Baking Tips: How To Do Chocolate Drip Icing







Drip icing isn't something new, but it seems to be having a real moment recently. I follow quite a few baking-related Instagram accounts, and many use the drip icing technique to decorate their masterpieces. I love baking, but as it's only me and Stewart in our household I never really bake big cakes; as much as I love a bit of chocolate cake, it's far too much to devour between just the two of us! So when Stewart's birthday came around last month, I knew months in advance that I wanted to finally try my hand at this drip icing! Although it's such a simple idea, I think it just makes the cake look so finished and a bit special (plus, who can resist chocolate ganache). I've only tried it the once, but researched meticulously beforehand on tips and tricks on how-to as I didn't want to risk messing it up; and I don't think it went too badly for my first time! So here are a few basic tips on how to master drip icing...


The Cake

Firstly, you've got to have a good base on which to drizzle the ganache. After looking at a few examples, I came to the conclusion that the drip effect would work much better on a three-layer cake as opposed to a two layer (which I would usually do). Essentially, the bigger the cake, the more of a statement the drip icing will be (and the bigger variety of drip lengths you can have- more on that later!).

On a side note, I used this recipe (link here) and it turned out to be one of the best chocolate cakes I've ever made, so would definitely recommend!


Buttercream

I chose to use vanilla cream cheese/buttercream frosting over the triple-layer chocolate cake, and found that the white coating worked best for making the dark chocolate ganache drips really stand out. In all Pinterest photos, the cakes looked perfect (obviously)- mine was a bit wonky and so it comes down to the icing to try and rectify this as much a possible and create a smooth, even coat. Popping a bit of my cream cheese-buttercream hybrid icing between each layer, I used the rest to do an initial crumb coat (a rough first layer that seals the crumbs and creates a base to work on). I got myself a lazy susan from Ikea and found this made icing the cake really efficient. It's really important to get the icing as smooth as possible (palette knifes are super handy). Once the first layer had set, you will need to do a second layer just to get that colour and finished product which will make a great backdrop for the drips.





Ganache

I've only made a ganache one before, but from years of watching Great British Bake Off I knew it was a bit of an art form- the perfect quantities, all put together at the perfect time. It's a bit of a science; the opposite of the way I bake (I prefer the 'chuck it all in a hope for the best' technique). After reading up on different recipes, I settled on the classic 100g dark chocolate to 100ml of double cream. The dark chocolate has to be a good quality one (I used Dr Oetker). Heat the cream on the hob (or in the microwave), set aside when it reaches boiling point and add the chopped up dark chocolate. I found a good trick was to leave the chocolate in the heated cream for 1-2 minutes without touching it, letting it melt on its own accord, and then gently stir it all together. It might take a couple of minutes of gentle stirring, but it will all come together and form a lovely glossy ganache!


Temperature

One of the biggest things I learnt when reading on t'internet was temperature is absolutely key in doing drip icing! Once the ganache was made, this was set aside for about 10 minutes; too hot at it'll be too thin, too cold and it'll be too thick. Whilst this was set aside, I popped the cake in the freezer. When the ganache was ready, the cake would be cold enough to let the drips set (rather than running straight to the bottom- you want to be able to create those different levelled drips after all!). As I neared the end of the piping, I found the ganache did start to set a little; if this happens, just warm it back up to melt the mixture slightly. (I didn't do this and the last bit of the icing was a tad lumpy!).


Piping

I've seen many people pouring the ganache on the top of the cake and gently pushing the mixture over the edges with the back of a spoon, however, I could see this going totally wrong for me. I used a disposable piping bag instead (Poundland do packs of them), and found this gave a bit more accuracy. You do have to work quite quickly, but piping the ganache allows you to have far more control over the length of the drips (squeeze more out for longer drips) and the distance between the drips. I panicked a good few times and it resulted in a slightly messier look than the perfect cake I had envisioned, but I guess practice makes perfect!


I hope these few tips have helped! If you're planning on doing drip icing, let me know how you get on or if you have any other tips for my next go! Here's a few photos of the finished cake, just because.













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