Chocolate Cake And Ganache Disaster! New Recipe Needed?

Baking By ptanyer Updated 29 Jan 2009 , 12:28pm by katielb

ptanyer Posted 17 Jan 2009 , 4:09pm
post #1 of 15

I have been using a chocolate cake recipe by Colette Peters for some time now and have had great reviews for it. Instead of the bourbon called for in the recipe, I substitute Godiva chocolate liqueur or Bailey's Irish Cream, Kahlua, etc. I usually use chocolate ganache or whipped ganache for for the filling/icing. But I have run into a big problem and need to figure out what is going wrong!

I made several layers, baked and wrapped them and refrigerated some and froze some. Took them out and brought completely to room temp before frosting. Decorated and served at two different bday parties and the cakes were like hard mud inside. (My son told me it had the texture of meatloaf!). The cake had no crumb at all. Also very very moist, which probably contributed to the compacted texture of the cake. Needless to say I was very upset. I had refrigerated cake layers before and never had this problem. Any ideas what went wrong?

Also, made chocolate ganache, let cool and refrigerated. Took out to come to room temp (left out all night) and it was grainy and dry. What is going wrong?

I have 4 major cakes to do in the next two months and can't have chocolate cakes like this. I need to be able to refrigerate them before covering with fondant.

Any ideas? icon_cry.gif

14 replies
newmansmom2004 Posted 17 Jan 2009 , 4:20pm
post #2 of 15

Wow - that's the same chocolate cake recipe I use a lot and people LOVE it. I don't know why it would get that hard unless the Baileys or Godiva liquers had something in them (something similar to milk fats maybe?) that hardened after they got cold and stayed that way. I've never used anything but bourbon in the recipe and they've been fine.

I've only made ganache a couple times and used it right away so I don't have any help on that one - sorry.

loriemoms Posted 17 Jan 2009 , 4:23pm
post #3 of 15

I am afraid I cant help you with the chocolate cake recipe, as I am not familiar with it. It sounds like the cakes were cooked long enough or had too much liquid in them.

As far as ganache, I have a fool proof recipe.

10 oz of heavy cream
Bag (12 oz) of semisweet chocolate chips

Place the chocolate chips in a large bowl. Put the cream in a pot and bring to just a simmer, stiring constantly as not to scold. Pour over the chocolate and stir gently to melt all the chocolate, till it is smooth and creamy. Cool to 90 degrees which is perfect for pouring over cakes.
I dont use butter or anything in this ganache. It also keeps well if you make it ahead of time and refrigerate and can be reheated slowly. It also can be whipped up and used as a filling!

Brontecakes Posted 17 Jan 2009 , 4:38pm
post #4 of 15

Hi, I use the same ganash as loriemum. it is really easy to make and to use.

Make sure you use the semi sweet or (dark choc) drops not milk choc. If you use the wrong choc drops your mixture will go grainy.
Hope this helps.

cakesondemand Posted 17 Jan 2009 , 4:39pm
post #5 of 15

you may have forgotten to put the eggs in if so it will give that texture to the cake

loriemoms Posted 17 Jan 2009 , 4:42pm
post #6 of 15

I never thought of that..maybe there is something odd in the liquor you are using that is affecting the fat ratio balance..

ptanyer Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 12:13am
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmansmom2004

Wow - that's the same chocolate cake recipe I use a lot and people LOVE it. I don't know why it would get that hard unless the Baileys or Godiva liquers had something in them (something similar to milk fats maybe?) that hardened after they got cold and stayed that way. I've never used anything but bourbon in the recipe and they've been fine.

I've only made ganache a couple times and used it right away so I don't have any help on that one - sorry.




Everyone I make the chocolate cake for loves it as well. That's why I need to find out what went wrong. Does the texture of your chocolate cakes change after you refrigerate them? Or do you refrigerate them?

ptanyer Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 12:21am
post #8 of 15

Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I know that everyone on this site are such great sources of help and support. Couldn't think of anywhere else to go for troubleshooting.

Now if I can ask one more question - when I make the ganache, I leave it in the glass bowl, let it cool completely, refrigerate overnight, take out and let come to room temp and then put in the mixer to whip. Should I be whipping it before refrigerating it? Is the refrigeration part of the problem?

Thanks again for all your help.

Brontecakes Posted 28 Jan 2009 , 3:32am
post #9 of 15

I read somewhere the other day that if you over-beat your ganache it will go grainy. Maybe thats the cause. Good luck!

ceshell Posted 28 Jan 2009 , 8:47am
post #10 of 15

Depending on which ganache recipe you are using, you actually don't need to refrigerate it, but refrigeration alone should not cause it to go grainy. I vote with over-whipping. It doesn't take long to whip before it goes grainy. I have never timed it myself, but I'm thinking I whip maybe 10, 20 seconds? I'd be shocked if I ever get it up to a full minute. The graininess occurs when the chocolate is agitated too much.

-->and no, I would not whip it first. Then again I wouldn't refrigerate it! I only refrigerate it if I'm in a rush to get it cooled.

The other question is simply what method do you use to melt your chocolate...if you use the standard "scald the cream/pour over chocolate, wait 1-2 minutes, then stir gently," that works best. Graininess can also occur when it is first made; stirring too fast can take the temp of the fats down too fast. But I'm assuming you tasted it before refrigerating, and you're saying the problem is not there until you whip it.

Here's an interesting article on how to repair a broken or grainy ganache. I have no idea if it works though!! http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/excerpts/2003-11-28-secrets-baking_x.htm

I'm no expert on your cake problem but freezing can change the texture a bit. My cakes end up a bit denser. However, not so much that the quality is compromised (in fact it is usually improved). If it is like "mud" inside, can you be sure it was baked properly...I know you said you make it all the time so it's unlikely that's your problem, but maybe this time was a coincidence...you happened to freeze it the one time it was undercooked? Just thinkin' out loud here. icon_rolleyes.gif

katielb Posted 28 Jan 2009 , 9:22am
post #11 of 15

Dito with ceshell re the ganache.

Also, just as a side note, ive made the whipped ganache a few times and used milk chocolate every time. Ive never had a problem although i dont use buttons - i use a good quality block of chocolate broken up. So please dont feel anxious about using milk chocolate icon_smile.gif

Brontecakes Posted 28 Jan 2009 , 9:06pm
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Quote:

Also, just as a side note, ive made the whipped ganache a few times and used milk chocolate every time. Ive never had a problem although i dont use buttons - i use a good quality block of chocolate broken up. So please dont feel anxious about using milk chocolate




Thats good to know Katielb thanks, I make my ganache using the dark choc buttons and rarely have a problem however whenever I have tried it with the milk choc buttons and I end up with a grainy gluggy mess. I will try using block choc instead and see how it comes out. icon_smile.gif

katielb Posted 28 Jan 2009 , 10:27pm
post #13 of 15

No probs Bronte icon_smile.gif

Just one tip - I use a couverture chocolate block - tastes sooo much better icon_smile.gif

ceshell Posted 29 Jan 2009 , 12:35am
post #14 of 15

katielb, doesn't couverture have a higher cocoa butter content? Meaning it performs better for candymaking. I thought that for milk chocolate ganache you need to decrease the cream just a tad to account for the fact that there is already 12% milk ingredients in the bar. Perhaps this is why you get good results from your milk chocolate without changing the recipe: because you use couverture. Actually you didn't say which ratio you use, I am so curious as I had a heckuva time making milk chocolate ganache, but could make dark in my sleep.

katielb Posted 29 Jan 2009 , 12:28pm
post #15 of 15

yes you are correct, couverture does have a higher cocoa butter content and can be used for chocolates but i use it cause it melts smoothly and has a nice shine, (plus a rule i once read and always stick by is to always use a chocolate you like the taste of straight from the packet icon_biggrin.gif). It doesnt need tempering cause its mixed with the cream so its very easy to use. Compound chocolate is also widely used for confectionary icon_smile.gif

The recipe i use is 250g chocolate & 235ml cream (makes approx 2 cups) and double/triple depending on size of cake.
The ratio is basically 1:1

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