I often get asked how you can expand your cake flavours without adding to your workload. If you want to keep your repertoire with cakes quite small, a simple way to introduce flavour is with your ganache and syrups.
I like to use pure essential oils to flavour my ganaches as I do not like synthetic flavours. Be warned though, many of the cheaper essential oils are made from synthetic compounds and are not food safe.
I only use and recommend the oils that you can find here , as they are the highest grade oils I have been able to find. These oils have amazing health benefits too. When I am not drinking cocktails whilst baking, I use 2 drops of peppermint oil in hot water. These 2 drops are equivalent to 28 cups of peppermint tea and not only aid digestion, get rid of headaches but also have the bonus effect of waking you up when you are in a mid afternoon slump. Just ask Jess from The Chocolate Artisan, I hand her one of these every time we film for Learn Cake Decorating Online. Now can’t get enough of them and is now adding the oil to her fabulous chocolates!
I also put a few drops of essential oils in my drinking water each day.
Some suggestions to flavour your ganaches are
Dark Chocolate and Peppermint
White Chocolate, Lemongrass and Coconut
Dark Chocolate and Wild Orange
Milk Chocolate and Lavender
White Chocolate and Lime
If you decide to infuse with Lavender in your ganaches. Keep it handy for any burns you may suffer whilst pulling hot pans from the oven. Putting pure Lavender on your burns has been proven to reduce inflammation and blistering significantly. This saves my poor fingers on a regular basis as I am the most hopeless when it comes to getting burnt.
You can also infuse your ganaches with flavours such as Earl Grey Tea and Milk Chocolate. Honey, Thyme and Milk Chocolate is also sublime.
This is done my infusing the cream with your chosen tea or herb whilst heating. This will infuse the cream with your chose flavour and then allow your chocolate to have a subtle flavour once mixed through.