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What is Ganache?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Ganache is a rich mixture of chocolate and cream that can be used as a frosting or filling. Depending on the intended use, different ratios of chocolate to cream are used, to create anything from a light glaze to a dense standalone truffle. Although this mixture is remarkably rich and luxurious, it is extremely easy to make.

The evidence suggests that ganache was developed in the mid-1800s, although both France and Switzerland claim the credit for the invention. In either case, it quickly spread into European dessert making. To make it, heavy cream is brought to the boiling point and then poured over chunks of chocolate. The mixture is stirred so that the chocolate melts, and the result is a dense chocolate cream. Adding butter or oil will make it highly glossy, as is sometimes desirable for frosting. Liqueurs and other flavorings can be added as well, if desired.

If the cook uses one part cream to every three parts of chocolate, the result will be a chocolate glaze that can be used like a chocolate frosting. This glaze can be rather elegant, and it is especially popular for tortes and other rich chocolate dishes. As it cools, the ganache will become more stiff, but it can easily be reheated, if needed. The addition of small amounts of coffee or orange can also radically change the flavor profile, if desired.

Using one part cream to two parts of chocolate yields a very rich, dense chocolate filling that can be used in truffles and other candied desserts. This version can also be lightly rolled in cocoa powder and served plain, like a truffle. For a lighter filling, the ratio is one to one, and this type is good for layering in cakes and similar desserts.

Different types of chocolate yield various styles of ganache, from bittersweet to white. As a general rule, it is a good idea for cooks to use high quality chocolate, since the mixture is so simple that cheap chocolate will mar the flavor. Especially when the glaze or filling is being paired with a rich, luxurious cake, this cheapness can become glaringly obvious. A baker who is glazing a cake with ganache may want to try adding ornaments like marzipan flowers for extra elegance, or dust the cake in cocoa powder for more visual texture.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon943440 — On Apr 01, 2014

So glad I finally tried to make ganache. It was so simple and so yummy! We paired it with a chocolate cake and a buttercream filling, then dipped the cupcakes in the ganache for a glaze. Yumm!

By Sara007 — On Aug 03, 2011

For those who love ganache but worry about how unhealthy it can be, you can do a bit of altering to the recipe to make it a bit less sinful. For myself I like to switch out the milk for light coconut milk and I also use coconut oil. There have been a lot of studies showing that coconut products can be really good for your heart.

Coconut oil used to have a bad reputation thanks to the content of saturated fats in it, but studies have shown that it has no impact on an individual's LDL levels. As a bonus it can actually help your arteries. Why not have a slightly healthier ganache?

By manykitties2 — On Aug 02, 2011

Ganache can be one of the most luxurious treats if you have it made into a standalone truffle. At my friend's wedding, they had a huge selection of chocolates out on display and I fell in love with the truffles they had made.

My friend had been a bit of a chocolatier in her younger days and really wanted her friends to try some of her favorite varieties. I must say I was impressed by the sheer number of different chocolates they had on display. Definitely a wedding to remember. What made it even better as that each person got a small box of chocolates as a souvenir of the reception.

By Nepal2016 — On Aug 01, 2011

@aLFredo: I love your enthusiasm for chocolate! Where exactly do you live? I think the lovely wife and I may have to stake the place out. Sounds like the makings of a wonderful night: Dinner in a fancy restaurant and then over to the ganache place for dessert.

She likes to eat at one place and then go to another place for dessert. Sounds like the restaurant in your town would let us kill two birds with one stone.

By anon202129 — On Aug 01, 2011

I was shopping at Kroger's (a chain grocery store) the other day and discovered a new flavor of ice cream they called Chocolate Ganache. It was produced under Kroger's Private Selection store brand, but other ice cream companies may now have a version of it. It was definitely creamier in texture than standard chocolate ice cream, and the chocolate seemed to be darker than usual. I recommend seeking out this new ice cream flavor at the grocery store.

By Veruca10 — On Aug 01, 2011

@snickerish: Here's what you do. Go to a gourmet grocery store and get some of theirs. Better yet, buy a whole cake that's already frosted with ganache.

Then, throw the box away and put the plate in some kind of serving container. Print out a frosting recipe from the Internet and leave it lying out. Big style points for you, minimum effort. You can thank me later.

By emtbasic — On Jul 31, 2011

@anon29183: I pronounce it "delicious"! This is my favorite kind of frosting, particularly Ghirardelli ganache. I have tried to make my own a few times, but I am not really into baking and I find it's easier just to go out and get a piece of cake every so often.

This also prevents me from having a big bowl of the icing sitting in my fridge after I make it. This is a good thing, because otherwise I would probably just dig in with a spoon! Not the healthiest thing in the world, but delicious.

By nefret — On Jul 31, 2011

@snickerish: This comment is also for any others looking for a chocolate ganache recipe. As @Speechie mentioned, there are plenty of good recipes online, but since ganache can be a little tricky to make, do a test run before your date or other events. Has anyone had any problems with getting the ganache to set properly? If so, do you have some good tips on how to avoid those issues?

By AnnBoleyn — On Jul 30, 2011

@orangey03: If you are really set on having a matching color inside, why not try adding a fondant or marzipan center? Both of those can easily be colored and used to form the center of the truffle. If you're worried about sweetness, I'd say definitely go with the bittersweet chocolate for the ganache and use marzipan inside since it's not as cloyingly sweet as fondant.

By ALevine — On Jul 30, 2011

@Oceana: I would definitely suggest trying the same recipe that you mentioned but with pure chocolate instead of chocolate chips. As the article mentioned, the quality of the chocolate drastically changes the flavor of the ganache.

I find that chocolate chips in general tend to be of a lower quality than pure chocolate. Try the recipe with semi-sweet chocolate blocks. It may help to grate or chop the chocolate to help it melt better.

By Speechie — On Jul 29, 2011

@snickerish: I would look online for a recipe for ganache, as the recipes are easy to find and now you can often find a recipe that has been reviewed by hundreds of people.

I have rarely gone wrong when I have looked for a recipe online; found one that has lots of reviews, and has received after all of those reviews four or five stars.

Now as far as wine goes (which I think will be a great touch, unless you are celebrating anything in particular then I would suggest pairing the ganache with champagne). I would suggest a port wine that would contrast the sweet taste of the ganache.

Have fun on your date!

By snickerish — On Jul 28, 2011

I am trying to impress a date that I have coming over by making them a dessert, and this ganache sounds perfect. Does anyone know where to look for a good recipe for chocolate ganache is?

And lastly to add just a little more romance to the night I was thinking about adding wine to accompany the ganache. Any suggestions?

By aLFredo — On Jul 27, 2011

How amazing - yet another way to eat chocolate. I personally, cannot get enough. I was curious about the word ganache because we have a restaurant in our downtown area that is named Ganache it is separated into two parts: one part ganache bakery, one part fancy restaurant.

I love truffles so I wonder how the less sweet chocolate in truffles (its chocolate is typically more like dark chocolate in my experience than milk chocolate) compares to the ganache-type chocolate.

I will have to go to the Ganache bakery now and find out!

By cloudel — On Jul 27, 2011

The most blissful chocolate cake I have ever eaten came layered with ganache frosting. It was so rich that it filled me up quickly, but even so, I wanted more. Luckily for my waistline, I was only allowed one piece.

I was attending an awards ceremony at a banquet hall. Every other seat had a different dessert, so one place had chocolate ganache cake, and the next had key lime pie. I quickly grabbed a chocolate seat.

The cake was three layers thick. In between each layer was thick ganache that at once reminded me of buttercream frosting and a truffle. It’s like the chef took the best of both worlds and combined them into perfection.

By OeKc05 — On Jul 26, 2011

Around Christmas time, I like to make my own chocolate covered cherries. Instead of creamy white centers, though, I prefer to surround the cherries with chocolate ganache for a truffle center.

Into the whipping cream and chocolate mixture, I stir a generous amount of dark cherries with the pits removed. I also use a bit of almond extract to give them an extra cherry flavored kick.

When I form the ganache into balls, I make sure that I have one cherry per ball. I let the balls set in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes before removing them and dipping them into a combination of melted chocolate chips and shortening. The shortening helps the chocolate remain smooth and harden with a glossy finish.

By orangey03 — On Jul 26, 2011

@Oceana - I use basically the same ganache recipe to make my raspberry truffles. I just use raspberry liqueur and a dash of raspberry extract instead of orange extract.

Though I love the taste of chocolate raspberry, I once tried to make it with white chocolate in the middle so that I could dye the ganache pink. I always love eating pink raspberry truffles that match the flavor.

Though it looked really cool, it just did not taste as good. To me, white chocolate is simply too sweet. Even though I used bittersweet chocolate as the coating, the centers were just too sugary. I think I’ll stick to brown chocolate ganache in the future.

By Oceana — On Jul 25, 2011

I discovered ganache when I found a recipe for orange chocolate truffles. It is some of the best stuff on earth! With it, I can make candy that rivals the chocolates found in a box.

I use heavy cream that has just begun to show tiny bubbles but is not yet boiling. I pour it on a mixture of semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips. I pour in two teaspoons of orange extract. After letting the cream soak into the chocolate for one minute, I use a whisk to whip it all together, and I whisk until no chunks of chocolate remain.

Then, I refrigerate the mixture for 45 minutes. By that time, it has become hard. I use a mixer to whip it up until stiff peaks form and it reaches the consistency of ganache. Then, I roll it into balls and dip them in melted chocolate.

By candyquilt — On Jul 25, 2011

@mutsy: I think you want to make a ganache to use as cake frosting. The recipe is very simple, use 2 parts chocolate to 1 parts cream. So to cover a whole cake with it, you will need about 800 grams of chocolate and 1 cup of cream. Use either solid chocolate or smaller pieces/chips as you prefer.

You can use the same recipe to make white chocolate ganache. I personally haven't tried it but I imagine that the same proportions will work for that as well.

It's really easy. You should definitely try it the next time you make cake.

By mutsy — On Jul 25, 2011

I love chocolate ganache frosting. It is so rich and creamy that I find that I can’t get enough of the cake. My husband bought a ganache cake for my birthday and I am embarrassed to say that I had about three slices that day.

It was amazing especially with some coffee. I wish I had a chocolate ganache recipe because I would use that frosting on every cake that I would bake. What I really want to try is white chocolate ganache because I love white chocolate and I think that this combination with devil’s food cake would be fantastic. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

By anon56605 — On Dec 16, 2009

its pronounced Ga-nawsh

By anon29183 — On Mar 28, 2009

What are the different types of Ganache and how do you pronounce it?

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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