10 Ways to Upgrade Chocolate Cake

From a riff on Black Forest cake to homemade yodels, these chefs’ cakes are all delicious—and fun—baking projects.

From a riff on Black Forest cake to homemade yodels, these chefs’ cakes are all delicious—and fun—baking projects.

1. Blackout cake
Chocolate custard gets spread all over chef Gale Gand’s double-layer cake before it’s encased in cake crumbs.

2. Double chocolate
Chicago pastry chef Kate Neumann covers her surprisingly light Bundt cake with a silky ganache glaze.

3. Cupcake Upgrade
While Jacques Pépin’s warm chocolate cakes are baked in muffin tins, they are much more elegant than cupcakes. After being baked so they’re just barely set, they get drizzled with an apricot-Cognac sauce.

4. Better Black Forest
Top chef winner Hosea Rosenberg tops his mini chocolate cakes with mascarpone and brandied cherries.

5. Triple-layer
What happens when chocolatier Andrew Shotts makes chocolate cake? He creates the ultimate towering layer cake frosted with a rich buttercream.

6. Milk chocolatey
This square layer cake from pastry chef Karina Gowing is all about the frosting, which is essentially a luscious milk-chocolate ganache.

7. Sacher torte
In Lidia Bastianich’s version of the classic, elegant Austrian cake, she uses apricot jam in the batter as a filling and to seal the cake before glazing it.

8. Toffee-almond crunch
How do you make a great layer cake even more fun? Cover it with broken bits of toffee candy bars and toasted almonds, as Patti Dellamonica-Bauler does.

9. Chocolate-mint
Pastry goddess Claudia Fleming spikes the frosting for her spectacular chocolate cake with peppermint extract.

10. Homemade yodels
For chef Sue McCown’s incredible version of a yodel, the famous snack cake, she rolls spongy chocolate cake around a caramel-sour cream filling.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

Related: Incredible Chocolate Cakes
Amazing Chocolate Desserts
Chilled Chocolate Desserts
Mom's Chocolate Cake​​​​​​​

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