The filling selected to complement a chocolate cake changes not only the taste but also the texture and appearance of the finished cake. Seemingly countless chocolate cake filling options exist, from the traditional buttercream most commonly used, to the more distinctive ganaches, cream cheeses and chantilly frostings. Variations on these fillings can be made with a little creativity to suit individual preferences or to complement the chocolate cake and create a unique dessert.
Buttercream is a very light, sweet and creamy filling, traditionally found in cakes and served at room temperature. Made from creamed butter and sugar, buttercream can be easily adapted to suit any individual taste preference by simply adding different flavors to complement chocolate cake. Traditionally, cocoa powder, melted chocolate or vanilla flavoring are added to buttercream, however, the options are practically limitless and include coffee, tea, liqueurs, syrup, flavored extracts, fruit puree, curd and mousse. Additionally, food coloring can be added to buttercream to alter the color of the filling.
Ganache is made from equal parts high quality chocolate and heavy cream. It is easy to make and creates a smooth textured filling. Dark, milk or white chocolate can be used to produce a ganache. When applied as the filling layers in a chocolate cake, ganache should be chilled beforehand to thicken the consistency. Ganache also can be flavored as desired with liqueurs, fruit purees, nut butters or flavoring extracts to complement the chocolate cake and provide a specialized flavor.
Cream cheese is a soft and rich filling that can complement the taste of chocolate cake. Cream cheese is most often mixed with butter, sugar and vanilla to produce a filling suitable for chocolate cake. Mixed nuts, fresh fruits, coconut, melted chocolate, caramel, liqueurs and flavoring extracts can be added to the cream cheese filling to add additional and unique flavors to the chocolate cake.
Chantilly frosting is a simple filling for chocolate cake, made from whipped cream, powdered sugar and vanilla. The ingredients are mixed and beaten together until stiff peaks form, producing a smooth and light filling for cake. Additions such as fruit purees, cocoa powder, cookie crumble or tea can be added to this chilled filling to create a complementary flavored filling for chocolate cake.
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