is fully incorporated. Put a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ganache and set aside at room temperature for at least 8 hours or overnight.
For the Cake
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter two 8x2-inch round cake pans and grease and flour the pans, tapping out any excess flour. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until lighter in color- about 3 to 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Add about 1/4 of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add about 1/2 cup of the buttermilk and mix on low speed until incorporated. Continue to alternate dry ingredients and buttermilk, mixing until incorporated after each addition and stopping to scrape the bowl and beater as necessary. Fold the mayonnaise into the batter.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake on the center wrack on a 350°F oven for about 40 to 45 minutes- until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean and the sides of the cake have begun to pull away from the pan slightly. Remove the pans from the oven and cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack and remove the pans. Cool the cakes completely before assembling.
With a serrated knife, cut each cake in half horizontally (try to do this more evenly than I did!). Put one of the layers, cut side up, on a cake plate and place strips of wax or parchment paper under the cake to keep the plate clean while icing.
Top the cake with about 1/3 cup of the ganache, spreading it evenly over the top. Add another cake layer, cut side up, top with ganache, and repeat until the last layer is in place.
Spread a thin layer of ganache over the top and sides of the cake and refrigerate for 15 minutes to seal in any crumbs (this is called a crumb coat). Spread the remaining ganache over the top and sides. Remove the paper from under the cake.
Kristin "Baker Bettie" Hoffman is a trained chef, baking science geek, and the baking instructor here at BakerBettie.com. Kristin's approach to baking is to teach foundational recipes, baking techniques, and approachable baking science. Her belief is that gaining an understanding of the processes and the "whys" in baking helps foster confidence in the kitchen.