Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chocolate ganache

This morning I whipped up a cake at the last minute for Bruce to take to work for his birthday. When I say last minute, that was about what happened. First of all, last night I had planned to bake the cake after it cooled down in the house and I could open up the windows. So, at 10:15, I got the cake mix out and realized that I didn't have enough eggs. So I went to the store at 10:30 pm to buy eggs, came home and baked the cake. I got up this morning a little after 5 am, so I could put the cake together and have it ready by no later than 6:30. I decided to make it a Boston creme flavor, since I knew Bruce would like that, so I torted the layers, and put bavarian creme filling between two of the layers and put a rich chocolate buttercream between the other. Then I covered the entire cake with a chocolate ganache. I had lots of strawberries that I had purchased a couple of days ago and plenty of chocolate, so decided to dip strawberries to add to the top of the cake. As you can see, it wasn't perfect (lettering, for example), but Bruce said it tasted great! I guess it wasn't bad for about an hour or less of work.

Last minute birthday cake covered in ganache and decorated with dipped strawberries

Chocolate ganache is a combination of whipping cream and melted chocolate that is poured over the cake and sets up as it cools into a rich chocolate coating. I usually do a crumb coating of chocolate buttercream on the cake first. You put the cake on a rack over a drip pan, and pour the ganache over the cake and then let it set up. Any ganache that's left over you can let set up to a stiffer consistency and then use it to decorate the cake. I experimented this morning to see if I could use some leftover ganache from the last cake I did. So I melted it in the microwave. When I did that, the cream and chocolate separated, so I could not use it to pour on the cake. However, what I did do was pour it into my KitchenAid and beat it until the cream and chocolate combined again and then whipped it with the flat beater attachment until it resembled the consistency of a chocolate buttercream. It became a little lighter in color than the original ganache, but you could use it for decorating, borders, or for making chocolate truffle candies. It was good to know that at least it didn't go to waste.

Chocolate Ganache Recipe:

(2) 12 oz. packages chocolate candy melts (I like Guittard, but you can use any good quality chocolate candy melts or good chocolate cut in small pieces.)
About 3/4 cup cream

Heat the cream in a medium saucepan until hot, but not boiling. Remove from heat and add the chocolate and stir until smooth. Add more cream, but only a little at a time, if necessary. Pour over cake and let set. Add decorations if desired.

Chocolate Lover's cake covered in ganache

Whipped ganache

Chocolate buttercream
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