Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

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Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting is a lighter than buttercream frosting made with chocolate and heavy cream.  This recipe for whipped ganache also uses a little cream cheese and powdered sugar to make a creamy frosting, firm enough to be easily piped onto your favorite small batch of cupcakes or a mini cake!

Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Cupcakes and cakes call for frosting.  But, have you ever found yourself saying, I love chocolate frosting but I would like it to be a little lighter and less sweet than buttercream?  Yes?  No?  Just me?  🙂

Well, if you know me, you know I’m a fan of making butter-free buttercream.  Like the chocolate butter free frosting, or the original vanilla butter free frosting.  And just published caramel butter free frosting

But, the difference between those dairy free frostings and this chocolate ganache frosting is we are using dairy in this recipe.  Heavy cream to be exact.  In fact, we leverage the whipping power of heavy cream to make the whipped ganache light and fluffy.  

And that is the beauty and simplicity of making a whipped ganache – the two ingredients alone can make a frosting that delicate and airy, yet completely decadent.  I love it so much I used it on my pumpkin cupcakes

But of course, I can’t just stop at those two ingredients for this recipe …

Chocolate bar cut into pieces on a cutting board alongside a measuring cup of cream.

Chocolate Frosting Without Butter

With this whipped ganache frosting, I add a couple extra ingredients to yield a frosting that is a little creamier and thicker than traditional whipped ganache:

  • Cream Cheese
  • Powdered Sugar

Both ingredients are totally optional, and both ingredients are not butter.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love traditional buttercream.  Just see for yourself with my strawberry buttercream recipe (great for spring and summer bakes by the way!).

But, if they are optional, why do you use them?  

  1. First – we use a very small amount of each.
  2. Second – they both lend to the creamy and thick consistency of this chocolate frosting.

Think of a thick buttercream frosting, but without the butter.  A lighter, less sweet chocolate frosting, that is utterly decadent.

Here’s What You’ll Need To Make Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

ingredients

  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar – Yes, I do recommend a baking bar.  Chocolate chips will work, however, the chocolate baking bar doesn’t have all the added ingredients that chips have.  Which results in a smoother ganache.
  • Heavy Cream – Did you know heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are basically the same thing.  Branding may play a part in why they named differently.  And there may be a difference in milk fat between brands.  However, to be called either, the US FDA says the product must contain 36% milk fat.  
  • Cream Cheese – Full fat, and absolutely must be at room temperature.
  • Powdered Sugar – Any powdered sugar (brand) is fine.  I prefer the organic one I’ve linked in the recipe for quality of ingredients.  
  • SaltThe salt is a must!  This frosting is exceptionally decadent and the salt goes a long way to balance that out.

Kitchen Equipment

  • Mixing Bowls
  • Hand Held Mixer – You can also use your stand mixer and I have notes in the recipe on a great small batch mixing bowl that works on your standard mixer!

Tips For Making Whipped Ganache For Frosting Cakes & Cupcakes

  • Use a chocolate baking bar – I prefer the baking bar for ganache because it melts smoother.  Chocolate chips will melt (and work), but the ganache may be grainy because of the added ingredients in chips.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate is preferred – It is not too sweet, and not too bitter.  It is juuust right!
  • Don’t boil the cream – We need it to be warm enough to melt the chocolate.  If you’re heating it in a saucepan on the stove, it is the point where small bubbles start to form along the sides of the pan.
  • Let the chocolate sit for a few minutes after pouring over the cream – It is tempting to start stirring once you’ve poured the cream over the chocolate.   However, give it a few minutes (3 to 5 to be exact), to let the cream soak into the chocolate and start melting it by itself!
  • Chill the ganache – A must if you want to whip it fluffy.  You probably won’t achieve the same volume if you try to whip warm ganache.  Think of it like making regular whipped cream – you want the cream (and even the bowl) to be nice and chilled to whip it.
  • Room temperature cream cheese – Another must!  We want the cream cheese to integrate seamlessly into the frosting.  Otherwise, cold cream cheese will leave little cream cheese bits.  Trust me. 
  • Don’t skip the salt – I mean, I guess you can.  But this is a very decadent chocolate frosting.  The salt will balance that out.
Whipped chocolate ganache frosting on pumpkin cupcakes set on a wood tray.

faq’s: How To Make Whipped Ganache Frosting

Can this frosting recipe be doubled?

Yes! The recipe is easily doubled without any adjustments needed.

Will chocolate chips work instead of the baking bar?

They will, but the frosting may be grainy because of the added ingredients.

Can I use half and half instead of cream?

No. The ganache will not whip. We need the higher milk fat in heavy cream for it to whip.

My ganache won’t whip. What can I do?

Try refrigerating for another half hour and try whipping again. Or, you can add a little more melted chocolate (1 ounce), let chill, then try whipping again.

Is there a proper ratio of chocolate to cream for making ganache?

I’m sure there is, and I’m sure many culinary professionals will tell you so. However, I have tested (and seen on the interwebs) a variety of different ratios. Some may skew more chocolate to cream. However, for this recipe, since we use a little cream cheese and powdered sugar in this whipped ganache frosting, I’ve determined what ratio works. I think it all depends on your desired end result. Do you want to make truffles, or do you want a pourable ganache?

Can I make this whipped ganache frosting sweeter?

Naturally, semi-sweet chocolate is, well, semi-sweet. We add a little powdered sugar to bump up the sweetness, but you can certainly add a little more – like 1 to 2 tablespoons more.

Plate of pumpkin cupcakes topped with whipped chocolate frosting.

Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Yield: 2 Cups
Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting is a lighter than buttercream frosting made with chocolate and heavy cream.  This recipe for whipped ganache also uses a little cream cheese and powdered sugar to make a creamy frosting, firm enough to be easily piped onto your favorite small batch of cupcakes or a mini cake!
Prep15 mins
Chill1 hr
Total1 hr 15 mins

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Chop the chocolate bar into small pieces. Place in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Either in the microwave or on the stove-top, heat the heavy cream to just before boiling. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and let it sit for about 3 to 5 minutes. This allows the warm cream to start to melt the chocolate.
  • Slowly whisk the ganache until all the chocolate has melted, the cream incorporated, and the ganache is smooth.
  • Place the ganache in the refrigerator for about 1 hour to allow it to cool and firm up. Note – If you try to whip the ganache right away or before it has time to cool, it probably won't whip up fluffy.
  • Cream Cheese Note – If using the cream cheese, cut it into cubes and make certain it is at room temperature. It helps to make the frosting slightly thicker and more stable. For a thicker frosting, use 2 ounces. For a lighter frosting, use 1 ounce.
  • Powdered Sugar Note – The powdered sugar makes the frosting even more stable and creamy. If using, start with the mixer on low to avoid a powdered sugar cloud, and turn the speed up as it is incorporated.
  • Using a hand held mixer with whisk attachments, begin to whip the ganache. Add the cream cheese chunks one at a time and mix until incorporated before adding the next chunk. After mixing in the cream cheese add the salt and powdered sugar and whip until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  • Mixer Note – You can also whip the ganache in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. For the smaller batch, a 3-quart mixing bowl will work on your KitchenAid and standard attachments.
  • The frosting is ready to use, or it can be transferred to a bowl, covered and refrigerated for 3 to 5 days. If refrigerating, it will set up firm as it chills. When ready to use, bring it to room temperature and whip again to make it light and fluffy. Use the frosting to frost your favorite small batch cupcakes or mini cake.
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Notes

  • Serving Size – The recipe yields approximately 2 cups of frosting.  Enough to frost 6 cupcakes, or a 6-inch two layer cake.   The frosting recipe is easily doubled.
  • Cream Cheese and Powdered Sugar – Both are optional.  They make the frosting a little thicker and creamier.  Plus a little more sweetness against the semi-sweet chocolate.
  • Chocolate – I recommend a chocolate baking bar for ganache because it will melt smooth.   Chocolate chips may yield a grainy ganache because of the added ingredients in the chips.
  • Mixer – The frosting can be made in a standard mixer with whisk attachment.  KitchenAid offers a 3-quart mixing bowl that works on the standard tilt-head mixer with the standard attachments.  Great for small batches!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich

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