Dark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan Birthday Cake

Dark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan Birthday Cake

Today is a momentous occasion as it marks the nineteenth year of my life. Nineteen seems like such a peculiar number. It’s neither here nor there, an unusual age that’s stuck between transitioning youth and adult.

When I was younger, birthdays were magical. I thought I would become a completely new person on each special day. I believed that with new age came new life, that I would somehow feel different – older, wiser and more confident. However, with each birthday (and age) that rolled in, I was left with the solemn realisation that I was never going to be changed in any one significant way… and the magic of birthdays soon faded.

Dark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan Birthday CakeDark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan Birthday CakeDark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan Birthday Cake

Despite today being my special day, I’m still unsure whether I should embrace this extra number. Regardless of my cynical attitude towards age, I do believe that nineteen years is worth celebrating… don’t you?

This year, I wanted to reclaim the magic of celebrating a birthday again – the feelings of anticipation, surprise and naivety. I have long believed that any celebration should involve cake, and plenty of it. That’s where this Dark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan Cake comes in… because what brings back and creates more special memories than a rich and dense chocolate cake?

Dark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan Birthday CakeDark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan Birthday CakeDark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan Birthday Cake

Dark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan is my favourite birthday cake to date and is my ideal celebratory treat. A basic cake batter is infused with dark chocolate, vanilla and almond. The moist, rich and dense mini cakes are then baked, levelled and stacked into a sky high tier.

Each of the four cake layers is then smothered in a wicked dark chocolate ganache that hides four thick and delicious layers of marzipan frosting. A topping of dark and milk chocolate Ferrero Rochers that are spray painted in edible gold complete the cake.

Dark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan Birthday CakeDark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan Birthday CakeDark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan Birthday Cake

No matter how young or old you may be, this Dark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan Cake tastes like a dream and is a keeper. It is a decadent cake that deserves to glow with candles, be ravenously eaten with fingers as soon as it’s cut and is a cake that should be shared amongst friends and family.

This special cake has definitely brought back the magic of celebration again, with many new birthday memories created due to it. If you’re willing to share, tell me your special birthday food memories. I would love to hear them.

Dark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan Birthday CakeDark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan Birthday Cake

Dark Ganache and Marzipan Birthday Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 2
For the Cake:
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 150 g brown sugar
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200 g almond meal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 200 g dark chocolate, chopped finely
  • 250 g marzipan
For the Ganache:
  • 400 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup thickened cream
For the Ganache:
  1. Firstly prepare the ganache. Melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Add the cream and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool, ready for assembly.
For the Cake:
  1. Preheat an oven to 180 C (350 F) and grease and line four mini (10 cm) cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Add the extracts and beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the almond meal, flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and chopped chocolate.
  4. With an electric mixer on low, mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients until just combined. Then with a wooden spoon, gently incorporate the ingredients well together.
  5. Divide the cakes evenly between the tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the centres spring back when gently pushed.
  6. Let the cakes cool in the tins completely. Once cooled, level the tops.
For Assembly:
  1. Roll out the marzipan with a sprinkling of icing sugar into a 1 cm (1/4 inch ) thick layer and using the cake tin bases as a guide, cut into three individual cake sized circles.
  2. On a cake stand or plate, place the first levelled cake layer base side up. Spread with cooled and thickened chocolate ganache. Add one marzipan circle. Spread the ganache on top the marzipan and sandwich with the second cake layer. Repeat this layering process with the remaining cake layers and marzipan until you reach the final layer.
  3. Once the final fourth cake layer is added, gently crumb coat the layered cake with a thin layer of ganache. Refrigerate to lock in the ganache for 30 minutes.
  4. Once cooled, spread a final layer of thick ganache over the cake tier. Decorate the top of the cake with Ferrero Rocher’s or any chocolate candy. Serve.
  5. The cake can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days. Let stand to room temperature before serving.

 Dark Chocolate Ganache and Marzipan Birthday Cake


  • Reply Beauty FOllower December 3, 2014 at 10:00 am

    i there!
    You have a wonderfully delicious blog (looove the photos 🙂

    My best wishes for your BDay…
    did you know that Thaleia was a muse in ancient Greece?!

    Hugs from Athens

  • Reply Claudia @ homemade with love December 2, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Wow, I can’t stop looking at the Ganache!! This is going on my next cake!

  • Reply Bec November 30, 2014 at 11:06 am

    HAPPIEST OF BIRTHDAYS! I totally know what you mean about being 19, I felt a bit weird being 19 but I would just eat ALL of this cake and enjoy it because it looks stunning and delicious, you talented thing you. Bec x

  • Reply mjskit November 29, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Happy Birthday Thalia!!! I’m know I a little late to the party, but so glad I made it. Love the way you celebrated with this awesome cake! I’m just sitting here looking at the pictures and hoping that it materializes and jumps out of the screen onto my table. What a cake! I do have to add…that I’ve had at least 3 times more birthdays than you and everyone of them has been magical in one way or another. As I get older my dear husband makes sure that the magic stays. 🙂

  • Reply Chineka @ Savor the baking November 29, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Happy Belated Birthday Thaila. I hope you had a wonderful day and the cake looks so good. It’s filled and stacked perfectly. 🙂

  • Reply sherry from sherryspickings November 29, 2014 at 5:51 am

    this looks so wonderful thalia! happy happy birthday to you…:)

  • Reply evi@thehealthycook November 28, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    What an impressive cake!!! Wow!
    Happy birthday Thalia!! My best wishes!!

  • Reply Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen November 27, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Happy belated birthday!!! 19 years is something to celebrate – hope you had a wonderful big day celebrating! And this cake looks like the PERFECT way to celebrate – it’s absolutely stunning!!! Pinned 🙂

  • Reply genevieve @ gratitude & greens November 26, 2014 at 3:13 am

    Thalia, this cake is gorgeous! I couldn’t help but pin almost all your photos to my baking board. Happy 19th birthday, I hope you had a fabulous day celebrating!

  • Reply Jasmin November 25, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Well, this cake is just the perfect one to celebrate your special day, no matter which number it carries with it – it can be 19 or 99, it’s special and it’s only yours, so cheers and happy birthday… 🙂

  • Reply Love Keil (MunchkinTime) November 25, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    This cake looks AMAZING!

  • Reply Michaell @ Foodscape November 25, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Happy belated bday Thalia! Marzipan is my favorite too! Except I like mine with Vanilla. There is a bakery in Santa Barbara, CA called Anderson’s that you absolutely have to go to if you are ever in the area. You’ll love it!!

  • Reply Kelly - Life Made Sweeter November 25, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Happy happy 19th birthday, Thalia! This cake is absolutely breathtaking – it’s the perfect cake to celebrate with!

  • Reply KitchenNostalgia November 25, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Chocolate and marzipan cake looks fabulous. Happy birthday!

  • Reply Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits November 25, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Happy birthday!! Oh my gosh, that Ferrero Roche on the top of this cake. Genius touch!

  • Reply Raymund November 24, 2014 at 8:36 am

    My oh my, your cakes are amazing. You had outdone yourself, look at that beauty

  • Reply Mondo | I bake he shoots November 24, 2014 at 6:18 am

    the happiest of birthdays to you, Thalia! this cake looks divine! a quadruple-layered dark chocolate almond cake with with marzipan frosting? are you kidding me? now, I have to go out and buy 4 inch cake pans ’cause I need to make this cake.

  • Reply Gourmet Getaways November 24, 2014 at 4:10 am

    I think I found my favourite birthday cake too just now! This is one cake where not one bit of crumb will be left on my plate. Dark choc, ganache and marzipan, love the sound of that! Love it, Thalia!!! 5 stars!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  • Reply Christin@SpicySouthernKitchen November 24, 2014 at 3:00 am

    Happy Birthday Thalia! I had no idea you were so young. What a fabulous birthday cake. I love how tall it is!

  • Reply Isadora @ She Likes Food November 24, 2014 at 2:58 am

    Happy Birthday!! 19 is most definitely worth celebrating because when you get old me like, haha, you will look back and wish you were 19 again! This cake is beautiful and looks like the perfect way to celebrate!

  • Reply Jennie @themessybakerblog November 24, 2014 at 12:56 am

    I miss the magical birthdays full of tiaras, cone hats, and confetti. Now I pound back the wine to forget I’m 30. This cake is magic.

  • Reply Teresa, foodonfifth November 23, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Really, really, reallllllllly beautiful! Happy B’day.

  • Reply Traci | Vanilla And Bean November 23, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Happy Happy Birthday to you my dear! I love how you made yourself a beautiful, rich, decadent cake for your magical day! I like to do this too as it’s part of the celebration of YOU! The mix of dark cocoa, almond meal and chocolate topped with ganache sounds like my kind of cake and I absolutely love how tall this is! Wishing you a fabulous, magical year head Thalia!

  • Reply Margaret@KitchenFrau November 23, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Happy Birthday! What a lovely gem of a cake! I love the idea of a small, but sky-high version – so elegant!

  • Reply Kathleen Siegle November 23, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Happy birthday Thalia! I hope it’s filled with chocolate, and by the looks of this cake, it is!

  • Reply Nora @ savoRy nothings November 23, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Happy birthday Thalia! This cake must have made your birthday all the better, it’s absolutely stunning!

  • Reply marcie November 23, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Happy birthday, Thalia! Gorgeous cake, and you’re wise beyond your years! 🙂

  • Reply Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner November 23, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Happy birthday!!!!
    This cake is gorgeous beyond belief. 🙂

  • Reply Reiko November 23, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Happy Birthday Thalia! I had no idea you are only 19! You are so very talented. I love this cake. It’s chic, elegant, and sophisticated. Perfect for you.

  • Reply Sarah@WholeandHeavenlyOven November 23, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I had no idea you were only 19, Thaila!! Wow, girl you are seriously so talented! Also, I didn’t know we were so close in age—I’m turning the big 18 in January!
    And this cake!! Seriously you make the BEST cakes, girly! I’m swooning over how tall and decadent this looks. Absolutely gorgeous! 🙂

  • Reply Priyanka November 23, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Happy Birthday Thalia! This cake looks gorgeous!

  • Reply Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen November 23, 2014 at 7:41 am

    OMG Thalia – I can *not* believe you are only 19 years old! Congratulations on turning the big 19! I absolutely adore your blog. You are so accomplished, talented and fun to read – I wish I had it together like that at 19 years old. You are definitely going far girl! I love reading your blog (but you already know that) 🙂 ! And this cake? Could I just have the entire thing and save you the calories? Please??? 🙂 Have a beautiful birthday weekend and week, because birthdays last all week, you know? xoxo! Pinned!

  • Reply Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ November 23, 2014 at 5:35 am

    Love this extra tall cake! You are so young and talented my dear. At your age I used to bake more often. Then I realized my body could not afford eating much sugar 🙁 Anyhow special days are to be celebrated, a cake like this is the perfect treat. Happy Birthday!!!

  • Reply Fran @ G'day SoufFle' November 23, 2014 at 4:51 am

    Happy Birthday! Age 19 seems like a million years ago to me. Your cake is so elegant, I can’t wait to see how your cakes progress with each new year!

  • Reply lisaiscooking November 23, 2014 at 2:52 am

    Happy Birthday! Every birthday is so worth celebrating. This cake is so pretty. I love how tall and slender it is!

  • Reply Denise | Sweet Peas & Saffron November 23, 2014 at 2:36 am

    Happy birthday, Thalia! I am seriously impressed with this cake, it is stunning! I am the worst at decorating cakes, anything with more than one layer…I’m in trouble. You totally nailed it with this one, and I hope you had a great birthday 🙂

  • Reply Donna November 23, 2014 at 2:21 am

    Happy birthday Thalia! What a beautiful cake. Each year, I embrace my age and I feel more wiser and more confident. Most of my girlfriends still like to celebrate their “21” birthday for the 12th time!

  • Reply Monica November 23, 2014 at 2:13 am

    Am I the only one thinking: “omg, you’re 19?!” Such talent at such a young age! Needless to say, Happy Birthday! This cake is so amazing. I love almonds with chocolate and ganache is possibly one of my favorite words and eats. Love this and would love to make it and eat with my hands, with family, one day soon…

  • Reply Janelle November 22, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Stunning! Love the height to this cake. Happy birthday!

  • Reply Ella-HomeCookingAdventure November 22, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Happy birthday Thalia. Hope you had a great day. Wow.. I can’t believe you are only 19, such a beautiful age.Enjoy it! As for the cake you chose.. I have to admit that chocolate marzipan combination is one of my favorites. You inspired me with this awesome cake.

  • Reply Abbe@This is How I Cook November 22, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    This is a beautiful cake for any celebration. Happy Birthday! Really-you are only 19?

  • Reply Suzy @ The Mediterranean Dish November 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Happy happy birthday, Thalia! November babies are awesome; -) This cake is a fitting treat! I am in awe of your talent, my friend. I hope you pause to celebrate all your great accomplishments! Hugs

  • Reply Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine November 22, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Happy Birthday! Stunning cake.

    Yes, birthdays just get less and less fun as you get older. I don’t know why– like you say, they just become less magical. Life becomes less magical. But then you get to experience all the magic again through your own child’s eyes.

  • Reply Padaek November 22, 2014 at 8:16 am

    It’s a gorgeous looking cake! Happy birthday!! You have the whole world in front of you – lucky you and best wishes for a fab year ahead. 😀

  • Reply Maureen | Orgasmic Chef November 22, 2014 at 8:11 am

    What a lovely way to celebrate 19 years of life. There would never be food remorse from eating a slice of this cake. Perfection.

  • Reply Tasbih @ Cleobuttera November 22, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Happy birthday Thalia!!! Wishing the a lifetime of happiness:) That cake looks glorious! I’m in love with how tall it is and that flavor combination is genius.

  • Reply Claudia @Breakfast Drama Queen November 22, 2014 at 3:37 am

    Happy Birthday! I don’t have many special birthday food memories, most years it’s just the standard chocolate cake (nothing as special as your cake!). This year I opted for a pumpkin pie, even though it was August. Because, well, pumpkin pie!

  • Reply berlindesign November 22, 2014 at 2:40 am

    Love this cake! Looks devine!! Just celebrated my husband’s 64th today. We grew up in Germany, where a big cake buffet was a must for every birthday, especially at every children’s birthday party in our neighborhood. One of my favorite one was a gooseberry- meringe torte my friend’s mother made. My husband’s favorite is a chocolate pudding cake my mom still makes every time we go back to Germany to visit (it’s made with yeast). Cake just belongs to every birthday celebration for us. Today we had pear almond tarte….will try to make your recipe soon!! Thank you for the beautiful presentation on your blog and Happy Birthday to you!!

  • Reply Consuelo | Honey & Figs November 21, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Happy Birthday dear!! This looks like the most delicious cake to celebrate such a day! I hope you enjoyed it 🙂

  • Reply Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice November 21, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Happy, happy birthday, Thalia! You sure created a gorgeous cake! I love the rich ganache. Sounds fabulous!

  • Reply Carla (@charliesue) November 21, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Thalia! Happy, HAPPY Birthday! What a stunning cake you’ve made to celebrate! xo

  • Reply Erin | The Law Student's Wife November 21, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    This cake is an absolute masterpiece. How on earth did you cut it so perfectly? I am impressed! 19 years is definitely worth celebrating, especially with a cake so decadent to eat!

  • Reply Julia November 21, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Oh gosh Thalia! Love the roses at the top! What restaurant have you had the best dark chocolate ganache and marzipan cake? Remember to add it to your Besty List! http://www.thebesty.com/butterandbrioche

  • Reply Emily November 21, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Love anything with marzipan- what an irresistible cake! I can’t believe your are only 19 and already doing so much! Here’s to many wonderful years ahead. 🙂

  • Reply Jill November 21, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    I can’t get over that you’re so young. You’re so talented and mature!
    This cake looks gorgeous, and a wonderful cake for a 19th birthday. Happy Bday! 🙂

  • Reply Annie @Maebells November 21, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Stunning cake!! And happy birthday friend! I hope it is amazing!

  • Reply Aysegul - Ice November 21, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    You are SO young, beautiful, and talented. You should be proud of being such a good photographer and blogger. This cake is just an example of how good you are.
    I wish you a happy birthday and best of luck in your endeavors in life..
    Hugs and love from the sunny Caribbean…

  • Reply Mira November 21, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    This birthday cake looks beautiful Thalia!! Happy birthday, best wishes!

  • Reply The Blonde Chef November 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Thalia! You are such a baking genius! This sounds like the best chocolate cake EVER! And I am so intrigued by the addition of marzapan. Sending the best birthday wishes your way!

  • Reply tanya November 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Happy birthday!! 19 years is wonderful! I remember thinking birthday were magical. Actually at 40 I still do. And yes, cake is magical, especially when it is four layers tall and covered in rich chocolate. Enjoy your special day!

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