Posted by - Jessica B.
For this challenge I used the recipe found on the Food Network. The ganache made enough to drown a small city as you can tell by my picture and that wasn't even all of it!
I made the pastry cream first and let it cool in the fridge for 2 hrs. You need to be very careful with this as it can burn easily. I think it really needs to be removed from the heat as soon as it starts to come to a boil in the last part. After it's removed from the heat it will probably still finish coming to it's thickened stage. I used vanilla extract instead of vanilla beans (1/2 tablespoon) and it seems to have worked just fine.
Next came the cake which was fairly straight forward but I wonder if my not liking to use cake flour caused the cake to not rise as much. I also added 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract just for a little added flavor which I was very happy with. Next time I think I would be better off using an 8 inch pan instead of a 9 inch in order to make the cake layers a little bit thicker. My oven bakes pretty hot so the cake was done at about 22 and 1/2 minutes. I very carefully cut the big layer in half, smoothed on the pastry cream, slapped the top on and made my ganache. The recipe says to boil the heavy cream and mix that in with the chocolate morsels causing them to melt. It doesn't say anything about letting the ganache cool a little before drenching the cake but looking back on it I think it's probably a good idea as it would thicken some. Anyway, the cake is NOT pretty but it sure is good.