Last weekend Erik and I were On Stage with our friends and colleagues of the Brighton’s Gay Mens Chorus and it was also our MD’s birthday. Vaughn, the Choir Chairman asked me to make a cake to be presented to him on stage, I know Marc likes a bit of chocolate so I decided to make a long cake and decorate it with chocolate ruffles.
This blog is mainly about the decoration, a stunningly smart technique that looks spectacular. It is a little fiddly, but once mastered you can use it to impress with not much effort.
The recipe for the sponge will follow next week, so panic not if you want to create the whole thing.
To Make Chocolate Cake Decorations You Will Need
- Large Bowl Chocolate Chips
- A Clean Tea Towel
- A Scraper
- A Frozen Marble Slab
Equipment note: You can buy expensive chocolate equipment to do this, I have a very smart scraper, but a new clean wallpaper scraper would work perfectly, Lakeland’s Scraper is inexpensive and great quality.
A marble slab is essential for this – Lakeland’s Marble Slab is very good quality but is a bit costly I save money by using marble floor tiles and keeping several of them in the freezer.
Start by tempering the chocolate. For those of you that have seen my choc-blogs you will know it is an important step and full details can be found here.
Start working on the sides. Scrape away any frost off the surface of the marble slab, you will have to keep scraping away the frost, it’s just the moisture in the air.
Spoon chocolate onto the marble – after a few trys you will work out how much is right for you.
When the surface of the chocolate is dry slice it up into sections and apply to the cake.
The tea towel is there to hold chocolate sections on before applying them as leaving them on the marble slab will make them brittle. You need them soft to handle and to bend round corners. Work methodically and cover all sides of the cake, working from the top down.
I am using a dark frosting with white decoration, so I may need 2 layers to stop the dark showing through the white chocolate. I use a little dab of melted chocolate to hold the second layer in place. If you use a frosting that matches the colour of your decoration you do not need to make a second layer.
Work on the ruffles for the top.
Spread out your chocolate as you did before; slice the setting chocolate into strips roughly 2 or 3 inches wide. As soon as possible lift them off the marble slab and out them onto the tea towel to maintain their flexibility.
Stack the ruffles onto the cake working methodically. Any little leftover trimmings can be ruffled up to fill in little gaps.
I needed to include birthday candles, it is important to place these before adding the ruffles. Work close to the candles but not too high, we don’t want the flames from the candles melting the chocolate.
Let all of your chocolate work set completely. If you have tempered the chocolate properly it will be nice and crisp. Normally tempered chocolate has a shine, but you will not get that as the frozen marble ‘shocks’ the chocolate.
Serving note: When you are serving use a sharp knife and just cut through the chocolate, it will shatter a bit so serve somewhere where you can clean up easily.
This is a very impressive technique, it only needs a little practice to become proficient and you will soon be impressing your friends with something that looks a lot more complicated than it actually is! They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I would urge you to watch the video, it makes all clear. However if you have any questions I am always happy to hear from you!