This cake has made me somewhat famous among my close friends and family. When you make this, everyone will stand in awe at the 8 layers filled with rich, chocolaty goodness. You may even get a parade thrown in your honor…that is, until they discover the truth about this cake. There is a secret that I have been hiding from my close friends and family. A secret I haven’t been able to publicly confess. They say confession is good for the soul, so publicly before you, my dear readers, I need to confess that this cake is made with *deep breath*…..a boxed cake mix (gasp, shock, the horror!)
Before you kick me out of the food blogging community, let me say that this cake is deliciously covered with a rich, chocolate ganache and garnished with beautiful chocolate shavings, so it will neither taste nor look like it was made from a store bought cake mix.
There are a few things to keep in mind as you make this.
- Use high quality chocolate! This is the most important tip. The rich chocolate flavor is what makes this cake so delicious. My favorite brand to use is Ghirardelli!
- I feel that the Betty Crocker yellow cake mix works best with this recipe, but whichever box you choose, be sure to use milk instead of the water called for on the box. Use the same quantity, for example, if the box calls for one cup of water, use one cup of milk instead.
- This cake is pretty tall, so be sure to cool the cakes completely before assembling or your cake will literally fall apart. Trust me. I had to make this cake more than once this week because I got too impatient and started putting it together before it was completely cool. Just be patient!
- Though this is a lot of cake, be aware that you may not be very willing to share after taking your first bite. This unwillingness to share is very common side effect I’ve seen numerous times and is completely normal.
Let’s get started!
STEP ONE: Make the Chocolate Ganache
Add chocolate chips to a large, heat proof bowl. To a medium sized sauce pan add cream, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat just until the cream starts to simmer and the sugar is dissolved. Pour hot cream over chocolate chips and allow to sit about one minute to melt the chocolate. Then whisk mixture until smooth. At first the mixture may look a bit watery but keep whisking. It will come together. Add butter and vanilla; whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and place bowl in the refrigerator at least 3 hours or until set. The back of your fridge is the coldest, so if you can, place it in the back so that it sets up more quickly.
STEP TWO: Prepare Pans
Tear off 8 pieces of parchment paper, slightly larger than your cake pan. Stack the papers and trace the bottom of your cake pan with a pencil on the top paper. Using the pencil marking as a guide, cut all 8 pieces at once. You should then have eight circles of parchment paper that fit into your cake pans. Spray two cake pans with baking spray and then line each with one of the parchment paper circles.
STEP THREE: Bake the Cake
Preheat your oven to 350. Mix up ONE of your boxes of cake mix according to the package instructions, substituting milk for the water called for on the box. It’s best to make the boxes one at a time instead of all at once. Each box will have enough to make four layers of this cake. Once your 3rd and 4th layers are in the oven, you can mix up the second box of cake mix. Scoop 1 cup of mix into each pan, and spread it out evenly. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a large piece of parchment paper. Wipe out pans, spray with baking spray, line with parchment, add 1 cup of mixture, bake, and repeat for all eight layers.
STEP FOUR: Allow Cakes to Cool Completely
This cake is pretty heavy, and if you don’t give it sufficient time to cool it will fall apart. Give the cakes at least an hour to cool completely before attempting to put it all together. Longer than an hour would be even better.
STEP FIVE: Assemble the Cake
Place one layer of cake on your cake plate. Smooth half a cup of ganache over the top. Repeat with remaining layers. Smooth ganache over the sides of the cake. If the ganache is too thick and not spreading well, let it sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes and try again. If it isn’t thick enough, leave it in the fridge another hour or so and try again later.
STEP SIX: Make the Garnish
This genius tip comes from the Pioneer Woman’s website. It is the simplest way I have ever seen to make chocolate curls. Simply melt chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Stir with fork and continue microwaving until mixture is melted and smooth. Then spread the melted mixture over the back of a cookie sheet. Spread it as thin as you can, then pop it in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes. Using a metal spatula or other sharp edge, scrape the chocolate off the cookie sheet and you should see a beautiful mixture of chocolate shavings and curls! You can check out the step by step tutorial for these chocolate curls by clicking here.