Birthday Surprise: Chocolate Ganache Volcano Cake

Sometimes the best intentions result in disaster.  Sometimes, disaster is the best thing that can happen to you.

I had Ria all pumped up about a 2-tier chocolate ganache cake we were going to make together for her birthday celebration at school.  She told all her little friends and there were a bunch of preschoolers walking around talking about “ganache cakes” thanks to Ria. The expectations were high – this cake had somehow attained mythical status in the minds of these little kids.  How’s that for pressure?

Things did not go quite as planned. One layer of the Betty Crocker chocolate cake broke into two pieces but I managed to somehow salvage it and “join it” together and cover it with ganache.  The other layer broke into five pieces.  Not so “salvageable”.  Ria ran out of the kitchen screaming and covering her ears (???), “I cannot watch this!!” as I was trying to get the second cake out of the baking tin.  Thanks for the vote of confidence, kiddo!  Turns out I screwed up not only the oven temperature, but also the amount of “grease” I applied to the tins before baking.

The one 2-layer cake very quickly became 2 cakes – One semi-decent looking cake with some cute decoration and one volcano explosion cake that Ria had the time of her life decorating.  I let her go to town on making the volcano “explosion” ganache cake her own. She proudly exclaimed while decorating, “Mama, I am making a masterpiece! Look, I made a blue lake and a river on this volcano”.  Yes, a blue lake and a river and tons of disgusting, colorful sprinkles randomly thrown all over the cake.

And as life would have it, the kids LOVED the “explosion” cake.  It was all they wanted to eat.  It was what they wanted to make themselves.  Ria proudly showed off her “masterpiece” birthday cake.  And suddenly, I was the coolest mom who ever lived.  Two lessons here:

1) I should not attempt to bake or decorate cakes.

2) The strangest things make children happy. 🙂

Ganache, however, I can make and here’s the recipe.  It’s super easy.

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup heavy cream

8 oz, semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips


Heat chocolate chips and heavy cream in a double boiler over simmering water till chocolate melts.  You may have to stir occasionally.  Pour ganache on cake, brownies, cupcakes. Do not refrigerate after pouring on ganache.

Happy Birthday!

12 thoughts on “Birthday Surprise: Chocolate Ganache Volcano Cake

  1. What a fantastic Birthday cake!……and a “blue lake and a river on this Volcano”….. this sure had to be the Best Birthday Cake anyone has ever made!!!!!!

  2. The part where Ria ran out covering her ears was so funny…. I’m glad that the cake turned out to be a hit among Ria & friends. 🙂 It’s hard not too as no child will ever resist chocolate and plenty of sprinkles regardless how the cake supposed to look like.

  3. Sounds like you have quite the little drama queen there! I think it’s so funny when kids act like that – seriously, where do they learn it? It’s hilarious. I’m glad that you were able to salvage the cake… When things like this happen to me I totally freak out and many times just toss the whole thing. I don’t work well under that kind of pressure.

  4. I love this story. Please wish Ria a very happy birthday from Caleb and I. I don’t know if you saw my response to your comment on my blog, but I joked that your cake looked like a clown threw up on it! Said with humor and love :-). Happy Holidays!


  5. Love the story! So funny – kids just love sprinkles. Throw sprinkles on anything and it’s a masterpiece. Next time use Baker’s Joy baking spray. I’ve tried it a few times and my cakes all seem fall out of the pan intact.

  6. SO cute & Ria is hilarious! I can’t get the picture of her screaming and running out of the kitchen covering her ears out of my head!! 🙂

  7. I am happy because Ria finally got herself a birthday party for kids! not an adult catered party masked as her birthday party! No matter how much she loved the Taco Truck…this one is all hers…Good job Mommy, better late then never. You know boys would have loved that chocolate cake…

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