So, you want to learn how to ganache a cake? Awesome, you’re in the right spot!
Here’s the brutal truth about using ganache in cake decorating:
It’s not easy, at least at first anyway.
It’s a skill, and like any skill, it requires some practice.
But don’t be disheartened:
With a little help and a little practice, before you know it, you’ll have mastered the art of the smooth ganache finish, perfect for creating polished fondant covered creations, a professional look, and those beautifully sharp corners we all love.
Because this is one of our most frequently asked questions, we’ve worked with Sweetness and Bite to create a free guide that will make you better at using ganache for cake decorating. With the tips below and our guide downloaded, you’ll learn how to ganache a cake in no time at all!
Scroll to keep reading or scroll to the bottom to fill in your email and have our free guide that will make you better at using ganache for cake decorating sent to you.
What Is Ganache?
It’s said that ganache is the delicious invention of an apprentice’s accident. He poured piping hot cream over a big tub of chopped chocolate, and voila! Ganache as we know it was born. Ganache is, quite simply, a mixture of chocolate, cream and sometimes butter.
You don’t have to be a French chef (or apprentice) to make a yummy ganache. The secret to a delicious ganache is this:
The quality of your ingredients.
Quality ingredients, in this case your chocolate, are a big factor in the delicious-ness of what you’re making. Why? Because they’re what you’re eating.
This doesn’t mean you need to go out and spend a fortune. When you’re preparing to make ganache, just be sure to use chocolate that you’d be happy to munch on too!
How Is Ganache Used?
Ganache is used in baking, patisserie, and cake decorating in many different ways. With different flavours and textures, once you understand how to create a good ganache the opportunities are endless!
Continue reading to see how ganache is used as a coating, as a filling, and as the perfect base for use under fondant.
Used as a coating, there is usually more cream than chocolate in the mix. This creates a pourable chocolate ganache that will set into a soft melt-in-your-mouth coating for your cakes.
If you’ve ever eaten a store bought chocolate mudcake, you’ll have seen this kind of ganache. Different tortes use this technique too, with the poured ganache coating a layer of buttercream or cream on the cake.
To do it yourself at home, place your cake on a wire rack over some baking paper and pour the warm ganache over your cake. The baking paper will catch the drips and you’ll be able to carefully re-melt and re-use it later.
If you’re feeling decadent, use it as a home made hot chocolate fudge ice cream topping – your kids will love it!!
Used as a filling, the ratio of chocolate to cream is less, and there is less chocolate in the mix. There’s still more cream than chocolate, but enough chocolate to allow the ganache to set into a creamy, pipable filling.
Chefs and bakers will often replace some of the cream with butter for an extra rich ganache, and fruit reductions to add a different flavour. Fruit flavoured ganaches are commonly used to fill macarons and cakes.
Want to flavour your ganache with fruit purees? Here’s the maths:
When you’re making a ganache that has a fruit puree, or any other liquid flavour. Remember to reduce the amount of cream by the amount of fruit or flavour that you’re adding. For instance, if you’d normally use 500ml of cream but you want to add 200ml of fresh raspberry puree, then you’ll only need to add 300ml of cream.
Why use ganache under fondant?
So, why do you need to know how to ganache a cake?:
If you want a professional finish, fondant that looks smooth and has sharp edges, and can hold the weight of your fondant decorations, knowing how to ganache a cake is step one.
A high ratio of chocolate to cream creates a thick shell that sets hard but can still be cut with a knife, tastes delicious and is easy to eat. So why do we use it under fondant?
We first started using ganache instead of buttercream in hot climates like Australia where buttercream simply melts (and literally slides off the cake) when left out of the fridge.
When Aussie cake decorators started producing incredibly smooth fondant finishes, and sharp fondant edges (instead of the rounded edges that were so common), using ganache under fondant became the most common method around the world replacing buttercream and marzipan. It’s now best practice to use a shell of ganache under your fondant.
With a hard, perfectly smooth surface, it’s easier for cake decorators to create a smooth and professional fondant finish on their cakes. But it takes practice!
Ready to get caking?
Click below to download our free guide, and you’ll learn how to ganache a cake in no time at all!