This is the frosting I use most frequently, and for most things. I wouldn’t say it’s a buttercream because it has barely any butter in it (compared to other buttercreams). It’s also one of those things that I make by eye but I’ve included some rough guidelines to help you on your way 🙂
Makes enough to frost 18-20 cupcakes or a layer cake
500g icing sugar
A few splashes of milk
In a mixer, beat the butter until it’s soft. Add the icing sugar in stages, otherwise it goes everywhere (it still goes everywhere but less so if you do it this way). The mixture should be dry and there should be lumps of butter among the icing sugar. Add a tablespoon or two of milk, the mixture should combine to give a smooth, thick frosting. Add more milk if you would like a runnier frosting but if you’re piping the frosting then keep in mind a stiffer consistency will hold up better.
If you would like to make chocolate frosting, replace 100g of icing sugar with 100g of cocoa powder. Then follow the same process.
For vanilla frosting, add a teaspoon or so of good quality vanilla extract, or the seeds of a vanilla pod as you add the milk.
Ganache is an essential. It’s used in many different things and it’s super easy to make. If it goes wrong, it’s fairly easy to salvage. If it starts to split and go horribly wrong (this happens if you use low quality chocolate, it’s ALLLLL about the cocoa solids) then give it a quick whisk with an electric mixer until smooth and glossy. If that doesn’t work then try adding a teaspoon of liquid glucose, I appreciate most people would have no need for that in their pantry but who knows, you might be an avid molten sugar artist?
200g good quality dark, white or milk chocolate (for a plain chocolate ganache, use a combination of dark and milk)
284ml (small) pot double cream
1-2tbsp golden caster sugar (optional)
Chop the chocolate in to fine pieces, the finer the better, and set aside in a glass bowl. Heat the cream (and sugar if using) in a pan until it’s simmering and about to boil. Take the cream off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Let the whole thing sit for just a minute and then stir the mixture until all of the chocolate melts in to the cream. It will melt. Be patient and don’t underestimate the residual heat of the cream. You should be left with a glossy ganache. Chill in the fridge until firm/desired consistency.
If you’re using ganache to ice a cake then I suggest whipping it before you use it as it becomes much lighter and easier to work with.