Ganache can be used to fill, frost and decorate a cake and in this tutorial I’ll show you how to make it, how to use it to frost a cake, and how to adjust the ingredient ratios for different results, like using it for a drip or to make truffles or a glaze for donuts.
Making ganache is incredibly simple. There are only 2 ingredients: heavy whipping cream, called double cream in the UK, and semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate. Weigh the ingredients, and I’ll give you the quantities in a moment, and then heat the cream in the microwave or in a pan on the stove.
I like to heat the cream on the stove so I can see what’s happening, because you don’t want to overheat the cream. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as bubbles start forming around the edges of the pan.
Immediately add the chocolate to the pan. You can use chocolate chips or a bar of chocolate but you should chop up a bar of chocolate into approximately equal sized pieces, so that it all melts at the same speed. Use a spatula to push all of the chocolate underneath the cream and then leave it for 5 minutes, still sitting on the counter, not over heat.
Stir the ganache until it’s smooth. If you still have lumps of chocolate even after stirring for a minute or so, you can put the pan back on the stove over a low heat and stir until the lumps melt.
To make ganache to fill and frost a cake, use equal amounts of chocolate and cream, so the ratio is 1:1. So if you use 200g of chocolate, use 200g of cream, too. After making the ganache, leave it to set, which will take about 3 hours at room temperature. You can put it in the fridge to speed up the process but stir it every 15 minutes to keep it smooth. Then use a whisk or a whisk attachment of a mixer to whisk the ganache for a few minutes, until it lightens in colour and has a consistency similar to whipped cream.
Then fill and frost your cake as normal. You’ll probably need a crumb coat, which is a very thin layer of frosting to trap any crumbs that come off the cake, and then you should let that set for about an hour at room temperature or 30 minutes in the fridge before applying your final coat of frosting. You can make smooth frosting with a frosting smoother or textured frosting with a textured cake comb, which is what I’m doing here.
Don’t be intimidated by ganache – frosting a cake with ganache is almost exactly the same as using my 4 Minute Buttercream frosting, so if you’ve used one you’ll be able to use the other. To get rid of any smudges of ganache on the cake board, let the ganache set first and then you can try scraping the smudges with an offset spatula or it’s more effective to wipe them off with a paper towel wrapped around your finger.
To make a drip, use 3 parts of chocolate and 2 parts of cream, so for example if you use 150g of chocolate, use 100g of cream. Let the ganache come to room temperature before you use it and it will thicken as it cools. Your cake should be chilled in the fridge before you apply the drip. Always do a test drip on the back of the cake to see how the ganache will behave, and then you can adjust the consistency of your drip if you need to.
If the drip is too runny, even if it’s at room temperature, you can add more chocolate, heat over a low heat on the stove, stirring until it’s smooth, and then let it cool to room temperature again. If it’s too thick, you can add more cream to loosen it.
Use a spoon or a condiment bottle to drizzle the ganache around the top edge of the cake, pausing wherever you want there to be a drip. Having a cold cake helps to stop the drip on its way down the cake, instead of running all the way down the cake and pooling at the bottom, on the cake board. You can go back and add more drips if you want to, but you should do that immediately after doin got first drips, so that those don’t set first because then there would be a seam where the new drips join the old drips.
If you’re going to cover the top of the cake you should do that now too, immediately after doing the drips around the edge of the cake. Spoon the ganache on or drizzle it with a bottle and then use an offset spatula to smooth it over the top of the cake.
If you like you can spin the cake while slowly dragging the tip of your offset spatula towards the center of the cake to create a spiral pattern on top of the cake.
To make truffles with ganache, make the ganache with 2 parts of chocolate and 1 part of cream. Put the ganache in the fridge until it firms up, about 2 hours, and then scoop it up with a spoon and roll it between your palms into a ball.
You can drop the truffles into a bowl of cocoa powder or powdered sugar or sprinkles and then move them around to coat them completely. I’m putting these around the top of the cake before the ganache drip sets, so that they stick to the ganache, but if the drip has set you could use a tiny dot of leftover ganache frosting or drip to make them stick.
To use ganache to glaze donuts, which is also a 2:1 ratio of chocolate to cream, as soon as you’ve made the ganache and stirred It until it’s smooth, lower a donut into it and twist the donut to coat it in ganache. Lift it up, flip it over, and place it on a wire rack. If there’s ganache in the hole of the doughnut, tap the rack on the counter a few times so that the ganache settles. I cover this in a lot more detail in my tutorial on how to make doughnuts with cake batter.
You can add sprinkles or crushed nuts or candies or whatever you like to garnish or decorate the doughnuts.
If you prefer to watch a video of this tutorial, click the play button below: