Learn how to make ganache for your small cakes, cheesecakes, and more! This homemade chocolate ganache is a 2 ingredient recipe with an easy ratio to remember.
You may recognize this easy ganache recipe from my Small Chocolate Cake.
I recently made it for my peanut butter cheesecake and decided it’s about time I gave ganache its own spotlight.
It may seem like a fancy French word, but it’s the easiest chocolate glaze recipe you can make with only 2 ingredients.
When I worked in south central PA (which is pretty much a rural area), I remember bringing in a ganache covered dessert for my coworkers to eat.
I don’t even remember what I made (probably my triple chocolate cheesecake), but I do remember one coworker going “ganache?!” and mispronouncing it every time she brought it up.
Not only is it decadent and delicious, it also makes a great baking lesson.
Of course like everything else I’ve made in the past few years, this is a small batch ganache recipe. It makes enough to cover a 6 inch cheesecake, cake, or even cupcakes.
Plus it’s easy to double for a layer cake, thanks to the simple ratio between chocolate and cream.
What is ganache?
Ganache (pronounced guh-nahsh) is a chocolate glaze made from heavy cream and chocolate. It has a silky smooth texture with a soft bite to it.
How is ganache different from frosting?
Ganache is made differently from buttercream frosting and is much more silky and rich.
Buttercream is made by beating together butter and powdered sugar.
Ganache is made by stirring together chocolate and heavy cream until the chocolate melts. After pouring it over your cake, it’ll firm up into a soft glaze.
With that said, you can turn it into frosting with my peanut butter ganache frosting.
Ingredients For Ganache
Homemade chocolate ganache is the easiest recipe you can make because there are only two ingredients:
- Chocolate: Make sure you’re using high-quality baking chocolate and not chocolate chips. Semi-sweet is the best chocolate for ganache (which is usually between 40%-60% cacao), but you can also use bittersweet or white chocolate. Do not use milk chocolate as the chocolate flavor won’t be as pronounced.
- Heavy cream: Yes, you will need heavy cream due to the fat content. No, you cannot substitute milk or half and half for it. Without using heavy cream, your ganache will not set.
With that said, you can substitute some of the cream with beer (or coffee) like I did for my chocolate stout cake and make a beer ganache.
The ratio of chocolate to cream determines how firm the ganache will be. The more cream you use, the softer your ganache will be.
1:1 ratio of chocolate to cream
The one I use most (and what I’m focusing on for this post) is 1:1, which means equal parts chocolate to equal parts heavy cream.
That means if you’re using 2 ounces chocolate, you’re also using 2 ounces (1/4 cup) heavy cream.
It has a silky smooth texture with a soft bite to it and is thin enough to pour over your dessert. Although it’ll firm up in the fridge, it’s not crunchy like a chocolate shell.
2:1 ratio of chocolate to cream
You can also use ganache to make truffles. Using twice the amount of chocolate than cream means the ganache will be very thick, almost like fudge.
If you’re using 2 ounces chocolate, you’ll want to use 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) heavy cream.
1:2 ratio of chocolate to cream
Using twice the amount of cream than chocolate will result in a thin glaze, which is perfect for dipping strawberries or donuts.
You can even drink it as thick hot chocolate (although I use whole milk instead of cream since you don’t have to worry about it setting up).
If you’re using 2 ounces chocolate, you’ll want to use 4 ounce (1/2 cup) heavy cream.
How To Make Ganache
Learning how to make ganache is incredibly simple!
First, add your finely chopped chocolate to a heat-proof bowl. It’s important your chocolate is finely chopped and not in large pieces. That makes it much easier to melt.
Next, warm your cream in a small pan on the stove until simmering. Do not let it boil or the cream will be too hot.
I prefer the stove over the microwave because the stove heats the cream more evenly. I wouldn’t use a microwave unless it’s your only heat source.
Pour your cream over your chocolate and let it sit for about 2-3 minutes. This starts to melt the chocolate as well as balances the temperature between the cream and chocolate.
If you start stirring now, the chocolate could separate and become too gritty.
Once the chocolate warms up, stir the two together until completely smooth. Stir slowly in one direction as you don’t want to rush this process.
Now you’re ready to pour!
If your chocolate is still a tad lumpy from not fully melting, fill a saucepan smaller than your bowl with water, bring to a simmer, then place your bowl of chocolate on top then finish stirring. Do not let the bottom of your bowl touch the water.
The steam will warm up the bowl and help finish melting the chocolate. Just make sure you don’t get any water or steam into the actual chocolate or it’ll seize up.
Do you need to refrigerate ganache?
You can keep ganache at room temperature for up to 2 days before transferring it to the fridge.
However, I keep my ganache covered desserts in the fridge right away because if the chocolate gets too warm, it gets messy to cut and serve.
Uses For Chocolate Ganache
Now that you made ganache, what do you do with it? Here are my favorite recipes to use ganache:
- 2 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (not chocolate chips)
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) heavy whipping cream, room temperature (do not substitute milk or half and half)
- Add chocolate to a heatproof bowl.
- In a small saucepan, heat the cream until simmering but not boiling.
- Pour the cream over the chocolate and wait 2-3 minutes or until the chocolate starts to soften. Slowly stir together until completely smooth.
If the chocolate isn't fully melted, place the bowl over a pan of simmering water (do not let the bottom touch the water). Continue stirring until smooth. Do not get any water or steam in the bowl.
- Immediately pour over your dessert and spread evenly. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until the ganache firms up before serving.
Ganache can sit at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerate for up to 1 week.
- To make ganache firmer for truffles, use 2 ounces chocolate + 2 tablespoons cream.
- To make ganache thinner for dipping, use 2 ounces chocolate + 1/2 cup cream.
- Don't have dessert planned yet? Pour your ganache over Small Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Cheesecake with Oreo Crust, or Peanut Butter Cheesecake.