Saturday, June 14, 2014

Modelling Chocolate

This year, my daughter requested an Ohmu shaped birthday cake.

Previous birthday cakes have been cartoon characters that can be made easily using coloured buttercream on a flat shaped cake, but this one required some 3-dimensional construction.

I piled up rectangular layers of chocolate sponge cake stuck together with blueberry fruit spread - it's less sweet than jam - and then carved out the oval shape of the Ohmu.

After a skim coating of chocolate buttercream to smooth over the cake edges and give something for the outer layer to adhere to, it needed some brown rollable icing to make the carapace plates. Stick on some glace cherry halves for eyes, and add the legs at the front.

Now, commercial fondant icing is all very convenient and available in many colours. BUT IT TASTES HORRIBLE. A cake decorated with it may look pretty, but your guests will be quietly peeling the icing off before they eat. So I went looking for a recipe to make a rollable chocolate-flavoured icing. And discovered a new cake decorating wonder material!

All it takes is TWO ingredients.

For brown chocolate:
  • 100g Dark Chocolate - I used Tesco Value, as I already had about a dozen bars on hand to fill the chocolate fountain for the party.
  • 2.5 - 3 tbsp Golden Syrup
For white chocolate (use as a base for colours):
  • 100g White Chocolate
  • 1-2 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • Food colouring paste or powder to desired colour
Break the chocolate into small pieces and put into a microwaveable bowl.
Zap for 30 seconds, let stand, then zap again for another 20 seconds if necessary to melt the chocolate.
Stir the melting chocolate thoroughly to ensure it has all melted.
Spoon the golden syrup into the chocolate and stir in.
Keep stirring. It will look like the chocolate is maybe starting to seize - and then it will come together, peeling away from the sides of the bowl. If it's not happening, add a little more syrup, and keep mixing.
Tip the chocolate mixture out of the bowl onto plastic wrap (or a plastic sandwich bag) and wrap tightly excluding all air.
Leave in the fridge overnight to set up.

Remove from the fridge at least a quarter of an hour before use - you can speed up the warming by unwrapping it and zapping it for no more than 3 seconds.

Roll the modelling chocolate out between two plastic freezer bags, or using silicone.
At first it will still be stiff and the rolling will not really work, but fold it over onto itself and roll out again. Keep going.
After a few rollings and foldings, the modelling chocolate will take on the texture of plasticine.
Yes, you read that right. Chocolate that you can work like modelling clay!

If it gets a little bit too sticky, use a bit of icing sugar or cocoa powder to dust down the surfaces.
If it gets a lot too sticky, it's got too warm and started to melt - leave it to stand in a cool place for a bit to recover. It is still chocolate, after all!

Roll it out thinly and cut out shapes with cutters, or a sharp knife. Peel the shapes off the plastic/silicone and use to decorate your cake. Or sculpt with modelling tools.

Your cake decorations will be delicious AND look good!

categories: icing chocolate