Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop

I’ve been wanting to put a local event together for a really, realllly long time, so I am beyond excited to share that I’ll be hosting my first workshop here in my hometown of Portland along with Christiann of Portland Fresh! The 1-day only workshop will take place in Tillamook Station’s sweeping industrial event space in northeast Portland on Saturday, April 4th, from 9 am to 3 pm. Material covered will include hands-on styling and plating of dishes with an emphasis on greenery & spring flowers, adjusting internal camera settings and their effects on the image, lenses and their focal lengths, manipulation of natural light, as well as an hour long post-processing session in Adobe Lightroom 5. We’ll also enjoy a full sit down, styled community lunch for a chance to get to know each other and unwind, and refreshments from the local Stumptown Coffee will be served. Students will walk away with content for a full blog post, a strong understanding of styling, composition, photography, and post processing, social media content, and gift bags from local Portland vendors. I’d love to have you join us. You can click the link below for registration at our early-bird rate, which will go up a teeny bit after February 25th, hope to see you soon!

Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop
As for the recipe, my little brother is getting married in a few weeks and he asked me to make their wedding cake. Their only request was that the inside of the cake be chocolate and that lavender be included in some way, along with a white buttercream exterior. Of course I said yes, and immediately began developing test cakes. Ones with just melted chocolate, ones with just cocoa powder, and ones with varying mixes of the two. And, after several trials, I ended up with the densest, most moist, and chocolatey cake around.
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop
You actually have to be very careful transferring the layers because they’re so soft (I plan on freezing the layers before assembling the cake to make it easier to put together), but the flavor makes the extra care more than worth it. To include hints of lavender, I infused the cream used in the ganache with lavender by heating it up and letting the two of them steep for an hour. I discarded the lavender, but by that time the cream had absorbed much of its flavor and gave the chocolate ganache a deliciously floral note. For the buttercream, we used lavender essential oil that Christiann had on hand. But make sure the lavender essential oil you use is culinary grade, and be very careful when adding it to the buttercream as it is very concentrated stuff (the recipe here only calls for 6 drops of it).
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop

Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop

When all of these flavors combined, the created the richest, most delightfully decadent chocolate cake I’ve ever had. Chocolate compounding upon chocolate, with a wonderfully light and fluffy buttercream exterior, the lavender adds a subtle and refreshing respite from the richness of the cake, and the light icing contrasts with the dense cake in the most appealing way. I can’t recommend making this highly enough, and can’t wait to make/eat it again at the wedding in a few weeks. Also, for this cake-making session we had the opportunity to wear and use some gorgeous pieces from the lovely Erika of Portland Apron Company. I’m wearing her garรงon apron and Christiann is wearing her pinafore apron. And Erika is kindly offering a 10% discount code to all of you between now and February 28th with use of the code FRESH. Yayyy!!! The aprons are so, sooo comfortable, and since my first instinct when I get something on my hands is to wipe them off on the front of my jeans, the garรงon apron is the perfect way to preserve the sanctity of my pants while I’m cooking various messy things in the kitchen. And they have this classic simplistic style to them that goes with pretty much everything. A winner on all fronts, much like the cake I muddied the apron making.
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop

Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache & Vanilla Buttercream

Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Author Eva Kosmas Flores

Ingredients

Dark Chocolate Cake

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dark chocolate shavings or cacao nibs optional garnish

Lavender Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate

Vanilla & Lavender Buttercream

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 drops culinary grade lavender essential oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. First, begin steeping the lavender for the ganache. Bring the cream to a simmer over low heat. Remove from heat and use a tea strainer to steep the dried lavender in the hot cream for at least 1 hour.
  2. While the cream is steeping, you can prepare the cake. Melt the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the cocoa powder, vegetable oil, and baking soda at medium low speed. Add the boiling water and mix to combine. Add the sugars, milk, eggs and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Add the melted chocolate mixture, flour, baking powder, and salt and mix at low speed until a silky batter forms.
  4. Evenly distribute the batter between 2 greased 8-inch cake pans lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing the cake from the pan and allowing the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack, parchment paper side down. The cake is very moist so if you do not leave the parchment paper on, the cake will stick to the wire rack.
  5. While the cakes are cooling, you can finish preparing the ganache. Remove the lavender from the cream and discard it. Heat the cream and chocolate in the top of a double boiler over low heat until melted and smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  6. To prepare the buttercream, beat the butter and powdered sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the cream, vanilla extract, and lavender essential oil and continue beating until the frosting takes on an airy whipped texture, about 3-4 minutes.
  7. To assemble the cake, cut each cake layer in half horizontally so that you have 4 small cake layers. Place the base layer on your serving dish and coat the top with the ganache. Repeat two more times so you have three cake layers with ganache on them. Place the top fourth layer on the cake and ice the top and sides with the buttercream. Garnish with chocolate shavings or cacao nibs and serve.
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop

Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop

Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop

Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop

Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop
Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop

Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop

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