Thursday, March 24, 2011

How to make Ganache and cover your cake with it











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 
Ingredients:
1.2 kg dark chocolate
600ml pure cream

To torte and cover a 9" round cake with white chocolate ganache 
Ingredients:
1.3 kg
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 1Make 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 2Torte 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 3Crumb 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. 

Applying a quick crumb coat
A set square helps me get perpendicular sides
Crumb coat complete

Step 4Cover 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 5Cover 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.



Step 6: Place the cake into the fridge for at least a ½ hour, remove, then carefully undo the cling and lift off the board then carefully peel the cling film from the top of the cake. You may need to smooth away the little imperfections or fill any air holes with a little bit of Ganache.









I went straight ahead and covered these 4 cakes with sugar-paste but I could have used a hot palette knife to smooth out any remaining imperfections if the cakes were not being covered,


Step 7: Let the cake sit overnight at room temperature for the Ganache to completely set. If you live in a hot climate like I do then best to put it in the fridge overnight. A wine fridge is best (as it is not so cold as your normal fridge in the kitchen) and has a built in humidifier. The cake will get quite hard and cold overnight and it is important that the cake gets back to room temp before covering with sugar-paste.( If you do not allow your cake to reach room temp, all the way through, the cake will sweat through your sugar-paste!) Before covering you can either brush or spray the cake with a little bit of water or vodka (it evaporates away anyways) or some type of syrup (apricot jam diluted with water). 

The above recipes make more ganache than is needed so that there is enough to allow for mistakes and for putting on extra and then scraping back off the excess. I also freeze any untouched ganache for my next cake.


Use these steps to make a gorgeous Pink Tiffany Wedding Cake

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52 comments:

  1. Just wanted to say I found this really helpful tutorial - would never have thought of using a board to keep the top layer of ganache smooth!

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  2. the use of chocolate ganache under fondant is relatively new in the US so forgive my ignorance. I've used white chocolate under white fondant but can I use dark chocolate ganache under ivory fondant without it showing through? thank you so much for your generosity of time and knowledge.

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    1. Yes you can. Make your ganache layer a little thicker in width than normal.

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  3. Hi Alfeal.

    Yes you can!

    I do it all the time and I roll out my fondant quite thin. I am sure that if you roll out the fondant wafer thin then you would see the dark chocolate showing through but for a normal thickness you will have no problems. Also recently I have been brushing the finished ganache with a little water before covering with fondant and this has helped move the fondant around.

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  4. I will be attempting my first topsy turvy cake and wanted to cover with ganache before covering in fondant. Will I still be able to trim the tops of each tier (in order to have a flat surface for stacking) or will it mess up the ganache?

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    1. You can always do a crumb coat and finish off once the crumb coat has hardened. This way you will not get crumbs on the finished surface.

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  5. So it is my twin boys birthday Friday (party is Saturday) I just went out and spent the rest of my money on supplies. I bought 3 bags of the nestle toll house semi sweet chocolate chips. Will those be ok to use? I was looking around on other sites and they say not to use that. What is your opinion? :)

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    1. Hi Christina, your chocolate chips will work well.

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  6. how long can a cake that is covered in ganace and fondant be left out ? Im thinking of using this technique for my wedding cake in March (sunshine coast queensland) and was just wondering if it would spoil?

    thanks

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    1. I am on the Gold Coast and can have heat issues too!

      1. Make a firmer ganache to cope with tropical conditions. Use the ratio 600ml cream / 1.6 kg chocolate.

      2. It should be possible to leave your cake on the bench for up to 7 days.

      3. If temp is above 25C as it will be, leave in an air-con room 24/7 in a sealed cardboard box.

      4. The cardboard box absorbs any moisture that might be attracted to your cake if the temperature varies.

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    2. what if you do not have air con is putting the cake in the fridge okay or not recommended?

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  7. Hi there,
    Can you tell me about the mousse type filling you talk about.................Will it last in heat as well? I always worry about cream/mousse type fillings being left out of a fridge once applied on a cake.
    Thankyou

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    Replies
    1. The ganache filling I use is made from cream and chocolate and is very dense with NO air bubbles. This is why it lasts SO long outside the fridge. As soon as you have cut into your cake you must then store it in the fridge.

      I do not recommend leaving a cake filled with un-whipped ganache on the bench-top for 7 days but it is possible.

      Some ganache can be whipped to produce a lighter fluffier texture but this would be a health hazard if not refrigerated due to the presence of air bubbles trapped inside the ganache.

      Sweet Thing

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  8. Hi
    I am making a three tier cake using white ganache coloured lilac. I've read numerous ways including adding colour to the cream during heating, or adding drops after cream and chocolate mixed togerther but before it hardens.
    How would you suggest I add the colour?
    I have used our ganache recipe before and it is awesome!!! I did a 21st key cake, freezing the left over ganache, which I used for a soccer ball cake 2 months later. Thank you for sharing!!!
    Megs

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    1. I can't actually remember when I add my colour as I haven't coloured ganache for a while but I think I add it when combining the cream and the chocolate.

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  9. Which white chocolate would you recommend? I've been using the woolworths select white chocolate and not sure if it'll be suitable or firm up enough? I'm on the goldie too and I'm having a nightmare with the heat!

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    Replies
    1. I get very good results with Nestle Melts from the supermarket.

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  10. Question how do you know how much chocolate to cream to use for the cake size eg 6" and so on

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    1. I always make too much as it is easier to put lots on and take the excess off. Also it keeps so well that I put the extra in the freezer for the next time. For a 6" cake I would use 300ml of pure cream with 600-900g dark chocolate depending on how firm I wanted the ganache and the room temperature. The greater the amount of chocolate you use the firmer the ganache.

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  11. I haven't tried ganache yet, but would like to. I live on the coast of Florida so we have to deal with extreme temperatures also. My question is, can I use milk chocolate ganache to cover my cake before I fondant? I see everyone talking about white chocolate and dark chocolate, but very few mention milk chocolate. Thank you for any help you can give me.

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    1. You can easily use milk chocolate to make mud cakes or ganache. Simply substitute milk chocolate for white chocolate in the recipes. e.g. for milk chocolate ganache use 1.3kg milk chocolate to 450ml pure cream. This will give a firm ganache and you can increase the chocolate content to make a firmer product or reduce the amount of chocolate to make a softer version to pipe on top of cup cakes.

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  12. Hi!
    I almost am afraid of the "gasps" I might get when I say....I absolutely ====HATE==== "white chocolate"! To me, it tastes like sour milk.
    So my question is: Can I make a vanilla ganache without using white chocolate?
    Thanks so much for your reply! :)

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    Replies
    1. Probably not! I say this because the chocolate gives the ganache its firmness. But as I said in the previous reply to Terri, you can use milk chocolate instead of white chocolate and then colour it with chocolate colours to make it paler in colour or you could use a crusting buttercream recipe to cover your cake.

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  13. i would like to use white chocolate ganache for a wedding cake in the northern territory, this will be an outside wedding and was wondering how long it could last outside for?? i am making a white chocolate mud cake and am icing in ganache only no fondant.. thanks

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    1. Make your white chocolate ganache as firm as humanly possible i.e. add the maximum amount of chocolate to the cream that you can. There comes a point when the chocolate won't melt / dissolve into the cream as there is too much solid and not enough liquid. I have had good results using the ratio of 1.6kg white chocolate to 450ml pure cream.
      If you are not adding sugar-paste then you can store your finished cake in a fridge, bar fridge, cool room or air-con room so that your cake is as cool as possible before being exposed to outside heat. Keep your cake in a box and leave it in the box till it returns to almost room temp. This way any condensation will be absorbed by the box.
      Do not display the cake outside till absolutely necessary and find a shaded area or an area with a cooling breeze. I can't say how long the cake will last as I can't tell what the conditions will be but it will last the longest if you follow my instructions. Make one person responsible for the condition of the cake and they can remove the cake if necessary or arrange for a cooling fan to be installed.

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  14. I am making a 3 Tier Wedding Cake (Chocolate Mud) and the 12" bottom cake sunk. Should I just make another cake or will chocolate ganache fill this. I am worried because it is the bottom layer and there will be a 10" and an 8" going on top. Of course I will peg it before I put the other layers on. What do you think?

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    1. First of all pegging it will definitely hold all the other layers up perfectly so don't worry about that. As for the sinking, it depends how much of a dip has been created. If the dip is less than a quarter of the height then all should be well. just make sure that the cake in the middle under the dip is properly baked and not too soft. If too soft or the dip too big you will have to re-bake, unfortunitely. Usually the reason for a dip is under baking the cake. Always do several prods with a skewer when it comes out the oven to make absolutely sure that all areas are ready. The skewer should come out clean or with a few dryish crumbs. Hope this helps. Bernicex

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    2. Thank you for your help. I will check the dip but will probably re bake just to be safe and use that cake for something else.

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  15. Hi, I'm going to attempt making a strawberry white chocolate ganache. I'm thinking a ratio 3:1:1, does that sound ok to you?

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  16. Can you recomment a good choco recipe that is firm enough to hold a fondant? thanks!

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  17. I want to cover a cake with a dark choc ganache but i want it to have the shiny look. If i use your choc/cream combo will it be shiny? Thanks

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    1. Hi Cath, no it won't be shiny but if you then pour over another thin layer of ganache with added butter or oil you will get the shiny look. Cheers Bernice.

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  18. Hi sweet thing I was hoping you can help me I've been having lots of issues with my fondant cakes lately with bulges ugh so frustrating and I've been reading how lots of people have been using ganache now I would still like to use my Buttercream icing as a filling and crumb coat. Will a layer of ganache help with the bulging once I put the fondant and will affect the flavors any tips or answers will be greately appreciated thanks in advance
    God bless
    camill

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  19. Hi sweet thing I was hoping you can help me I've been having lots of issues with my fondant cakes lately with bulges ugh so frustrating and I've been reading how lots of people have been using ganache now I would still like to use my Buttercream icing as a filling and crumb coat. Will a layer of ganache help with the bulging once I put the fondant and will affect the flavors any tips or answers will be greately appreciated thanks in advance
    God bless
    camill

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  20. i have a ganached mud cake in the freezer and wondering how long I can store it without compromising safety isssues...

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    1. It is recommended that you can store mud cakes in the freezer safely for 3 months yet I know of many people who have stored them in the freezer for more than a year with amazing results and no safety issues. I have not tried it myself. Ganached mud cakes have next to no air pockets in which bacteria can live and or multiply and this is why they are so stable and safe.

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  21. I love your photos and explanation. You've made it so clear and easy to follow. Can I ask, how far in advance can I make white chocolate ganache? If I can make it advance, how would I store it? Thank you in advance.

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    1. You can make it up to a month in advance and freeze it wrapped in baking parchment then 2 or more layers of cling or you can make up to 6 days in advance and wrap and store in the fridge.
      Cheers
      Bernice

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    2. Excellent! Thank you. You have been so helpful!

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  22. Hi I need a quick fix. Its winter here and so quite cold.I covered my cake with milk chocolate ganache(followed 3:1 ratio) and the cake is sitting in room temperature but the ganache on the cake has become too firm. I have to deliver the cake in next 15 hrs so can you please help me get the ganache on the cake become softer. What should I do to rectify it ?

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    1. For milk chocolate you should follow a white ganache recipe. Also I like a firm ganache so we are aiming for different outcomes. The only way to make your ganache softer now is to heat it up somehow but it will firm up again if it cools. Why not add some proper runny ganache on top? Search for a MILK chocolate ganache recipe for your climate. I live on the Gold Coast of Australia where it never gets cold. Bernice

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    2. I kept it as it is and it was fine while cutting and eating too. It was firm but did not cause any issue.
      Thanks :)

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    3. I kept it as it is and it was fine while cutting and eating too. It was firm but did not cause any issue.
      Thanks :)

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  23. Hi, Im making chocolate ganache for the first time tomorrow and keep finding recipes that calls for heavy cream. your's however calls for pure cream. is it pura brand? will it be the same if i use thickend cream?

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  24. Hi Sweet Thing, I was wondering would you ever use a chocolate ganache to ice a semi naked cake or is it best to use a buttercream? thank you for your help

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  25. Hi
    I hope you can assist me!
    I have made a layered Mud Cake and Butter Cake and plan to turn these into a two tiered cake.
    I have already made, layered and Ganached the cakes and have them stored in the freezer.
    The party is Saturday 29th of August so about a weeks time.,
    My Question is:
    How soon should I take these out of the freezer and decorate/ ice them?
    im undecided as to if I will use fondant or royal icing, however either way I don't know how long they will last once out of the freezer and iced? or how to store?
    Any pointers would be appreciated!

    Thanks
    Rebecca

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  26. Great post, I've never been able to perfect ganache but perhaps this will give me the kick I need!

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  27. Very good post. I don't really like buttercream so will try this on my next cake. LOVE the idea of sandwiching the cake between two boards. It is amazing how a tip like this can make all the difference. Thanks x

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  28. Hi.I want to know if I do a ganache only covered wedding cake, can I freeze it in a box?Have to travel about 4 hours with the cake!Thanx!

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  29. Hello, your site is very helpful. I'm a new baker and I wanted to know if you can fill with a ganache of some sort and still crumb coat in buttercream or will those flavors clash?
    Also if I did that how far before the event can I tort, fill and cover the cakes? I'm just doing a 2 tier (2 10 in rounds, topped with 2 6 in rounds).

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  30. Hello sweet things! This tutorial of covering cakes with chocolate ganache is very useful since i hate using butter in my cakes as long as i can avoid it. So thank you very much for sharing. Anyways... would you suggest me a filling i can use for my oreo cake...im planning to make chocolate cake covered with dark chocolate ganache and fondant but i don't know what to use as filling with oreo cookies...should i use cream cheese or whipped cream or white chocolate ganache? I don't like Too Sweet cakes.
    Please help. Thank you in advance

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