Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

Hi all, 

I produce many sculpted cakes and a few wedding cakes celebration cakes and regularly use fondant. I have been hearing about using ganache under the fondant instead of buttercream. Does this really give a crisper finish. Is it just the usual method of melting the chocolate and cream together? What about on a vanilla cake or lemon etc should I then use white choc ganache? 
Also how long does a ganache keep for on the cakes? as it is cream based I didn't know if it went off quicker than the BC leaving less time to decorate the cakes?

I am hoping to produce some smarter, cleaner, crisper looking wedding cakes so really want to give this method a go, any advice would be brilliant.

Many Thanks
Laura xx

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Hi Laura...ganache is simply cream and chocolate and depending on the proportions it will determine how firm it is...ganache can be left out no problem. I have left mine out for a week or more..it is very shelf stable. but remember that chocolate and butter have similar melting points so heat will soften it just like buttercream. And like buttercream if you add some shortening to it, it will become more stable at hotter temperatures because the shortening remains solid at higher temps than butter or chocolate. You can also try rolling your fondant a bit thicker...fondant is like a tight dress...shows everything underneath....so get that crumbcoat smooth and level before you place the fondant layer. You can also whip ganache like buttercream to make it light and fluffy. Use a soft ganache (8 oz heavy cream to 8 oz dark chocolate or 250 ml double cream to 250 gms dark chocolate) Let sit covered overnight at room temperature then whip using the whip attachment. You can make white chocolate ganache just substitute white chocolate....do NOT use candy coating or bark..it will never set up. Hope that helps.
I am a huge fan of Toba Garrett, and she makes a 'spackling paste' out of cake crumbs, buttercream, and filling. This provides a smoother, more professional, finish and hides the imperfections and cake layers that are often visible through the fondant. Just mix 3-4 cups of fine cake crumbs, 1/2 to 3/4 cup of buttercream, and 1/4 cup filling and spread over the cake 1/8" to 1/4" thick. If it is too thick, thin with more buttercream. Refrigerate the spackled cake, the cover with a light layer of buttercream before applying fondant to make the fondant adhere. I have used this technique many times and it works great and also provides an extra layer of flavor.

Karen Marie said:
Hi Laura...ganache is simply cream and chocolate and depending on the proportions it will determine how firm it is...ganache can be left out no problem. I have left mine out for a week or more..it is very shelf stable. but remember that chocolate and butter have similar melting points so heat will soften it just like buttercream. And like buttercream if you add some shortening to it, it will become more stable at hotter temperatures because the shortening remains solid at higher temps than butter or chocolate. You can also try rolling your fondant a bit thicker...fondant is like a tight dress...shows everything underneath....so get that crumbcoat smooth and level before you place the fondant layer. You can also whip ganache like buttercream to make it light and fluffy. Use a soft ganache (8 oz heavy cream to 8 oz dark chocolate or 250 ml double cream to 250 gms dark chocolate) Let sit covered overnight at room temperature then whip using the whip attachment. You can make white chocolate ganache just substitute white chocolate....do NOT use candy coating or bark..it will never set up. Hope that helps.
I just made 4 batches of ganache with c&k dark chocolate wafers last night and it is all set up beautiful. I used 2 cups of wafers to one cup cream. I mixed a bit of Yucatan dk chocolate in with them because I like the combo of the wafers with the yucatan. You really need to be sure to have your surfaces smooth... while buttercream you can sometimes work out the bumps... ganache sets up harder and it is not as easy to remove the bumps however... I think you can get a smoother surface with ganache to start with.

The white chocolate ganache is good and you can add flavoring to it too. Killer ganache is coconut rum mixed in with the dark chocolate ganache.... oh my it is really good! Kahulua is good with it too. The problem is.... if you have a container in your fridge... you will just have to steal a bite every now and then! :-)
I am new to the whole scene. I live in Australia and there is a company here called Planet Cake. Go tho their web site and you will find a very useful blog. They do incredible cakes and do use ganache for their noted cakes.
Thank you so much all of you for your words of wisdom. Sorry I haven't been on earlier but have 30 bday cupcakes, a square wedding cake, 100 wedding cupcakes, 100 cala lillies, 100 roses, 200 hearts, and 3 dummy cakes to make Sunday!!! All this while my kids are off school oh and a really funky rockabilly wedding cake to start as well!!

Your help has been brilliant and I intend to try ganache for this rockabilly cake in Sept now I know it will be fine to leave it. Will also check the blog on Planet Cake - thanks everyone :D xxx

Does white chocolate ganache set up like the chocolate when you ice the cake? And I put mine in the fridge so if I take it out will it still set up?  thanks for all your help guys XOXOXOX Cake do tomorrow :(

 

White choc ganache has a lower melting point than dark choc ganache and even Planet Cake don't tend to use it in hot weather UNLESS the cake is going to be in an air conditioned environment.
I use dark choc ganache under fondant all the time, and it doesn't show through the fondant at all. Dark choc ganache is very stable in hot weather and if you use a chocolate that has 50%  or more cocoa solids, it will end up as hard as marzipan and a wonderful stable base for fondant. This higher cocoa solids content also means you can use it like a type of 'spak filler' to get a more uniform, smoother finish.
To make ganache:
2lb 10oz dark couverture chocolate finely chopped

21 fl oz pure cream

Put cream into saucepan and boil for one to two minutes. This does two things; reduces the water content and changes the cream chemically through heat so it takes longer to get rancid.

Pour cream over chocolate and stir until smooth. Leave to cool and set overnight.

Use to cover and fill a 9in cake.

If it is too thick you can warm it up in a micorwave in 20-20sec bursts.

White choc ganache is prepared in the same manner.
3lb white chocolate finely chopped

16 fl oz pure cream

Hi Bettina, 

 I'm hoping you could shed some light on this for me. I too just started using ganache under my fondant. I used Tollhouse chips (3:1 choc vs cream) and used the fridge to chill it to a working consistency and the cake was fine until the house temperature reached about 78 degrees. I've used both white chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate and both times the chocolate melted around that temperature. Was it due to the temperature, the brand I was using, or because I didn't let the ganache set overnight? Any advice you could give is very much appreciated. Thanks!

Melanie

Bettina Dwyer said:

White choc ganache has a lower melting point than dark choc ganache and even Planet Cake don't tend to use it in hot weather UNLESS the cake is going to be in an air conditioned environment.
I use dark choc ganache under fondant all the time, and it doesn't show through the fondant at all. Dark choc ganache is very stable in hot weather and if you use a chocolate that has 50%  or more cocoa solids, it will end up as hard as marzipan and a wonderful stable base for fondant. This higher cocoa solids content also means you can use it like a type of 'spak filler' to get a more uniform, smoother finish.
To make ganache:
2lb 10oz dark couverture chocolate finely chopped

21 fl oz pure cream

Put cream into saucepan and boil for one to two minutes. This does two things; reduces the water content and changes the cream chemically through heat so it takes longer to get rancid.

Pour cream over chocolate and stir until smooth. Leave to cool and set overnight.

Use to cover and fill a 9in cake.

If it is too thick you can warm it up in a micorwave in 20-20sec bursts.

White choc ganache is prepared in the same manner.
3lb white chocolate finely chopped

16 fl oz pure cream

I want to try this, so I mix the cake crumbs and the buttercream and the filling ( like raspberry puree ) together and just go over the whole cake?  Re-buttercream and fondant? I'm going to try it!!! Thanks!

Julie Hill said:

I am a huge fan of Toba Garrett, and she makes a 'spackling paste' out of cake crumbs, buttercream, and filling. This provides a smoother, more professional, finish and hides the imperfections and cake layers that are often visible through the fondant. Just mix 3-4 cups of fine cake crumbs, 1/2 to 3/4 cup of buttercream, and 1/4 cup filling and spread over the cake 1/8" to 1/4" thick. If it is too thick, thin with more buttercream. Refrigerate the spackled cake, the cover with a light layer of buttercream before applying fondant to make the fondant adhere. I have used this technique many times and it works great and also provides an extra layer of flavor.

Karen Marie said:
Hi Laura...ganache is simply cream and chocolate and depending on the proportions it will determine how firm it is...ganache can be left out no problem. I have left mine out for a week or more..it is very shelf stable. but remember that chocolate and butter have similar melting points so heat will soften it just like buttercream. And like buttercream if you add some shortening to it, it will become more stable at hotter temperatures because the shortening remains solid at higher temps than butter or chocolate. You can also try rolling your fondant a bit thicker...fondant is like a tight dress...shows everything underneath....so get that crumbcoat smooth and level before you place the fondant layer. You can also whip ganache like buttercream to make it light and fluffy. Use a soft ganache (8 oz heavy cream to 8 oz dark chocolate or 250 ml double cream to 250 gms dark chocolate) Let sit covered overnight at room temperature then whip using the whip attachment. You can make white chocolate ganache just substitute white chocolate....do NOT use candy coating or bark..it will never set up. Hope that helps.

Hi Laura, i am new to baking and cake decorating, just started late last year but until now i still don't know how to smoothen buttercream on a cake coz i've been used to ganache eversince, it work really great and easy too. if you like you can visit the www.inspiredbymichelleblog.com she's been my inpiration since i started baking and cake decorating, she can teach you how to use ganache on a cake.

Ladies, this is great information here,,, thank you for sharing...

So the ganache must have melted from the combination of the heat, the recipe I used, and not letting it set over night. I'll try you're advice, thanks Bettina!

Melanie said:

Hi Bettina, 

 I'm hoping you could shed some light on this for me. I too just started using ganache under my fondant. I used Tollhouse chips (3:1 choc vs cream) and used the fridge to chill it to a working consistency and the cake was fine until the house temperature reached about 78 degrees. I've used both white chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate and both times the chocolate melted around that temperature. Was it due to the temperature, the brand I was using, or because I didn't let the ganache set overnight? Any advice you could give is very much appreciated. Thanks!

Melanie

Bettina Dwyer said:

White choc ganache has a lower melting point than dark choc ganache and even Planet Cake don't tend to use it in hot weather UNLESS the cake is going to be in an air conditioned environment.
I use dark choc ganache under fondant all the time, and it doesn't show through the fondant at all. Dark choc ganache is very stable in hot weather and if you use a chocolate that has 50%  or more cocoa solids, it will end up as hard as marzipan and a wonderful stable base for fondant. This higher cocoa solids content also means you can use it like a type of 'spak filler' to get a more uniform, smoother finish.
To make ganache:
2lb 10oz dark couverture chocolate finely chopped

21 fl oz pure cream

Put cream into saucepan and boil for one to two minutes. This does two things; reduces the water content and changes the cream chemically through heat so it takes longer to get rancid.

Pour cream over chocolate and stir until smooth. Leave to cool and set overnight.

Use to cover and fill a 9in cake.

If it is too thick you can warm it up in a micorwave in 20-20sec bursts.

White choc ganache is prepared in the same manner.
3lb white chocolate finely chopped

16 fl oz pure cream

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