The best cakes are made with ganache—that’s a fact. But what is ganache? Read on to find out about that better-than-icing cake topper.
Everybody loves cake. It’s delicious and you get one topped with fire shoved in your face for your birthday. What’s not to like? But not all cakes are created equal and a big thing that sets them apart is how they are covered. There’s the classic, no-frills frosting. Or, if you want to be a little fancier, there’s icing. Don’t get me started on fondant. But if you want to be truly decadent, you have to go with ganache. But what is ganache? How do you make ganache and what’s in it? How do you pronounce it anyway? Get your sweet tooth ready because we’re dipping into some chocolate ganache.
What is ganache?
Ganache is a relatively easy to make chocolate glaze or filling. It is really just chocolate and cream mixed together. Ganache is usually used as a frosting or layering agent for decorating cakes, but it can also be used in chocolate truffles. You may have heard people use the term “chocolate ganache.” Don’t let that confuse you. All ganaches are chocolate, so chocolate ganache and ganache are exactly the same thing.
How do you make ganache?
So, what is in ganache, exactly? Most ganache recipes only require chocolate and cream. Some recipes throw in a little melted butter or corn syrup to give the ganache a smoother consistency and shinier appearance.
To make chocolate ganache, start with a bowl full of chocolate. Seems obvious, right? But it has to be the right kind of chocolate. Don’t go loading a bowl full of chocolate chips because your ganache won’t have the right consistency. You need some bittersweet or semisweet chocolate. Chop that chocolate up and put it into a bowl then heat up some cream until it’s almost boiling. It’s best to use heavy cream or whipping cream (double cream for the Brits). Milk, and half and half will not give you that classic ganache texture. Pour that hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a few minutes. You can’t just start mixing it right away because you’ll get too much air in there and you don’t want an airy ganache. Once the chocolate has started to melt, whip until it’s emulsified.
Does ganache need refrigeration?
Freshly made ganache can be kept out at room temperature for about a day and refrigerated for two weeks. If you are a survivalist who wants to stock up on ganache, you can freeze it for three months.
How to pronounce ganache correctly?
Ganache is pronounced “guh-NAHSH.” Whatever you do, don’t pronounce that “e” at the end or all your French friends will make fun of you.
Before it was a culinary treasure, the word “ganache” was originally a French insult, meaning horse jaw. The story goes that a baker’s assistant screwed up a recipe and accidentally invented ganache while his boss called him a ganache. Or ganache could take its name from a French play “Les Ganaches,” from 1862. However it got its name, ganache is delicious and I’m addicted to bathing in it!