Ganache. It sound so fancy, but in reality is one of the easiest and versatile weapons a baker can have in their arsenal. So I’m going to share how to make ganache—in fact, two different methods—and specifically, my favorite dark chocolate ganache.
This is the pouring ganache that I use for my epic chocolate stout cake (and the gluten-free version), and it’s become my go-to any time I need this particular consistency. The key to chocolate ganache is in the proportions…more or less chocolate will impact how solid it gets once set.
For instance, this recipe is 6 ounces to 6 tablespoons for a pouring consistency to top cakes, while I used a more chocolate-heavy ratio of 2/3 cup chocolate to 1/2 cup cream for a filling solid enough to sit between cake layers (like in this peanut butter cake). You can see more on how the ratios work here.
There are two ways to do this, and both work equally well.
Option 1 uses direct heat. Gently heat the cream in a microwave-safe bowl or a small saucepan on the stove. You want it hot (steaming lightly) but NOT boiling. Add the chocolate chips and instant coffee and whisk until smooth and creamy.
Option 2 uses a double boiler. Place a bowl on top of a saucepan with simmering water to slowly melt the chocolate, cream, and instant coffee together. You want the water simmering, not boiling. Whisk consistently until the chocolate has melted and the entire mixture is smooth.
In either case, it’s going to look weird and grainy for a bit but just be patient and keep whisking until gets all glossy.
Personally, I tend to heat up the cream (option 1) rather than using a double-boiler out of sheer laziness. But if I’m making a bigger amount I’ll opt for the double-boiler to better control the melting process in a bigger bowl…it’s more even.
One of the keys in how to make ganache is just to be patient and not to heat up your cream too much…if it gets too hot it will scald and taste weird, and your chocolate can burn too if you’re not careful. Patience and low-to-medium gentle heat.
Pour your ganache on the cake immediately, then let it set for a bit before cutting.
Et voila! A pouring dark chocolate ganache that will be amazing on top of any dessert!
A couple additional tips…it’s really best not to use chocolate chips for this (even though I did partially in a pinch above, since I’d run out of bars). They have stabilizers and other things that don’t work as well. Also, I love dark chocolate, but bittersweet is probably the absolute best for a ganache.
Some cakes to try this with:
- This peanut butter cake
- This chocolate stout cake
- This coffee cardamom cake
- This chocolate whiskey cake
- This banana cake