How to Ice a Cake

Ganache Buttercream vs Chocolate Ganache: The Ultimate Showdown

Ganache Buttercream vs Chocolate Ganache: The Ultimate Showdown

Let’s face it, most of us would be happy just eating frosting straight from the bowl. It’s usually a sweet, creamy delicacy; many would agree it is the cake’s best part. There are many options for cake frosting, but two options stand out: ganache buttercream and chocolate ganache. 

These two frostings are the leading contenders for desserts, and determining which option is best for you can be difficult. To help you decide, the two frosting options will be having a showdown in this article; we’ll explore their differences to help you determine which is best for your baking needs. On that note, let’s get into it.

What is Ganache Buttercream? 

As the name implies, it is a mix of ganache and buttercream. It is a frosting for cupcakes, cakes, and many more desserts. It’s quite versatile, as you can use it as a topping for ice cream or brownies. It also works excellently when you need a unique and delicious filling for macarons. It’s perfect for sculptured cake and results in a burst of flavor in your mouth when used.

the image displays a ganache buttercream frosting

Ganache frosting

How to Make Ganache Buttercream

Making ganache buttercream is easy and takes only a few minutes to complete. In this section, we’ll break down all you need and the steps to take.


As a simple topping, you only need five ingredients to whip up a batch of ganache buttercream; let’s take a look.

  • Whipping cream: You’ll have to use heavy whipping cream, not light or table cream. This is because its high fat content makes the buttercream come together.
  • Chocolate chips: You can use either white chocolate chips or dark chocolate. Whichever option you choose, ensure you cut the chocolate into small pieces. 
  • Salt: An important ingredient you just cannot overlook.
  • Vanilla extract: We recommend pure vanilla extract. However, if you want to spice up the flavor, you can opt for a mix of almond extract and vanilla extract. 
  • Salted butter: While you can always go for unsalted butter, you’ll find that the extra bit of salt makes the ganache buttercream even more delicious.

Steps to Whip Up Ganache Buttercream

Let’s discover the steps to whip it up.

  • Start by melting the chocolate with whipped cream in a bowl to make the ganache. Heat the chocolate slowly and gently to prevent it from seizing up. You can either use the microwave or a double boiler. 
  • After heating it, remove the bowl and stir till all the chocolate is melted. You can then refrigerate it to cool. 
  • After a while, remove the ganache from the refrigerator and utilize a mixer to beat it at medium-high speed till it becomes thick. 
  • Add the remaining whipping cream and a bit of salt to the bowl. Keep beating with the mixer till the mixture can hold its shape.
  • Next, add the vanilla extract but don’t stop beating it. Although you’ll notice the mixture separating and breaking, don’t fret; that’s exactly what you want.
  • This is where you add the butter. Ensure the butter is melted and continue to beat as you add the butter. Add a teaspoon of butter until the buttercream starts to come together. 

Keep beating until the mixture is smooth and creamy. When you get this result, your ganache buttercream is ready to use.

Is there an actual simple recipe for Ganache Buttercream you could include?
YES… see below

Ganache Buttercream Recipe

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Ganache Buttercream Recipe

  • Author: How To Ice A Cake
  • Total Time: 0 hours


Here’s a recipe for a simple ganache buttercream that should be enough to frost a 9-inch cake that serves 12 people:



Unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 cup (2 sticks)

Confectioners’ sugar 3 cups

Heavy cream 1/4 cup

Vanilla extract 2 tsp

Dark chocolate, finely chopped 6 oz


  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the unsalted butter with an electric mixer until it’s light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract to the bowl, and continue to beat the mixture until it’s smooth and creamy.
  4. Melt the finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave in short bursts, stirring between each burst, until it’s fully melted and smooth.
  5. Add the melted chocolate to the buttercream mixture and beat it until it’s well combined.
  6. Use the ganache buttercream to frost the cake, spreading it evenly over the top and sides using an offset spatula or a butter knife.


You can adjust the consistency of the buttercream by adding more or less confectioners’ sugar or heavy cream, depending on your preference. If the buttercream is too thick, add a little more heavy cream. If it’s too runny, add more confectioners’ sugar.

The prep time for this ganache buttercream recipe is short, as it only involves chopping the chocolate and beating the ingredients together, which should take about 15-20 minutes. There is no actual “cook time” for this recipe, as it doesn’t involve cooking any ingredients.

  • Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Keywords: simple ganache buttercream

What Is Chocolate Ganache?

Chocolate ganache is an equal-part mixture of warm cream and chocolate. Chocolate ganache is a staple in most bakers’ kitchens because of its easy and quick creation method. Like ganache buttercream, chocolate ganache is quite versatile, and you can use it in many ways. You can pour it over pastries or cakes to form a shiny glaze. Alternatively, people use it as a filling for truffles and all candies. Whip it as a frosting until you get a light and fluffy consistency. 

the image displays a ganache buttercream frosting

A chocolate ganache

How to Make Chocolate Ganache

Whether as a topping for cupcakes or a filling for layer cakes, making chocolate ganache is one of the easiest things to do, and we’ll be exploring the steps in this section. 

Key Ingredients

You only need two ingredients when you’re making chocolate ganache, and they include the following.

  • Heavy Whipping Cream: You need heavy or whipping cream for making chocolate ganache. Using light cream or whole milk can be tempting, but this is a bad idea; it will cause the ganache not to be set properly. If you want a non-dairy alternative, try canned coconut milk.
  • Pure chocolate: When it comes to chocolate options, you can use any type of chocolate you want. Options available are milk chocolates, semi-sweet chocolate, white chocolate, or even bittersweet chocolate. 

Steps to Make Chocolate Ganache

When making the chocolate frosting, remember you’ll need a 1:1 ratio of chocolate to cream if you want excellent results.

  • First, chop the chocolate into small bits and place it in a bowl or heat-proof glass.
  • Next, heat the cream until it is simmering. Don’t let it boil, as this could burn the chocolate. Once you notice some simmering around the edges, turn off the heat.
  • Now, pour the warm cream over the chocolate and let it sit for some minutes before you start stirring.
  • After letting the two sit, stir slowly until you have a smooth cream.

That’s all; you can immediately start using your chocolate ganache on your desserts. 

Chocolate Ganache Recipe

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Ganache Buttercream vs Chocolate Ganache: The Ultimate Showdown

Simple Chocolate Ganache Recipe

  • Author: How To Ice A Cake
  • Total Time: 25 minutes


Here’s a recipe for a simple chocolate ganache that should be enough to cover a 9-inch cake that serves 12 people:



12 oz Dark chocolate, finely chopped

1 cup Heavy cream

2 tbsp Unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tsp Vanilla extract


  1. Place the finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat until it comes to a simmer.
  3. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the unsalted butter and vanilla extract to the bowl.
  5. Use a whisk or a spatula to gently stir the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is smooth and shiny.
  6. Let the ganache cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  7. Once the ganache has cooled, it should be thick enough to spread over the cake. If it’s too runny, let it cool for a bit longer.
  8. Spread the ganache evenly over the top and sides of the cake using an offset spatula or a butter knife.
  9. Let the ganache set at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.
  10. Enjoy your delicious chocolate ganache cake!


Covers a 9 inch cake that serves 12 people.

The prep time and cook time for this chocolate ganache recipe should take about 20-30 minutes. Keep in mind that the ganache will need to cool to room temperature before it can be used, so factor in an additional 30 minutes for cooling time.

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10

Keywords: simple chocolate ganache

the image displays different types of ganache buttercream

Different types of ganache frosting

The Showdown: Ganache Buttercream vs Chocolate Ganache

Now that you understand what the two types of frosting are and how to use them, let’s compare both options and see how they stack up against each other. Several factors can help you choose which frosting is best for your desert, and we’ll explore them in this section.


The texture is one of the main factors that set ganache buttercream and chocolate glaze apart. It is an essential consideration because it affects how the frosting is used in the backing. Ganache icing is creamier and softer than chocolate glaze due to the addition of powdered sugar and butter. This makes it ideal for frosting and filling cakes and other desserts.

On the other hand, chocolate ganache is more solid and denser. This is primarily due to the limitation of ingredients used in its creation. Most times, it is used for filling truffles or glazing pastries.


While chocolate ganache and ganache buttercream are both delicious and come with a chocolatey flavor, there are still noticeable distinctions in their flavors. Ganache icing offers a slightly sweeter taste by adding powdered sugar. Alternatively, chocolate glaze comes with an intense chocolate flavor. This makes it an excellent pick for those who prefer a rich, intense dessert taste. 


Although you can use both ganache frosting options differently, each has its strengths. When looking for the ideal frosting for cakes and cupcakes, look no further than ganache buttercream. However, if you want an option for pastries and candies, chocolate ganache would help you achieve that perfect glaze or delicious and chocolatey filling you’re looking for. 

Ease of Use

The ganache icing recipe also determines which option is ideal for you. Although they’re both easy to whip up in your kitchen, ganache icing usually requires more effort. This is because you have to make two separate recipes (ganache and buttercream) before combining them. On the other hand, chocolate frosting is pretty straightforward to create. All you have to do is heat the chocolate and cream together and then stir until you achieve a smooth consistency. 


One thing that also sets both options apart is their appearance. Ganache buttercream and chocolate ganache have different appearances, which can determine which is best for your dessert. While ganache frosting has a smooth and creamy texture, chocolate glaze has a glossy and shiny finish. The Ganache frosting usually features a lighter color because of the added powdered sugar. Still, chocolate glaze comes with a darker chocolatey color that looks stunning when poured over cakes and pastries. 


  • What is better: chocolate buttercream or chocolate ganache? This usually depends on your personal preference. If you want the extra moistness that buttercream provides, chocolate buttercream is the best option. However, chocolate glaze is best if you want a less sweet topping. 
  • Does chocolate ganache set hard? Yes, it does. Chocolate glaze usually hardens up and gets thicker as it cools. However, you should avoid mixing the ganache while it is cooling down, or it might become lumpy.
  • Does buttercream and ganache go together? Yes, they do. Once you add a small amount of cooled chocolate ganache to your buttercream, the result will be an intense fudgy richness and a strong dose of chocolate flavor. 
  • How do you stiffen chocolate ganache? That’s very easy to do. All you need to do is wrap the chocolate frosting with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for an hour or two. This should stiffen it right up.
  • Is white chocolate ganache better than buttercream? This depends on what you’re looking for. Ganache holds its shape better and sets more quickly than buttercream. On the other hand, buttercream gives your dessert a fluffy and smooth frosting that’s hard to beat.

Which One Is Right for You?

Which ganache is best for you? It all depends on your baking needs and personal preferences. If you’re looking for a creaming flavorful frosting for your cakes, look no further than ganache buttercream. Its soft texture and sweet taste are why it’s a crowd favorite. On the other hand, if you want a denser filling or glaze, you can’t do better than chocolate ganache. If you want an intense chocolate flavor and solid texture, it’s the way to go. You can’t go wrong regardless of which ganache you choose because they’re crowd-pleasers. What is your favorite Ganache recipe? Share with us.




Candy is the owner of "How To Ice a Cake' along with her very smart (and super geeky) SEO/web designer husband, Jeremy. She loves decorating her children's birthday cakes and loves all things cakes decorating. Fun fact about her is that fondant is her icing of choice when decorating, but she prefers to actually eat a buttercream iced cake.

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