For Valentine’s Day, preparing a candlelit dinner for two can be an intimately romantic gesture. According to Chef Jamie McFadden of Cuisiniers Catering & Events, keep the menu simple but elegant, with dishes like a mixed green salad with roasted beets and goat cheese, crab cakes, herb roasted tenderloin, and seasonal vegetables. The highlight of the meal, however, is always the dessert.  A dark chocolate cake with rich, creamy ganache is the ultimate indulgence.

Chef Jamie’s Decadent Chocolate Ganache Cake
by Chef Jamie McFadden
Makes 8-10 servings


  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature, 72 degrees
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 each 16 oz jar dark chocolate syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

For the chocolate ganache:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces premium semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the salt. Mix in the chocolate syrup and vanilla. Slowly add the flour and mix until just combined. Do not over mix, or the cake texture will be tough.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until just set in the middle. Take caution to not over bake. Let cool thoroughly in the pan.

For the ganache, on medium low heat cook the heavy cream, chocolate chips, and instant coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.

Place the cake upside down on a wire rack and pour the glaze evenly over the top, making sure to cover the entire cake and sides. You can tilt the rack to smooth the glaze. Decorate with fresh strawberries or black berries if desired, or gently crumble shaved white chocolate over the cake.

Do not refrigerate and serve within 3 hours. If you must make the cake ahead of time, refrigerate overnight up to 3 days, making sure to remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving.