Whipped Ganache

Here’s another buttercream alternative that’s extremely easy. It’s standard ganache, a 50-50 combination of chocolate and heavy cream by weight — only whipped! You start by making the ganache, any quantity you wish, you can use either standard or white chocolate.

Cool it using an ice bath…

…not to the point that it’s firm. You want it cool so it doesn’t separate in the mixer, but not clay-like. Sorta pudding-like, like this:

Then just put it in a mixer fitted with a whip…

And whip until it’s frosting consistency, about 30 seconds to a minute.

Easy no? But be careful not to over-whip it, which is easy to do. Like whipped cream, it can easily turn to butter — chocolate butter. It’s nice on toast, but not very useful as a frosting or filling.

Whipped ganache is also temperature-sensitive, so be careful of that. It’ll want to firm up on you, especially in a cool environment, so if you’re planning on using it as a frosting, apply it promptly.

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63 Responses to Whipped Ganache

  1. M says:

    It is indeed temperature sensitive – and can get a suntan! Watch out for it in heat or full sun, as melting ever-so-slightly (say, by leaving a groom’s cake in the back of a station wagon while the wedding cake is transported inside the reception hall) will darken it in the areas exposed, leading to interesting effects.

    Also note: if people compliment you on the color shading in your whipped ganache, feel free to explain that the effect is achieved with heat, etc. – but they’ll be more impressed if you don’t mention the station wagon.

    • joepastry says:

      Hmm…this somehow makes me think you’ve had experience in this area. Just a wild guess…

  2. happy-bowl says:

    i am in the familiar territory. i had over whipped my dark chocolate once and then made up by adding two Tbs of hot water and then slowly folding it with a wooden spoon. it sort of smoothened out the chocolate. but nothing like rightly whipped ganache.

    • joepastry says:

      Ah yes. That’s decent cure for a broken emulsion, but not so much for a combination emulsion/foam where the fat needs to be semi-solid to keep the bubbles in place. A good idea tho. Bet it was still very tasty!

  3. Bronwyn says:

    A long long time ago when I was but a teenager, an American acquaintance used to make “yellow cake with chocolate icing”. The icing was made with sweetened condensed milk and chocolate, I can remember that much, and it was delicious and sort of chewy. You poured it over the cake while in a molten state, somewhat like fondant, and it set shiny. Do you know how to make it?

    • joepastry says:

      Hmmm, no. I’m not familiar with it. But perhaps someone else out there is. Hey, Joe Pastry readership…a little help?

      • The recipe for that chocolate icing is really easy … the ratio of sweetened condensed milk to chocolate is about 5 parts milk to 1 part chocolate (unsweetened!!) I usually use a bit more chocolate than called for, but it works out beautifully. Try this … one can of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz) to 3 -1oz squares of unsweetened chocolate chopped. Place in double boiler and heat until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir constantly. Pour over your cake immediately. It will firm up very quickly!! It also makes a great filling as long as you pipe a band of buttercream around the cake first .

        • joepastry says:

          Fabulous, Katie! Thanks very much for the great tips!

          - Joe

          • Gladys Anne says:

            hi Joe! that kind of frosting is very popular in Brazil and Portugal, and it’s called ”brigadeiro” (reads bree-gah-day-roh)

            I use this a lot to frost carrot cake.

            I make it by bringing to a boil 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 3 or 4 spoons cocoa powder and 2 spoons of butter. Stir constantly as it sticks to the bottom of the pan and burns very easily. When you can have a glance of the bottom of the pan as you slide a wooden spon when stirring, it’s ready. Let cool just until it reaches a good frosting texture and frost quickly. It gets sticky and chewy as it cools down. :) This is the original brazilian recipe, I hope it helped.

          • joepastry says:

            Fascinating! Thanks, Gladys!

            - Joe

  4. Henry Chow says:

    How would the effect be different if you whipped the cream and then folded in the melted chocolate?

    I do love Alice Medrich’s whipped ganache made with a higher cream to chocolate ratio. Apparently this would need to be thoroughly chilled before you whip it. I wonder why a standard 50-50 ganache doesn’t require the chilling process. I guess it’s something to do with the fat-water ratio?

    • joepastry says:

      I think it would indeed be different…more like a mousse: melted chocolate lightened with whipped cream. Which is to say, you wouldn’t get the two components integrated as thoroughly and there’d be less volume, or at least that’s my feeling. I should try that.

      To your other point, I think of Alice Medrich’s version as more like a chocolate whipped cream as opposed to a whipped ganache. The reason for the chilling it because of the dairy fat in the cream…it’s firmer when it’s chilled, and firmer fat is better at reinforcing bubbles. A whipped ganache isn’t chilled because the dominant fat it contains — cocoa butter — solidifies at a much higher temperature. If you were to chill the ganache before you whipped it, it would be the consistency of thick mud. Very hard to whip, in other words. Thanks for the questions, Henry!

  5. Candi says:

    Hi Joe,
    Have you ever tried the 7 minute Chocolate frosting? It’s a simple recipe using marshmallow creme but I don’t seem to get it right. Would appreciate if you try that one and show us how.. Thanks!

    • joepastry says:

      Seems like I have tried that once before a long time ago…it requires a hand mixer, does it not? Can you tell me whose recipe you’re using?

      • Candi says:

        My father in-law’s girlfriend (90 yrs old)made the chocolate with this frosting on top. It taste light and not super sweet. She did not want to share the recipe. I search for it on line and tried to make it a few time, the method involved beating the mixture on double boiler.

        • jon says:

          in a 1905 Fannie Merritt Farmer cookbook I found this:
          Chocolate Frosting 1

          1 1/2 squares chocolate
          1/3 cup scalded cream
          Few grains salt
          Yolk one egg
          1/2 teaspoon melted butter
          Confectioners’ sugar
          1/2 teaspoon vanilla

          Melt chocolate over hot water, add cream gradually, salt, yolk of egg, and butter. Stir in confectioners’ sugar until of right consistency to spread, then add flavoring.

          or it could be

          Milk Frosting

          1 1/2 C sugar
          1/2 C milk
          1 tea butter
          1/2 tea vanilla.
          Melt butter in saucepan. add sugar and milk. Stir and clean sides of sugar, heat to boiling and boil without stirring thirteen minutes. Remove from fire, and beat until the right consistency to spread. add flavoring and pour over cake.

          I am sure chocolate can be worked into the mix near the end.

          Hope this helps.

    • Kathy Edwards says:

      This is vanilla 7 minute icing – do not get any fat in it
      3 egg whites
      1 1/2 cup white sugar
      dash salt
      6 tablespoons cold water
      1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter

      prepare a pan with cold water in it that double boiler will
      sit down into nicely without quite touching water

      Put in top of double boiler – DO NOT have water touching bottom of pan
      Start beating with electric mixer as soon as you turn on heat to pan.
      The water will need to boil.
      Beat well until spreading consistency about 4 minutes

      Take off heat and put in pan of cold water and beat in
      1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
      1 tablespoon clear corn syrup

      Spread on cake.

      • joepastry says:

        Thank you, Kathy! I’ve never made a seven minute icing, though I’ve certainly heard of them. What sorts of applications do you like for this sort of icing?

        - Joe

    • Cathy Mellinger says:

      Can I make my ganache (50-50 ratio, heavy whipping cream) in the morning, leave it out on the counter all day, then add vanilla and whip it before dinner? Would I have to cover the ganache as it sits on the counter?

      • joepastry says:

        It’s a good idea to cover it, actually press some plastic wrap onto the surface so a skin doesn’t form. Otherwise everything else you guys described should work perfectly!

        - Joe

  6. Apprentice pastry chef in MD says:

    Thanks for this post… and esp. for the photo of the over-whipped ganache! They make/use this where I work on occasion, but I only ever see the finished product, not the part where they actually whip it up. Hopefully my reading this means that there’ll be one less over-whipped ganache in my future when they eventually ask me to do it!

    • joepastry says:

      I thought of you when I put that up, APC! You made a good point about publishing mistakes. I took it to heart. – Joe

  7. Tom says:

    That’s actually “Creme Parisienne” over here. A simple dessert-creme, an easy cake filling (not used as frosting!), but mainly known in a quite heavy confectionery named “Pariser Spitz” (rough translation: “Paris’ Tip”). Anyhow a wonderful way for an almost plain fat & sugar-intake :)

    • joepastry says:

      No kidding! Nice to hear from you, Tom! I know frosting aren’t big on the Continent. And in fact I prefer whipped ganache as a filling as well. But you know how Americans are — we love our layer cakes!

  8. Linda says:

    Why would you carmelize chocolate and why is it done?

    • joepastry says:

      I’ve never heard of that…caramelizing chocolate? Where did you see it?

      • Ed says:

        David Lebovits talked about carmelizing white chocolate on his blog some time ago. He says it is amazing stuff. There was also some talk of it on at least a couple other food blogs in the past year. It is worth reading about.

  9. Bronwyn says:

    Whipped cream with melted chocolate mixed in is exactly how an awful lot of New Zealanders do make chocolate mousse. And yes, it comes out just like chocolate mousse. Delicious, and I have used it to fill cakes.

  10. Debbie says:

    I have made ganache before and had an absolutely awful time piping it. I would chill it to the right consistency, but the heat from my hands made it runny for the second half of the cake decorating! Is this why I would whip ganache? I’ve never whipped it before. Or is adding confectioner’s sugar recommended to help the piping hold its shape?

    • joepastry says:

      Ah yes, I can definitely see that. Ganache is terrible for piping I think, for reasons you know all too well. Whipped ganache is better, but still not ideal since it’s quite fluffy and sets up fairly quickly. Which is not to say it can’t be done, it’s just better as a filling. If you want to pipe a rich chocolate, I’d look more in the frosting family.

      Thanks for the email!

      - Joe

  11. Leah says:

    I know whipped cream can be stabilized by adding a small amount of dissolved gelatin to the cream. It stands to reason that the same can be done to stabilize a whipped ganache, no?

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Leah!

      You’d think gelatin would help a whipped ganache, but in fact it doesn’t. Gelatin is very wet, and moisture makes molten chocolate seize. Beyond that whipped ganache doesn’t suffer from quite the same problem as whipped cream. In a dairy foam, gelatin helps to reinforce unstable air bubble walls, which are made of semi-crystallized dairy fat. That works as long as the fat doesn’t reach the point where it starts to go liquid (about 90 degrees), at which point all the various fats that make up butterfat start to lose their crystal structure and the foam starts to go liquid. Once whipped cream hits about 95, there are no fat crystals left, and no stabilizer can stop the whip from collapsing.

      Whipped ganache has a different problem. It’s extremely strong and stable since the air bubble walls are reinforced by solid crystallized cocoa butter. A stabilizer would have nothing to add to that structure (in fact a stabilizer would only work to undermine it). The problem a cocoa butter has is that unlike butterfat, which is made up of lots of different fats that all have different melt points, cocoa butter is only made up a few fats that all have very similar melt points. Thus cocoa butter has a “sharper” melt point than butter. Once it hits about 90 all the fats go liquid at once. At that point no stabilizer can stop the whip from collapsing.

      So you see, a butterfat foam is unstable, but in its way it’s more heat-resistant. A chocolate foam is extremely stable, but extremely susceptible to heat. Even a little can ruin it, and no stabilizer can help it. Thanks for the question, Leah! That was fun!

      - Joe

  12. Erica says:

    Great ganache post! I have a question, and I cannot seem to find it anywhere (I have been scouring the internet for DAYS). Is whipped ganache safe to store at room temperature and for how long? I have found different references to it changing color/consistency if refrigerated (but, of course, no definite information), but also have found posts stating the opposite! I am making a chocolate cake with strawberry filling, HOPEFULLY iced with whipped Ganache, and then pouring ganache over the whipped layer so covers the top and drips down the sides. I have heard that the whipped ganache should be refrigerated, but have also heard that refrigerating the poured ganache will cause it to lose it’s shine. I plan to fill and ice the cake a day in advance. Can I do that? Please Help!

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Erica!

      You’re attempting something pretty complex, so you’ll need to tackle it in stages. Whipped ganache, as you’ll discover when you make it, needs to be applied quickly before it sets up (i.e. the chocolate re-firms). This is why you generally see it as a filling as opposed to an icing. It’s quite temperature-sensitive. It’s so light that even intense sunlight will cause it to melt slightly, changing the sheen on the surface of a cake. So my suggestion is to make the whipped ganache and get it on the cake in a hurry. Once that’s done it doesn’t really matter if you refrigerate it or not. It will keep at least a day or two at room temperature. But then refrigeration might not be a bad idea for the assembly stage.

      Your idea is a tricky one. You see the problem: two ganaches made of the same ingredients, but one that needs to stay firm while the other stays pourable. A very trickily balance indeed. My feeling is that if your whipped ganache-iced cake is cold you’ll be able to pour over the liquid ganache without the two melting together. The poured layer will set up VERY fast, however, so what you get is what you’ll get. Once it’s on, you can let it sit at room temperature or refrigerate it, it shouldn’t matter much. You won’t get a bright shine on it either way under the circumstances…but there’s nothing wrong with a duller “chocolate bar” appearance. Still extremely appetizing!

      Have fun and let me know how it turns out!

      - Joe

  13. Jo Robertson says:

    Hey Joe,

    Thanks so much for the post. I tried making whipped white chocolate ganache today to ice a white chocolate mud cake…oh my god what a saga!

    It finally worked (sort of!) though I needed a much higher chocolate to cream ratio than 50:50, and I have none of these ‘setting very quickly’ issues you speak of. In fact, even in the fridge on the cake it’s not hard! Perhaps this has something to do with the different composition of white chocolate? In any case, I’ll be trying dark chocolate next time to see if it happens any differently.

    Cheers

    Jo

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Jo!

      Hm…interesting. White chocolates tend to have higher amounts of cocoa butter in the formulation. So that could be it. But it should have firmed in the fridge. Are you sure you whipped and applied the ganache immediately?

      - J

      • Jo Robertson says:

        Hey Joe,

        I have an update – after spending a night in the fridge the ganache is now nice and firm :-D

        Too bad the the show-stopper birthday cake was for last night’s dessert, and now only the leftover cake has the perfect whipped ganache :-S

        I definitely whipped the ganache as soon as it appeared firm enough to do so, after letting in sit in an ice bath for a bit, and put it on the cake immediately after that….so I’m still not sure why it behaved differently.

        Oh well, life goes on! I shall try milk or dark chocolate next time and see whether it happens any differently. Thanks for the quick reply :-)

        Jo

      • sylvie says:

        With white chocolat the ratio is different……..3 part of chocolat for a part of heavy cream……Some time it need a bite more of chocolat depending on the %of coco butter…… I usualy do 3 for 1 and it works well

  14. TheYoungChef says:

    I wanted to know why isnt it good for cake filling??

    • joepastry says:

      Hey YF!

      Whipped ganache is extremely useful for a cake filling…just not when it’s over-whipped. That’s all I think I was saying there.

      Thanks for the note!

      - Joe

  15. Allison says:

    Joe, thanks for all the valuable information in this post! Thanks to you, I made my first ever layer cake – and my first ever ganache – successfully. :)

  16. Allison says:

    And you were so right about how fast the whipped ganache sets! Good gracious!! I live in a warm climate, so a little stirring with the spatula softened it enough to spread. :)

  17. Ian Hutton says:

    Hi im making my sisters wedding cake, im using a sour cream choc cake and am going to use this recipe but with white chocolaet to coat it. I was just wondering if it melts easily or will it hold at room temp/ slightly warmer and if i make it in advance will it change if i keep it in the fridge??

    Thanks

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Ian!

      For a coating I’d suggest using a white chocolate ganache instead of straight white chocolate, if that’s what you were considering. A ganache is more flexible and won’t shatter when you cut it. Do a quick google search and you’ll turn up all sorts of recipes. But yes, white chocolate does melt easily…even easier than conventional chocolate since it has so much cocoa butter in it. Let me know how the project goes!

      - Joe

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  19. robert says:

    Hi, I have a quick question. I want to use whipped white chocolate ganache to frost cupcakes for a wedding party and want to know if they’ll hold up while transporting, it’ll be about a 1 hr drive and am not sure if they’ll survive of if they’ll melt completely and be a huge mess.

  20. Made this recipe twice in the last 2 weeks! Came out perfectly each time. Thanks! Love your site!

  21. TBoston says:

    I made a white chocolate ganache for a cheesecake and it separated after I put it the refrigerator. I would like to try to do it again but now my cheesecakes is chilled I am wondering if I put the ganache on a chilled cheesecake will I have the same problem.

    • joepastry says:

      Sorry to hear about the trouble! How long did the ganache sit before you chilled it? Which is to say, was it still warm when you put it in the fridge? That may be what caused the problem, in which case simply spreading some on to a chilled cheesecake may not have the same consequence.

      - Joe

  22. Pat Klahorst says:

    How can I use Chocolate Ganache to ice a cake that won’t melt in the heat. I live in the South where it is about 95 to 100 degrees daily. Of course it would be inside after it’s delivered but should it be refrigerated

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Pat!

      I’m afraid if it’s a ganache, it will melt. Most icings and frostings are that way, at least if they have butter in them. An American buttercream would probably be your best bet if the cake has to spend much time in transport. Classic frosting or heritage frosting stand up pretty will too, as does meringue. Will any of those solve the problem?

      - Joe

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  24. lisa says:

    Hi there. I have been asked to make a giant cupcake for a 16th birthday and they would like it very bright and colourful on top but not buttercream. She loves chocolate so i was thinking of using whipped white chocolate ganache and colouring it. Would this work? When do i add the colour and what ratio of choc to cream should i use. Any advice would be greatly appreciated
    Thanks
    Lisa

    • joepastry says:

      Hello Lisa!

      You can indeed color a white chocolate ganache! You’d want to add some color in the melting stage and then perhaps a little more to “correct” it in the whipping stage. Here’s a handy video tutorial on making white chocolate ganache. Have fun!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu-PgovmKF4

      - Joe

  25. shriya says:

    do you have any suggestions for water based chocolate ganaches

    • joepastry says:

      Hi Shirya!

      I have some proportions if you like! For every 8 ounces of chocolate, use 3 ounces of water. That should give you a ganache that’s about equivalent in texture as a normal milk or cream ganache!

      Cheers,

      - Joe

  26. maaria says:

    hey im planning to make a cake with whipped ganache as a filling and to to also cover my cake with but im just worried about how long i can keep my cake out on the counter for before it goes bad and would i have to refrigerate it becuase i dont like refrigerating cakes as they go hard and take up all the space in the fridge lol

    • joepastry says:

      What kind of cake is it? The ganache certainly won’t go bad at room temperature, and most cakes are sweet enough they they won’t go bad either. Likely the worst thing you’ll have to worry about is staling, and that probably won’t happen for many days depending on the cake.

      - Joe

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