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!