Ganache Is The Most Valuable And Versatile Recipe You Can Have In Your Baking Arsenal.
Ganache is made by heating cream and pouring it over chocolate and then whisking until the two become a creamy chocolate sauce. It can be a drip for a cake, chocolate sauce for ice cream, frosting for cupcakes or cakes or rolled into truffles. It all depends on the ratio of chocolate to cream that you use. I’m going to teach you all the ways to make ganache successfully and what ratio is best to use for the job.
What Kind Of Chocolate Is Best For Ganache?
The basics of making ganache is actually very simple. Heat your cream, pour it on the chocolate and mix. So why do people have so many problems with ganache?
Chances are, it’s probably the chocolate you’re using. I know that when I first started baking I did not know that chocolate actually came in many many MANY different forms. But don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds. Basically, the higher quality of chocolate you use, the better your ganache is going to taste.
What does that mean?
It means leave the Hershey’s kisses and toll house chocolate chips in the cupboard and get yourself some real chocolate. Chocolate candies often have other ingredients like stabilizers that STOP them from melting so they hold up in packaging or don’t lose their shape during baking.
Really cheap chocolates like melties or chocolate bark don’t taste very good because they have a lot of fillers like vegetable shortening instead of cocoa butter. If the chocolate doesn’t taste good, the ganache isn’t going to taste good.
You can buy chocolates in bars at the grocery store but that can get expensive. Your best bet is to look for a good quality chocolate either from a restaurant supply store or cake decorating store near you or you can buy on amazon. Look for a chocolate thats at least 53% cocoa like Callebaut Chocolate (it should list it on the label).
I use Guittard semi-sweet dark chocolate wafers because I can buy them at my local winco in bulk and they are a good price. If you can find a place near you to buy in bulk or in large bars, that’s the best for your money because chocolate is heavy and can be expensive to ship.
Plus I always seem to be out of chocolate when I need it and I never have time to order!
What Is The Ratio For Ganache
Ratio is a scary word for the baking newbie. I remember I totally did not understand what that meant at all. Basically it just means how much chocolate to cream are you using. The first number represents chocolate, the second cream. I always work in lbs because I’m bad at math. So for instance if I’m making my go-to ganache recipe and I use 2 lbs of chocolate, I’m going to use 1 lb or (16oz) of cream (2:1). In this ratio there’s always twice as much chocolate as cream so if you up the cream to 12 oz, then you’d use 24 oz of chocolate to keep the ratio the same.
Ganache ratios change depending on how you’re going to use it. I have listed below the ratios I use for my ganache. I only use semi-sweet dark chocolate or white chocolate (both from Guittard). If you’re using a different brand and it’s not as thick or thin as you want it, just keep in mind, the darker the chocolate and the more cocoa %, the firmer it will set. So for white chocolate you need much more chocolate than cream to get it to set firm whereas if you’re using dark chocolate, you can use much less chocolate and it will still set.
Protip: try pouring your ganache over our vanilla cake recipe for the ultimate delicious cakey treat!
Dark Chocolate Ganache Sauce Ratio – 1:1
This ganache uses equal parts chocolate and heavy cream always stays a bit creamy. It’s great to use for pouring over ice cream, using as a glaze for cakes or for a super creamy and soft frosting for filling your cakes and cupcakes. I start with 8oz of chocolate and 8oz of cream.
Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting Ratio – 2:1
This ratio is most commonly used in the cake decorating world. It set’s a bit more firmly than the 1:1 ratio. When you first make this ganache it’s great for putting the drips on your drip cake. When you let it cool a couple hours to room temperature (peanut butter consistency) it’s perfect for piping onto cupcakes or for frosting your cakes. I also like using this consistency for my sculpted cakes because when the frosting sets fully, it keeps a cake very stable. I start with 16oz of chocolate and 8oz of cream. When the ganache is at room temperature it’s also the perfect consistency for rolling into truffles.
Milk Chocolate Ganache Frosting Ratio – 2.5:1
Milk chocolate does not set as firmly as dark so you need to use a bit more chocolate than you would with dark for it to set properly. I start with 20oz of chocolate to 8oz cream.
White Chocolate Ganache Frosting Ratio – 3:1
White chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa to help it set, only cocoa butter so you need to use a lot more chocolate to get it to set properly. I start with 18oz white chocolate and 6oz cream.
Did you know that white chocolate ganache doesn’t sweat and is ideal to use in really hot environments like Florida, the Caribbean and Texas? Cynthia White from CAKED By Cynthia White uses white chocolate ganache exclusively for her high-end clients and never has issues with cakes melted or shifting in the super hot weather.
How To Make Chocolate Ganache
Once you’ve decided the ratio you want to use and the application you’re going to use your ganache for, all that’s left is to make it! It’s actually very simple.
Weigh out your chocolate (yes please use a kitchen scale, you can get one at the grocery store or online) and place into a heat safe bowl. A cup of chocolate is not the same as 8oz. Trust me, you don’t want to waste a batch of good chocolate and start all over trying to convert to cups.
Heat your cream on the stove until steam begins to rise of the surface but it’s not actually boiling yet. Trust me you do NOT want to walk away from that pot because it will definitely boil over the second you walk away and burnt cream smells nasty. I truly wish I could learn this lesson and take my own advice.
Pour your cream over your chocolate and then push the chocolate down with a spatula so it’s all submerged. Let the whole thing set for about 5 minutes then whisk it until it’s nice and smooth.
Add in your salt and vanilla and whisk and then you’re done!
How To Fix Broken Ganache
- If you have any lumps you can re-heat the whole thing in the microwave for 30 second increments until it’s smooth or you can use an immersion blender to make it super super creamy.
- If your ganache is breaking (oil separating from the chocolate) you can whisk in a tablespoon of warm water or milk. Keep adding warm water a tablespoon at a time until it comes together.
- If your ganache is grainy, just re-melt the whole thing and let it re-set. If you don’t re-melt it, the ganache will have a very bad mouth feel.
- If your ganache is too thin and isn’t setting, add more melted chocolate and whisk to combine. I would start with 2oz and see where you’re at before adding more to avoid making the ganache too stiff.
- If your ganache is too stiff you can add 1oz of warm cream to loosen it up.
Be sure to watch the video below on how to make chocolate ganache and I hope this post has helped you have the confidence to go forth and make some ganache! I swear it’s not scary and if you have any questions at all, just leave them for me down in the comments and if you’re looking for a community of cake decorators to help you at any time of the day, join our facebook group!
This is my recipe on how to make a great ganache and how to use it in it's various forms for a ganache drip, piped ganache and ganache for icing a cake.
Firm Setting Ganache (less expensive)
- 16 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate guittard a'peels - about $3/lb
- 8 oz heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Frosting Ganache (more expensive)
- 8 oz 60% high quality chocolate Such as callebaut - about $8/lb
- 8 oz heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Weigh out your chocolate in a heat proof bowl
Heat cream in a sauce pan until steam starts to rise from the surface but isn't boiling yet.
Pour hot cream over the chocolate, push the chocolate down so that it's all under the surface of the cream and let it set for 2 minutes.
Whisk the cream and chocolate together. Add salt and vanilla and whisk. Sometimes it all won't mix together and you'll be able to see a couple lumps. If you have lumps, put the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds to completely melt all your chocolate, otherwise this can ruin the ganache later when the chocolate re-crystalizes.
If you have an immersion blender you can use it to remove any remaining lumps as well for a super cream ganache
Freshly made ganache is great for piping a drip around a cake. For piping ganache or frosting a cake, let the mixture sit at room temperature until it's thickened to peanut butter consistency. For truffles, let your ganache sit overnight at room temperature.
Ganache can be kept in the refrigerator for 1 week for frozen for up to 6 months.
Don't put your ganache in the refrigerator.
October 23, 2018