Ok, making a chocolate cake is one thing but making a Triple Chocolate Ombré Cake is a whole other level.
I’m wondering how many chocolate recipes on my blog are too much? Saying this sentence out loud sounds totally ridiculous. How can chocolate ever be too much?
The only way I know how to celebrate a birthday is with cake—a proper one with lots of layers. It just feels fancy and festive.
We had a birthday at our house last week, so I baked a triple chocolate ombré cake with white, milk and dark chocolate ganache frosting. This is a cake for the indecisive chocolate lover, which describes so many of us, right?
The ganache frosting was a much thinner coating of frosting than you think of with a classic, fluffy buttercream. It didn’t matter since all the flavors of ganache were chocolatey and rich in their own ways.
Chocolate is just great. It tastes good, and it makes us happy. That’s a fact.
I don’t really prefer one chocolate over the other. I love dark as much as milk or white. It depends on my mood, which one I give a go.
This time, I was in the mood for all the chocolate. Dark, milk, and white. So I had to figure out how to combine them in one dessert but having them as separate flavors. This Triple Chocolate Ombré Cake came to my mind.
FOR THE CAKES
- 1 cup (240g | 8.5oz) butter, softened
- 1-1/4 cup (250g | 8.8oz) granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, (store-bought or homemade)
- 2-1/4 cups (290g | 10.2oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt (I use Himalayan salt)
For the white chocolate layer ADD:
- 1/2 cup (85g | 3oz) finely chopped white chocolate
- 1 tbsp peanut oil
For the milk chocolate layer ADD:
- 1/2 cup (85g | 3oz) finely chopped milk chocolate
- 1 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 tsp cocoa powder, sifted
For the dark chocolate layer ADD:
- 1/2 cup (85g | 3oz) finely chopped dark chocolate
- 1 tbsp peanut oil
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 tbsp instant coffee or espresso powder, finely ground
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- 1-1/2 swiss meringue buttercream recipe
For white chocolate frosting ADD:
- 1-1/2 cups (225g | 8oz) finely chopped white chocolate
For milk chocolate frosting ADD:
- 1-1/2 cups (225g | 8oz) finely chopped milk chocolate
For dark chocolate frosting ADD:
- 1-1/2 cups (225g | 8oz) finely chopped dark chocolate
- 1/2 cup (75g | 2.65oz) finely chopped unsweetened chocolate
FOR THE CHOCOLATE ASSORTED SHAPES
- 1/2 cup (75g | 2.6oz) finely chopped dark chocolate
- 3/4 tsp peanut oil
- 2 tbsp finely chopped milk chocolate
- 2 tbsp finely chopped white chocolate
FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE TOPPING
- 1-1/2 cups (225g | 7.9oz) finely chopped dark chocolate
- 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
- 3 tbsp butter, softened
- Assorted Lindt Lindor Truffles (about 3-4 of each white, milk and dark chocolate)
- 15-20 Chocolate Candy Beads
TO MAKE THE CAKES
- Preheat the oven 325°F; grease and flour three 8″ round cake pans. Hold each pan upside down and knock it gently against the counter a few times to remove any excess flour; set aside.
- Melt the 3 types of chocolate along with a tablespoon of peanut oil in three separate bowls; set aside
- Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with a whisk until well combined and fluffy; set aside
- In another bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat them with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition, then add the buttermilk and vanilla and beat until well incorporated.
- Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat on low speed until just incorporated, no more.
- Divide the cake batter equally into 3 small mixing bowls; the best way to ensure that the batter gets divided equally is to weigh it: you should be getting approximately 375g (13.2oz) of batter per bowl.
For the white chocolate batter:
- Take about 2 tablespoons of the cake batter from one of the bowls and stir it quickly into the melted white chocolate. Then gently fold this white chocolate mixture back into that same bowl where you just got the cake batter from. This will prevent the chocolate from seizing when it is mixed into the cake batter. Gently pour the batter into one of the baking pans and spread it out with a spatula; set aside.
For the milk chocolate batter:
- Stir the cocoa powder into the second bowl of cake batter; from that bowl, take a few tablespoons of batter and stir it quickly into the bowl with the melted milk chocolate. Then, mix this chocolate mixture right back with the rest of the cake batter. Transfer this batter into another of the cake pans and delicately spread it all the way to the edge; set that aside as well.
For the dark chocolate batter:
- Repeat the exact same steps you just did for the milk chocolate batter, except this time stir in the cocoa and instant coffee powder into the remaining bowl of cake batter. Mix a few tablespoons of this batter into the melted dark chocolate, then add this chocolate mixture back into the rest of the cake batter. Transfer and spread this batter into the last cake pan.
- Bake the cakes for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with the tip of your fingers or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Place the cakes on a cooling rack and let them cool in the pans for 2 minutes, then delicately turn them onto the cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting, ideally in the refrigerator.
TO MAKE THE BUTTERCREAM
- Make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream following the instructions in the post, but make one and a half recipe instead (so use 900g butter, 12 egg whites and 750g sugar).
- Just like you did for the cake batter, divide the buttercream equally between 3 mixing bowls (you should be looking at around 625g (22oz) per bowl this time)
- Melt the different types of chocolates in three separate bowls and set them aside. Make sure that the chocolates do not get hot when you melt them – they should only feel slightly warm to the touch but still be fully melted and free of lumps.
- For each of the three different flavors of buttercream, take about 1/2 cup of plain buttercream from one of the bowls and mix it in with one of the melted chocolates, then return that mixture to the bowl where you just got the buttercream from and quickly whisk it in with the rest of the buttercream. Again, this simple precaution will prevent the chocolate from seizing as it gets added to the buttercream.
- Once all three chocolate buttercreams have been mixed, place them in the refrigerator for about half an hour to firm up, then give them a quick stir and keep in a cool dry place until ready to use.
TO MAKE THE CHOCOLATE ASSORTED SHAPES
- Melt the dark chocolate and oil together in a bowl, and the milk and white chocolates in 2 separate bowls.
- Line a loaf pan with plastic film, trying to keep wrinkles at a minimum; it helps to grease or butter the pan a little to help the film adhere better.
- Pour the melted dark chocolate in the pan and delicately tilt it from side to side and give it a little shake to spread the chocolate in an even layer at the bottom of the pan.
- Drizzle the milk and white chocolates over the dark in a criss-cross motion, using either a fork, a squeeze bottle or a parchment paper cone (the paper cone is my favorite method). Place the pan in the refrigerator until the chocolate is completely set, about 30 minutes. You will know that the chocolate is ready when the top is no longer shiny.
- Once set, lift the chocolate plate from the pan; remove the plastic film and place the chocolate on a cutting board. With a sharp chef knife, cut it into shapes of your choice: triangles, sticks, rectangles and squares. Send the finished shapes back to the refrigerator until ready to use.
TO FROST THE CAKE
- Place the dark chocolate cake flat side up on a cake decorating turntable.
- Using an offset spatula cover that cake with a very generous layer of dark chocolate buttercream, making sure that the frosting goes over the edge of the cake.
- Top with the milk chocolate cake, again placing it flat side up, and cover that layer with an equally generous amount of the milk chocolate buttercream. Repeat the process with the white chocolate layer.
- Using your offset spatula, spread the excess buttercream on the side of the cake to completely cover it, making certain that you fill the cracks between the layers as you go. Make sure to work in a steady motion so as to not mix the different colors together. Flatten the top as best as you can, too.
- Then, using a cake icer tip, pipe some buttercream of the corresponding flavor over each of the layers. Smooth the frosting with your offset spatula as best as you can, then send the cake to the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
- Finish smoothing the icing with a decorating comb dipped in warm water (shake to remove excess water before applying the comb to the cake)
- Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour before covering it with the ganache.
TO MAKE THE GANACHE
- In a mixing bowl, combine the chopped chocolate, heavy cream and butter and place that in the microwave for 1 minute. Allow to rest for 1 full minute and then stir for 1 minute. If there are still lumps of unmelted chocolate left after that, repeat the process but for 30 seconds this time, and continue doing that until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is fully combined without feeling hot to the touch.
- Take your cake out of the fridge ,transfer it to a cake plate or stand and delicately pour about half of the ganache over its top. Spread it all the way to the edge, pushing it slightly past the edge to create little drizzle down the sides of the cake. Repeat the process with the rest of the ganache.
- Decorate with the assorted chocolate shapes, Lindor truffles and candy beads.
- Send to the refrigerator to set for about 15 minutes.
- Leave at room temperature for at least 4 hours prior to serving. This cake MUST be served at room temperature.
- Leftovers can be kept at room temperature for up to a few days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just remember the above rule: never serve this cake cold. Take it out of the fridge for at least 4 hours prior to serving.