In this baking tutorial, I will teach you how to make a drip cake! Learn the supplies you need, how to make a drip, and tips and tricks to making the perfect drip cake!
What is a Drip Cake?
A drip cake is a style of cake decorating that involves a chocolate ganache drip down the sides of a cake. You can use a classic chocolate ganache made with semi-sweet, milk, dark chocolate, or white chocolate or you can create a colorful drip with candy melts!
To make chocolate ganache, all you need is chocolate and heavy cream. Based on the type of chocolate you are using, there are different ratios of chocolate to cream. You can adjust the ratios based on how much ganache you need!
Chocolate drip recipe (2:1 ratio)
To make a milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or dark chocolate ganache, you only need two ingredients:
- 1 cup milk, dark, or semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
White chocolate drip recipe (3:1 ratio)
To make white chocolate ganache, you will also only need two ingredients, with a slightly different ratio:
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
Candy melts drip recipe (4:1 ratio)
To make a colorful drip with candy melts, you will need even less cream than with white chocolate.
- 1 cup candy melts
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
Do not substitute milk for heavy cream. To make the ganache, you need a dairy product with a high ratio of fat to create the perfect, smooth texture. Milk has very little fat in comparison to heavy cream and will cause the chocolate ganache to seize up.
How to make the chocolate ganache
The process for making chocolate ganache, white chocolate ganache, and candy melt ganache is the same despite the different ratios of chocolate to cream.
- Pour chocolate chips or candy melts in a heat-proof bowl.
- In a separate microwave-safe liquid measuring cup or bowl, heat the heavy cream in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds until bubbling. (Don’t walk away from the microwave because it can quickly boil over).
- Pour the hot heavy cream over the chocolate chips. Allow this mixture to sit for a minute or two to melt the chocolate.
- Stir the chocolate/cream mixture until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth.
How to make a colorful or white drip with white chocolate
If you don’t want to use candy melts, you can create colorful white chocolate drips with the addition of gel food coloring. My favorite brands of gel food color are Americolor and Chefmaster.
Do not use liquid food coloring as it can impact the consistency of the ganache.
White chocolate ganache typically has a slight yellow tint. To make a bright white chocolate ganache drip, I recommend adding a squirt or two of white gel food coloring to create an opaque white color.
Add the gel food coloring after the white chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth. Add a drop or two at a time until you reach your desired color. Stir well until the color is well combined into the chocolate.
Tools & Supplies for Making a Drip Cake
The tools you use will depend on the method of dripping, which I discuss below!
- Squeeze bottle
- Piping bag
- Offset spatula
- Cake turntable – to easily spin the cake
Methods for Creating a Drip
There are several ways to create a drip cake! Each method can create a slightly different aesthetic depending on how you use it!
1. Squeeze bottle
A squeeze bottle is my favorite way to add drips onto cakes. It is very easy to control the flow of the drips and easy to handle.
2. Piping bag
Using a piping bag is similar to using a squeeze bottle as you are able to control the location of the drips. It is a bit more difficult to control the flow of the drips like a squeeze bottle.
3. Offset spatula
Using an offset spatula creates a different type of drip aesthetic. If you are looking for a chunkier drip, an offset spatula is the way to go.
If you do not have any of the above tools, you can use a spoon to apply the chocolate ganache drips. Fill the spoon with the ganache and drip down the edge of the cake.
How to Make a Drip Cake
- Fill a squeeze bottle with the slightly warm chocolate ganache. Be sure the frosted cake is chilled before adding the drips.
- Hold the opening of the squeeze bottle at the top edge of the cake. Squeeze the bottle gently while holding the bottle still. The longer you squeeze, the longer the drip.
- Let off some of the pressure to slow down the flow of the ganache and move the squeeze bottle over to create the next drip.
- Repeat this process until the entire cake has been covered in the drips.
**Remember, the longer you hold the squeeze bottle in the same area/the longer you squeeze, the longer the drips will be.
Tips for Making the Perfect Drip Cake
Add the drip to a cold layer cake
To create the perfect drip, you will want to start off with a chilled cake. The buttercream frosting should be firm to the touch and cold. This helps control the length of the drips down the sides of the cake and also prevents the buttercream from melting.
Use slightly warm ganache
Similar to starting with a cold cake, you want to have the correct temperature ganache. The ganache should be just slightly warm to create the best drip. If the ganache is too cool, it will solidify quickly and will not drip well. If the ganache is too hot, it can drip quickly to the bottom of the cake and melt the buttercream.
A couple quick ways to adjust ganache temperature:
- If the ganache is too cold, simply microwave in 5 second increments to achieve the right consistency.
- If the ganache is too warm, just wait a little bit longer until the ganache cools down.
Test the drip before adding it to the cake
I love doing a “test drip” before I start applying the chocolate ganache directly to the cake. Basically, I create a drip on a vertical, flat surface to see how quickly it runs. Based on how slowly or quickly the ganache runs down the cake scraper, I may adjust the temperature of the ganache as I mentioned above, but heating or cooling.
Storing leftover chocolate ganache
Store any leftover chocolate ganache in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks or so. I typically keep leftover ganache in the fridge right in the squeeze bottle! To reuse, bring the ganache to room temperature and then heat slowly in the microwave in 10 second intervals or submerge the container in hot water until melted.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I add a ganache drip on a naked cake?
Yes, absolutely! I do recommend chilling the cake prior to adding the drips, just as you would with a buttercream frosted cake.
Would a ganache drip work on a fondant cake?
No, I do not recommend adding chocolate ganache drips to fondant cakes. It can cause problems with the fondant.
Can I add a ganache drip to a cake that has textured sides?
Yes you can, but the texture will affect the way the drip looks! Just be aware that the drips won’t be straight.
Should leftover chocolate ganache be frozen?
No, do not freeze ganache! Often times, I store leftover ganache right in the squeeze bottle in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or so. To use, I submerge the squeeze bottle in hot water to melt the ganache.
Can I add sprinkles to the chocolate ganache drips?
Yes you can, just be sure that you add the sprinkles immediately before the ganache firms up so they stick to the chocolate.
And there you have it! You will be making beautiful drip cakes in no time at all. Be sure to check out my cake recipes for my easy confetti cake, chocolate peanut butter cake, and banana split cake which were featured in this post!
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