Chocolate Pavarotti with Wicked Good Ganache


This weeks Alpha Bakers recipe, Chocolate Pavarotti with Wicked Good Ganache, was inspired by Luciano Pavarotti, the infamous tenor.  Rose notes that as he is the ONLY tenor she knows that creates sounds not of this earth; hitting [the E above high C].  Now that, my friends, is rich.  Much like the cake, Rose gives us a wonderful rendition combining both white, dark bittersweet, dark unsweetened….she had me at Chocolate.



I love opera personally but I prefer my sopranos and my favorite is Cecilia Bartoli.  I’ve always loved Mozart since I was inspired by his work very early in my life.

Cecilia interprets every measure, every note, every silence with masterful perfection.  Her CD, this cake and a glass of Aberdeen Angus, a rich, bold wine from Argentina, my Birthday today will be  perfect as well……dinner and friends..great conversation…. but I digress



So the mise en place begins for this recipe as…..



There was a bit of discussion about different types of white chocolate used, but Rose stated that the main concern was that the white chocolate contain coca butter, per her recipe instructions.

Great rule of thumb,

“always buy the best chocolate you can afford”

…Life is to short without it


I can’t help myself, I have to small dice chocolate that I’m going to melt…


Works beautifully every time

20150215_233418 20150215_233605

Bleached cake flour, sifted, then measured and leveled off


Mix together the sifted flour, sugar ( superfine ), baking powder and salt


Added the egg mixture in two parts to fully incorporate


Add the melted white chocolate



Pour batter into prepared 9 x 2 pan ( I used light aluminum by Wilton) with a secure, moistened cake strip


  • I checked my cake at 30 minutes, still too jiggly in the center
  • then again at 40, still not there yet
  • then again at 45, paring knife inserted in the center still had a wet center
  • then finally at 47 minutes,  my paring knife came out clean.


Allowed the cake to cool, then invert and remove parchment bottom


WICKED GANACHE TIME, my favorite…..


Again, I chopped both the unsweetened ( 99 % chocolate ) and the bittersweet chocolate with 60 % Cacao with suggested range of 60 to 62 %


Allowed the corn syrup to boil by microwave heat:

15 seconds

then boiling at 8 more seconds

Then I added the bittersweet chocolate and stirred with a silicon spatula to fully incorporate


In my Black and Decker food processor, I processed the bittersweet chocolate until very fine


Watched the cream on medium heat until it began to create small bubbles around the peripheral of the sauce pan but not allowed to   boil beyond this stage


Added heated cream to bittersweet chocolate, then pulsed in the corn syrup and unsweetened chocolate mixture, scraping down the sides of the food processor


As previously established, I like spice and heat so I choose to add the full value of the cayenne pepper….. What a surprise!


I strained the contents to catch any chocolate that did not melt fully


There was a glass bowl under the strainer


I talked to both Patricia, ButterYum and Rosa Simply Delicious to find a way to reduce the 4 hour wait for the ganache to cool.

We discussed an ice bath, but Maggie Rosa stated that it can become too cold very quickly and you must keep your eyes on it.  Patricia pointed out also that water is not chocolate’s best friend and can cause it to seize.

I would have HATED to have to call Willie Wanka’s Hospital for Chocolate because mine just had a seizure…. HE HE


So I went with Patricia’s recommendation to use a sheet pan which makes SO much sense….

as you are distributing the mass into a single, thin layer which will allow the mass to cool at a much quicker rate as there is mass distribution vs. a bowl just sitting there waiting to cool a non-distributed mass


Distributed Chocolaty Ganache Mass then covered in plastic wrap

20150216_231746 20150216_231826See, I did finally find a use for my infrared thermometer after all… works like a charm too


Before the first crumb frosting of ganache, I cut the cake in half and placed the cake in the freezer for approximately 45 minutes to an hour so that the crumbs are less likely to be distributed during the frosting process

20150217_014751 20150217_015627 20150217_015637and VOILA



I really liked the heavy heat ganache and will be using this frosting with other cake recipes.  Upon cutting the cake and serving, I did find the cake to be crumbly and dry.

20150217_212813 20150217_212818 20150217_212830 20150217_212853

In retrospect, a simple syrup brushed onto the cake, [ of course, Rose taught us to prick the cake to allow full absorption ] prior to freezing, would have created a cake with more moisture content and the dryness POSSIBLY may have been avoided all together.

However, the crumbly texture might need further research after this variation is resolved …..

Using this technique, you would be locking in the moisture as the moist cake will be covered by frosting.

I had a pretty good bit of orange simple syrup left over from the candied orange peel I made for the Panettone and that would have been a lovely compliment to this cake.

Think about it….

White and Dark Chocolate Cake

Orange Simple Syrup for moisture

Cayenne Spiced Chocolate Ganache

AND a bold glass of red wine

aberdine angus cab aberdine angus centenial


I might try this addition / variation in a make up session.



Until next time,


For orders or questions, please contact me at:

One Crumb At A Thyme


PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog.

Thank you all for your comments!

Disclaimer: Complete recipes can not be shared in our Alpha Bakers posts due to publishing restrictions enforced by the publisher, but please support Rose Levy Beranbaum by purchasing The Baking Bible.

You can check out the work of the other Alpha Bakers at Rose’s Alpha Bakers

© Tony Bridges and One Crumb at a Thyme, 2014

22 thoughts on “Chocolate Pavarotti with Wicked Good Ganache

  1. Finally! Let me thump my forehead! Your cake looks great with the piping. What a treat to listen to Cecilia Bartoli. So how exactly does that temperature gizmo work? I’m thinking it might come in really useful instead of fiddling about with an instant read while things are in the oven.

    • Thank you SO much for your comment Vicki B! I really appreciate it. Cecilla comforts me when I bake. We are old friends, well on my part at least HE HE.

      The temperature gizmo is SO simple…. aim, press button, TA DA you have your external temperature! I have a separate oven thermometer I use if I’m trying to track the temperature of the item in the oven, but that is mostly for savory…meats, etc…Happy Baking Vickie B!

  2. The angel sitting on top of your cake made me think of an idea my mother and I have been joking about for years. The idea is a restaurant based on the concept of heaven and hell. The top floor would be heaven, done up in white and light and ethereal menu items. The first floor would be hell, servicing firey BBQ, fat laden plates, sinful drinks, done up in dark reds and blacks. Your angel reminded me of the same dichotomy: unsuspecting angel sitting on top of a dark, sinful, spicy chocolate cake. That about says it all!

  3. Tony, next time I need to chop chocolate can you pop round and dice it for me? I hate cutting up chocolate because it jumps everywhere and then melts on my hand. I love your cherub and ganache piping.

  4. Tony: I love the cherub with the faraway gaze and the heavenly choir in her (his?) ears! Your cake looks beautiful, very appealing! Mine didn’t seem to be that moist. The ganache though–what a “song” it was! Add that recipe to my favorites list. If you get a minute stop by and see my cake. So glad to be baking along with you–and now we’ll be baking bread as well!!

    • Michele, thank you for your kind words, and I love that little cherub. After I updated my blog, YES…. I too found the cake to be a bit dry. I posted an easy fix, however in my final update; a simple syrup would have been the saving grace for this one…. If you get a chance, please revisit my site to see the details; I CANNOT WAIT to get to your site! Thanks again!

    • I was tickled pink when I realized I had the opportunity to zap something with my infrared thermometer! I mentioned you in my post so if you have a moment, please revisit – I also shared some solutions to the dry cake issue as well. Thank you Patricia!

  5. I have notice we used the same brand for the white chocolate, is your cake came crumbly and dry? or it was moist and had a good texture, like mine…?

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