Rich and silky, this Chocolate Ganache recipe is ready in just 5 minutes! Use this indulgent ganache for cakes, drizzles, drips, and dunks!
Frosting and cake go together like peanut butter and jelly! Sure, there are plenty of cakes that can be served plain and still hold their own, but we all know that a frosted cake is better. What’s a tender, crumbly cake without a thick layer of sugary goodness?
Cakes can be coated in everything from swiss meringue to a simple powdered sugar glaze, but one of my favorite options is ganache. Chocolate ganache is like a glossy crown for your cake! Made with sweet, smooth cream and rich chocolate, ganache is a well-balanced, bittersweet topping for cakes, brownies, truffles, or fresh fruit.
Perks and Highlights of the Best Ganache Recipe
What is Chocolate Ganache?
Chances are, you’ve had ganache before! If it’s silky, smooth, shiny, and made out of chocolate, it’s most likely a ganache.
Made from a 1:1 mixture of chocolate and warm cream, ganache is a staple in any baker’s kitchen. It is not only super simple and easy to make, but it’s also incredibly versatile! Chocolate ganache can be used as a filling, frosting, dip, topping, or even as a layer in a cake.
- Heavy Whipping Cream:
- The Cream of the Crop: This isn’t just any old cream; it’s heavy whipping cream, boasting a fat content of around 36%. It’s the secret to that lush, velvety texture we’re all here for.
- Whip It, Whip It Good: Not only does it make your ganache rich and oh-so-creamy, but heavy whipping cream is also your go-to for making soft, billowy whipped cream. Is there anything it can’t do?
- Flavor Saver: Its subtle taste provides the perfect backdrop, letting your chocolate shine, while its fat content carries and enhances the chocolate’s flavor. It’s like your most supportive friend, lifting you up and making you look good.
- Bittersweet Chocolate:
- Bitter Meets Sweet: Bittersweet chocolate is the brooding hero of the chocolate world. With less sugar than its sweet and milk chocolate siblings, it offers a deep, intense cocoa flavor that’s not overshadowed by sweetness.
- Cocoa-nut for Health: Packed with more cocoa solids, this chocolate brings antioxidants and heart-healthy flavonoids to the table. Delicious and somewhat nutritious? We’re here for it.
- Balance is Key: When you’re pairing with the subtle richness of heavy cream, bittersweet chocolate provides a profound, complex taste, ensuring your ganache isn’t a one-note wonder.
How to Make Ganache
- Chop the Chocolate- Using a serrated knife, coarsely chop the chocolate. Transfer the chocolate to a heat-proof glass or metal bowl.
- Heat the Cream- Pour the cream into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. If it’s boiling, the cream will most likely seperate or burn. Once the edges have begun to gently simmer, turn off the heat and immediately pour the cream over the chocolate.
- Stir, Stir, Stir- Let the cream and chocolate mingle for a couple minutes, then use a rubber spatula to stir until smooth.
- Use Right Away- As the ganache cools, it hardens. Unless you want to scoop or spread the chocolate, use it immediately.
TIP: Do not try to replace the cream with half-and-half, whole milk, or any other liquid. For a non-dairy alternative, use full-fat coconut milk. Just be sure that your chocolate of choice is also dairy-free.
Even the simplest of recipes have their issues, and I’ve experienced them all. The smallest of mistakes can result in grainy, runny, or too-thick ganache.
So, what do you say we just avoid all that? Here are the most common mistakes and how to fix them:
- Greasy or Grainy- Textural issues are typically a result of the use of cheap chocolate. Pure chocolate is richer, smoother, and easier to work with. Don’t attempt to stir the chocolate with a whisk; it will incorporate too much air and cause the fat to separate.
- Too Thick- If the ganache is nearly solid, that means that it’s seized. Seizing occurs when chocolate comes into contact with water. Make sure that your equipment is clean and completely dry.
- Chunky or Not Melting- This one’s easy! Temperature is everything when it comes to ganache. If the cream isn’t warm enough, the chocolate won’t melt. Be sure that the cream is simmering before you remove it from the heat. Also, the size of the chocolate chunks will affect the texture as well. Chop the chocolate into small, ¼- ½ inch sized pieces.
TIP: To fix a broken ganache, reheat the mixture over a warm water bath (a double-boiler) while stirring vigorously. If that isn’t working, try adding a splash of room-temperature milk. This isn’t a guaranteed fix, but it just might save your precious chocolate.
Can I use any kind of Chocolate?
The best kind of chocolate for ganache is a pure chocolate bar. You can find bars of pure chocolate in the baking aisle (near the chocolate chips) at just about any grocery store. Ghirardelli, Bakers, and Lindt are all great choices. The better quality the chocolate, the better your ganache will be!
I recommend using bittersweet chocolate for ganache; it strikes just the right balance. White or Dark Chocolate can also be used, but they require an adjustment of the liquid to solid ratio. The less cocoa butter content your chocolate has, the less heavy cream you’ll need.
Do not use chocolate chips! Chips melt differently, and they often don’t reach the required consistency. If you must use chips or chunks, use a high-quality, bittersweet variety.
How to Serve
There are about a million and one uses for Homemade Chocolate Ganache. If it were up to me, I’d eat by the spoonful!
But, if you don’t want to go that hard today, try out one of these:
- Use it as a dip for fresh fruit: strawberries, pineapples, bananas, etc.
- Serve along with caramel sauce for a nice contrast
- Drizzle over brownies, banana bread, pound cake, or cookies
- Coat chocolate truffles
- Top cupcakes, cheesecake bars, or single-layered cake
- Use as a layer for trifles or layer cakes
- Dip donuts or cake pops
- Mix in nuts, pretzels, or candy, then freeze in a layer for a quick frozen treat
- Use in place of hot fudge for ice cream or milkshakes
Ganache can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or stored in the freezer for no more than 3 months. To do so, allow the ganache to completely cool, then transfer it to a resealable container and tuck it away.
When you want to use the ganache, thaw it overnight in the fridge. It will still be pretty hard, so you’ll need to leave it in a warm place for a couple hours, or you can warm it gently in the microwave. Heat in a microwave-safe bowl in 10 second increments, stirring in between.
Do not re-freeze ganache! If ganache has been thawed, it should be eaten within a week.
Best Toppings and Frostings
Love this recipe? Try out a few more of my most decadent spreads and smears:
- Caramel Buttercream
- Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Blackberry Cream Cheese Frosting
- Brown Butter Frosting
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate
- Bring the heavy cream to a boil on the stovetop then pour it over the chocolate.
- Mix until smooth and allow it to cool to room temperature to thicken before using.