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Chocolate Cherry Icing

Asked by J053ph1n3. Answered on 26th May 2020

Full question

Hi - the first time I made these cakes they were absolutely delicious and the topping worked perfectly, however the second time I tried the cakes were perfect but the topping kept separating. The only difference was the chocolate I used was a higher percentage cocoa, would this have caused the problem?

I tried it three times and it kept splitting, the last time I didn’t boil the cream, but it still split. I saved the topping by adding icing sugar, but as the first attempt had been so successful I would like to achieve that lusciousness again. Please help me!!

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Photo by Petrina Tinslay
Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
By Nigella
  • 14
  • 2

Our answer

Nigella's Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes (from HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS) are topped with a chocolate ganache icing. Usually if the chocolate mixture turns oily it is a sign that the chocolate has been heated a bit too much and the oil in the cocoa butter has split out. Taken too far then the chocolate will start to burn and turn grainy. The percentage of cocoa solids in the chocolate does not usually affect this. Removing the pan from the heat while there are still pieces of unmelted chocolate visible usually helps to ensure that the mixture doesn't get too hot. The lumps of chocolate will melt in the residual heat. Also very heavy based pans, such as cast iron saucepans, tend to hold a lot of heat, so we would avoid using one of these for the icing.

If you only have a very heavy based pan then you may prefer to heat the cream until just steaming, take it off the heat, let it cool slightly and add the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for a minute then stir gently with a spoon until all of the chocolate has melted. If the ganache is oily you can often whisk it with a hand whisk until it cools and thickens and it should come back together, though the ganache will be less shiny.

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