Using chocolate ganache on cakes is a quick and easy way to cover cakes for something different or for those that are not keen on sugar fondant. It is very simple to make, there are just a few tips I can give about getting it just right and achieving a good finish.
There are two ways you can make ganache, either with single cream or with double. Single cream provides a firmer finish and not as shiny. This is good if you want to use it as a crumb coating on your sponge to get very sharp edges when you apply your fondant over it. It could also be used if the atmosphere is warmer or a bit humid. Using double cream is better if you want a shiny smooth finish, better for showing off as a coating but it may be a bit more temperamental.
Single Cream Ganache:
100ml per 200g high quality dark chocolate
70ml per 200g high quality white chocolate
Double Cream Ganache:
125ml per 175g high quality dark chocolate
95ml per 175g high quality white chocolate
You must use the best quality chocolate you find, cheaper chocolate (or confectionary, cooking, coating chocolate) tends to have less solids and more oil and fats in it which will disrupt the recipe. Ideally use couverture chocolate, but this can be expensive, if not use the best you can get hold of.
Obviously use less cream for white as there is not as much cocoa solids in it as dark. If you would like to make milk chocolate mix dark and white together, as you can control the taste and have more predicable results.
There are two ways you can make ganache either by melting in a bowl over hot water (the slower but safer way), or in a microwave (quicker but more chance of burning!). I tend to use the mircrowave, but that is because I am confident in making it. I would use the double boiler technique if I was making ganache as an outside coating for a wedding cake for example, to ensure I get the exact temperature and maximum shine.
I am going to show you how to do the firmer single cream recipe in a microwave, as this is great for practising coating the cake, and then you can have a go at covering with fondant and making sharp edges for a pro finish!
Put the choc and cream into a microwaveable bowl.
Put in the microwave for max of 1.5 mins, you need to check and stir the chocolate every 20-25 seconds to make sure it doesn’t burn or over cook. If it does the ganache will split.
Also you don’t have to wait until all the chocolate has completely melted, its best to leave some bits and stir it in till it melts to ensure you don’t over cook it. This is why it’s a bit safer over a double boiler, you have more control.
Stir the ingredients together until combined and allow to cool and rest. Some recipes say chill in the fridge over night, others say leave to cool, some say pour straight over! Either way you need to bring it back up to room temperature again to spread it. I tend to leave it to cool.! I find that way its firm enough to manipulate without running down the cake, but you also don’t have to wait a day!
Now the fun part, spread onto the cake!
Simply use a spatula and run around the sides first, then over the top.
This is a lot easier if you have a turn table.
You can then run over with a spreader if you have one to get it even smoother.
Let it set in the fridge for a while till goes firm again.
To get a really really good finish, use the ‘hot knife’ technique.
Heat up a spatula in very hot water then run over the cake firmly to smooth any bumps or lines and get the top nice and even.
Then that’s it!
Now its ready to cover with fondant or serve as it is!
If you have any left over ganache you can make easy truffles by rolling the chocolate in to balls and dipping in coco powder, icing sugar, more chocolate, super fine sugar, chopped nuts, coconut, use your imagination!
You could even mix liquor into the ganache to flavour it, such as coffee liquors, rum, brandy… tempted now aren’t you!
Look out for a tutorial with double cream with the double boiler technique for a different look!