Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Hot Chocolate Ganache / Icing / Frosting

Ganache icing makes for few left-overs
Ganache, a mixture of chocolate and cream, is perfect poured over hot cakes first thing in the morning. It can also be used cooled down, which would then make for a lovely smooth icing.

Hot Ganache Icing or Frosting Recipe

225 g Chocolate, grated (8 oz)
2 Tablespoons butter
180 ml cream: double-thick or heavy whipping cream (¾ cup)

Option 1 - Ganache poured over a hot cake:

Generally speaking, your ganache icing should have a ratio of 1 part cream to 3 parts chocolate.

Melt the chocolate, butter and cream in a microwave on medium – or 50% of full power. 

The above is a rough guide to the amounts required, you can make the icing thicker or thinner, more or less chocolatey, creamy, etc. The methodology is simple: cut up chocolate into very small pieces. Add the butter and cream and either melt in bain marie (pyrex dish over hot water) or in microwave on 50%. Once mixture is completely melted but still cool, you can either beat until thick, which would make it a lighter colour and less spreadable, or, if it is still too think, add some icing sugar to thicken up. Or, if you want, you can just pour it straight on, and have it set on the cake, glossy and dark. It makes a delicious but very sticky icing – not good for decorative effects but great for eating. All you really need for an early morning dessert cake, however, is a mixture that is not too thin, but hot and liquid enough to pour, so you can be pretty debonair with regard to amounts. 

Melt the chocolate, butter and cream in a microwave on medium – or 50% of full power. Keep opening and stirring the mixture hopefully, it always melts far sooner than you would think and, of course, you never want to overheat chocolate. Pour over hot cake and eat while hot.

Decorate with a few bits of left-over chocolate, even cherries if newly awakened children insist. Delicious with hot coffee early in the morning. Do note that your family will eat the entire cake up before the icing has had a chance to set.

Option 2 - Used when cooled over cool cake

If you are wanting a sleek, glassy effect, make the ganache as above, but then pour when cooled enough that it is close to setting, but still liquid over a cool cake. The secret to the no-drip effect noted in the marzipan modelling cake - simply surround your cake with baking parchment, such that when the drips occur, you don't worry, just wait until the ganache is close to setting, and then pull out the pieces of paper. The effect is magical, as shown below:

Option 3: But I only have chocolate!

If you do not have any cream, you can instead just melt and drizzle the chocolate over the cake. It will set harder than a ganache, but not bad for a decorative effect, just use more butter to make it more spreadable.

Option 4: I have no chocolate!

Alternatively, you can (expensive option) slather Nutella on instead.

Option 5: But I have no Nutella either!

Sorry, you're on your own.