Christmas Eve Dessert – 2019

Today, I’m here to share the Christmas Eve dessert that my sister and I made for our family celebration this year. Going into this year’s dessert we knew how we wanted to decorate the cake, the hard part was deciding on the flavor/frosting combo. For the cake, we used a Barefoot Contessa recipe and it has become one of my favorite chocolate cakes to date! Her recipes are easy to follow and require simple ingredients which makes them perfect for a baker of any skill level. We then chose two different buttercream frostings (one for the middle and one for the outside) to finish our cake off. I’ll share that recipe as well as both buttercream recipes that we used below.

Barefoot Contessa’s Chocolate Ganache Cake

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups Hershey’s chocolate syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Note: This recipe makes one 8-inch round so I doubled the recipe to get two 8-inch rounds


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter and the sugar in the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the chocolate syrup and vanilla. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Be careful not to overheat or the cake will be tough.
  3. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the cake is just set in the middle. Let cool completely in the pan before transferring.

Food Network’s Chocolate American Buttercream

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine salt
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • Note: We used this for in between our cake layers


  1. Combine butter and cocoa powder in the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until combined. Add the vanilla and salt.
  2. Continue to mix on low speed, adding the sugar a cup at a time while alternating with the milk. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to mix until smooth.
  3. Use immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to three days.

Gale Gand’s Quick Buttercream Frosting (Found on Food Network)

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup butter (I used unsalted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream


  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk mix together butter and sugar. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and blend for another 3 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more. Add more cream, if needed, to make buttercream a spreadable consistency.


  • For decoration, we used cranberries that we had dipped in corn syrup and then rolled in sugar along with sprigs of rosemary

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