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Salted chocolate layer cake with whipped ganache

This is the chocolate cake to save for a special occasion.

By Emma Knowles
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 35 mins cooking plus cooling
  • Serves 12 - 16
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A slug of whisky adds grown-up flavour to this showstopper of a cake. It's an excellent special-occasion cake – not only because of its looks, but also because you can prepare it in advance. Top it with whatever chocolatey garnishes take your fancy. We've opted for shards of chocolate-coated honeycomb, chocolate wafer balls and chocolate curls for a mix of textures.


  • 150 gm dark chocolate (54-58% cocoa solids), finely chopped
  • 100 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
  • 250 gm butter, diced
  • 300 gm (2 cups) plain flour
  • 165 gm (¾ cup) brown sugar
  • 165 gm (¾ cup) caster sugar
  • 75 gm almond meal
  • 40 gm Dutch-process cocoa, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • 375 ml (1½ cups) milk
  • 4 eggs
  • Whisky, for brushing
  • Chocolate curls, chocolate wafer balls and chocolate-coated honeycomb, to serve
Whipped milk chocolate ganache
  • 200 ml pouring cream
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) whisky
  • 250 gm milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 250 gm dark chocolate (54-58% cocoa solids), finely chopped
  • 4 egg yolks


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 180°C. Butter three 21cm-diameter springform cake tins and line them with baking paper. Combine chocolates and butter in a heatproof bowl and melt over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Combine dry ingredients and 2½ tsp sea salt flakes in a bowl, then add chocolate mixture, milk and eggs and whisk until smooth. Divide evenly among prepared tins and bake until a skewer inserted withdraws clean (25-30 minutes). Cool in tins for 15 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • 2
    For ganache, bring cream and half the whisky to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Place chocolate in a large bowl, pour hot cream mixture over, stand for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk yolks and remaining whisky in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until thick and pale (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate mixture, then transfer to an electric mixer and whisk until thick and cooled to room temperature (8-10 minutes). Refrigerate mixture, whisking occasionally, until thick but spreadable (30-40 minutes).
  • 3
    Trim the top of each cake flat. Place one cake on a cake stand or serving plate, brush with a little whisky, spread with one-fifth of whipped ganache, then top with another cake. Continue layering, finishing with a layer of ganache, then spread remaining ganache around the sides with a palette knife to neaten. Refrigerate for 1 hour to set.
  • 4
    Dust cake with cocoa, top with chocolate curls, chocolate wafer balls, crushed chocolate-coated honeycomb and a little extra sea salt and serve.
  • undefined: Emma Knowles