When making a cake, it can be difficult to decide whether to use icing or chocolate ganache, so you might come to crossroads many times. In order to be able to make the right decision for your dessert, you need to understand the differences between these two dessert glazes. Therefore, what is the main difference between icing and ganache?
While the icing is light and more liquid cream, ganache is much heavier since it includes cocoa solids and is not made by whipping. Ganache is compact and everybody loves its taste. Icing relies on friction between sugar and butter for a smooth thin finish, but has no special taste. Icing is used only for covering the desserts, while ganache is also used for filling the desserts.
This article will help you to understand the differences between icing and ganache, so you will be able to decide which one you need to use on what occasion. Also, I have discussed the advantages of both ganache and icing, as well as the possibilities of using icing as frosting. Once you read the information I have provided, you will master the techniques of cooking and baking, and your desserts will have the creamiest finishes.
Icing vs. Ganache: Comparison
While it might seem like they have the same consistency, ganache and icing are totally different things. They might have the same ingredients, but they do not look the same, and they are used for different purposes. Each of them is made in a different way, so they look quite different when they are on a dessert.
For instance, while the icing is made with a lighter texture, ganache is visibly prepared as heavier cream. Icing relies a lot on the friction between sugar and butter, so it ends up with a smooth, liquid structure. You will easily recognize icing since it looks like the thin ice over the cake.
On the other hand, ganache is quite compact and it is not whipped, and it contains quite more cocoa solids than the icing. The key is to give it enough time to harden. If you want to use it for decorating cupcakes or other desserts, it is better to mix it to get a chocolate mousse out of it.
Furthermore, ganache can provide a really thick coating, while icing will always end up with a light texture. Knowing this, you will be able to decide which of your desserts need ganache and which ones need icing. Some people use either of them just because they look better on the dessert, i.e. they give their dessert a better shape and look.
In addition, it is important to point out that ganache is characterized by a stronger chocolate flavor due to the cocoa solids, meaning that you need your dessert to be with an accented chocolate flavor, then ganache is the way to do it.
On the other hand, icing is based on sugar more than on cocoa, and that is why icing is sweeter than ganache. But, when desserts are made with icing, they are more easily cut through than those made with ganache. In addition, icing has no special taste and that’s why the majority of people love ganache more.
What Are the Advantages of Using Ganache?
First, it is important to understand what is ganache and how it is made. Ganache is actually chocolate that has become hot cream through the process of melting.
However, you should also consider the type of chocolate that you are going to use to make the ganache since it plays a significant role in the behavior of this type of glaze. For instance, dark chocolate has a significant amount of cacao powder. Cacao will act as a starch so it will easily harden even at room temperature.
On the other hand, white chocolate doesn’t have any cacao, so it is lighter and softer. This also means that it will not harden fast as dark chocolate ganache. In addition, you will need to add more white chocolate to the cream than you would dark chocolate if you want to make the perfect consistency of ganache.
However, even though white chocolate ganache is more challenging to make, it is great for adding different colors. Colorful white chocolate ganache can contribute to beautiful dessert decorations and you don’t need any special pieces of equipment. The best type of food coloring for chocolate is oil-based since it is formulated to perfectly blend with chocolate.
Due to its texture and the way it is made, ganache can be great for cakes and other desserts that need heavier and more compact cream. Ganache is particularly beneficial for desserts that require a lot of chocolate, i.e. a lot of chocolatey flavor. What is more, ganache is quite sturdy, so you might not worry about nicking it in the process of making your dessert.
Therefore, you should consider ganache when you are making eclairs or a cake with a delicate shape since they require a heavy and sturdy glaze. Each time you are making something delicate, i.e. something that includes details and similar stuff, make sure that you opt for the services of ganache.
What Are the Advantages of Icing?
Icing is a mix of unsalted butter and sugar that, once it is properly combined, forms a light glaze, and it can remind you of the ice. People sometimes add a little bit of milk or water to get a glossier look and consistency.
Icing can be used for different kinds of desserts, and it can have different roles, such as coating or just a decoration for your baked goods. The thing about icing is that is much more easily applied inside or on top of desserts, so you do not have to use a lot of effort.
The light texture of icing will allow you to easily maintain the process of making your cake or another type of dessert, but you need to be very careful since a tiny mistake can ruin the whole dessert. In other words, even if you slightly nick your icing, it can be completely ruined, so you need to pay a lot of attention when you are working with it.
Can You Use Frosting as Icing?
It is possible to use frosting as icing, only if you need a thicker texture on top of your dessert. If you take into consideration that frosting can be also used as a filling, you should be aware that this type of glaze is quite more compact than icing. Icing is usually used as a coating on top of a dessert and its primary role is for decoration, while that is not the case with frosting.
However, it is possible to use frosting as icing, only if you are sure that your top coating or top decoration needs to be more solid. Either way, it is important not to use the terms frosting and icing interchangeably since they also include some differences between themselves.
As you can see, there are some significant differences between icing and ganache, and which is better will depend on the type of dessert you are preparing. You should be aware that icing is more suitable for decorations, while ganache will work great as filing inside your dessert.