My son turned 5 on Wednesday. I’m still in shock and sugar coma. He loves chocolate cake, actually he just loves cake and anything that I bake. Each year I ask him what he wants for his birthday and his answer is always chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Sometimes the chocolate cake will be mixed with pumpkin or filled with a cranberry cream, this year it was chocolate on chocolate.
This hardest decision is whether I make a buttercream or ganache frosting. Buttercream is great, but the sugar can put me over the edge and the kids up the wall! I asked Milam what he wanted, yes my son knows the difference between both. He opted for the creamy stuff, ganache.
I have been making ganache for several years now and have had some really not so good turn outs. Cream and chocolate are delicate ingredients and must be handled with care. Do you melt the chocolate and then add the cream or do you heat the cream and then add the chocolate? How much cream to chocolate, every recipe changes to the cooks taste. Some have a higher ratio of cream to chocolate or just the opposite. I don’t use milk chocolate for anything I bake. It has too much sugar and milk already added, making it difficult to control sweetness.
Don’t rush your ganache or you’ll be disappointed. I prefer to heat the cream and then have a bowl of chopped up dark chocolate waiting to be melted. Once you pour the hot cream over the chocolate, be patient and let the melting magic happened. You don’t want to stir it too much. Just let the chocolate be heated up by the cream and gently give it a stir to help the melting process.
As the chocolate melts it will turn glossy. Gently stir the mixture to incorporate the bottom pieces of chocolate. If there are lumps, don’t worry. Simply put the heat proof bowl on top of a pot of boiling water, don’t get the mixture too hot, you only want to heat up the bottom of the bowl.
A ganache, once cooled, can be poured, whipped, or pipped. If your desired consistency is for pouring, then you’ll need to add a tablespoon of corn syrup to the finished product (it helps with the smoothness).
So here’s my recipe.
makes 2 whipped cups
8 oz heavy whipping cream (it’s best to use non ultra pasteurized, but it can be hard to find or if you don’t eat dairy you can substitute in any non-dairy milk)
8 oz chocolate; chopped into small pieces
Measure chocolate and set aside in a bowl. Heat the cream in a pot on the stovetop until it comes to a boil. Keep an eye on it and stir frequently. Don’t burn the cream! Once it’s steaming and boiling around the edges pour over the chocolate and gently stir.
Now this is going to be challenging but do not stir the mixture for at least ten minutes. Stirring too frequently will incorporate too much air, which slows down the melting process. After 10 minutes, give it a good stir and watch the magic happen. Gently fold in the bottom bits to ensure an even melting.