For something supposedly so easy why does ganache frustrate so many cakers? Whether your ganache is turning out too hard, too soft, or splitting, the good news is almost everything that can go wrong with ganache is fixable. Yes, even split ganache can be saved!
Once you know what ratio you need to use for the type of chocolate you are using, the rest is pretty straight forward. If you have ever wondered what it meant by a 2:1, 3:1, or 4:1 ratio, it is referring to the ratio of chocolate to cream. The first number in the ratio always refers to the chocolate, so a 2:1 ratio would be twice as much chocolate to cream.
Note: Ganache is simply an emulsion of chocolate and liquid. We use cream in our recipes below, but your liquid can be anything - water, alcohol, or milk!
Once you have made your ganache, and let it cool overnight, you can determine if you are happy with the consistency. For truffles and covering cakes it should have the consistency of a block of butter left out on a cool, but not cold, day: firm but still able to be pushed in easily with your finger. You want the ganache to be able to go super firm in the fridge to help with covering in fondant and transportation but should soften to a truffle consistency at room temperature for eating.
You may find you need to add more cream or chocolate to your ganache depending on the chocolate you have used or the weather at the time. The good news is you can always do this after you have made your ganache. After letting it cool to room temperature you can decide if your ganache is too soft, too hard or just right. If it is too hard melt it down again and whisk in some more hot cream, if it is too soft add some melted chocolate. After a few goes you will have the exact ratio that is perfect for the chocolate you are using!
Not all chocolate is the same! The cocoa percentage in dark chocolate for instance can vary from 40% to 90% - this will affect how much cream you need. The more cocoa solids the thicker and firmer your ganache will be. We recommend using a couverture chocolate with 43%-63% cocoa like our 811 Dark Chocolate Callets which contain 54% cocoa solids.
The reason chocolate with higher cocoa solid percentage needs more cream is because the ganache needs that extra liquid to suspend all the cocoa solids without splitting. This is why dark chocolate ganache will use more cream than a white chocolate ganache that has no cocoa solids and therefore needs very little cream.
If you are wanting to use ganache as a drip or a glaze, add more cream than the below ratios. If you are wanting to make truffles or fill a cake before covering in fondant the ratios below should serve you well.
We love eating ganache anyway we can: in truffles, drips, or directly from the bowl! But our ultimate favourite thing to do with ganache is fill and cover our cakes before covering in fondant. A firm ganache can't be beaten as a foundation for fondant! If you are interested in trying the lid method of ganaching a cake check out our acrylic ganache boards for flat tops and sharp edges!