Chocolate Apricot Layer Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting
In September 2012 my Grandma, who we lovingly call "Grammy," celebrated her 85th birthday! We had a family celebration, and inspired Picky Cook and Smitten Kitchen, I decided to make this decadently rich and delicious chocolate layer cake.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 20
For the Cake Layers
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate; fine-quality (I used Ghirardelli from Whole Foods because that’s what I could get nearby)
  • 1½ cups hot brewed coffee; Since I don’t drink coffee (or didn't in 2012) and and therefore don’t have a coffee pot, I got a tall Americano from the local Starbuck’s down the street
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder; not Dutch process (I got mine from Trader Joe’s – not sure if that’s Dutch process or not, but it didn’t negatively affect the taste)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup applesauce (substituted for ¼ cup vegetable oil)
  • 1½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla
  • butter (for buttering pans)
For the Apricot Preserve Filling
  • 1 jar apricot preserves
  • ⅛ cup water
For the Ganache Frosting
  • ½ pound semisweet chocolate; fine-quality (I used 7.06 oz Sirius Bittersweet Chocolate and 1oz Ghirardelli Semisweet Chocolate – left over from the chocolate bar in the cake layers)
  • ½ cup heavy cream; (I accidentally bought “heavy whipping cream” which is apparently the same thing, but be careful and read the label so you get the right thing!)
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
Special Equipment and Helpful Tools
  • Two 10in x 2in round cake pans (I used two 9in round pans and baked them a few minutes longer) . . . you could get these ones by Wilton -
  • Angled Spatula (like this one by Wilton -
  • Sifter - I have the OXO one (which you can get here -, but don’t love the way you have to shake it because the flour and whatever is inside always get everywhere . . . my mom has one you have to turn (like this -, which may be better. Anyone have a preference? Would love to know in the comments!
  • 2 rounds of parchment paper (for the bottom of each pan)
  • Set of mixing bowls
Making the Cake Layers
  1. Preheat the oven to 300F and butter pan
  2. Line bottoms of pans with rounds of parchment paper
  3. Butter again and dust both pans with cocoa powder. Tap and swirl around the cocoa to lightly coat the pans.
  4. Finely chop chocolate and in a smaller mixing bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  5. In a large bowl sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  6. In another mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemoned colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer).
  7. Slowly add the following to egg mixture, beating until combined well: the oil, applesauce, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture.
  8. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combine well.
  9. Divide the batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester (I use a toothpick) inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  10. Cool layers completely in pans on racks.
  11. Run a thin knife (I used the angled spatula) around the edges of pans and invert layers onto racks.
  12. Carefully remove parchment paper and cool layers completely
  13. Note: Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at temperature.
Preparing the Apricot Preserves Filling
  1. Empty entire jar of preserves and ⅛ cup of water into saucepan
  2. Heat in saucepan, stirring constantly until jam loosens
  3. Divide mixture into 3 parts
  4. Cool and get ready to put it on the cake
Preparing the Ganache Frosting
  1. Finely chop chocolate
  2. Add the following to a small saucepan: the heavy cream, sugar, and corn syrup.
  3. Bring those 3 things to a boil, over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Remove pan from heat.
  5. Add chocolate - whisk until melted
  6. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting.
  7. Whisk until smooth
  8. Transfer to a bowl and let cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable
Assembling the Cake – Part 1: Slicing the Layers and Adding the Filling
  1. With a long serrated knife, slice each cake into 2 layers
  2. Lay the bottom layer on your cake stand (I used a cardboard circle covered with tin foil)
  3. Take ⅓ of the apricot filling and spread it over the layer -- stay about ½ and inch away from the edge
  4. Place the next layer on top
  5. Spread another ⅓ of the apricot filling on top
  6. Place the third layer on the cake and the last of the apricot filling
  7. Put the final layer of the cake on top
  8. Gently make sure that all the layers line up.
Assembling the Cake – Part 2: The Ganache Frosting
  1. Pour some of the ganache in the middle of the top layer
  2. Using your offset spatula, start smoothing out the frosting, gently pushing it towards the edge
  3. Add more ganache until you have worked the ganache down over the sides of the cake
Recipe by Yarn & Chocolate at