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Generally I like to make things from scratch. I even make my own cheese for cheesecake! Last week was a friends birthday, which I didn’t find out about until the night before. We were in the middle of our opera run, so I didn’t have a lot of time or energy to bake a cake from scratch. However, in such situations, I usually have a boxed (gasp) cake mix sitting around for those ‘just in case’ moments.  

So, I made the cake, a rich, red velvet cake. And a maple chocolate grand marnier ganache icing topped with cherries in syrup, coconut flakes and grated white chocolate.


*note, you will have some leftover…for a while*

You will need:

12 Oz of semi-sweet chocolate (chopped)
1 cup of heavy cream

2 tsp Maple Extract

1 tbsp Grand Marnier

Take the heavy cream and heat it in a heavy bottomed pot until it’s just about to boil.

In a metal bowl, add the chopped chocolate and pour the heated cream over top. Stir, slowly at first, to blend in the cream and chocolate. You want to go slow to avoid getting air into the mixture. After everything is incorporated, add the maple extract and grand mariner, stir to combine.

Bake the cake according to directions. After the cake gets going, start the ganache so it’s cool enough to work with when the cake is done. After the cake is finished, pop it in the fridge for 5 minutes, being careful to not put the hot pan directly on the glass of the fridge.

Take it out and put the first layer of ganache on. A very thin layer. This layer is almost a ‘glue’ that will hold the rest on later. Make sure you coat the sides of the cake as well as the top.

Put this back in the fridge for another 10 – 15 minutes.

Elevate the cake, and carefully pour the rest of the ganache on top of the cake in batches, spread it out evenly, again making sure you coat the sides. If you do this over a clean cutting board, you can reuse any that spills, or, put it in bowl with some strawberries, I guarantee it’ll be great!

After you have the chocolate on, let it sit for another 10 minutes in the fridge to set the top of the chocolate up. Then, add the cherries on top. The amount you use is up to you. I used the canned cherries in syrup (for pies). About 1/2 a can. Take some flaked coconut and sprinkle over the top and sides. The top is easy, the sides are a bit harder, but you’ll get the hang of it.  It’s a bit more of a throwing motion to get the sides. Then, grate a little white chocolate over the top and you’re done!