Cook Time: 0
Prep Time: 45 minutes
8 ounces (227 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp (28 grams) unsalted butter
1 tbsp cognac or brandy (optional)
Ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. (Can also heat the cream and butter in the microwave.) Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand, without stirring, for a few minutes. Stir gently (as you do not want to incorporate air into the ganache) with a spoon or whisk until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur.
1. Makes enough ganache to cover one - 9 inch (23 cm) cake or torte.
2. To Cover a Torte or Cake: If the cake you are covering needs to be refrigerated, first chill the cake. (This will ensure that the ganache will not lose its shine when the cake is stored in the refrigerator.)
3. First, brush any loose crumbs from the cake. Using a cake spatula or knife, cover the sides and top of the cake with a thin layer of ganache. (This is called a crumb coat and seals in any cake crumbs so that your cake will have a smooth finish.) Refrigerate the cake for about 5 minutes or until the crumb coat has set. Then place the cake on a wire rack, and put the wire rack on top of a large baking sheet (to catch any excess ganache that drips from cake.) Then pour the ganache into the center of the cake. Working quickly, spread the ganache with a large metal spatula or knife, using big strokes to push the ganache over the sides of the cake. (This will create an even coating of ganache.) If there are any bare spots on the sides of the cake, cover with ganache. Let the ganache set before covering and storing the cake.
4. Leftover ganache can be strained to remove any crumbs. It can be used to make chocolate truffles. Cover and refrigerate the ganache until firm (several hours or overnight). Roll into small balls and then roll in cocoa powder, confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar or chopped nuts. You can use your hands to form the truffles, a melon baller or small spoon. Truffles can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks or else frozen for a couple of months.