I HATE GANACHE!
For my kids' school Halloween parties, I thought I'd be creative and make some individual cakes of ghosts and pumpkins, covered in ganache. I even came here to get tips on making and using the ganache, preparing the cakes, etc. so I felt completely ready.
Wednesday, bake cakes (16 X 16 - one white, one orange (coloured, not flavoured)), and cut out using cookie cutters. (I think this was the beginning of the end ... I started with the white cake, but didn't realize until I was 2/3 of the way thru it that I was cutting out pumpkins instead of ghosts - so I just decided to switch it up and cut out orange ghosts, then cover each with the correct coloured ganache).
Thursday - after a day of running around, I finally started to prepare the ganache for the ghosts. Had them all nicely lined up on some parchment paper. Someone suggested I try dipping them into the ganache with a fork instead of pouring it over them. BIG MISTAKE! The cake broke apart in the ganache, leaving lovely bits of orange cake in my white ganache. Picked out what I could. Decided to just spoon/drizzle the ganache over the ghosts. Keep in mind that I was also told that I did not have to 'prep' the cakes with a B/C crumbcoat, just pour ganache. Well, it soaked directly into the cakes, so instead of a lovely covered-in-white ghost, I had oranage ghosts with blobs of white chocolate soaking into them.
I decided, what the hey, and just kept going. I ended up with 2 trays (approx. 25) barely covered orange ghosts. I put them in the fridge, and left the room. I couldn't take anymore. Then, just before bed, I decided to remove them from the fridge to put them on the mini-loaf wrappers I had for them. Just as I'm coming down the hall, I hear one of the trays hit the floor. My DH removed a can from under the tray that was supporting it, and it lost its balance, and slide right out the fridge door. By this time, I was beyond caring, so I just cleaned it up and tossed the whole thing. I later tossed the second tray, since it was just total crap, too.
I still hadn't done the pumpkins, but at this point, I had no intention of going thru that crap again. They are still sitting in the container. I guess I'll make cake balls with them.
This morning (Friday), I ended up just making chocolate molds of ghosts and pumpkins for the classes, and took them to the school when the kids went back in their costumes after lunch. I know the teachers don't expect anything, but I was so hyped for these to come out.
It will be a very cold day in Mexico before I try using ganache again. Next time, just cupcakes.
Oh, and I had a last minute birthday cake for my DD's classmate. It was a simple enough cake (9 X 13 chocolate with choc. B/C - I made melted blue choc letters for the "H 8th B Thomas", and candy blox for the bottom border, Thomas loves Lego and they look like Lego) - but the kid's father was being a PITA. He's very controlling, as I discovered. Next time, if there is one, I'm dealing with the mother. She's a doll. I know I undercharged him, but I'm doing that in hopes of more business coming via them, since they have a very large extended family. (And I was happy just to be able to do something that I knew I could do properly.)
I am sorry you had so much trouble. I know it breaks your heart when you are sooo excited and things don't go as you thought they would.
Did you let your ganache cool at all? The only time I have had any trouble is when I have poured my ganache onto my cake when the ganache is still very hot and thin.
No one told me you had to let it cool, but it wasn't straight off the stove (but darn near). That may have been the problem.
I'm still steamed and disappointed, so I won't be trying it again too soon to find out. But I will keep this in mind.
Oh, CutiePieCakes, I'm so sorry for your bad cake day. Please don't give up on it altogether though. Instead, why don't you try a small batch of "just for the family" cupcakes or petit fours to see if you have better luck. I to have dealt with people who either are a PIA or cheap. I once did a 1/4 sheet with fondant and fondant detail work for my supervisor and charged her $20.00 just because I figured she would send some business my way. It worked, she sent her mother in law my way, did all kinds of 3d work on half sheet, half choc/half white cake. Charged 35.00. My supervisor told her daughter that I way overcharged her MIL. I told her daughter that her mother got her cake dirt cheap, and the only reason I made it for her that cheap was because I was just learning and I thought she might send some more business my way. I also asked her if she was willing to work for 5.00 any hour, cause that was about what I made off that cake after my expenses.
First, I feel your pain, OP, had a similar experience recently with petit fours and poured fondant.
Second, it does sound like the ganache was too hot and thus too thin.
OMG CutiePie - I am soooooooo sorry! I just found this thread, then went back a re-read the original one. I guess I just assumed that you knew to do the ganache ahead of time and let it set up. I hadn't opened any of those links and the Wilton one says nothing about letting it sit or firm up.
To use on cakes under fondant, I do a 50/50 mix and it sits on my bench overnight. Something happens to the choc and it thickens into a paste consistency. That's why I said microwave it slightly before coating! BC would have made no difference, hot ganache would have just melted it off!
It sounds like a bad day all round and I feel really bad. I'm never giving anyone advice again!
So sorry for your bad day! We all have them. I have been using ganache for my last several cakes and I have had alot of success with it. Yes, you need to let your ganache set overnight. When you are ready to use it, nuke it in the microwave for about 5 second bursts, until it is peanut butter like consistency. You also do not want to dip your cupcakes in it- use your spatula. It sounds like you want a 'setting' ganache. One that firms up so you can handle it. . That is a 2:1 ratio of chocolate to heavy cream. (3:1 if you are using white chocolate). Then let that sit overnight after you have iced your cakes/cookies. They will be firm enough to handle the next day, but it isnt hard to eat. Very smooth. I really like using ganache- It's all i'll use from now on. Again, Im very sorry about your day. Hope i was able to help.
Thanks for all the extra hints. I did use the Wilton recipe - explains a lot.
I'm much calmer now. Never did do those cake balls, though. Ended up just tossing out the leftover cake bits. Maybe I'll try again and do something up for the teachers at my kids' school. They're always willing to be my guinea pigs!