Chocolate Blackout Cake

Few things can beat a good chocolate cake. I’d heard of Brooklyn Blackout Cakes before, but I figured it was just a really over the top chocolate cake.

I had no clue it involved pudding, cake crumbs, and that the name in no way relates the chocolate in the cake!!

Here’s a brief snippet of history behind the name of this cake! This cake concept was developed by the Ebinger Baking Company during World War II.

Civilian black out drills were being practiced in Brooklyn to ensure that light from the city wasn’t reflecting on US ships off the coast, giving away their position.

Ebinger got creative with their marketing and named their cake after these drills. Their cake was filled with pudding, covered in a fudge frosting, and coated with cake crumbs!!

To honor the original cake concept, I’ve made this with chocolate cake layers (soaked in chocolate simple syrup), filled with a chocolate pudding, and covered in a milk chocolate ganache.

I used a few of my favorite recipes, along with some new recipes to create this cake. This was my first time making pudding from scratch, and I tried a few recipes before I found one I was happy with.

I highly recommend making it yourself, but if you’re short on time, you can always substitute in boxed pudding.

Recipes:

  • 1 batch my go-to chocolate layer cake recipe
  • 1 cup chocolate simple syrup (1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar dissolved together, + 3 TBSP cocoa)
  • 1 batch chocolate pudding
  • 1 batch milk chocolate ganache (650 grams milk chocolate, melted down with 217 grams heavy cream) – to be made in advance
  • 1 cup chocolate frosting (1 cup American buttercream plus 2 Tbsp cocoa, and 2 additional tsp heavy cream)

Make the milk chocolate ganache first, as it needs at least a few hours to cool and set.

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. Pout into a sealed Tupperware container in the fridge overnight.

Bake 4, 7-inch round cake layers using Yo’s chocolate cake recipe and instructions.

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.

While the layers bake, make the chocolate pudding.

Combine the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in medium saucepan; slowly mix in the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil, and continue stirring for 1 minute.

Remove the pan from heat, and stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour the pudding into a separate bowl, and press plastic wrap directly onto surface to prevent a skin from forming. Place in the fridge to cool.

After the cake layers are baked and fully cooled, level the cakes by cutting off the tops using a serrated knife.

Place cake tops in a large bowl, and crumb using a fork. Set aside. 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.

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Scoop about 3/4 of a cup of pudding into the center of the cake layer, and use an offset spatula to evenly spread it out to the ganache boarder.

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Repeat this process with the remaining cake layers.

Once stacked, cover the cake with a thick layer of chocolate ganache, and smooth with a bench scrapper.

Place chocolate cake crumbs around the base of the cake.

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Use a large frosting tip (I used an Ateco 869) to pipe a boarder of chocolate frosting around the top of the cake, then fill the center with additional cake crumbs.

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Then cut in and enjoy! This cake was DELICIOUS! I brought in the leftovers for my coworkers, and they couldn’t get enough of it 🙂

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People are still talking about this cake, and ask me all the time when I’m going to make it again!

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Chocolate Ganache Drip Recipe

Drip cakes have been such popular cake trend this past year! While I usually make colorful drip cakes using a white chocolate ganache colored with gel food coloring, I always have a soft spot in my heart for classic chocolate ganache.

Drips are just the perfect way to dress up a cake! It’s such a elegant, yet playful way to really spruce things up! I’ve made so many drip cakes lately, I’ve started thinking that cakes look kind of naked without them!

I also almost always have leftover ganache in my fridge. I always save the leftovers, since they can easily be reheated in the moicrowave and used on another cake.

The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. You only need two ingredients, it’s so easy!!! You also can use your favorite chocolate, whether it’s dark, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate 🙂 It takes less than 5 minutes to make.

In fact, this chocolate ganache drip recipe so easy, I’ve made it during a facebook live-stream before!!

I prefer to use a bottle, since it makes the process so much easier, but I actually prefer the way drips look when they’re added to a cake using the spoon method.

Two factors are critical to getting a perfect drizzle! The first is that your cake is properly chilled. Once frosted, you should allow it sit it your fridge for at least 20 minutes, or in your freezer for 10 minutes, so that the frosting is cold and firm to the touch.

The second important aspect of a drip cake is the temperature of the ganache!! It should be slightly warmer than room temperature, but not so hot that it melts your buttercream as you drizzle it!

If your ganache is too warm, it will be thinner than you want, and will run straight down the cake and pool at the bottom of your cake board!!

If it’s not warm enough, you will end up with short, little stubby drips, that aren’t elegant or long enough!

The best way to ensure your ganache is the right temperature is do a test drip. You can’t tell, but the first drip on my cake above was a test drip. Once I knew i had my ganache at the right temperature, I continued adding my drips.

MAKING A TEST DRIP IS SUCH A CRUCIAL STEP!!! Make one drip on the side of your cake, and let it flow. Allow it to sit for a couple minutes.

See what it looks like, if it’s the length and look you’re after. If not, adjust as needed. Either pop the ganache into the fridge for a couple minutes to allow it to cool off a bit more, or pop the bottle (or bowl) in the microwave and heat for 5-10 seconds.

Then test out one more drip, just to be safe! While these extra steps may lengthen the process, it’s worth it to make sure your drips are perfect.

You can see the  full tutorial with all my tips and tricks on how to make a chocolate drip cake below:

The other thing to keep in mind is that drips don’t have to be the same pattern always! There are so many other options out there!!

You could do any upside down drip cake, a double drip cake, or even a partial drip!! So don’t be afraid to get creative, or try a new design!!

Below is a fun upside down double drip cake I made for my YouTube channel using this chocolate ganache recipe, and my no-thermometer caramel recipe.

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Chocolate Ganache Drip Recipe

The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. You only need two ingredients, it’s so easy!!! You also can use your favorite chocolate, whether it’s dark, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate. It takes less than 5 minutes to make.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate drip recipe, chocolate ganache drips
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 layer cake

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream 77 grams.
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips 88 grams

Instructions

  1. Heat heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until gently bubbling.
  2. If you don’t have a microwave or prefer to use the stove top, you can heat the cream over a medium heat in a pan until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl.
  3. Gently pour chocolate chips into the heavy cream, making sure they are covered with cream. Allow mixture to sit for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir slowly until the cream and chocolate are fully combined, and ganache is silky smooth. Pour into a plastic squirt bottles for easy application. If you don’t have any plastic bottles on hand, you can also use a spoon to drizzle it over cakes.
  5. Set aside to cool for about 20 minutes (or place in fridge for about 10 minutes). You can also make this in advance, and store it in the fridge until you're ready to use it. Heat the ganache in 3 15 second increments, or until it reaches the right viscosity. It should be slightly warmer than room temp, but to hot enough to melt your the buttercream on your chilled cake.
  6. If it seems to thin or thick, you can add a touch more chocolate or heavy cream! The type of cream and chocolate that you use can affect the consistency, so feel free to adjust as needed.

Recipe Notes

Note: if you can’t find heavy cream at your grocery store, heavy whipping cream will work too!

Melting Ice Cream Cone Cake

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Jessica never ceases to amaze me with her Instagram success, and unique cake orders 😛 Her account, cheatdayeats, has really blown up this year! To celebrate hitting 30k followers, she asked me to bake her a very special cake. She wanted a cake with a fudgy brownie layer, a browned butter cookie layer, a Nutella buttercream filling, and a melting ice cream cone decoration made of ganache. This allowed me to combine three of my favorite recipes, and to go wild decorating. The recipes below allow you to make a four layer cake (2 cookie layers, and 2 brownie layers), and can feed 12-15 (very hungry) people.

Browned Butter Cookie Dough 

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Begin by browning the butter. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, until it begins to foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning, and let it cool.

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With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt,  and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently fold in all of the chocolate chips.

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Line and grease two seven inch pans, and spread half of the dough evenly into each pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown. Always err on the side on underdone, as the cookie will continue to cook and set in the pan as it cools. Let the cookies cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pan. Place them on a wire rack to allow them to fully cool.

As the cookie cake layers bake/cool, begin to make the brownie batter. If you want to take a short cut, you can always use boxed brownie mix. However, this brownie recipe is amazing (and fudgy, and chocolatey, and the best thing ever), so I highly encourage you try it 😛

Fudgy Brownie Batter

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces coarsely chopped quality semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Melt the butter and chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly (about 5 minutes). Remove pan from the heat, pour into a large mixing bowl, and allow to slightly cool for 10 minutes. Line and grease two seven inch cake pans, and set aside. Whisk the granulated and brown sugar into the cooled chocolate/butter mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until each egg is fully incorporated. Whisk in the vanilla, and gently stir in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Once combined, fold in the chocolate chips. Pour batter evenly between prepared pans, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean (disregard melted chocolate from chocolate chips).

Allow both cookie and brownie layers to cool fully. While these cool, prepare the frosting.

Nutella Buttercream:

  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 7 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 waffle cone (decoration)
  • sprinkles (decoration)
  • white or regular chocolate chips (decoration)

Beat the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Add the Nutella and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the vanilla and heavy cream. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy. Once you’ve made the buttercream, you can move onto the last aspect of this cake, the chocolate ganache! We’ve saved the best for last.

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Place the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl, and pour the cream into a sauce pan. Heat to high, and wait for the cream to reach a boil (keep a close eye on it, this happens very suddenly!). Pour over the chocolate chips, and let sit for two minutes. After this, stir until the mixture is fully incorporate. Place in the fridge for about 15 minutes to allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.

Once the cakes are fully cooled, assemble the cake. place a small dab of frosting onto the surface you will be using to serve the cake, to secure the cake. I always use cardboard cake centers, but this can be done on a cake stand or plate as well. Place down a layer of brownie, and frost the top with buttercream. Place a cookie layer on top of this, and frost the top of the layer again. Repeat with remaining two layers, and then apply a thin crumb coat of frosting to the entire exterior of the cake.

Place in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes to allow the frosting to set. Remove from fridge/freezer, and apply a thick coat of frosting using the remaining buttercream. Smooth, and place in the freezer again.

While the second layer of frosting cools, pour the room temperature ganache into a squirt bottle of some sort (I use a cheap $1 diner-esque clear ketchup bottle from Walmart). Take the cake out of the freezer, and place the ice cream cone upside down in the center of the cake. Squirt ganache over the frosting “ice cream scoop”, and allow it run down, until the entire scoop is covered. Then squirt ganache over the entire top of the cake, leaving about an inch of frosting uncovered. Spread the ganache evenly with a smooth utensil (knife, frosting spatula, etc.), and work it out to the edges of the cake, so that the entire top of the cake is covered. Next, gently drop ganache down the edges of the cake. Start slowly, as you can always make bigger drops as you go, but you can’t take back an epic stream of ganache (trust me, I’ve learned the hard way).

The finishing touch is sprinkling the ice cream cone with sprinkles of your choice, and adding some chocolate chips to the base of the cake. I made a smaller version of this cake for Jessica by halving the above recipe, as seen below.

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This cake is quite involved, has about a million steps, and takes several hours to make…but I can promise, your efforts will be well rewarded 🙂

Peanut Butter Snickers Cupcakes

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I can always rely on my mom to have a decently stocked candy cupboard at home. Sure enough, when I arrived home for Christmas I was happy to find a giant bag of peanut butter snickers. Of course, my first thought after seeing them was a peanut butter snickers cupcake 😛

Chocolate Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup  vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Buttercream:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream

Garnish:

  • 1 Bag Peanut Butter Snickers
  • Sea salt
  • Crushed peanuts
  • Chocolate ganache (equal parts heavy cream and chocolate)

Begin by preheating oven to 350ºF. Line 2 regular muffin pans with cupcake liners. Combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. Mix on low. Add eggs, buttermilk, 1 1/2 cups warm water, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth and completely combined. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full. Bake until cakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 16 minutes. Let cool in pans set on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks, and let cool completely.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare peanut butter buttercream. Whip the butter and peanut butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, until it is fluffy. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, adding it in multiple installments. As the frosting thickens, add salt, heavy cream, and vanilla. Continue to mix, and add additional cream until desired consistency is reached.

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Frost the cupcakes with a swirl using a closed star tip. Drizzle cooled ganache over the top of the frosting, and garnish with crushed peanuts, sea salt, and a chopped piece of peanut butter snickers 😀 Next time I make these, I think I’d also try drizzling some salted caramel over the top.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake

 I received a cake order that I was absolutely thrilled to make. A COOKIE DOUGH CAKE. Genius, right? You no longer have to choose between a chewy, chocolate chip cookie, and a scrumptious piece of cake. You can have them both!! I decided to make my favorite white cake base, layered with cookie dough, and frosted with a fluffy vanilla buttercream.
Cake Base:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cookie Dough Filling:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Begin by making the cake batter. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray. Cream together butter and shortening until light and fluffy with a hand mixer. Add sugar, one cup at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each cup before adding another. Next, add the eggs one at a time. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour milk and vanilla into measuring cup and whisk together with a fork. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternately with the milk mixture (always remember to begin and end with dry ingredients). Gently stir all ingredients, until combined. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, making sure to have all ingredients mixed well. Evenly distribute cake batter between cake pans and place pans into oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in cake pans for about 5 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to allow them to finish.

As the cakes bake, make the cookie dough filling. Begin by browning the butter. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, until it begins to foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning, and let it cool.

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With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt,  and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently fold in all of the chocolate chips. Place the cookie dough in the fridge to allow it firm up slightly, and to help the flavors develop.

As the cookie dough cools, prepare the vanilla buttercream.  Beat the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the vanilla and heavy cream. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.

Divide the cookie dough in half, and mold into two large disks. Place the cookie dough layers on top of two of the cooled cake layers, and finish molding to completely cover the cake. Stack the layers on top of each other, so that the cookie dough topped cake layers are the bottom two layers. Cover the cake with the vanilla buttercream, creating a thin crumb coat. Place the frosting in the fridge for 30 minutes, to allow it to harden. Proceed by covering the cake with the remaining frosting, and decorate as desired.

I decided to place half cookies (baked with some left over cookie dough) around the base of the cake, and top the cake with chocolate ganache. I let the ganache set fully by placing the cake in the fridge, then piped on buttercream swirls around the top of the cake, and placed little bits of cookie dough on top of the swirls.

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Chocolate Banana Birthday Cake

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There are so many reasons to celebrate this week! No, not because we are in the depths of busy season…but because this week is filled with birthdays!! Brandon’s birthday was next on the calendar, and he asked for a banana cake. I was thrilled when he said he would like a chocolate banana cake, because it’s a flavor combination I’ve never tried before. So here it is! I used my favorite banana cake recipe, threw in some chocolate chips, and frosted the cake with a chocolate buttercream.

Banana Cake Base:

  • 2 cups bananas, mashed, ripe (about 6 medium sized bananas)
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Frosting:

  • 2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 8 cups confectioners sugar
  • Bananas, sliced (placed between cake layers)

Ganache Topping:

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup cream

Chocolate Curls (optional):

  • 6 oz. semisweet chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp. shortening

Begin with the banana cake base. Preheat oven to 275°. Butter, flour, and place parchment paper circles in four nine-inch, circular cake pans. In a small bowl, mix the mashed banana with the lemon juice, and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt, and set aside.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Slowly incorporate the banana mixture in the batter, then alternate the flour mixture with the buttermilk. Pour the batter evenly between the  prepared pans, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

While the cake layers cool, prepare the chocolate buttercream frosting. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, and bring the cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate pieces, and let this sit for a minute. Stir thoroughly for two minutes, until the mixture is fully combined. Set this aside until it has cooled. In a separate bowl, Beat the butter until it is light and fluffy. Mix in the salt, then add the powdered sugar in three installments. Stir in the vanilla, cocoa, and melted chocolate. Add additional powdered sugar or cream as needed, until desired consistency is reached.

I layered the cooled cake layers with chocolate frosting and banana slices, then applied a thin crumb coat. I let the cake sit in the fridge until the crumb coat had hardened (about 30 minutes), then applied another layer of buttercream to get a smooth exterior. While the crumb coat hardened, I decided to make the chocolate ganache, and top it with chocolate curls. To make the ganache, bring the cream to a boil, then pour over chocolate. Let the chocolate sit for a minute to melt, then mix thoroughly. Let this cool, and the pour over the cake. I like to let some of the ganache cascade over the edges 😀

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