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Glazing a cake with chocolate ganache...

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

How many times have you fantasised of making a luxurious shiny chocolate-glazed cake, only to be put off by the notion of its sophistication?

The patisserie has always intrigued me. How do they manage to come up with these opulent glistening chocolate-coated cakes? For whatever reason, I always assumed it would be difficult and complicated to pull off, requiring a bazillion expensive, unattainable materials and specialised gear. Also, I believed it was a specialty of pastry chefs and not for amateur cooks like us to master. As a result, I never tried glazing for fear of being unable to do it properly.

However, my inquisitiveness was driving me insane, and I couldn't quit thinking why a non-trained normal person couldn't learn to glaze a cake and turn it into exquisite beauty. This was a misconception that I had to debunk. At least, that's how it seemed in my brain. So I set out on a quest to unravel the mystery of glazing.

To my amazement, glazing is the most simplest and straightforward technique to cover a cake. I can't believe I'm saying this, but it's true: it's the quickest and easiest procedure requiring the fewest ingredients and tools. I wish I'd realised it sooner. But now that I know, I would encourage you to use this approach to transform your basic cake into a show-stopping patisserie-style cake.

C'mon, let go of your inhibitions and prepare to glaze. Follow along with me as I lead you through each step. If you pay close attention to the tiny but crucial aspects, you'll get it right.

Step 1: Remove the baking paper

After levelling the cake, carefully flip it over and peel away the baking paper to unveil the most safeguarded smooth flat base of the cake, which will become the new top of the cake.

Step 2: Place cake on wire rack

Choose a big bowl or tray that is broader than the size of the cake. This is to catch any extra glaze that drips down the cake's side. Over the bowl or dish, place a wire rack. Lift the cake carefully and set it on the wire rack, cut side facing down, with the cake centre aligned with the bowl or tray.

Step 3: Pouring of chocolate ganache

Before we can pour ganache over the cake, we must first make the ganache. To create it, use my Chocolate Ganache Recipe.

Important Note: Depending on the size of the cake, double, triple, or quadruple the ganache recipe. You don't want to run out of ganache mid-glazing. If you do, the poured ganache will partially set on the cake while you make a fresh batch. Adding a new batch of ganache to an already set ganache will result in lumps. Hence it is extremely critical to glaze the cake in one stroke. Don't be alarmed by an excessive amount of ganache. Leftovers can be reheated and used to glaze other cakes, make hot chocolate, and many other things; see my Chocolate Ganache post for more information.

Allow the ganache temperature to drop to approx. 30 degrees Celsius. We don't want the ganache to be too hot to run off the cake, or too cold that it thickens and loses its flowy quality. Strain the ganache into a spouted jar first to eliminate as many bubbles as possible.

We'll resift the ganache and glaze the cake at the same time. The second sieving will catch any remaining or new bubbles in the ganache. Hold a strainer above the centre of the cake and slowly pour the ganache into the sieve, maintaining a slow and steady stream. Avoid pouring ganache in batches. This will introduce unneeded bubbles.

You may notice at first that the ganache is simply accumulating in the sieve and nothing is passing through. But be patient and keep pouring slowly. If the ganache is of correct consistency and temperature, it will begin to trickle in 30 seconds. Once the ganache starts pouring over the cake, keep it going at the same centre position. Eventually, you will see that the ganache circle begins to grow and spread toward the edges of the cake.

When the ganache has covered the majority of the top section of the cake, begin moving the sieve with the ganache jar while keeping a constant flow of ganache to the exposed corners and edges of the cake. This will guarantee that the entire cake is coated with ganache. Once all the sides are covered and if there is still more ganache in the jar, then return the pouring back to the center to ensure that the ganache coating on top has not gotten too thin as a result of dripping down the edges.

Note: You should never stop pouring the ganache during the entire glazing phase to achieve a smooth and shiny finish.

Step 4: Setting the glaze

As soon as you've finished drizzling ganache over the cake, place the bowl, wire rack, and cake (yep, the complete arrangement) in the fridge for an hour to chill. This will aid in stabilising and firming up the ganache/glaze on the cake and prevent it from sliding down the edges.

Step 5: Scrape the drippings

After an hour, remove the cake and its entire arrangement from the fridge and set it on the countertop. Lift the wire rack and use a long spatula to carefully scrape the firmed-up glaze drops from beneath the wire rack.

Step 6: Transfer the glazed cake to a cake stand

The most difficult job is transferring the glazed cake onto the cake stand/plate without disrupting its pristine glaze surface. This is the step that most bloggers leave out of their instructions, and it is at this point that many people lose interest in attempting it.

After a lot of trial and error, I've finally figured out how to transfer cake smoothly and without making a mess. You'll need two long spatulas, or two long kitchen knives would suffice. To begin, slip one spatula under one edge of the cake and move it closer to the other side. Take the second spatula, slip it under the cake from the same side as the first, and leaving it closer to this side. Note that the length of both spatulas should be seated deep beneath the cake, not towards the edge, or the cake may split or fall when lifted. It's critical to have sturdy footing below the cake.

When spatulas are well placed underneath the cake, lift both of them at the same time and move the cake onto the cake stand/platter. Once the cake is placed on the stand, lift the second spatula along with the cake just slightly enough to help release the first spatula. Slide the released spatula out neatly. Clean this spatula with a warm damp paper towel. Use the sharp edge of this spatula to assist push the other spatula out from beneath the cake without ruining the shiny glaze/ganache appearance.

Step 6: Clean cake borders and glaze smear on the cake stand

No matter how meticulous and accurate you are with the cake transfer, there will be some messy edges and stains on the cake stand. Here's how I clear the smudges and straighten the borders.

Take a paper towel and lightly dampen it with warm water. Wipe all the large smears on the platter that are not too close to the cake. Now take another fresh paper towel and again lightly wet it (not dripping wet) with warm water. Fold it neatly to form a pointy edge. Place this pointy section of the paper towel close to the cake edge and with the help of your finger pressure slide it across the edge from one side to another dragging excess ganache off. Repeat this on all the edges. Make sure your finger does not touch the glaze. Because any imperfections will no longer be able to be eliminated or restored to their former flawless, gleaming state. We can, however, disguise it with clever decoration (check out my gallery post on cake decoration ideas).

Glazing complete

There you have it. Glazing complete. That's how you transform your ordinary cake into an elegant glossy cake just like you will find in a high-end patisserie.

It wasn't so complicated, was it?

It's now your turn to glaze the cake and surprise yourself. Also, do not forget to take a glance at your gleaming reflection in it.


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