Tag Archives: Chocolate

SK Chocolate Ganache Mix Review

During my last trip to England, I had the chance to visit Squires Kitchen’s shop in Farnham. Squires Kitchen’s one of the most renown British manufacturers and sellers of cake decorating equipment and ingredients. Among their vast selection of products, I found some particularly interesting: SK Mixes. You basically just add water to obtain different baking essentials: ganache, marzipan, fondant. I bought those I found more intriguing for testing, and also cross-testing against their traditionally-made counterparts.

The first product I put to the test is SK Chocolate Ganache Mix, sold by Squires Kitchen’s Online Shop.

Place the mix into a microwave bowl, add the suggested amount (85ml) of cooled boiled water. At this point you might want to add a personal twist to your ganache: coffee essence, liquor or essential oils (but remember, the total amount of added liquids should not exceed 85ml).
Stir with a whisk, then place in the microwave at full power for a minute, stirring every 20 seconds. Stir once more, and your ganache is ready.
The ganache can be used warm as a fluid icing, or cooled at room temperature and put into the fridge for about 30 minutes or until it reaches the desired consistency.
Cooled ganache can be used for filling or icing cakes and cupcakes, for filling chocolates, making “Bûche de Noël” or banana skewers, one of my favourite treats!

Whipped Ganache
Alternatively, you can whip the ganache in the mixer: adding air to the mixture will make it lighter (in colour and consistency). I got good results whipping for 3/4 minutes at medium speed.
Whipped ganache is great for filling chocolates, and looks (and tastes) great piped on top of your cupcakes with a large star nozzle.

I filled and iced the two halves of the same vanilla cake: one with ganache made from scratch (cream and dark chocolate 50% cocoa, same quantity), one with SK Chocolate Ganache Mix.
Visually, the results are pretty similar: traditional ganache is just a shade darker and glossy, probably because of the type of chocolate I used.
Once the cake covered, SK Ganache dries faster. That’s especially useful if you’re planning to coat your cake with marzipan or sugar paste: you won’t have to wait as long!

Tasting wasn’t limited to myself: I got help from two trusted “testers”. They were given no indication and were asked to evaluate both cakes. The results are substantially equal, with a slight preference for traditional ganache texture by one of the tasters.

I believe SK Chocolate Ganache Mix is a great product: it scored on par with a ganache made from scratch. Preparation is even easier than traditional ganache. The main reason to use this mix is its convenience: the shelf life is incomparable to fresh cream (many months for the mix, a few days for fresh cream). You can keep a few packs in your pantry without worrying about expiry dates, and you’ll have an excellent ganache ready in no time with just a little of tap water.

Stocking up with SK Ganache Mix is a great idea: even if ganache is quite easy to make, it is also easy not to have fresh cream readily available. In all those cases, the mix comes to your rescue. Last, but not least, your friends (or clients) will love it!

Flowers & Butterflies

I got a call from a customer who knew precisely what she wanted. The occasion: her daughter’s thirteenth birthday; the design, a cake she saw in England, was strictly non-negotiable. No matter what alternatives or options I offered, she had made up her mind before getting in touch with me. I like working for determined people, and even if I’d rather have created something from scratch, I got along with my client’s requests for the design.

Since guest were all teen-agers, we chose a two-layer cake with no alcohol soaking. The lower is a chocolate cake layered and covered with orange-flavored chocolate ganache, lightly soaked with orange syrup. The upper is an orange sponge cake, lightly soaked with orange syrup, layered and covered with dark chocolate ganache. I covered both cakes with marzipan, then with Regalice fondant, the best available on the market at the moment, if you ask me.

The chosen design, with a quantity of tiny flowers in different shapes and colours, and sugar butterflies, was adorable, and preparing the cake was fun, although a little tricky. Shaping the butterflies was especially difficult: for the lack of a specific cutter, I had to shape each butterfly with a scalpel, and believe me, it’s easier said than done. Eventually I made it, and the result lived up to everybody’s expectations. All decorations are made of sugar flower paste (gumpaste), which is by far my favorite ingredient. Even though it requires organization and quick processing times (it dries quickly when exposed to air, and when dry it becomes almost unusable), it gives excellent results.

You can judge the results in the pictures, taken in far from optimum light conditions a few moments before delivering the cake. Just seeing Nadia’s expression (the nice, though exacting, lady I spoke about at the beginning of the post) gave me a great satisfaction for my work.