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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Way Gourmet Kitchen Tip: Smoothing Ganache

I’ve got a Lindsay post for you, and you know what that means – it’s gonna be Gourmet and Yummy. Today it’s a baking tip.

Ever wonder how to get your ganache all smooth and shiny-like?  It’s simple.  Get out your blow dryer!  Turn the heat up, bump the speed down and blow dry your cake, while simultaneously smoothing it out with that there cake spreader tool.

I tried to get a good action shot of Lindsay blow drying the cake, but I they didn’t come out the way I wanted.  Hopefully you can get a good idea of how to smooth out your ganache from the pictures!

Thanks, Lindsay!  The ganache cakes of the world just got prettier, thanks to you!

And for those of you would like to make the amazingly delectable Chocolate Ganache Cake with Raspberry Coulis that was featured in this post, click ‘more’ for the recipe (and more pics)!

Chocolate Ganache Cake with Raspberry Coulis and Fresh Raspberries

From Lindsay Rutman

Cake: my mom has been making it for years and just bakes a chocolate cake mix in layer pans. i use this recipe: (it tastes kind of like a brownie cake). i usually make the cake layers a day ahead of time and freeze them, because i find frozen cake a little easier to work with when i’m assembling all the layers together.

Ganache: the epicurious link for the cake recipe also has ganache instructions that are about the same ratios as my mom’s recipe, so it’ll work great. (you don’t have to be totally precise, you can add more or less chocolate for varying thickness). i use trader joe’s pound plus bittersweet chocolate in my ganache.

Raspberry Coulis: i’ve kind of made my own recipe for raspberry coulis. i just get a big bag of frozen raspberries, blend them in a food processor (or blender), then mash them through a mesh strainer with a spoon to get all the seeds out. then i add a squeeze of lemon juice, and enough sugar to my sweet/sour liking. it’ll be fairly runny, which can be bad news in a layer cake (you don’t want your layers to slide all over the place). i add 1-2 packages of plain gelatin (fruit pectin may work too, but i’ve never tried it).

Whipped Cream: i whip up cream with powdered sugar, vanilla, and a couple tablespoons of cream cheese (this keeps it more firm and stable in your cake layers).

Then layer all the stuff as you like between the cake layers, (i usually do all 3- ganache, coulis, and cream between each layer), frost the cake with ganache, and serve it with fresh raspberries. (Pictured: Lindsay’s layers.)

This cake is definitely a labor of love, that takes planning ahead (the ganache needs time to set up properly before you can frost with it).


  1. 1

    Wouldn’t heating the spreader by submerging it in hot water & then drying it off produce roughly the same effect? It’s worked wonders for me in the past.

  2. Totally unrelated to ganache (although, the cake looks beautiful), I wanted to let you know that I saw some lonely looking brussels sprouts in the store the other day and remembered the 60-second recipe you posted many months ago. I decided to give it a go, even though neither of us thought we liked brussels sprouts. They were SO good!! Thanks for the recipe.

  3. 3
    Jane Maynard

    catherine – your method is great as well! (I actually do the same thing with the knife when it’s time to cut the cake.) I would say, though, with a large cake like this one the blow dryer would be nice because you don’t have to worry about the knife cooling off halfway through the smoothing process. but heating the spreader as you suggest is a great idea!

    hillary – I’m so glad you liked the brussel sprouts! everything I’ve tried from lindsay is awesome and those brussel sprouts are no exception! 🙂

  4. 4

    mmmmm cake…. (in a homer simpson voice)

  5. I’m drooling, that looks so good. Jane, you did a fabulous job of capturing the deliciousness of the cake, I swear I can smell its raspberry-chocolateyness through my computer screen.

  6. I’ve never seen the blow dryer method before. I usually dip the cake spreader in boiling water and wipe it off with a kitchen towel before smoothing the chocolate ganache. I’ll give this a try next time I make a bday cake. Thanks for the tip. I love baking and I can totally relate when you say this cake is a labor of love. I love seeing my loved ones consuming the labor of my work. :oD

  7. 8
    Jane Maynard

    hi jackie – lindsay, my friend who taught me this trick, prefers the blow dryer because the heat is constant and long lasting…hope it works well for you, although the hot cake spreader is also a great method! 🙂

    your loved ones are lucky to have you laboring for them! 🙂

  8. 9

    This doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. Hair dryers have hair particles and dust trapped inside of them. YUCK!

    • to each his own! I’m not especially concerned – a hair dryer has a filter for dust, and I don’t imagine many hair particles get inside a dryer, as it blows air forcibly out. I suppose it’s a possibility. I did some research and chefs do use this trick and that doesn’t seem to come up as an issue. also, keeping your dryer’s filter cleaned would be key for minimizing blowing any dust or particles. You could also attache the diffuser.

      heating a frosting spreader/knife under hot water and drying before using may also be a nice trick that wouldn’t involve the blow dryer at all! 🙂

    • Joyce

      I totally agree, ewww. Even a new dryer used only for that purpose would be drawing particuals from the air and god knows what else and spewing it onto the cake.

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