Oh, the glorious beauty of the drip. My first experience with the drip was years ago, seeing this beautiful dark chocolate raspberry cake by Rosie of Sweetapolita. What makes the drip so appealing? I love its artful streaks, and the drama of the drip – it certainly has a painterly quality, a nod to modern art. And of course, the Australians brought the drip to worldwide attention – Katherine Sabbath (have you read my interview with Kat? It’s a goodie!) and Nikki of Unbirthday Bakery are two of the women who helped kick off the drip cake revolution – I swoon over their insanely colourful cakes, bursting with chocolate shards, meringues, buttercream dollops, sprinkles and fresh flowers in a rainbow of colours.
I’ve made a few drip cakes in the last few years too – notably this birthday beauty, which was my homage to Katherine Sabbath, and then this chocolate peanut butter and jam drip cake! I hadn’t ever coloured white chocolate ganache before – I had tried it once and my ganache completely separated and looked like barf- white chocolate ganache behaves differently than my usual ganache recipe, I have since learned! I made this vanilla bean buttercream pink drippy ganache cake for my wonderful friend Phanie of the Pauhaus! I loooove how she styled the party for her mom’s 60th birthday!
Here are my top tips for how to make a drip cake:
1. Treat your ganache gently. Use high quality white chocolate such as these white chocolate “wafers” – set 1/2 a cup of them in a small, shallow bowl. In a small sturdy saucepan, heat up 1/4 cup of heavy cream to a low boil, being very careful not to scald it. Carefully pour the hot cream over the white chocolate, making sure the chocolate is covered by the cream – let this sit for ten minutes undisturbed. Then, using a small wire whisk, slowly mix together until a creamy ganache forms. Add a tiny amount of gel food colouring to achieve a coloured ganache – I used Americolor electric pink.
2. You want to cool your ganache down enough to make it “drip-able.” If you used it straight away, it would be too hot and would melt the buttercream, plus it would be way too runny. You want the consistency to be thick enough to drip but not too thick that it’s set and won’t drip at all. I like to power-chill my ganache in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
3. Once your ganache has cooled down, test out the dripping consistency using a small spoon. If it’s still very runny and warm to the touch, chill it for a few more minutes until it’s cooled down.
4. Work on a cake that has been chilled. This way, the buttercream is set and you avoid any chance of a warm ganache melting your buttercream.
5. If you want to have more control over your drips: apply the drips first, one by one, with a small spoon. Using a cake turntable might be useful here – turning the cake as you go around it applying the drips. LESS IS MORE when first applying the drips – start with a tiny amount, say 1/4 teaspoon, and watch how far the drip travels – if you want a longer drip, add a little more ganache to the top of the drip – if you want a shorter drip, use a smaller amount of ganache on your spoon for the next drip.
6. Once you’ve applied each drip with a spoon, then you will want to cover the top of the cake with ganache. Pour the ganache a small amount at a time to the centre of the top of the cake, carefully using an offset spatula to gently coax the ganache to the edges without dripping down.
7. Love the wildcard look of ganache drips falling wherever they may? Simply pour the ganache on the top of a chilled cake, and use your offset spatula to spread it to the edges – and let the drips fall over the sides of the cake! Beautiful chaos!
8. Before you add anything on top of your drippy top, make sure the ganache has set first – you can set it by power-chilling it in the fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes. Once your ganache is set, you can pipe little blobettes of buttercream on top, add fresh edible flowers (such as garden pansies, pictured!) and fresh fruit. The decorating possibilities are endless!
Are you on the drip cake train?? My favourite drip cakes:
My pal Jenn of Bakedown Cakery – her drips are the most symmetrical I’ve seen and she loves loads of colour, chocolate and florals for toppers.
This dreamy teal and fuchsia jam packed cake by Unbirthday Bakery!
Tessa’s peanut butter caramel popcorn cake!! DRIPS!
Betsy of Nine Cakes made this watercolour-like painterly cake!
This gold drip cake and a mini video that shows you how to make it! Must try.
Have fun dripping it up, cake pals! xo Lyndsay