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.

Says Chef McFadden, “When I arrived at culinary college, no more than a week had passed before I was given the opportunity and privilege to taste a piece of chocolate ganache cake for the very first time. It was prepared by our resident Master Pastry Chef Jan Bandula, and was a palate experience and sensation that I still recall to this day. The following is a much simpler version, but is just as delicious.” Chef Jamie recommends pairing this rich, decadent dessert with a sparkling red, Shiraz, or Cabernet wine.

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

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

Directions
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.

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About Chef Jamie McFadden and Cuisiniers Catering & Events
From an early age, Jamie McFadden grew up helping his father make wine, and his mother in the kitchen, whipping up something new and exciting, usually with a Julia Child cookbook open on the kitchen counter. By his teens, Jamie knew he was destined to become a chef.
For over three decades now, Chef Jamie McFadden’s ‘fresh approach’ cooking style and attention to detail has proven to be the ideal recipe for bringing delicious food and experiences to guests across the country.
After traveling and working with some of the best chefs and culinary experts around the world, including Chef Peter Timmins at the Park Hotel in Ireland, and The La Verranne Cooking School in Burgundy, France, his reputation began to grow in the early 90’s with the launch of his own restaurant, Mimi’s Café & Wine Bar. In 1998, Cuisiniers Catered Cuisine & Events came to fruition, with ongoing collaborations with some of the best chefs in industry.
As one of the first Central Florida chefs to cook at the James Beard House, Chef Jamie found his passion for helping others could be further expressed through food, and in 2010, co-founded the PEAS Foundation, a non-profit that provides food to insecure households with fresh fruits and vegetables.
In 2016, Chef Jamie launched Snowbirds Vintners, an award winning micro lot wine concept sourcing the best wines from vineyards across the United States.
In 2018, he began a life-long dream to restore and reopen Sandy Ridge Vineyards & Mercantile in his former home town of Norwalk, Ohio. The once abandoned apple farm turned bespoke winery and tasting room has attracted visitors from across the country, receiving 5-star reviews for both its wines and cuisine, and has rapidly become known as a culinary destination.
Now in 2019, Cuisiniers Catering & Events celebrates its 21st anniversary in business, having recently received accolades from Orlando Magazine as the #3 Best Caterer in Central Florida. From lobster mac and cheese to Chef Jamie’s famous Maryland style crab cakes, beef brisket sliders, freshly baked cookies and desserts, their team has the skill and experience to make any event an elevated dining experience. Contact them for seasonal menus and event bookings at 407-975-8763 or at info@cuisinierscater.com.