Frosting Checkerboard Cake

I’ve made checkerboard cakes in the past, by cutting out rings of colorful cake layers and reassembling them to create a pattern. And it was fun, I loved trying the technique with different colors, and even different cake recipes.

However, this time around I wanted to try something new.

Since I am a huge fan of frosting, I had a crazy idea pop into my mind…what if I made a checkerboard pattern by alternating cake layers and frosting??

I kid you not, just as I was falling asleep one night, and the idea popped into my mind (luckily, it was a Friday night). The next morning, I set to work!!

Does this mean that half of this cake is frosting?? Yes, yes it does 🙂

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It’s made with two layers (a half batch) of my go-to chocolate layer cake recipe, and 2 batches of my american buttercream recipe.

I began by using circle cutters to cut each cake layer into 4 pieces. I make my cake layers in advance, and freeze them overnight. I let them thaw for about 20 minutes, and then use the circle cutters while the layers are still slightly chilled and firm. if you aren’t freezing your layers, be sure they are completed cooled before you cut into them.

Be sure to wipe off the circle cutter after each layer, to ensure a clean cut on the next layer.

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Once my layers were cut, I placed my frosting into large piping bags, cut to have a 1-inch opening. I place the largest and 2nd smallest cake pieces onto my great proof cake board, and filled in the openings full with buttercream. It should resemble a bulls eye. checkerboard cake filling center with frosting-2

Use the remaining bits of cake layer, and place on top of the areas filled with frosting. By alternating cake layers and frosting, you are creating the checkerboard pattern. Repeat with the second cake layer, until all the cake rings have been used.

I found the second layer was a bit harder to create, since the outer ring is pure frosting! Smooth the sides of the cake using a bench scrapper.

Chill the cake in the freezer for about 5 minutes after you’ve added the second cake/frosting layer, to help it keep it’s shape. It’s really important that your buttercream is relatively stiff, so that it isn’t seeping over the sides as you pipe it.

Use a bench scraper to smooth the sides of the cake, and create an edge at the top of the cake. Place the cake back into freezer for a few minutes, to allow the frosting to firm up.

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Once the frosting is firm to the touch, cover the cake with a second layer of frosting.

Add a bit of cocoa powder and a splash of heavy cream to my remaining frosting, to create some contrast between the outside of the cake, and all the frosting hidden on the inside.

Once the cake is covered, use a large offset spatula to create horizontal lines around the cake. Begin at the base, and slowly moved the spatula up the cake while spinning your cake stand. Follow the lined pattern that is being created, until you reached the top of the cake.

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Pipe some additional dollops of frosting in a ring around the top of the cake, and garnish with mini and regular chocolate chips.

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Then cut into this frosting filled cake and reveal the amazing checkerboard pattern!!! I recommend using a very large, sharp knife, and heating it up by running it under warm water (and drying with a towel). This will help you get nice, clean slices, even if the cake is slightly chilled still.

I won’t lie,  I was so nervous to cut into this cake!! I really did think the concept would work, but I’ve never made a cake quite like this before! I literally squealed with excitement as I pulled out the first slice.

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It turned out exactly how I hoped it would!! Big blocks of vanilla buttercream, perfectly separated by chocolate cake squares.

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Like always, I cut a massive first slice, to make it easier to cut the remaining slices, and so that I get a great view of the inside of the cake. I was beaming with excited when I started photographing the sliced cake.

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My chocolate layer cake recipe and double batch buttercream recipe can be found below.

Small Batch Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe

This is a half batch of my go-to chocolate layer cake recipe! It's perfect for make two 7 or 8-inch cake layers, or three 6-inch cake layers.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chelsweets chococlate cake recipe, chocolate layer cake recipe, small batch chocolate cake recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 1 6-inch cake

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.25 cups granulated sugar
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.75 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs room temp
  • 0.5 cups unsalted butter room temp (1 stick)
  • 0.5 cups hot water
  • 0.5 cups buttermilk room temp
  • 0.5 cups baking cocoa (I like to use black cocoa)

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line four 7 inch or 8 inch pans with parchment rounds, and spray with non-stick spray.

  2. Add the sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk on high for 1 minute. The mixture should become light in color.

  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Then add baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix on high for another minute.

  4. In a separate bowl, combine the cup of hot water, and cup of buttermilk. Pour in the cup of black cocoa, and whisk until no clumps remain.

  5. Next, add 1/2 cup of flour into the butter /egg mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, to ensure the flour is fully incorporated.

  6. Pour in half of the buttermilk / cocoa mixture, and gently pulse the mixture to incorporate the liquid (if you don't, you'll end up splattering the cocoa mixture all over you kitchen!

  7. Mix in another 1/2 cup of flour, at a medium speed. Pour in the remaining buttermilk / cocoa mixture, and again gently pulse, then mix on low until fully combined.

  8. Add in the last 1/2 cup of flour, and mix on low until the flour is incorporated. Mix on high for 30 additional seconds, to incorporate a bit more air into the batter.

  9. Evenly divide between the four prepared pans. I like to use a kitchen scale to ensure each pan has exactly the same amount of batter.

  10. Bake according to the size of pan. For 7 inch layers, bake for 35-37 minutes. For 8 inch layers, bake for 32-33 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

  11. Allow layers to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around the edge of the pans to help separate the layers from the pans.

  12. Place the pans in the freezer for about 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers.

  13. Use a serrate knife to level the tops of the layers, and then frost as desired.

Recipe Notes

I chose to use black cocoa (I love the taste and color it creates), but if you don't have any on hand, you can use regular baking cocoa.

Double Batch Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

This is a double batch of my favorite vanilla buttercream! It's great for larger cakes, small 2-tiered cakes, or cakes with a lot of frosting decorations (buttercream rosettes, buttercream ruffles, etc.)

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chelsweets, chelsweets frosting recipe, double batch frosting recipe, large batch frosting recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 tiered cake (8 inch and 6 inch tiers)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (868 grams)
  • 16 cups powdered sugar (1,814 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (6 grams)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (or whipping cream) (60 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract (24 grams)

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.

  2. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 

  3. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Recipe Notes

If you are making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

Chocolate Raspberry Mother’s Day Cake

Mom’s deserve something special. They deserve something just as sweet and wonderful as they are! This cake is inspired by my Mom, who is a big fan of both chocolate and fresh berries.

To this day, my Mom still grows the most delicious strawberries and raspberries in our garden. I can’t see a berry and not think of my Mom! I wanted to make a cake that was packed with fresh raspberries and chocolate, but wasn’t too sweet or heavy. I ended up making a chocolate sponge cake, filled with a whipped chocolate buttercream and fresh raspberries, and frosted with a dark chocolate ganache. The recipe and some more Mother’s Day cake inspiration can be found below:

Make the dark chocolate ganache first, as it needs at least a few hours to cool and set. To make, simply place the chocolate (about 2 bags of dark chocolate chips) and heavy cream in a heat proof bowl, and heat it for 30 second increments (stirring between). Usually after about 2 minutes of heat, all the chocolate is melted. Once the mixture is fully incorporated, place plastic wrap over the top of the ganache, and let it sit at room temperature. Before adding the room temperature ganache to a cake, I give it a slow stir with a spatula.

I also recommend making the chocolate simple syrup in advance. It needs time to cool before it can be used, and preparing it ahead of time makes the following day a  bit easier. Place the sugar and water in a pot, and bring to a simmer. Once the sugar has dissolved, mix in the cocoa, and turn  off the heat. Place in a sealed Tupperware container in the fridge overnight.

Bake 4, 8-inch round cake layers using my chocolate cake recipe and instructions. I baked my 8 inch layers for about 32 minutes. Allow layers to cool fully before leveling with a serrated knife. Place pans into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process, and lock in the moisture.

While the layers bake, make the whipped chocolate buttercream. Begin by melting the cup of chocolate chips. Heat it in the microwave for 1 minute at half power in large heat proof bowl, or over a double boiler. Stir until smooth, then set aside briefly to allow it to cool just a bit (not more than 5 minutes).

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a whisk attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time.  Alternate with small splashes of cream. Scrap the sides of the bowl with a spatula, to ensure all the powdered sugar is mixed in. Add in any remaining heavy cream, then whip on high for about 1 minute. Next, add in the melted chocolate. Beat on high again, until the chocolate is fully incorporated. Pour in the egg whites, and beat on high again for about 30 seconds. Add in the vanilla and salt, and mix until fully incorporated. The frosting should be rather thick, like whipped topping!

After the cake layers are baked and fully cooled, level the cakes by cutting off the tops using a serrated knife. I like to “taste test” the cake tops with any left over frosting or ganache once I’ve decorated the cake! The cake tops can also be used to make cake balls. Use a large, sterile paint brush to douse the cake layers with a generous coat of chocolate simple syrup.

Next, it’s time to assemble the cake! Place the ganache into a piping bag, and pipe a ring around the perimeter of the cake layer.

blackout ganache boarded piping

Scoop a few spatulas of whipped buttercream into the center of the cake layer, and use an offset spatula to evenly spread it out to the ganache boarder.

mothers day adding in whipped filling

Press a generous amount of raspberries into the whipped chocolate frosting. Repeat until all layers are stacked.

mothers day adding rasp

Repeat this process with the remaining cake layers. Once stacked, cover the cake with a thick layer of chocolate ganache, and smooth with a patterned bench scrapper (I got these Wilton “icing combs” on amazon).

mother's day adding exterior

Pipe a boarder around the top of the cake using a small French tip, and fill the top of the cake with remaining whipped chocolate buttercream.

adding topping mother's day cake

This cake is just as delicious as it looks! It feeds about 16 people, so be sure to gather your whole family around to enjoy it. Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing mother’s out there!!

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Recipes:

Ferrero Rocher Truffle Cake

For this weeks Food Network livestream, I’m making a Ferrero Rocher Cake!! This cake is assembled to look just like this truffle once it’s cut into, and even has a cake ball in the center to look like a hazelnut!! The recipe and tutorial can be found below:

Recipes:

  • 1 batch (4 lbs) of Yolanda Gampp’s chocolate sponge cake recipe (trimmed cake tops crumbed and reserved)
  • 1 cup chocolate simple syrup (1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar dissolved together, + 3 TBSP cocoa)
  • 1.5 batches milk chocolate ganache (3 bags of milk chocolate chips + 1 1/2 cups heavy cream) – to be made in advance
  • 1 bag of chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 2 – inch cake ball, made from leftover vanilla cake scraps and a bit of vanilla frosting, chilled
  • 1 additional bag of chocolate chips (to be melted to cover the outside of the cake)

Make the milk chocolate ganache first, as it needs at least a few hours to cool and set. To make this, I used 3 bags of Hershey’s milk chocolate chips, and 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream. To make, simply place both the chocolate and heavy cream in a heat proof bowl, and heat it for 30 second increments (stirring between). Usually after about 2 minutes of heat, all the chocolate is melted. Once the mixture is fully incorporated, place plastic wrap over the top of the ganache, and let it sit at room temperature. Before adding the room temperature ganache to a cake, I give it a slow stir with a spatula.

I also recommend making the chocolate simple syrup in advance. It needs time to cool before it can be used, and preparing it ahead of time makes the following day a  bit easier. Place the sugar and water in a pot, and bring to a simmer. Once the sugar has dissolved, mix in the cocoa, and turn  off the heat. Place in a sealed Tupperware container in the fridge overnight.

Bake two 6-inch round cake layers and one 7-inch cake layer using Yo’s chocolate cake recipe and instructions. You will have leftover batter! I chose to make an extra 6 inch layer to another baking project. Allow layers to cool fully before leveling. Place pans into the freezer for 1 hour, to accelerate the cooling process, and lock in the moisture.

After the cake layers are baked and fully cooled, level the cakes by cutting off the tops using a serrated knife. Trim the 6 inch layers so that they taper, to make it easier to frost in the shape of a sphere. Use a large, sterile paint brush to douse the cake layers with a generous coat of chocolate simple syrup.

Next, it’s time to assemble the cake! Place the ganache into a piping bag. Stack on six in layer with the smallest side down.  Cover the top of the cake layer with a thick spread of chocolate ganache. Use a 3 inch circle cutter to remove the center of the 7 inch cake layer. Place the 7 inch layer on top, and coat the cut outsides with ganache.

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Carefully press the cake ball into the opening, then cover with another layer of ganache. Top with the final cake layer, then cover the entire outside of the cake with ganache. Smooth into the shape of a sphere, using an acetate sheet.

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Carefully press chopped hazelnuts around the outside of the cake, then chill the cake. Melt the additional chocolate, then pour over the cake, and add texture using a small offset spatula.

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Then cut in and see the center!!! I love that this cake has such a fun cross-sections 🙂

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Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe

choco-cake

I’ve tested a lot of chocolate cake recipes over the years, and this chocolate cake recipe is one of my favorites. It is incredibly moist, and turns out perfectly every time!

It is a one bowl recipe that doesn’t require a hand mixer, which means less dishes to clean!! I highly recommend this recipe. It’s been modified from Robyn’s recipe on Add A Pinch.

The cakes do have a tiny bit of a dome, but I usually just level it out with a little extra buttercream. You can also just trim the top of the cake to make it level.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup espresso, or 1 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder dissolved in 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 tsp vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line and grease 4 8-inch cake pans.

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk together until combined (be sure there aren’t any clumps! If there are, you may want to sift your ingredients).

Pour in the espresso into the dry ingredients, and mix until the espresso is fully absorbed. Mix in the buttermilk, until fully incorporated. Pour in the oil next, and mix until fully incorporated. Then stir in the eggs, one at a time. The last step is to stir in the vanilla, then the vinegar. The batter will be on the thin side, but that’s the correct consistency!

Divide the batter evenly between the four cake pans, and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and let the cakes sit for about 5 minutes. Gently run an offset spatula around the rim of the cake pans to loosen them. Place the cake pans in the freezer to speed up the cooling process, and to trap in additional moisture.

Decorate as desired! The photo below shows a snickers cake made with this cake base, before it was crumb coated.

choco-cake

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake


This post is definitely a bit delayed, but better late than never, right?? I’ve received a lot of emails asking for this recipe, so here it is 🙂 It’s quite an undertaking, but it’s worth it! It is made with four super moist chocolate cake layers, a cookie dough flavored buttercream, and is decorated with egg-less chocolate chip cookie dough and mini chocolate chip cookies. It took a little bit of experimenting to get this right. I had been pretty dissatisfied with most of the edible cookie dough recipes I’d come across online, so i tweaked the recipe until it as just right. I also created a simpler cookie dough buttercream, as most recipes require melting down the brown sugar. Mine is just as easy to make as regular buttercream, and in my opinion has a better cookie dough flavor!

Chocolate Cake Batter:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Cookie Dough Buttercream:

  • 2 cups unsalted butter (4 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (pasteurized in the microwave or oven)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 and 1/4 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, and 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare four  8-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray, and lining the bottom of the pans with parchment rounds.

Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Mix until fully incorporated.  Distribute cake batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.

Once the cake layers are out of the oven, prepare the cookie dough. Combine the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the melted butter, brown sugar, and sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the egg, vanilla, then the egg yolk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft, yet thick. Fold in the chocolate chips. Form 1 inch balls with the dough, and then cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, and leave at least 2 inches of space between the cookies. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will be very soft and look a little underbaked. But don’t be scared, they will continue to bake on the cookie sheet! Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake layers and cookies cool, prepare the cookie dough frosting. Beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Pour in the vanilla and salt, and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Add heavy cream as needed. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.

For the edible cookie dough, cream the butter and brown sugar together. Add in the salt and vanilla, and beat until combined. Mix in the flour in two installments, add the cream between installments to help the ingredients come together. Gently mix in the chocolate chips on a low speed, or with a spatula. Form into 3/4 inch balls, and refrigerate to allow the cookie dough balls to firm up.

Once all the components are prepared, it’s assembly time! Top each cake layer with a thick smear of frosting, and sprinkle a generous handful of edible cookie dough on top of the frosting. Repeat, stacking all four layers. Apply a crumb coat to exterior of the cake, and refrigerate to let the frosting firm up.

Remove from fridge, and apply another coat of frosting. Smooth the frosting, then press the small baked cookies around the base of the cake. Push edible cookie dough bites around the side of the cake, and fill in some of the open space with mini chocolate chips. Form a circular cookie pyramid on top of the cake, anchoring each layer of cookies with a smear of buttercream. Use the remaining edible cookie dough to create a boarder around the top of the cake, and sprinkle white and regular chocolate chips into any open spaces, and around the boarder. And about 5 1/2 hours later, the cake is complete!!


I also made a smaller version of this cake for an order (shown above), and decided to decorate it a little bit different to keep things interesting 🙂

Chocolate Almond Birthday Cake

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I received a cake order for something chocolaty and nutty, and ended up with this: A Chocolate Almond Birthday Cake. I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe modified from one of my favorite bloggers, and my standard chocolate buttercream recipe.

Chocolate Cake Batter:

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces chocolate (milk, semisweet or dark), melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line and grease three eight inch cake pans. Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes, until cool.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between three 8 inch cake pans. Bake until the cakes are set and just firm to the touch, 20-25 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

While the cakes cool, prepare the frosting. Whip the butter until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Gradually add in the powdered sugar and cocoa, alternating with splashes of cream. Mix in the melted chocolate, salt, and vanilla, until fully incorporated. Add additional cream or powdered sugar as needed until desired consistency is reached.

To make the chocolate ganache, pour the chocolate chunks into a heat proof safe bowl. Bring the cream to a boil, and pour over the chocolate. Let this sit for 2 minutes, then stir until the chocolate and cream are fully incorporated. Set aside and let cool for about 15 minutes, so that the mixture can thicken.

To frost the cake, frost the first layer of cake with buttercream, and top with chocolate chips and crushed almonds. Repeat with remaining cake layers, and apply a thin crumb coat to the exterior of the cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, to allow the crumb coat to harden. Apply a thick coat of buttercream, reserving about 2/3 cup of frosting to pipe swirls on top of the cake. Press crushed almonds onto the sides of the cake.

Once the ganache has thickened, pour onto the top of the cake, and push it towards the edge of a cake with a spoon. Let the ganache spill over the sides of the cake. Using a large open star tip, fill a frosting bag with the remaining frosting and pipe swirls around the top of the cake. Press chocolate chips onto the top of each swirl, and refrigerate to allow the frosting to set.

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