Very often I don’t bother icing cakes because I am lazy. Making icing takes time, putting it on the cake takes time (and it takes even more time if you want it to all look pretty) and actually, washing up from the icing making takes time and effort.
However, most cakes are actually better if you do bother. And it might come as a surprise to know that making a chocolate ganache is much quicker than messing around with icing sugar.
Firstly, you have to commit yourself to paying a little bit of attention because you are going to microwave your chocolate. If we were to start using a bain-marie for this, it would take a long time and we’re here to be quick.
These quantities make enough chocolate ganache for a 1lb loaf cake but would also do for a 23cm round cake.
Take 50g of dark chocolate and 50g of unsalted butter, chopped, and melt in the microwave. I do this in 30 second bursts on full power and I hover by the microwave, keeping a beady eye on what is going on. After each burst, I give the chocolate and butter a stir and decide whether or not it needs another full 30 seconds or not. I suggest the first time you do this, you check more often than you think. If you melt chocolate this way regularly enough you’ll get a feel for it – but a mid-melt stir or two remains essential.
Allow the chocolate and butter mix to cool slightly and then stir in one generous tablespoon of pure (NOT thickened!) cream. Give it a really good stir – the mixture will start to thicken and in no time it will be at the right consistency to spread on your cake.
There may even be a little left for a taste test of your own …