I am an absolute sucker for chocolate ganache. It is rich and silky and delicious and so versatile! It’s about time I make an entire post dedicated to ganache. A drip cake is such a beautiful sight, but ganache can also be used as fillings for tarts, coatings for cookies, toppings for fruit, and so much more.
The recipe is very simple – heat heavy cream, mix in chocolate. Tadaaa! The ratio of cream to chocolate will determine the consistency or thickness of your ganache, and this is what we play with to create minor alterations for various desserts. I will run you through a few of my favourite uses for this divine creation.
Firstly though, let’s cover the basics. Since there are really only two ingredients, you want to make sure you’re using the best tasting options, to provide the best results.
I prefer the taste of a dark chocolate ganache, as the bitterness typically balances quite nicely with the dessert I am using it with. You can use dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, or chopped up chocolate bars. Just make sure whatever you choose has a cocoa content of more than 50% cocoa for best results – you don’t want to use candy melts or chocolate without cocoa butter, as these will give a more waxy feel (and taste!).
The name may vary, but make sure you are using cream with a fat content of 35% (give or take a few percent). It may be called: heavy cream, whipping cream, 35% cream, whole cream, etc. The high fat content makes the ganache extra rich, and helps to keep it stable.
I’m a purist, so I rarely flavour my ganache. I like to let the chocolate do its thiiiing, just rich and velvety. BUT, ganache does hold flavours quite well! Extracts such as vanilla, lavender, rose, or orange can be added in small amounts as a final step. Alternatively, you can infuse the cream with flavours before mixing. I often add a little espresso powder to my cream – spices and teas are other great options.
I have even added a little orange zest to my ganache in the past to amp things up for a chocolate orange cake (see video below).
Chocolate Ganache: Drip Cakes
Starting with my go-to, let’s get into ganache for cake drips. Personally, this is my most common use; it creates such a show-stopping effect, and tastes amazing. What’s not to love?
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
- Microwave the heavy cream in a bowl for 30 seconds, until hot.
- Add in chocolate and let stand for about a minute, to soften up.
- Stir until fully combined and smooth. You may need to place back in the microwave for another 30 second burst.
Ganache can be left at room temperature for 48 hours, refrigerated for 1 week or frozen for 6 months. When ready to use, heat ganache up in the microwave in 10-20 second bursts, stirring between each cycle.
Some of the keys to achieving the perfect drip cake:
- Make sure your cake is COLD. It should be chilled in the fridge for at least 20 minutes (or freezer for 10) before you attempt a drip.
- You want the ganache to be warm, but not HOT. Hot ganache will melt your buttercream.
- Test your drip consistency on the side of a drinking glass. This way you can get an idea of how far down the cake the drip will run before setting. If it seems too runny, add more chocolate. If it’s too thick, add more heavy cream.
- Do a “test drip” at the back side of your cake – this way you can make sure the consistency works on the chilled cake as well.
- Pour the ganache on top of the cake, and then push a small amount over the edge so that it runs down the side. There are a few ways to do this: curtain drip, piping bag drip, and teaspoon method drip (see videos/photos below).
Chocolate Ganache: Tarts and Pies
This “variation” actually only involves changing the ratio of the two ingredients – pretty simple! Instead of 1:2 cream to chocolate, I aim for closer to 1:3 cream to chocolate. So 1/3 cup heavy cream, 1 cup chocolate chips. This allows the ganache to set up more solidly, and hold its shape as a filling for a tart or pie.
Ok fine, I admit… I basically only make s’mores tarts. They’re so good!! I can’t help it. But regardless of what you use as the crust or toppings, a ganache centre will make anything taste good.
Chocolate Ganache: Truffles
To make chocolate truffles, I would recommend adding a third ingredient to your ganache… butter. Since butter is a solid at room temperature, it helps the truffles hold their shape. It’s a small amount and it won’t make them greasy or butter-y tasting. It’s just for texture, I promise! Here’s my go-to recipe:
Chocolate Truffles 3 Ways: Hazelnut, Pistachio, and Sea Salt
- 1 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 450 g semisweet chocolate chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
Flavourings (choose one for each portion of the truffle mixture):
- 1 teaspoon hazelnut emulsion or extract
- 1 teaspoon pistachio emulsion or extract
- 1 tablespoon sea salt flakes
Toppings (optional, choose one for each flavour of truffle):
- Chopped hazelnuts
- Chopped pistachios
- Cocoa powder
- In a medium saucepan or microwave-safe bowl, heat the cream until it begins to simmer (this can be done on the stove over medium heat or in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each interval).
- Remove the pan or bowl from the heat and add the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute, then stir until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Stir in the butter until it is fully incorporated.
- Divide the truffle mixture into three equal portions.
- Flavour each portion of the truffle mixture with one of the flavourings listed above (hazelnut emulsion/extract, pistachio emulsion/extract, or sea salt). Mix well to combine.
- Cover the truffle mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm.
- Once the truffle mixture is firm, use a small cookie scoop or a spoon to scoop out rounded tablespoons of the mixture. Roll the mixture into balls between your palms.
- If making the hazelnut or pistachio truffles, place one nut at the centre of each ball of truffle mixture before rolling it into a ball.
- If using a topping, roll the truffles in the topping of your choice (chopped hazelnuts, pistachios, or cocoa powder).
- Place the truffles on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Store the truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Enjoy!
Chocolate Ganache: Coating and Piping
Last but not least – ganache can be used to coat a cake, or to pipe decorations. This is one of the tougher methods, but it’s oh so worth it. The ratio actually stays the same as for tarts/pies (1:3 cream to chocolate), but with an added step of cooling the ganache before using. This allows it to remain stable throughout the piping and decorating. I call this one “tough”, because knowing how cool is cool enough can be tricky. You want the ganache to have a “scoopable” consistency. This means, if you were to go at it with a spoon (recommended!), it would scoop up onto the spoon and hold its shape. Then you can spread it on a cake or toss into a piping bag!
Ganache is the backbone of my baking arsenal. As a chocolate lover, it’s truly my favourite addition to any dessert. While the word sounds fancy schmancy, it’s actually not all that tough to make! So grab your two ingredients, and get after it.