If you are wondering why your big cakes don't always look as sharp or professionally finished as the cakes you see online it's probably because you are using buttercream instead of ganache.
Using buttercream under your fondant can often result in the fondant being lumpy and your cake having an uneven finish. Most professionals swear by ganache under their fondant and I am firmly in the ganache camp too!
So here are my 5 top tips for using ganache with your cakes!
1. Get the ratios right.
How much chocolate you need to use when making your ganache will depend on the type of chocolate and the % of cocoa it contains. The general rule is the less cocoa content, the more chocolate you'll need.
Here is my simple chart for working out how much chocolate you'll need to use.
(Pin this chart by clicking this link)
2. Always us double cream
You might see recipes calling for heavy cream, thats the US version of our double cream. Single cream will result in a much thinner ganache which would be fine if you were creating a sauce but not for cake decorating. I use supermarket own brand double cream but if you are worried about shelf life then I've also had great results using Elmlea double 'cream'
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3. Make it the day before
There is nothing worse than rushing your cake decorating and if you have read my stress free guide to making big cakes then you'll know I never make and decorate a cake in one day. Make your ganache the day before, chill it in the fridge until it is completely set and then bring it back to room temperature over night for the best ganache for cake decorating.
4. Make it in the microwave!
Yes you read that right. Nothing fancy here! Heat your cream in the microwave until it is piping hot but no boiling (mine takes about 2 mins). Then whilst still piping hot add the chocolate and leave it to sit for a few minutes before stirring until it is fully combined. If you find there are still a few lumps then pop it back in the microwave for 10 seconds, stir and if needs be another 10 seconds before sitrring again.
5. Use the left overs for truffles
There is usually lots of left over ganache in my house so I make a lot of delicious truffles. They're simple to make and can be stored in the fridge for about 5 days. You can flavour the ganache with a splash of baileys or any other alcohol, orange zest, peppermint essence or any other flavours you can think of. Then simply chill until fuly set and roll truffle size balls with your hands. To finish them off you can roll them in cocoa, coconut, nuts or chocolate sprinkles. These make great gifts for friends but take minutes to make!
If you re unsure how to use ganache on your big cakes then there are some great tutorials online including this one from Lesley of Royal Bakery fame.
But if you prefer hands on learning then don't forget my big cakes class covers all the techniques of working with ganache as well.