When it comes to covering my cakes I am most definitely a ganache girl. I absolutely love buttercream, especially Italian Meringue buttercream but nothing beats ganache for getting super straight corners and edges and it creates the perfect base for covering in fondant. So here’s a simple recipe and method about how to make easy ganache.
Before I started using ganache to cover my cakes I thought it sounded pretty complicated and slightly scary to make – it’s not! In particular I had heard that white chocolate ganache is harder to work with so I put off using it for some time. The first time I did – instantly converted! I loved it. It’s more expensive to make than buttercream but it’s totally worth it! It tastes delicious, it’s easy and quick to make and super easy to use too. I use a really basic ganache of just chocolate and double cream and it’s made my pouring over boiling cream onto small chunks or chips of chocolate. For white chocolate I use 3 parts chocolate to one part cream. If like me and even that confuses you it works like this:
Example for an 8″ by 5″ high cake: 800g of white chocolate divided by 3 = 266ml of double cream – see, easy peasy! that’s your recipe for white chocolate ganache!
I know other bakers that sometimes use a 2:1 ratio but I use 3:1 for all chocolate including milk and dark too. Although I very rarely use milk and only use dark chocolate ganache on chocolate fudge cake. I find that as I roll my fondant quite thin you can actually see dark chocolate ganache through the fondant – not a good look, so I stick to white pretty much all the time. Also, what you fill your cake with is not necessarily the same, and I fill with buttercream – never ganache.
This brand of chocolate is my ultimate favourite.
Weigh out your chocolate chips in a large clean bowl – you need room to stir.
Pour your double cream into a microwaveable jug and put in the microwave for 4 minutes (my microwave is 800w so you may need to adjust)
Once boiling take out and slowly pour over your chocolate chips and leave to sit. Don’t do any stirring and don’t cover.
After 3 minutes you can now stir – slowly – and keep going until all the combined and glossy then leave to stand until cool, then cling film or put on your mixing bowl lid and leave to sit for at least 3 hours. I generally make mine the evening before I need to use it. If you do have any un-melted bits of chocolate simply put all the mixture back in the microwave for 10 seconds until all melted.
When you do come to use your ganache you need to make it soft again and I do this by again putting into the microwave for 10 second intervals. You want your ganache to be in a smooth peanut butter type consistency so it’s easy to apply and smooth on your cake.
For tips on how to cover your cake smoothly and how to get sharp corners you may want to read this post here.
Tips and Troubleshooting:
How long can a cake covered with ganache last? The ganache will be fine for as long as the expiry date of the cream. The sugars in the white chocolate act as a preservative and keep the ganache stable at room temperature.
What can really ruin my ganache? Water! Water is the enemy – don’t add any water whatsoever. Nada… even if you think it’s too thick – no water! Got that? 😉
My ganache has split, can I fix it? Yes.. most of the time. If this happens add a splash of cream and whisk up for 30 seconds or so – fast. Then fridge for 10 minutes and repeat until all is good again. Don’t mix for too long at once though as ganache doesn’t like too much air.
My ganache has lots of oil on top, is this normal? This has happened to me before too. I simply mixed it all back together again, added a few teaspoons of cream and fridged for 15 minutes.
My ganache won’t harden, did I do something wrong? Most likely your cream wasn’t boiled correctly, next time make sure it really does reach boiling point.
What chocolate do you recommend? My ultimate favourite chocolate is Callebaut but generally I would say use the best quality chocolate you can afford.