In cake making, ganache is a basic requirement that should be mastered. As a cake maker and decorator it will make your life easier, tastier and give you more variety. Ganache is essentially cream and chocolate melted and then cooled. At Little Birdy Cakes, we use ganache for truffles, icing and decorations. The ratio of cream to chocolate differs depending on what you are using it for. Here is our take on ganache and how to make it work for you.
Does the quality of the ingredients affect the ganache?
Like most things, quality ingredients will make a huge difference to the end result. That doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive items, buy the best that you can afford. We recommend using Pauls Pure Cream over thickened cream and make sure the fat content is above 35%. Couverture chocolate is all the rage but for us mere mortals it is way out of our price range. It seems a waste for a cake that will most likely be consumed by your family (or yourself!) in one afternoon. Cadbury or Nestle melts/blocks (don’t use the chips as they won’t melt) are perfectly fine and are often on sale in the supermarket. We always use dark chocolate as it balances out the sweetness of the cake or buttercream. The ratios we use here are for dark chocolate only.
What are the correct rations of cream to chocolate?
For a filling, decoration or as a base for fondant, the ganache needs to be spreadable when applied to the cake. Once applied to the cake it sets firm and results in a perfect foundation for fondant. I would recommend a ratio of 2 parts dark chocolate to 1 part cream. For truffles and for icing, we recommend a ratio of 1:1, equal parts dark chocolate and cream. I have seen many different ratios for truffles however I find that when it comes to eating the truffle (as long as it is kept in the fridge) it is best with a 1:1 ratio.
I have resorted to straining my ganache, reheating on a double boiler or in the microwave or just being plain frustrated with the lumps.
At Little Birdy Cakes, we have experimented with various ganache techniques over the years. Most recipes heat the cream and then pour over the chocolate, allow it to stand and then mix until smooth. This method has not worked for me more often than it has. I have resorted to straining my ganache, reheating on a double boiler or in the microwave or just being plain frustrated with the lumps.
So how do you make the perfect ganache every time?
About a year ago, I stumbled upon a recipe by Heston Blumenthal that changed the way I made my ganache. Rather than pouring the cream over the chocolate, you heat both and then mix together. First you melt the chocolate in a double boiler on one stove top and heat the cream in a saucepan next to it. I normally start melting the chocolate first due to it taking longer to melt. The cream does not need to boil or simmer, it just needs to be approx. the same temperature as the chocolate. Turn both hot plates off and gradually add the cream to the chocolate, about a cup at a time. Stir until completely combined before adding the next cup. And like magic, smooth and silky ganache with NO LUMPS.
And like magic, smooth and silky ganache with NO LUMPS.
We would love to see what you have been making. Post your pictures to instagram and use the hashtag #littlebirdymakes