In the Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Ganache part 1, I explained what ganache is and how temperature and ratio determines consistency and usage of the ganache. In this continuation post, I will go over how to make ganache as well as how to flavor ganache and troubleshoot any problems.
1:1 - 10oz chocolate/10oz heavy cream
2:1 - 10oz chocolate/5oz heavy cream
1:2 - 8oz chocolate/16oz heavy cream
3:1 - 12 oz chocolate/4oz heavy cream
How to make ganache
Weigh or measure the chocolate and place in a bowl. Chop the pieces finely if you are using chocolate bars. Microwave for 30-45 seconds to soften the chocolate.
Place the cream in a saucepan and place on the stove over medium low heat.
Heat the cream until it starts to steam along the top. Keep a close eye on the cream making sure the cream doesn't scald or curdle.
Once heated, pour the cream over the warmed chocolate. Let the mixture sit 3 or 4 minutes.
*Add ins: Adding a tablespoon of butter or corn syrup will give your ganache more shine, which is helpful especially when using for a drip or glaze. Corn syrup also gives the ganache a little bit of elasticity. Adding a pinch of salt to the chocolate before the cream is added gives the ganache a bit of flavor and breaks up the sweetness into identifiable flavors.*
With a spatula or a whisk, begin gently stirring the mixture starting in the center, and working outward. This creates a smooth emulsion and prevents air from being incorporated. Too much air can cause the mixture to split.
You can use the ganache immediately or set it aside to cool to the desired consistency.
Ganache and cake decorating
Ganache is ideal for frosting cakes. It's airless and super smooth, creating an ideal and flawless cake covering. It's also the best cake frosting to use if you're making a fondant cake. Ganache holds it shape better, and sets up more quickly than buttercream, allowing you to keep smooth and crisp ganache edges when covering with fondant.
Ganache also has a higher melting point than buttercream, which means that on hotter days, buttercream would melt faster than ganache.
Another perk of using ganache on layer cakes, is that you typically don't get any bulging or blowouts as long as you're allowing your cake to settle after filling and layering it and you're not trapping any air under your fondant. You also want the ganache to be fully set before covering fondant.
Chocolate ganache is also a good starting point for a true black frosting. Adding black color to the ganache allows you to use less food color, but also it's easier to achieve a true black. Coloring buttercream uses far more gel color and can also leave an aftertaste.
Common Ganache Questions
Can I reheat or reuse ganache?
Most definitely. I almost always make ganache in advance and store in the refrigerator for a day or two before using it. I microwave ganache in short 5 second bursts, gently stirring after each to gradually bring the ganache to temperature, but also to achieve the desired texture. Refrigerating and reheating repeatedly can cause the ganache to lose its shine. But, it'll still taste amazing.
How do you store ganache?
Due to the higher sugar amount, ganache can be stored at room temperature for up to 48 hours. You can also refrigerate ganache for up to 2-3 weeks, and freeze ganache for up to 3 months. Note that frozen ganache will typically loose it's shine and glossy appearance when brought to room temperature.
What about white chocolate ganache?
See my Ultimate Guide to White Chocolate Ganache.
Can I refrigerate my ganached cake?
Absolutely. But, you don't have to. The ganache *can*crack if the cake gets too cold. And while the topic of freezing ganache covered cakes is highly debatable, I do not recommend freezing a ganached cake because of this reason.
How do I attach fondant to my ganached cake?
When ganache is set on a cake, it sets firm and dry. You can adhere fondant to the ganache by brushing on a thin layer of sugar syrup, corn syrup, alcohol or vegetable shortening.
How do I color my chocolate ganache black?
There are a couple ways to darken ganache. Keep in mind, it only takes a small amount of black color to achieve black ganache.
- You can add black chocolate/oil based color OR black gel color to your ganache until you achieve your desired color. It's typically true that adding to water will cause chocolate to seize, but since ganache is an emulsion, you can use gel color.
- You can add black gel color to the cream mixture before pouring over the chocolate.
Why is my ganache grainy?
If your ganache is grainy and poor quality chocolate isn't the culprit, place the bowl of ganache over a double broiler, and slowly reheat the mixture, stirring until the mixture is smooth no longer grainy. If the ganache is greasy, too much air could have been incorporated while mixing. Additionally, use a glass bowl. Ganache is shinier and smoother when using glass compared to plastic. No idea why, it just is. Science.
Additionally, if you're reheating the ganache, any graininess is just uneven melting. Just keep stirring and gently heat to even out the texture.
My ganache is lumpy after mixing in the cream?
Likely, your chocolate isn't melted enough. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring gently after, until the ganache is smooth and melted.
I made my ganache too liquidy? How can I fix it?
For ganache that is too thin and won't set, reheat it and add a small amount of chopped chocolate at a time, heating it thoroughly until thickened.
For ganache that is too stiff, add additional warmed cream, a tablespoon at time to thin it out.
My ganache split and is greasy. Can I fix it?
Be sure to not overheat your chocolate, as well as taking care to not overheat the cream. Chocolate that gets too hot can cause the fats to separate causing a split and greasy chocolate mess.
It's very easy to overheat chocolate in the microwave. Microwave in short increments to avoid overheating.
Ganache is chocolate and chocolate will be the dominant flavor, but infusing flavor into ganache gives you loads of options for pairing with different cakes and fillings.
Mint and fresh herbs
If you make ganache, let me know! Drop a comment or tag me on Instagram. I love seeing your creations.
For more on ganache, check out these posts: