This Whipped Ganache Chocolate Cake is a two-layer masterpiece with a dense brownie-like cake topped with fluffy chocolate ganache!

It was a rich, celebratory cake for my youngest’s birthday. Some sort of chocolate cake was a must so I turned to Dorie Greenspan’s Lisbon Chocolate Cake. It was inspired by a decadent treat she encountered at the Landeau Cafe in Portugal during her travels. The pairing of a one-layer chocolate cake with a whipped cream-infused Chocolate Ganache Recipe as a Quick Chocolate Mousse topping, was a winner!

Ganache topped chocolate cake with a slice cut out.

Why You Must Make

  • The base is a tasty cake that tastes like a brownie!
  • It’s topped with a whipped cream-infused chocolate ganache that tastes like mousse from a 5-star restaurant!
  • Since it’s just a one-layer cake, it’s ideal for small parties or family gatherings.

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Butter, Salt, Sugar
  • Eggs – I use large eggs in all my recipes unless otherwise noted. These are mixed in cold, which isn’t usually the case when baking.
  • Heavy Cream – 36% Milkfat makes for a rich mousse.
  • Semisweet Chocolate – May substitute bittersweet chocolate for more chocolate intensity. I use Ghirardelli bars.
  • Cocoa Powder – Regular cocoa powder, not Dutch-process. I use Hershey’s or Ghirardelli.
  • Cornstarch – Helps make a finer textured, softer crumb when used in a cake recipe.
  • Baking Powder – This is not the same as baking soda. It often expires before you can use it all. Check the date on the can and replace it if needed. You can check its potency by putting a spoonful in a cup of very hot water. It should bubble vigorously if still active.
Slice of ganache chocolate cake with whipped cream swirls on a decorative white plate.

Recipe Tips

  • Dorie’s recipe has you make the ganache towards the end of the recipe. I prefer making it earlier as there is an hour of stirring every 10 minutes to cool it and it’s nice to have the ganache ready to whip when the cake is done. 
  • Semisweet and bittersweet chocolate are interchangeable. If you want an even more intense chocolate flavor, use bittersweet chocolate in both the cake and the ganache.
  • The cake will only be as good as the brand of chocolate you use. Chocolate chips would be the last resort. I use Ghirardelli bars which can be found at most grocery stores and aren’t outrageously expensive.
  • The eggs in this recipe are mixed in when they are cold. Typically, the recipes I share generally call for room-temperature eggs for easier incorporation into the batter, but no need for that with this cake.
  • Dorie used a 9-inch cake pan instead of a springform pan. The removable sides of a springform pan make for an easy release from the pan to the cooling rack. If you don’t own a 9-inch springform pan, just use a cake pan.
  • Dorie did not garnish her slices. I like to like to top each slice with a swirl or two of sweetened whipped cream to balance the deep chocolate flavor. You may omit that and instead pass sweetened whipped cream for those who’d like a dollop on their slice! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Did Dorie Greenspan call this recipe a Lisbon Chocolate Cake?

Dorie sampled a version of this cake in Lisbon, Portugal, at a cafe called Landeau Chocolate. After returning home, she made her own version of this memorable chocolate cake.

What is Ganache?

Ganache is a rich filling, icing, or glaze made of semisweet chocolate and whipping cream. They are melted together, then chilled before being used to fill truffles. It’s allowed to thicken slightly before being used to glaze cakes, tarts, or tortes.

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Slice of whipped chocolate topped chocolate cake on a white plate with a red handle fork.

Ganache Chocolate Cake

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield 10 servings

A rich layered chocolate cake with a brownie-like base, whipped ganache mousse topping, and cocoa powder garnish!


For the whipped ganache:

  • 1 ¾ cups heavy cream, divided
  • 6 ounces semi/bittersweet chocolate

For the cake:

  • ½ cup butter
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt or table salt
  • 5 ounces semi/bittersweet chocolate
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 cold eggs

To finish:

  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Sweetened whipped cream, optional, to garnish


  1. Make the ganache: Pour 1 ¼ cups of cream into a medium microwave-safe bowl; refrigerate the rest. Zap the cream in the microwave until very hot, just short of boiling.
  2. Stir in the 6 ounces of chopped semisweet chocolate until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Refrigerate the ganache for 10 minutes, whisk it, then refrigerate again for 10 minutes. Repeat the chilling and whisking steps until the ganache is thick enough to make tracks when you stir, for 50 to 60 minutes.
  4. Whip the remaining ½ cup cream to medium peaks. Using a whisk, gently beat the ganache until it’s soft and spreadable. With a spatula, fold in the whipped cream. Store in the refrigerator until needed.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325° degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line it with parchment paper and butter the paper.
  6. Sift together the cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend.
  7. Put the butter and 5 ounces of semisweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave using 15-30 second intervals, stopping to stir frequently until the mixture is smooth.
  8. Stir in the sugar. One by one, vigorously stir in the eggs, beating for 1 minute after the last egg is added or until the mixture looks like pudding.
  9. Stir in the dry ingredients. Add the batter to the cake pan, leveling the top with an offset spatula, and rap the pan on the counter a couple of times to remove any air bubbles.
  10. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean (or with only a tiny streak of chocolate). Transfer to a rack, cool for 5 minutes, then unmold the cake, remove the parchment, then let cool completely on a wire rack, right side up.
  11. Wash and dry the pan and set aside.
  12. If you're not using a springform pan, cut a couple of long pieces (approximately 3 x 16-inches) of parchment or foil to use as a sling to help lift the cake out of the pan after the mousse is added. Crisscross them across the bottom of the pan making sure there's enough hanging over the edges to use as handles.
  13. Remove the mousse from the refrigerator. Let warm up a bit if it's too thick to rewhisk. When it's the right consistency, spread it over the cake.
  14. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days before serving.
  15. Bring the cake out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving and sprinkle with cocoa powder before slicing.
  16. Run a knife around the perimeter of the pan before removing the sides or lifting the cake from the pan. Place it on a serving plate. Garnish with whipped cream swirls around the perimeter if desired.
  17. Slice with a warm knife, cleaning the blade between every slice. May serve with sweetened whipped cream if not garnished with whipped cream.


    Recipe slightly adapted from Dorie Greenspan and the New York Times.

    Nutrition Information:



    Serving Size:

    1 slice

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 506Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 128mgSodium: 178mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 6gSugar: 12gProtein: 8g occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. Also, many recipes on recommend toppings, which may or may not be listed as optional and nutritional information for these added toppings is not listed. Other factors may change the nutritional information such as when the salt amount is listed “to taste,” it is not calculated into the recipe as the amount will vary. Also, different online calculators can provide different results. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate.


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