How to Make the Ultimate Chocolate Party Cake

Pastry Chef Paola Velez shares her recipe for Chocolate Party Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Homemade Sprinkles in this week’s episode of Pastries with Paola.

There's never a bad time for chocolate cake, and in this week's episode of Pastries with Paola, Paola prepares one perfect for a celebration: her recipe for Chocolate Party Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Homemade Sprinkles. It packs chocolate into every single component of the cake, from the cocoa powder-batter (bolstered with coffee, yogurt, and olive oil) to the swoops of dark chocolate ganache that crown the cake. Even the sprinkles, should you decide to make them (and you absolutely should), have cocoa powder in them.

"This is not chocolate overkill, this is chocolate love, baby," she says.

The end result is a cake that looks just as spectacular as it tastes. Read on for Paola's step-by-step method and follow along with the video above.

First Up—Make the Batter

Get started by preparing your cake batter. Whisk together the dry ingredients—all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, kosher salt, and nutmeg—in one bowl, and the wet ingredients—eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, Greek yogurt, room-temperature brewed coffee, and olive oil—in another. While you could combine the dry and wet ingredients with a mixer, Paola demonstrates that you can also pull it off with a whisk, and some serious arm strength. Be sure to fold the batter a few times with a rubber spatula after whisking to ensure the flour is fully incorporated.

Once combined, pour the batter into your nine-inch round cake pan that's been oiled and lined with parchment. (Don't forget to brush the parchment paper round with olive oil, too, so the cake doesn't stick to it.) Tap the pan once to remove any bubbles, and bake the cake in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes. A cake tester inserted in the center of the cake should come out clean.

Meanwhile, Get Going on the Ganache…

For the ganache, all you need to do is heat a mixture of heavy cream and light corn syrup (seasoned with a pinch of salt) on the stovetop until it's just starting to simmer and is warm to the touch. Then, pour that cream into the bowl of chopped dark chocolate. After letting the mixture stand for one minute, whisk everything together and let it sit for a final 30 minutes. Voila, you've got ganache!

Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Ali Ramee

…and the Sprinkles

The last component of the cake is the homemade sprinkles, and Paola opts for chocolate (of course) in this video. Assemble your confectioners' sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, and meringue powder, and sift the sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl, then whisk in the meringue powder. Next, use a mixer to gradually beat in water. Ultimately, you want the mixture's consistency to be shiny, smooth, and spreadable.

Take the mixture and add it to a piping bag, cutting a very small hole at the bottom, and pipe thin lines onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. After they've had time to harden for about 24 hours, you can (gently!) break them up to form the sprinkles.

Decorate and Serve

Once the cake and ganache have cooled and your sprinkles are ready, all that's left to do is decorate. Unmold and invert the cake onto a serving plate, peel off the parchment circle, and spread the ganache on top like frosting, using an offset spatula to smooth it to the edges and create artful swoops. For the finishing touch, shower on the homemade sprinkles.

Stay tuned for next week's episode of Pastries with Paola featuring Tamarind Pate de Fruit.

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