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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Chocolate techniques

Well, look at what I made! My contribution to the world of John Paul Gaultier. Or maybe a template for a Spring Racing Carnival hat.
There must be ohh.....at least a kilo of chocolate on that cake, and I put it all there myself. The baking shop where I did my hands on bread baking class also offers a class on chocolate decorating techniques, and that's where I found myself this morning, covered head to toe in melted chocolate, and rapidly getting over the whole idea of stuffing as much as I could into my gaping maw. I can tell you, after the first vat of melted chocolate gets poured over the table, and everyone's eyes turn to saucers while they calculate how much of it they can get in to their mouth instead of on their cake, that enthusiasm dims. I reckon it took about half an hour before we were ignoring our chocolate offcuts. Hard to believe, isn't it? Helped by the fact the chocolate wasn't top quality. In fact, at this very moment I'm so over chocolate that I have no interest in even tasting the overload I created! Nothing like gorging to excess to get you over something.

In the 4 hour class we learnt a variety of techniques - all of which ended up on our cake. Naturally, if you were doing a cake yourself you'd tone down on your creations, but we were trying to experience as much as possible. We learnt how to roll marbled chocolate fondant (looked amazing - like zebra skin, but now hidden underneath all the other chocolate stuff!!), create a patterned chocolate collar, how to make chocolate curls, chocolate panels to surround a cake, tall spikes, baskets, ganache covering and chocolate truffles. I'm acknowledging my inner Las Vegas when I admit that every one of those elements has been piled onto the cake. Wheee!
My favourites were the patterned cake collar (I think it looks like a pressed metal ceiling) and the spikes - which very easy to make with a piece of acetate and a knife.

The basket we made from dipping a blown up water bomb into a vat of melted chocolate was pretty fab too (see below). I'm a pretty impatient, clumsy person, but each element we learnt was designed to look good even if you make a few mistakes or are pretty hopeless in the elegance stakes. There's nothing too fiddly or difficult on that cake, which might be hard to believe. We were assured that something looking like that in a pastry shop would easily sell for about $100.
Any takers? No special events coming up for me, so if anyone wants to buy a special occasion cake.... ;-)

It's a class I highly recommend. Fun, easy and you get to come home with an incredibly decorated cake, a chocolate basket and a few extras like the patterned collar you used and a few sheets of acetate for future spike making extravaganzas. Not bad for $80 - which also includes the cake mix you need to make up to bring along for decoration, and as much chocolate as you'd care to eat (aieee, I'm never touching the stuff again!!!!). Much fun.
Marg & Maree's Baking and Breadmaking
54 Bell Street
Heidelberg Heights VIC 3081
9455 1611


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