Christmas Pretzel Wreaths

I have this bright idea of decorating my Christmas tree with edible objects every year. I decided on pretzel wreaths this year – simple, effective and long-lasting.

Pretzel Wreaths

This isn’t a particularly original idea – I saw this on Pinterest a while ago but wanted to make my own and put my own spin on them. I used up my extra leaves and flowers from a different project and did some of the others with a variety of sprinkles.

Pretzel Wreaths

Ingredients and Materials

Chocolate, melted (read how I melt chocolate the easy way)
Mini pretzels
Waxed paper
Sprinkles or desired decorations
Ribbon

Method

Watch the YouTube video I made below:

And here they are on my Christmas tree! I thoroughly enjoyed the process and I hope you did as well!IMG_0550

Chocolate Butterfly Tutorial

Guess what? I finally bought myself a camera after years of sponging off my housemate!

To celebrate the fact that it can record HD videos, I decided to make a chocolate butterfly tutorial. I have actually made a template for it in a previous post (Butterfly Chocolate Tart) but I figured this time I’d actually do a tutorial on it as well! You can probably tell I am quite the amateur (half the video was out of focus… oops!) but hopefully they get better as I go along.

The chocolate cakes were tasty – soft on the inside with a slightly crunchy texture on the outside. The addition ganache made everything taste even better – it always does!

Recipe as follows:

Mini Butterfly Chocolate Cakes

Chocolate Sponge Cake

Ingredients (makes 6 small cakes)

1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup self raising flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter, melted
Cooking spray

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan-forced).
  2. Grease baking tin with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk egg and sugar together until light in colour and thickened in texture (3-5 minutes).
  4. Fold in flour and cocoa powder.
  5. Pour in butter and fold until incorporated.
  6. Place mixture into a piping bag and pipe into cupcake pan or mini bundt tins.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cakes spring back when pressed.

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients

30g dark chocolate
50ml cream

Method

  1. Place chocolate and cream in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 20 seconds.
  2. Remove from microwave and stir. Repeat step 1 until mixture is smooth and shiny.

Chocolate Butterfly

For this project, you will need a Butterfly Template (click on link to acquire).

Tips on how to melt chocolate easily also available if required.

Video tutorial link at the top of this page.

Assembly

  1. Pour ganache over chocolate cakes.
  2. Place completed butterfly on cake.Chocolate Butterfly Tutorial

Photography

Chocolate Butterfly Photo Set UpAbove is my photography set up for this project. It was a frantic race against the sunset and I have to say the good news about that is that I’m forced to take a photograph – any photograph – instead of wasting half an hour rearranging various things. The background is a very well worn baking sheet, which you will all be familiar with by now. The light is coming in from the right hand side of the photograph.

Settings

Lens: 60mm 2.8f
ISO: 100
f: 2.8
Photo editing: Lightroom 4

I’m actually getting very sick of my props but I just have not had the time to go and acquire more!

Am hoping to make more video tutorials from now on so if you are interested in that sort of a thing, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I’m pretty excited about it all.

How To: Make Crunchy Tooth-Friendly Biscotti

Thin Biscotti

So you made a batch of biscotti, attempted to bite into them and failed because they were rock hard.

Instead, you succeeded in breaking a tooth in the process and now you need to schedule an appointment with me. Or your local dentist. Yes – I am a dentist in real life. Of all the things in the world!

In case you’re shaking your head at the high sugar content of my blog posts in direct juxtaposition to my real life profession, it’s all good - looking at sugary food never hurt anyone. ;)

Anyway, I thought I’d share my favourite biscotti recipe that is crunchy but not tooth cracking-ly so. It is still nice and crispy but breaks up easily for effortless chewing. Also, it uses whole eggs, which means I am not left with a stray egg yolk wandering around aimlessly in the fridge for a week.

DISCLAIMER: If you do break a tooth eating these I am not liable – you probably needed a new filling anyway if that happened!

Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

Thick Biscotti

Biscotti Recipe

Ingredients

1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Screen shot 2013-09-16 at 9.56.22 PM

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160° Celcius (fan-forced).
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg and beat until well combined.
  4. Stir in all other ingredients thoroughly, forming a stiff dough.
  5. Form dough into a log roughly 12 inches long and 2 inches wide and place on baking tray covered with a sheet of baking paper.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes. Wrap log in cling wrap and leave in freezer for a few hours, preferably overnight.
  8. Take frozen log out of freezer and slice with a serrated knife diagonally into preferred thickness.
  9. Arrange biscotti slices flat on baking trays and bake at the same oven settings for about 10-15 minutes, or until biscotti is crisp.

Note: This recipe makes a biscotti dough that does crumble a little more easily than other recipes – which may seem like a bit of a pain. However, it is well worth the effort for the texture and flavour of the end result!

Tips for Perfect Biscotti

Cream Butter And Sugar Really Well

This is essential because it is a major contributor to the non rock-hard texture I was talking about. To be honest with you, it was a good couple of months into baking before I truly understood what creaming entailed. I will be dedicating an entire post to this at some stage in the future but for today’s exercise, make sure the mixture has:

  • lightened in colour – it will no longer be yellowish, but rather a light shade of well… cream.
  • increased in volume

If it hasn’t done the above two things – keep on creaming. It’s still not there yet!

Ensure Space Between Logs Is Adequate

So you doubled up the recipe and decided you want to have two logs on the same baking tray because life is too short to prepare a second one. If you have a large tray that’s all fine and dandy. Otherwise, unless you want a large puddle of dough in the middle of the pan, it will be wise to keep them on separate trays. This may have come from personal experience. This rule applies to all cookies that have the potential to spread.

Freeze Logs Of Dough Prior to Slicing

Does it make your job harder because the dough is frozen? Yes, and no. Yes because it is firmer and therefore requires more force, but no because it doesn’t smoosh on itself and the nuts don’t fall out of the dough! Plus, you’ll get beautiful clean slices at the end of the exercise. And stronger and more muscle tone in your arms. So I tell myself. Interested in clean slices in other baked goods? Read How To: Cut Brownies.

Also, if you’re lazy just make your biscotti nice and thick and call them rustic, rather than thin delicate slivers.

Photography

Biscotti Photo Setup

Set up for both of the photographs were on a neutral sheet of paper (as you can see, I have an entire roll of it!) on my trusty piano stool. Shot in natural daylight. The aperture was set at 4.5 for the thin biscotti and 2.8 for the thick ones and shot with a 60mm macro lens.

 

And that’s it! What is your preference – thick or thin biscotti? Let me know in the comments. I ate the entire batch in 4 days and have concluded I prefer the thick ones better but the thinner ones are prettier and more dainty.

How To: Cut Brownies

Chocolate Brownies

So you’ve baked a batch of brownies, thought they looked amazing, sliced them and ended up with…

Mushed up pieces that ressembled squares rather than actual nicely cut slabs. Like these:

brownies

Brownies that I baked in 2011. Sad and uncrisp.

Oh well – you and your lucky friends and family eat them all anyway. However, if the appearance of them irked you, perhaps this article may come like a knight in shining armour to your kitchen to rescue your beautiful brownie slab before they face the kitchen knife.

This is a particularly common problem if you, like me, love chewy moist brownies rather than the firmer cake-y variety. I have baked many a batch of brownies in my lifetime and today I thought I’d share with you my personal experiences with them and how I finally got my act together and learned how to cut brownies properly. It’s really not that difficult.  All it takes is some patience and planning. Yes – I said patience and brownies in the same paragraph. It’s okay – you can get through this!

Still reading? Great!

Chocolate Brownies In Progress

Alright, let’s start with baking the brownies! This happens to be my favourite brownie recipe of all time – moist, fudgy, extremely chocolate-y and extremely simple to make. I managed to get a few sequential photos (Hurrah! Gave myself a pat on the back for remembering). In case you’re wondering, the chocolate I’ve used is Lindt Dark Bittersweet Picolli 58% – I bought a 2.5kg bag so that’s going to be the chocolate of choice for the foreseeable future!

Homemade Brownies

Chocolate Brownies 2

Ingredients

125g butter, melted
250g caster sugar
20g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
125g dark chocolate, chopped
60g nuts of choice (walnuts in my case), chopped
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan forced). Line a 7×7 inch tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Place all ingredients listed into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour into prepared tin and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until centre is still slightly unset but sides are firm.
  4. Put into refrigeration to chill for at least 2-3 hours before slicing.

Important Note: Do not overbake – the point of this recipe is that it produces a fudgy chewy brownie rather than a hard firm one.

Alright. You have brownies now. Let’s get onto the slicing and subsequently, the eating! Listed below are my personal tips – I hope they are helpful to you.

Top 5 Tips on Cutting Brownies

1. Chill Brownies For At Least 2-3 Hours Before Cutting

I know – you want to eat the brownies right now. But chilling the brownies is an essential step if you would like crisp, sharp cuts as it firms up the brownies enough to not buckle under the knife. Leaving it in the fridge will suffice but for really, really sharp cuts, the freezer is a great option too. However, it can get it a little too firm so you might have to keep an eye on it if you choose that route.

2. Ensure Knife is at 90° Angle to Brownie Surface

Before making any cuts, make sure that the knife is as close to 90° as you can. This is to ensure that you get beautiful cuts that are at exact right angles, rather than creating undercuts or tapers. You will notice that I got a little too eager and unintentionally tapered the edge of the top brownie in the photograph at the top of this blog post. To ensure this doesn’t happen to your brownie, line the knife up carefully.

3. Use a Serrated Knife

I have experimented with a few knives and have concluded that a serrated knife creates the best and cleanest cut. In case you were wondering what knife I use, I have a Wusthof Classic Bread Knife which has served me well over the years. In case you were wondering even more – my 2011 brownie and the cover photo were cut with the exact same knife, which suggests that perhaps the other steps in this write up are more crucial.

4. Use Sawing Action When Cutting

Ensure that you use a gentle sawing motion when cutting the brownie – this ensures that the serrated edge of the knife does not leave an unsightly wavy indentation on the surface of your brownie. I also like to slide the blade backwards at the end of the cutting motion right against the brownie surface to kinda smooth of the edges when I finish the slice.

5. Clean The Knife After Each Cut

After each cut, you will notice that the knife would have picked up some crumbs or gooey bits (especially with moister brownies). Wipe them off with a paper towel and rinse the knife under hot water and dry off before making the next cut. This will eliminate crumbs from sticking onto the top of the brownie or the next cutting surface.

And there you have it! Please comment if you have any other tips that you would like to share with everyone.

Squirrel Coffee Walnut Cake Recipe

Squirrel Coffee Walnut Cake
I used to bake 8 inch cakes. I then baked 6 inch cakes because we didn’t need so much cake. I took it a step further and decided to bake a 4 inch cake because let’s face it – two girls experiencing the sad slowdown of metabolism in their late 20s do not need to eat any more than what’s absolutely necessary.

Broke out my trusty chocolate cake recipe and decided to go with a coffee flavoured buttercream. I was extremely pleased with how the flavours turned out – a nice balance of chocolate and coffee with just the right amount of moistness.

Then came the decoration dilemma.

I tried to pipe swags and failed miserably – I’m still not quite talented enough for that sort of thing. I then tried to pipe cornelli lace and failed miserably on that front too!

Things were getting desperate. After more brainstorming I decided on a walnut border at the bottom. And then it hit me – I’ll have a squirrel holding a walnut as the cake topper!

Squirrel Coffee Walnut Cake 3

Squirrel walnut silhouette 

Once again, I apologise for my extremely non step-by-step series of photographs of this cake. I just can’t remember to stop at every step to take a photograph!

Squirrel Coffee Walnut Cake Recipe

 

Squirrel Coffee Walnut Cake 2

Chocolate Cake

The recipe used in this cake has been outlined in my previous post, Caramel Spiral Cupcakes. It makes 2 rounds of 6 inch cakes, enough to complete a layered 6 inch cake.

Coffee Buttercream

Ingredients

250g butter, softened
250g icing sugar
1 packet instant coffee

Method

  1. Dissolve instant coffee in 3 tablespoons of boiling water and leave to come to room temperature.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until pale in colour and increased in volume. Add instant coffee solution into batter slowly, mixing until well incorporated.

Chocolate Squirrel

Materials

Squirrel template (click link to download)
25g chocolate
Plastic piping bag
Walnuts

Method

  1. Melt chocolate (my favourite technique explained here).
  2. Placed melted chocolate into piping bag and snip a very small hole at the top.
  3. Place squirrel template under waxed paper. Pipe squirrel outline and then flood entire area.
  4. Press a piece of walnut into the squirrel’s hands before the chocolate sets and leave until fully hardened. Peel off wax paper carefully and leave to set.

Assembly

  1. Fill cake with buttercream and cover completely.
  2. Press walnuts into the bottom of the cake to form a border.
  3. Place squirrel on top of cake – squirrel should be able to stand on its own. If not, prop up with a walnut.
    photo

I hope you enjoyed this project as much as I did making it. I thought the cake turned out quite well and it’s a simple technique that can be applied by anyone.

P/S: I’m obsessed with Instagram at the moment, admittedly a little late to the bandwagon but better late than never, apparently! If you’re interested in random photos from my daily life as well as my projects click here.

 
 
 

Caramel Spiral Cupcakes

Caramel Spiral Cupcakes

I have always been intrigued by sugar work, and recently I decided to make some cupcakes with caramelized walnut spiral toppers.

I make chocolate cupcakes on a fairly regular basis. I have been experimenting with a few recipes and I have finally come up with a fairly simple recipe that does not require milk. Milk is not a staple ingredient in my household so I find it irksome to have to go out and buy a carton and end up pouring the remainder down the sink 2 weeks later because nobody drinks it.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun making these – not too time consuming but quite striking in appearance. Recipe has been divided into 3 parts – the cupcake, chocolate buttercream and the walnut caramel spirals.

 

Caramel Spiral Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes

(makes 12-16 cupcakes or 1 6 inch cake)

Ingredients

LIST A

125g dark chocolate, chopped
125ml water
140g brown sugar

LIST B

100g butter, room temperature
140g brown sugar
2 eggs
180g self raising flour
10g cocoa powder

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan forced).
  2. Combine all ingredients from List A in a microwave safe bowl and cook in 30 second intervals until ingredients are melted, stirring in between each interval. Mixture may look like it has split slightly but that is okay. Set aside.
  3. Working off the ingredients from List B, cream butter and sugar in a food processor until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating and scraping the sides of the bowl down between each addition.
  5. Pour warm mixture prepared from List A into the bowl and mix. Add self-raising flour and cocoa powder and mix until well combined. Mixture will be fairly runny.
  6. Spoon into cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when pierced through the middle of the cupcake. Leave to cool completely before decorating.

Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients

150g butter, softened
150g icing sugar
50g dark chocolate, melted (my favourite method for melting chocolate outlined here)

Method

  1. Cream butter and sugar together in mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Pour melted chocolate in and mix until well incorporated.

Caramelized Walnut Spirals

 

Caramel Spiral Cupcakes Method

Ingredients and Equipment

50g sugar
25ml water
Walnuts, halved
Toothpicks or skewers
Cylindrical rod (I used my sharpening steel but you can use anything from whisk or spoon handles – whatever you can find in your kitchen)
Cooking oil spray

Method

  1. Attach walnuts to toothpicks.
  2. Spray some cooking oil onto cylindrical rod to facilitate easy removal of spirals.
  3. Pour sugar and water into a small pot and heat, swirling the pot around gently every so often. Once it turns a lovely caramel colour, turn off the heat.
  4. Leave to cool for a while, checking intermittently by dipping the a walnut into the mixture and lifting it out. Caramel is ready to be spun when a thick thread of caramel drips off the walnut rather than small drops. This may take some experimenting.
  5. Lift walnut out and wrap the caramel strand around the cylindrical rod in a spiral around the rod. Slip rod off and place walnut on a silicone mat to cool.
  6. Repeat with other walnuts. If caramel hardens too much during the process, reheat gently until it softens again.

Notes: Caramel is extremely hot so always be careful. This method takes a little practice but once proficient it can be very rewarding. Also, these decorations are extremely sensitive to humidity – they are best prepared 2-3 hours before serving.

 

Chocolate Fortune Pyramids

Chocolate Fortune Pyramids 2

My first true authentic experience of fortune cookies was in San Francisco about 2-3 years ago, where I saw them being made in a small store in Chinatown. I bought a bag of them and had the joy of multiple fortunes (mainly proverbs rather than actual predictions). Since then, I have made paper fortune cookies for dinner parties but that’s about it.

Chocolate Pyramids progressPyramid pattern prototypes – waves, cornelli lace. I decided on a geometric pattern in the end.

As you can probably tell from my projects, I enjoy lattice work. I wanted to make lattice pyramids – for no real particular reason other than the pleasure of making them. Initially, I had planned to make pyramids that housed nuts in them, but during my experiments I realised that nuts were too heavy, my pyramids just fell apart. Then it came to me - paper is light, right? I’ll make chocolate fortune pyramids! The perfect after dinner snack – I’ll even pop a mint leaf in there. They will be after dinner chocolate mint fortune lattice pyramids!

Recipe below – the hardest part of this project is probably the waiting for the chocolate to set over the multiple stages and consequently, the multiple stages of reheating chocolate that’s been sitting in the piping bag. Other than that, it’s pretty straightforward!

 

Chocolate Fortune Pyramids

 

Chocolate Fortune Pyramids

Ingredients and Materials

50g chocolate, melted (for tips on melting chocolate, read this article)
Pyramid template (click to download)
Waxed paper for piping chocolate
Plastic disposable piping bag
Strips of paper with fortunes written
Mint leaves

Method

  1. Print template and place under waxed paper.
  2. Place melted chocolate into piping bag and snip a very small hole off the top. Pipe according to the guidelines on the template. Leave to dry.
  3. Peel pieces off waxed paper carefully and assemble into pyramids by first stacking the first two together with a prop to support them and piping a stripe of chocolate at the seam to join them. Then, do the same for the other side. Pop the entire piping bag with chocolate into the microwave whenever it starts to firm up for 10 seconds to melt it down again.
  4. Place fortunes and mint leaves into the pyramid and finally, attach the bottom the same way as the sides.

Note: If you are using coverture chocolate, chocolate must be in temper for this project. Compound chocolate will not require tempering.

 

Hope you enjoy making them! Also, the quote in the photograph is one of my favourites – it reminds me that in everything, one has to start somewhere.  Even if it is just a single step.

Peacock Profiteroles


Peacock Profiteroles

A while ago I saw a photograph of profiteroles decorated into swans. I thought they looked elegant. Then the bright idea came to me about 2-3 weeks ago – why don’t I try to make a peacock profiterole?

After perusing many images of peacocks I sat myself down and drew templates for the feathers and the head. It took a fair bit of effort but I got there eventually.

At first I thought it was going to be easy. Step one – bake profiteroles and fill them. Step two – pipe chocolate decorations. Step three – stick them on. Step four – photograph them. How hard could that be? I’ll get this over and done with in 3 hours tops.

Let’s start with Step 1 - Bake Profiteroles and Fill Them

photoYes, my oven needs a good clean. I am getting to it!

Profiterole recipe from here. The only difference is that I piped mine into teardrop shapes about 3-4cm with a flick at the end to simulate the peacock’s tail. It took me a couple of batches to get to the optimum size but eventually I got there.

For the filling, I whipped some cream and added some leftover chocolate buttercream to it, which produced a medium-bodied chocolate cream. I then poked a hole at the bottom of my profiteroles and piped some of the cream into it.

Okay. So far so good. I only had to bake a couple of batches of profiteroles. That’s okay.

Step 2 – Pipe Chocolate Decorations

photoPrototype peacock at top left corner – proportions and head all wrong. Had to make another batch of smaller profiteroles and redesign everything.

For this exercise you will need:

Template for peacock feathers and heads, available here
Waxed paper
50g compound or tempered chocolate, melted (technique explained here)
Disposable piping bag or ziplock bag
Sesame seeds and edible pearls or other embellishments as per personal preference (optional)
Tweezers for precise placement of embellishments

1. Place template underneath waxed paper.
2. Pour melted chocolate into piping bag and snip a very small hole at the tip (roughly 1-2mm).
3. Carefully pipe chocolate according to template. Make enough for however many profiteroles with some extras in case of breakages.
4. If embellishing, place decorations as desired. I used sesame seeds for the eyes as well as the top of the peacock’s comb.
5. Leave to set.
6. Carefully peel waxed paper away from decorations.

It all sounds easy enough but I broke many of my decorations and had to redo them – partly due to an initial design flaw in my template. It got much better after a few tweaks to the design. Sure, I broke 2 out of 3 of my peacock feathers. I can do this!

Step 3 - Attach Decorations

Using a very sharp knife, cut slits into the profiteroles and gently prod the chocolate pieces into the slits. I cut the slits at a slight angle as I felt it was more aesthetic that way. When attaching the peacock feathers, ensure that the centre of the tail (the portion where all the lines meet) is embedded in the profiterole otherwise your peacock construction will fail. Yes, this is from experience. That is why my final template actually has two sections less than my original design – it is to ensure that the midpoint can be embedded easily.

Step 4 – Photography and Styling

Peacock Profiteroles

My friend suggested that I try out Canon’s Speedlite to assist in lighting my indoor night shots and this was my first attempt using it. I am not entirely happy with the photograph – I assume it takes a lot of practice to get it right but somehow the styling and detailing etc just did not work out for me. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it. Probably need a lot more practice.

This was one of the most time consuming projects I had ever undertaken – probably because it was something that I had to trial and error. Overall, I was pleased with the results and I think if I were to attempt to recreate these it would be much, much easier and quicker. Also, I finally got round to learning how to use Adobe Illustrator so from now on I’ll be providing templates in PDF format if required for all my projects!

How To: Melt Chocolate Using A Microwave

Very often, I see tutorials online outlining the method of melting chocolate using a double boiler. That is a perfectly good way to melt chocolate but I find it quite time consuming and a hassle. This is how I melt chocolate for all of my projects, which I have found to be the easiest and quickest. I also melt butter in the same way.

  1. Put required amount of chocolate into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds.
  2. Take it out and give it a good stir. This distributes the heat and prevents the chocolate from burning. Microwave again for 20 seconds.
  3. Repeat Step 2 until all chocolate is melted. It is now ready for use.
  4. If using chocolate for piping, pour chocolate into a disposable piping bag with no tip. Snip off the required amount (smaller for fine work, larger for flooding) and use. If chocolate sets, pop entire bag into the microwave for another 10-20 seconds and the chocolate will melt again for immediate use. This saves the hassle of having to remove the hardened chocolate from the bag and having to start from Step 1 all over again.

Hope this was useful!

Chocolate Cage Cake

Chocolate Cage Cake 2

I had been lamenting that I would love to make more cakes but there would be nobody to eat them so there was no point in me doing it. As a result, one of my friends offered to purchase a cake from me for her sister’s birthday to help keep me occupied. After much thought, I decided that I would try my hand at chocolate cages. I loved the idea of a lattice sitting around the cake – it would be intricate and delicate at the same time.  Well, in my mind it was intricate and delicate.

I decided on a 8 inch chocolate cake and covered it with chocolate buttercream. The design for the top of the cake was done with the now in vogue petal buttercream technique, which I have since made a video tutorial of on a different cake:

Recipes for the cake and buttercream available on my Caramel Spiral Cupcake post. I think from now they are going to be my go-to recipes – they work really well together. Rich flavours and soft crumb with moist texture with a very workable buttercream texture.

Then it was time to decide on how the cage was going to be. I wanted a lattice that was intricate, strong and at the same time easy to pipe. After much indecision I came up with this design. I have since made it into a PDF, available here – for download. Much neater and clearer, even if I do say so myself.

Lattice Template for Chocolate Cage

Chocolate is quite runny for piping, much more challenging than royal icing I feel – it would be near impossible to pipe it properly vertically. I decided to wrap my template and waxed paper around the only thing in the house that was 9 inch round – a pot – and hung it off the leg of one of the chairs in my house and rotate it as I went around the cake. I have tips on how to melt chocolate quickly and easily if you are interested.

Let me tell you it was no easy task – the pot would rock a little every time more chocolate was added on due to the weight. I guess my career as a dentist came in handy – I’m quite used to working on moving patients so was similar to working on a patient that was fidgeting in the chair.

PhotoGrid_10_08_2013 8:36 PM

Once it was all done I slid it off the pot and peeled the waxed paper away. The chocolate cage broke in a couple of spots in the process but that was okay. I carefully placed it around the cake, lined up the seams and piped more chocolate to make it whole again and voila – my project was complete.

Chocolate Cage Cake 3
If I could redo it again I’d probably make a 4 or 6 inch cake and make the cage 2 inches larger than the cake. I probably only had half a centimetre of gap in between the cake and the cage and I feel a little more would have been more elegant. I would make the cake slightly shorter too – I was caught off guard by how tall the tiers stacked up!

Overall, it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it. Perhaps the next time I’ll try a different pattern and do it in white chocolate instead.