I love using ganache to cover cakes and wedding cakes as it tastes incredibly delicious and it’s so much easier to get nice, straight sides and edges compared to buttercream. Ganache is also wonderful to use under sugar-paste for the same reasons. Living as I do on the Gold Coast, Australia, ganache is the obvious choice as it withstands most of our really hot weather MUCH better than buttercream.
Chocolate and cream are the only two ingredients in ganache and are used in a 2:1 ratio for dark and semi-sweet chocolate and the 3:1 ratio for milk chocolate. The wedding cake in the picture above was covered in white chocolate ganache using the ratio 3:1 i.e. 3 parts white chocolate to 1 part cream.
In extremely warm weather it is sometimes necessary to increase the amount of chocolate in the mixture to prevent it melting.
To torte and cover a 9" round cake with dark chocolate ganache
1.2 kg dark chocolate
600ml pure cream
To torte and cover a 9" round cake with white chocolate ganache
450ml pure cream
If you prefer a really soft filling for your cakes then just whip ½ cup cream and add 2 tbsp of the Ganache and whip a little more. This makes a delicious and easy chocolate mousse. (please note that whipped ganache does not keep well out of the fridge and should be treated as you would fresh cream.)
Step 1: Make the Ganache: (Same method for white and dark chocolate ganache). Heat the cream until it just starts to bubble, pour over chocolate (which you have blitzed in the food processor to coffee granules size) and let it sit for about a minute to melt. Use a hand whisk to blend it all together then set aside to cool.
Your ganache at this point will be thin. You will have to let it set overnight until it thickens to a slightly thicker peanut butter consistency. Since I don’t have the patience to wait, I just let it cool to room temperature and then pop it in the fridge (don’t cover because you might get condensation). It would usually set in the fridge in about an hour or two. If it sets too hard, just microwave it in 10 second intervals (keep mixing it whenever you take it out).
Cutting cake into layers. Keep original layer of greaseproof paper on as long as possible to keep cake intact add a board or metal base to the top of the cake when cutting as you may accidentally put pressure on the top of the cake when cutting and dent your nice flat top.
Cut out a circle of non slip matting
This will stop your cake moving about on top of the turntable
Step 2: Torte and level the 9" cake: Place cake upside down on the cake board on a layer of ganache to act as a glue and to even out any irregularities. Add a mound of ganache in the middle of the board if your cake sunk or add a ring of ganache round the edge if you cake was high in the centre. If you are using the soft filling then pipe a ½” snake of Ganache around the outside edge of the cake to create a dam, pop the cake into the fridge for the dam to harden (about 5 min) remove from fridge, then fill with the filling. If using regular ganache to fill then apply with a cranked handled palette knife if you have one.
Top with the next layer of cake and repeat if needed.
Step 3: Crumb coat: (optional) Cover sides and top of cake quickly with a thin coat of ganache to stop crumbs getting into your final coat of ganache. This is useful especially if your cake is more crumbly than normal. Put in fridge for an hour or so to harden before continuing.
Step 4: Cover the top of the cake with Ganache: I like using the 'double board' method to get the top edge of the cake perfectly smooth. Top the cake with a 1/2” layer of Ganache, smooth it out then place a 9" board on top which has been completely covered on both sides with cling film to keep the board clean and reusable and secured with sticky tape. Check with a small spirit level to see if it’s leveled, if not, gently press down around the cake until it is.
Step 5: Cover the sides of the cake with Ganache: You want to always add more ganache than you need at the beginning because it is so much easier to just scrape off the excess and be done rather than to keep adding then scraping then adding then scraping…etc. As the 9” cake board is slightly larger than the cake (9” cake shrinks a little after cooling). I use the edge of the two boards as a guide to the thickness of the Ganache. Once you have added the Ganache along the sides, use a metal scraper or similar tool, to scrape the excess off a little at a time, layer by layer as you turn the turntable.