Moist chocolate cake…
Fluffy Ganache filling…
Covered in velvety smooth swiss buttercream….
Need I say more? After trying swiss meringue buttercream (SMB) for the first time, I am confident that my baking life has changed. The velvety smooth and creamy texture caught me by surprise and that first ‘taster spoon’ may have turned into ‘taster gobbs’… think I might be a complete convert… just saying. Really don’t know if I can ever go back to regular american buttercream. Have you tried it yet? Seriously, you need to get on that because it is rich, smooth, buttery and everything you’d expect a cake icing to be, the only kicker is that its only a fraction of the sweetness! I know right? Its awesome for those who aren’t huge fans of super sweet traditional buttercream. Should have really tried this icing years ago. I first read about SMB a while back on a number of different blogs and since then, many bloggers continue to rave and talk about it, but still… I just never made it because it sounded a lot more complicated than american buttercream. Truthfully, it is a few more steps than the typical american buttercream and does take a little more time, but it is well worth it! I promise. I could literally go on about this perfect buttercream for hours, but I don’t want to bore you all to tears, so instead I’ll talk about this cake. This was a three-layered chocolate cake filled with whipped grand marnier chocolate ganache and covered in luscious grand marnier swiss meringue buttercream.
This cake was actually a birthday cake that C’s friend had asked me to make for an event. I’m not going to lie – it was a stressful, scary, and yet exciting project for a few reasons – I was out of my usual comfort zone (aka cookies), haven’t done too many layer cakes, was trying a new buttercream recipe, and had to pipe actual legible words on top of the cake because it was for a birthday party. Bit nerve-racking to say the least! No joke, my hand was shaking like a leaf and my heart felt like it was going to fall out of my chest as I was trying to pipe the words… really have to work on that.
So… back to that buttercream… have I convinced you to give it a try for your next cake or cupcakes?
Hope you do because you won’t regret it!
PS – Swiss buttercream for the win! haha okay I’m done.
I had forgotten to join last week’s Fiesta Friday party, so I am bringing this for the party! Check out the full line up here.
Grand Marnier Chocolate Cake
- 1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
- 2 C sugar
- 3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 C strong brewed coffee
- 1 C buttermilk (or 1 C milk + 2 tsp vinegar)
- 1/2 C vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Grease and dust pans with cocoa powder to prevent any sticking
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all dry ingredients – flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the centre.
- In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients – eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Slowly pour into dry ingredients and beat on medium speed for a few minutes.
- Pour into the prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 – 40 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then turn cake out of pan onto a wired rack to completely cool.
- Saran wrap cakes individually and freeze for at least an hour to allow cakes to firm up for easy cutting. Once cakes are firm / semi-frozen, carefully cut and level off top to create a smooth, flat surface.
Grand Marnier Ganache Filling (Adapted from Allrecipes)
- 3/4 lb (345g) good quality dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 1/3 C + 1 tbsp heavy cream
- 2 tbsp grand marnier or more to taste
- Placed chopped chocolate into a heat-proof bowl.
- In a small pot, heat heavy cream just to a simmer, then pour into chocolate. Slowly whisk chocolate and cream together until smooth, then add in grand marnier.
- Set aside and allow to cool.
- Once cooled, it should be slightly thickened (refrigerate for 10 minutes to thicken if it doesn’t) – at this point, using an electric mixer, beat ganache mixture for a few minutes until it reaches a light mousse-like consistency. Set aside
Grand Marnier Swiss Meringue Buttercream (Adapted from Martha Stewart)
- 1 1/4 C sugar
- 5 egg whites
- 2 C butter or 4 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into 1 tbsp pieces
- 3-4 tbsp grand marnier
- Zest of 1 small orange
- Bring a small pot of water (about 1/4 full) to a simmer.
- Since we will be making a meringue with the egg whites, ensure mixing bowl, beaters, and any cooking tools are completely clean/ free of any fat residue. Add egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Place bowl of egg whites and sugar over the pot of simmering water and gently stir until mixture is heated and sugar is completely dissolved (about 3 minutes) – if you put your hand into the mixture, it should feel hot to the touch and there shouldn’t be any graininess left once the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Remove the bowl from the pot, and place into stand mixer – beat on high for about 10 minutes until you have thick glossy, stiff peaks.
- Continue beating on low/ medium speed, and add in butter, one piece at a time. Add in grand marnier and orange zest – mix until just combined. It may look a little broken and lumpy at this point, but don’t panic because thats normal!
- Switch to the flat beater and beat icing for another 3-5 minutes on medium until it comes together into a smooth luscious icing. Try not to do too many ‘taste-tests’… have to leave some for the actual cake!
- Place one layer of cake onto a piece of parchment paper.
- Pipe a ring of buttercream around the outer edge of the cake, then fill the centre with the ganache icing. Repeat until complete and gently press down on the cake to ensure all layers are even.
- Crumb coat – coat cake in a thin layer of icing to lock in all of the crumbs. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes to allow icing to set up.
- Carefully ice the sides and top of the cake. Smooth the sides with a bench scraper and then if you’d like to add a design to the sides, carefully run an icing comb along the sides.
- Optional – add chocolate shavings to the bottom edge of the cake.
- Place a dollop of icing onto the centre of the prepared cake board, and transfer cake onto the board.
- Using either melted chocolate or ganache, pipe whatever you’d like on the cake (used a number 2 round tip)
- With a 1M tip, pipe small rosettes around the top border of the cake and top with your choice of chocolate, candy, or whatever (I used maltasers)
- To finish it off, pipe a shell border around the bottom edge of the cake.
And voila – the masterpiece is complete!