It was my Mom's birthday so I made a 3 layer orange cake and filled with grand marnier flavoured IMBC and also some chocolate ganache. Then I covered the whole cake in ganache and fondant. (I don't use ganache very often, but when I do I make it in the 2:1 ratio dark chocolate to cream.)
Everyone said the cake looked great, and all was fine until it came time to cut the cake...which of course was assigned to me. I started to cut through for the first slice and it felt like I was cutting through a drum board...it was sooo hard. By the time I cut through, the whole slice crumbled into a mess of cake, IMBC, ganache and fondant on the plate. It didn't look anything like a "slice of cake" and each slice after did the same crumbling. I felt bad, but was happy it was only family members who were very understanding and said it tasted great.
So my question is, should I have whipped the ganache before filling the layers, or was my ratio off for the ganache or did I put too much ganache between the layers or was there something else I did wrong?
I appreciate any words of wisdom so I can avoid another embarrassment like this again.
I use ganache under my fondant covered cakes also. Did you put the cake in the refrigerator at all? That will cause the chocolate ganache to harden. If you did refrigerate the cake, how long did you allow it to come to room temp before cutting? As chocolate ganache comes to room temp it will soften.
What kind of knife did you use? That can greatly effect how well a fondant cake cuts. If things seems to smush as you were cutting the slices it sounds like the knife wasn't sharp enough or was the wrong type of knife to use.
The knife was sharp, but yes the cake had been in the fridge for about 4 hours because of the IMBC. Thinking about it now, I guess maybe it was still cold inside...it had only been out of the fridge for maybe 45 minutes before cutting it. How long should it be out in order for it to come to room temp all the way through? (It was an 8" round, 3 layer.) And should it just be a thin coating of ganache when put in between the layers or should that even matter if it is out of the fridge long enough?
Sorry for all the questions, but I don't use ganache a lot, however the taste of the orange and chocolate was so good. I would like to try it again, but now am so leary.
Thank you for your input...
The cake needed to be out of the cold much longer than 45 minutes after being in the fridge for 4 hours for the ganache to soften. I don't know exactly how long though. I work full time, so all my decorating is done in the evening. I make my ganache at night and put it in the fridge over night. When I leave for work the next morning I take the container of ganache out of the fridge. By the time I get home it is room temp and after about 15-20 seconds in the microwave it spreads like peanut butter.
Make a trial and error cake. It was only an 8" cake, so the family will eat that size cake no problem - no waste. Use a filling that doesn't need to be refrigerated this time. Do everything else the same (same amount of ganache, thickness of fondant...). When done cut a piece of cake right then. See if the cake falls apart. Put the cake in the fridge for 4 hours to become firm. Then take it out and cut a piece of cake every hour on the hour. If at hour 1 it falls apart but at hour 3 it doesn't - you know how long it needs to soften.
Thank you everyone for your input...it is much appreciated. And cai0311 sounds like a good idea to do a test cake. You're right, the family will eat the cake no problem.
IMBC does not need to be refrigerated. It is a stable frosting if done correctly. And I understand once the ganache is added to the cake it also works to lock in everything.
Ganache is made with cream and you don't need to refrigerate that.
If in doubt with the IMBC use pasteurized eggs. Or switch to SMBC. You pasteurize the eggs yourself getting it up to 165 degrees. It is shelf stable for up to 5 days. And freezes very well I might add.