A chocolate ganache is just chocolate melted and beaten into heavy cream. It's a magic substance; it can be a glaze, a filling, a coating, a solid truffle -- it just depends on the ratio of cream to chocolate. I like a ratio of a bit more cream to chocolate for a whipped filling; this ensures that it doesn't get too hard and difficult to spread.
The bittersweet taste of a good chocolate ganache is refreshing in a sweet, heavy cake iced with buttercream -- like many wedding cakes and holiday cakes. The bitter note of chocolate helps relieve all the sweetness!
Whipped Chocolate Ganache
Makes about 5 cups
1 pound bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped roughly
3 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon brandy, rum, vanilla, or another flavoring (optional)
Put the chocolate in a large, heatproof bowl -- ideally the bowl of a stand mixer. Heat the cream to boiling and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for about ten minutes, then add the salt and flavoring, if desired, and blend with the whisk attachment of a stand mixer or just stir by hand with a spatula.
Refrigerate for about two hours, or until firm all the way through. Whip with a stand mixer or beaters until soft, whipped, and slightly lightened in color.
Related: How To Make Chocolate Ganache
(Image: Faith Durand)