What is chocolate ganache and what can you use it for?

7 Jun 2021

Chocolate Knowledge

Used to top cakes and make truffles, chocolate ganache is heaven for taste buds. Read on to learn all about it…

Be it solid and snappable, melted and gooey, or somewhere in between, we love chocolate in all its glorious forms. So it goes without saying that we’re a little bit gaga for ganache. This molten mixture is heaven for the taste buds. We’ll take any excuse (and high-quality chocolate ingredients!) to whip up a bowl of the stuff.

Ganache is the perfect filling for truffles, which we adore making and eating. Amongst our truffle inventions, you’ll find Champagne Chocolate Truffles, Chocolate Coconut Truffles, and even White Chocolate Truffles. None of these bites of paradise would be possible without ganache, so we’d truly be lost without it.

If you’re thinking of making some truffle treats at home, read on to learn all about gorge-worthy ganache, how to make it, and what you can use it for.

Chocolate ganache makes smooth truffles

What is chocolate ganache?

So, what exactly is chocolate ganache? Let us give you the low-down.

Chocolate ganache is a type of glaze, sauce, or filling that combines melted chocolate and cream. This chocolatey creation ideal for covering cakes, stuffing pastries, and drizzling over desserts. As we mentioned before, ganache also forms the mouth-watering middle of chocolate truffles, making it a chocolatier’s best friend. If you’re partial to a bit of chocolate, you’ve probably eaten lots of ganache in your time, even if you didn’t realise it until today.

First documented in 1869, ganache originated in Paris, and the term comes from the French word meaning “fool” or “chump”. We can’t help but think the history of the word is pretty fitting because we’re definitely fools for the stuff!

What’s the difference between ganache and icing?

You may now be wondering what the difference is between ganache and icing. They’re both used to top cakes, so you may assume that they’re very similar. However, this isn’t actually the case.

In contrast to icing, ganache contains cocoa solids, so it is usually thicker and heavier. However, its consistency is versatile – if you need a thinner ganache, you can simply add more cream to the mixture. Icing is less adaptable and tends to always have a fairly runny texture.

Furthermore, icing is often much sweeter (and sometimes a little sickly) because sugar is one of its main ingredients, whereas ganache contains no added sugar. We like our treats not-too-sweet, so we think ganache tastes a lot better than icing.

How do you make chocolate ganache?

The ingredients

If you’re now craving ganache (we know we certainly are), you’re in luck because it’s very easy to make — all you need is chocolate and cream. You can make ganache with any type of chocolate. However, it’s more common to use dark chocolate because it makes the ganache richer and more velvety.

Some people prefer not to use milk chocolate because mixing it with cream to make ganache can result in a mixture that’s more milky than chocolatey. However, you may like a more mellow ganache, and if that’s the case, then milk chocolate would be perfect.

The most important thing to consider when choosing your chocolate is its quality. Using premium chocolate is the best way to ensure great ganache. For example, our Batons and Slabs would be perfect as they have a high cocoa percentage and low levels of sugar (more cocoa, less sugar is our manifesto, after all). Even our White Chocolate Batons are decadently high in creamy cocoa butter. Why not experiment with making white chocolate ganache for something a little different?

When it comes to cream, we recommend using full-fat or whipping cream for super-rich results. If you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, coconut cream is a great dairy alternative. To make vegan ganache, follow the same method, but add some delightful Vegan Chocolate to the coconut cream.

Whipping cream for making chocolate ganache

The method

Once you’ve bought your chocolate and your cream, making ganache is straightforward (and very fun!). Simply chop your chocolate, warm up your cream on the hob, and then stir together until you have a smooth, dreamy mixture. Let it cool.

When making ganache, the method never changes. However, the ratio of melted chocolate and cream varies depending on what you’ll be using the ganache for. If you’re making truffles or need a more solid ganache for piping work, you’ll need to add more chocolate than cream to make sure it’s moldable.

If you want to create a ganache that will fill pastries or smother cupcakes, you’ll need to use an equal ratio of melted chocolate and cream to make. This balance will ensure it’s nice and gooey. When making ganache to drizzle over desserts or use at a fondue night, you’ll need more cream and less chocolate to make sure it’s irresistibly molten.

When your ganache is ready, you can keep it in the fridge for around a week so you can easily make it in advance. However, it’s worth noting that the refrigeration will make it slightly stiffer.

What can you use chocolate ganache for?

Ganache is incredibly versatile, so the list of things you can do with it is endless. It’s perhaps most commonly used to decorate cakes, fill pastries, and make truffles, but these are just a few examples. You can use it in pretty any type of baking. So whether you’re making Millionaire’s Shortbread, brownies, or cookies, a touch of ganache is sure to add a little extra decadence to your creations. You can also use it to give no-bake desserts like trifles and cheesecakes a chocolatey flair.

How do you decorate a cake with ganache?

Wondering how to decorate a cake with chocolate ganache? It couldn’t be simpler.

Firstly, place your cake on a wire rack, so you have easy access to the whole thing. We then recommend covering the cake with a crumb coat (a thin layer of ganache that will trap in any errant crumbs). Once you’ve applied a crumb coat, you should leave it to set for about 20 minutes before starting to decorate.

To do this, pour your ganache over the cake until you’ve achieved the desired level of coverage, smooth it out until it looks neat, and then top it with whatever you fancy. We find that fresh fruit always works well on a chocolate cake, but if you want to make it extra-special, you could top it with some bite-size chocolates, like any of our selectors. How about a boozy Chocolate Cream Liqueur Selector to add the finishing touch to a grown-up dessert?

Cake decorated with chocolate ganache

Glorious ganache

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading all about ganache as much as we’ve enjoyed writing about it. This versatile French chocolate creation is as enjoyable to make as it is to eat. Why not get creative and add it to some of your favourite bakes and desserts.

However, if you’d like to enjoy delicious chocolate ganache without having to lift a finger in the kitchen, don’t leave before browsing our huge range of exquisite Truffles. We think treating yourself to some of these is the best way to experience a little taste of ganache heaven – and we’re sure you’ll soon be feeling the same.