Some bakers actually 'ice' their cakes with chocolate ganache in lieu of buttercream.
Well, aside from tasting like chocolate truffle filling, ganache can have much more structural integrity than buttercream. It is easier to get sharp corners and smoothness by using a hot knife, has no air bubbles, and best of all... WON'T BULGE!!! :) That's right, ganache can withstand the added weight of fondant much better than most buttercreams.
I got the idea from this book:
Planet Cake isn't one of the books I use all the time, but has some nice clean, simple ideas, as well as ganache recipes and instructions for covering a cake in ganache.
So I made an 8" round chocolate cake which I filled with chocolate mousse. I'll post about chocolate mousse another time after I actually figure out how it's supposed to work. :) It tasted good though!
Since the cake was already stocked with dark chocolate a plenty, I made a white chocolate ganache to cover the cake.
I started with 1.5 lbs of white chocolate, and added 8 oz of cream. I melted everything in the microwave, stirring every minute or so. After letting it stand (covered) for 5 mins, I whisked the ganache and let it set up over night. Before spreading it on the cake, I microwaved it again for about 15-20 seconds.
After covering the cake, I smoothed it out using a hot spatula.
I'm trying to rig a level or levels to my bench scraper so that I can get perfectly vertical sides... yes, I'm that OCD. I'll let you know how it goes.
Anyway, I let the ganache set up in the fridge for a bit and then covered the cake in fondant.
By the way, my fondant rolling pin is a 2 ft length of PVC pipe.
What follows is called tip 1, tip 1.5, and a small leaf tip, some black royal icing, and no plan. :)
In the future, I should probably come up with a plan, but it was fun to just practice some piping.
Oh and the cake? Delicious. :)