Ganaching a cake may seem a little daunting to beginner bakers, but a with a little bit of practice you’ll be ganaching like a pro in no time.
How to make chocolate ganache
So, to start, ganache is simply cream and chocolate heated and mixed together. It’s then left to cool slightly and applied to your cake to give it a smooth finish. Chocolate to cream ratios differ between types of chocolate as white chocolate includes more cream than dark chocolate. The typical ratios are:
Dark chocolate – 2 parts chocolate : 1 part cream (3 parts chocolate in hot weather)
Milk chocolate – 3 parts chocolate : 1 part cream (3 parts chocolate in hot weather)
White chocolate – 4 parts chocolate : 1 part cream (4+ parts chocolate in hot weather)
First of all, you need to make sure that your cake is level, and the sides are trimmed and level up together. Once you’re happy and you’ve made your ganache, you need to apply a crumb coat. This is a thin layer which quite literally does as it says, holds all the cake crumbs in. Apply a thin layer of your ganache around the sides of your cake with a spatula and leave to set in the fridge for around 30 minutes. It doesn’t have to be perfect as you’ll be applying another layer shortly.
Now, there are a few ways you can apply your final layer of ganache, depending on your skill level and the finish you would like. If you’re a beginner, you may want to start simple before buying all the accessories to achieve a perfectly smooth ganache. We’ll talk you through 3 ways in which you can apply your layer of ganache. The ganache made previously may be too cool, so you need to pop it in the microwave, 5 seconds will do the trick to soften it slightly.
The spatula and scraper method
The first method is with a spatula and metal scraper. You may want to try this first if it is your first time ganaching. Apply the ganache with a spatula. Don’t be shy to load it on as you will be spreading it out and scraping some off as you work it around the cake. Once you’ve applied a layer to the top and sides of the cake, heat a metal spatula or scraper in warm water, dry, and use to spread and smooth the ganache more easily. Work your way around the cake until you are happy with the result.
Using ganaching plates
The second method of ganaching is the most popular one and may take a bit of practice – using ganaching plates. Ganaching plates are used to ensure the sides will be perfectly straight, they also help you get a nice sharp top edge. Our The Vanilla Valley ganaching plates are 0.25 inches larger than a standard cake size to allow for ganache. For example, if you are making a 10inch cake, choose a 10.25inch ganaching plate to allow for that layer of ganache. Alternatively, you can opt for larger ganaching plates, but you will be adding a lot more ganache to your cake.
You can either build your cake on your bottom ganache plate, or place the crumb coated cake on the plate, securing the cake to the plate with a dab of ganache. For your top ganache plate, trace around the plate on some baking paper and cut it slightly smaller to ensure you have no edges sticking out. Add a dab of ganache between your paper and plate to secure them together. Then add a thin layer of ganache to the top of your cake then pop the paper and plate onto your cake baking paper side down. Hold a ganache scraper with it touching the top and bottom plates to ensure they are level. The scraper needs to be taller than your cake to ensure it meets both plates to give you a smooth finish. You will see a gap between the scraper and the cake - this will soon be filled with ganache.
Gently hold the top plate with one hand and apply a generous layer of ganache around the whole cake. It may look messy and uneven to start, but you need to apply more than you need. Hold your scraper against the top and bottom plates and scrape away the excess ganache. Work your way around the cake, wiping the excess back in the bowl. You may notice some spots or holes, fill them in with more ganache and scrape again until it’s even. Place in the fridge for around 20 minutes.
Once the cake is set and firm, the cake boards need to be removed. Using a knife, cut a seam between the ganaching plates and your cake, taking care not to gouge into the cake, gently lift until the board breaks away. Peel the baking paper off the top of the cake. Apply a layer of ganache to the top of your cake and smooth with a spatula and there you have a perfectly ganached cake!
Using a ganache kit
Here at The Vanilla Valley we also stock a mess free, fuss free ganaching kit by Brigid. This brings us onto our last method of ganaching a cake. Brigid’s Reusable Easy Cake Tin Liner Ganaching Kit is a quick and easy solution to ganaching. It’s simply a cake tin liner, which allows you to pour your ganache down the sides of your cake into the plastic liner, rather than applying it with a spatula. Instead of creating a top layer once you’ve ganached and set your cake, Brigids ganaching kit allows you to pour a layer of ganache into the bottom of the cake tin before adding the cake, then once set, you can turn the cake upside down for a smooth flat top layer. You will need to buy a kit 1” larger than your cake size to allow for the ganache. A full video tutorial is available on our Brigid’s The One and Only Ganaching Kit listings.
Ganaching always takes some time, which ever method you choose. Always leave to chill and set fully before moving on to the next step for best results.
Take a look at our Drip Cakes page for tips and tricks to applying drip to ganached cakes