Drip, baby, drip.
Here’s the step-by-step guide to how to make a drip cake (chocolate, if you please), a fun and sweet dessert that will be the hit of the party.
How to Make This Chocolate Drip Cake Recipe
This chocolate drip cake recipe is so much fun to make. Plus, it looks a little bit like magic crossed with an ice cream sundae and cake.
A homemade chocolate drip cake does require a few key techniques that you definitely want to get right.
1. First, the cake should have smooth sides.
Fill and cover your cake with buttercream, and do your very best to get the sides of the cake as smooth as possible. I use a straightedge like a clean ruler or offset spatula or (my personal favorite) bench scraper. A turntable is preferable.
- Here’s my step-by-step guide to how to fill and frost a layer cake, and
- My recipes for Swiss meringue buttercream and simple vanilla frosting
2. Chill the frosted cake.
Once you frost your cake with buttercream, place it in the refrigerator and chill until the exterior feels very cool. I find that 15 to 20 minutes is plenty.
Chilling the cake before applying the chocolate drip slows down the drips. This ensures that the chocolate ganache drizzle does not run down the entire length of the cake, but stops. Otherwise, your cake might look like prison bars with a pool of chocolate at the bottom.
3. Cool the chocolate drip ganache to a slightly warm room temperature.
Same idea as above. The ganache should have movement, but slow. The consistency should be like molasses.
4. Apply the chocolate drips.
One option would be to just pour the ganache in the middle of the cake, then spread it until some falls over the sides. But I find that doing that gives you a lot less control over the look of the cake.
Instead, use a spoon to pour about a teaspoon of drip at the edge of the cake (see photo, below). Repeat all the way around the cake. Some of each spoonful of chocolate should fall down the edge, so to speak, and run down the side of the cold cake. If not, nudge it a little or pour even closer to the edge.
Experiment with the amount and spacing as you go. The goal is imperfect lines of different lengths.
The Chocolate Ganache Drip Recipe
Aside from looking beautiful, the chocolate drips taste amazing, too, thanks to a recipe for rich, dark chocolate ganache.
I give a big hat tip to the lovely Tessa Huff of Style Sweet for the chocolate drip recipe, which I have adapted sans vanilla extract. (If you enjoy cake decorating — or at least being inspired by cake decorating — you can get lost in her blog and books for a very long time.)
Here’s how to make the chocolate ganache drip recipe:
- First, chop dark chocolate. You want actual dark chocolate, or baker’s chocolate, and not chocolate chips. Chocolate chips contain emulsifiers that will make the consistency gummy and too thick.
- Heat the chocolate with heavy cream and corn syrup just until scalded. This means the cream will just begin to steam. Keep your burner on medium-low. Chocolate can burn.
- Stir until smooth, and then let rest until the ganache is at a warm room temperature. This should take about 5 to 10 minutes or so. I pour the ganache into a little bowl, instead of cooling it in the pot, to speed things along.
Love cake and cake decorating? Checkout these articles and recipes:
- How to Decorate a Sprinkle Cake
- Buttermilk Birthday Funfetti Cake
- Recipe: Real Swiss Buttercream
- The Commissary’s Famous Carrot Cake
How to Make a Chocolate Drip Cake + Chocolate Ganache Drizzle
For the Cake
- 1 6- 8- or 9-inch layer cake of choice
- 1 recipe buttercream of choice, enough to fill and frost the cake (see recipe options in post, and linked below)
- Cake decorations of choice, such as sprinkles or strawberries, and so on
For the Chocolate Ganache Drips
- 3 ounces chopped dark chocolate (I like Valrhona brand)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup
For the Cake
- Bake and fully cool your layer cake of choice. If the tops of your cake layers dome, when cool, use a serrated knife to slice off the cake domes, leaving a perfectly flat cake. This can be done up to two days in advance.PRO TIP: When stacking and layering the cake, place the top layer upside-down so the cake is extra flat and smooth.
- Fill, layer, and frost your layer cake using an offset spatula or other straightedge (such as a bench scraper) to get the sides and top as smooth as possible. Chill the cake for 15 to 20 minutes, while you make the ganache.PRO TIP: Here's my full guide on how to slice, fill, and frost a layer cake.
For the Drizzle
- In a small pot, heat the chopped chocolate, heavy cream, and corn syrup over medium-low heat until the cream just begins to steam. Remove from heat and use a spatula to stir from the center until the mixture forms a smooth, emulsified ganache.PRO TIP: When measuring sticky liquids like corn syrup or molasses, spray the measuring spoon or cup with cooking spray. The liquid slides right out!
- Pour the ganache into a small bowl and cool to warm room temperature, until the chocolate is thick but still fluid, about 10 minutes.
To Apply the Drips and to Finish
- Remove the frosted cake from the refrigerator. The buttercream should feel chilled, but not super cold.
- Use a teaspoon and spoon a small amount of chocolate ganache on the edge of the cake, allowing some of the ganache to roll off the edge and run down the side. Repeat, forming a ring of drips all around the cake. Experiment with the amount and spacing as you go. The goal is imperfect lines of different lengths. This will result in a large empty area in the top of the cake.
- Pour ganache into the center of the top of the cake, and use an offset spatula to push and spread ganache over the top of the cake.
- Decorate as desired.