A couple of years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet a talented chef online, her name is Gigi and she owns, Kids Culinary Adventures, in Northern California. I encourage you to like their facebook page; Kids Culinary Adventures Facebook Page And, if you are in the bay area, they do kids classes and lots of fun activities, so check them out.
Gigi had the most amazing cake displayed, and I decided to make one for a birthday party for co-workers.
First, let me show you my end result, and then we can go step-by-step.
I stacked a two-tiered cake, and put "planks" of chocolate around the edges. They are affixed with frosting, but the pretty ribbon also keeps them in place. The finishing touch is the bright bouquet on top. It almost looks too fancy to eat. Gigi was so creative to come up with this beautiful design.....it's my favorite "pretty cake"
Baking the cake was easy....you can make any size you want. In fact, for Mother's Day in 2010, we made mini versions out of cupcakes at my baking class. This time, I used two, 6 inch cakes.
First step is to grease and flour your pans, so you can remove the cake easily.
Pour the cake batter into the pan, making sure it is evenly divided between your pans.
While your cakes are baking, you can temper your chocolate.
Tempering is the process of heating and cooling, at precise temperatures, so that the chocolate ends up with a hard, shiny shell. This does not work by melting and cooling, at least not with real chocolate. You can always temper by hand (which is time consuming and a fickle process), you can use fake chocolate (which you can warm up and cool in the fridge), or you can get a tempering machine. I use my tempering machine often, it's the size of a shoe box, and is quick and easy. I have other pictures and videos on this site, if you want to learn more about tempering.
I tempered white chocolate, and then, using a fork, drizzled it onto parchment paper.
It's important to let the chocolate cool and set up, before adding another chocolate layer. I tempered dark chocolate, and then spread it out onto the drizzled white chocolate. I did my best to make the level of thickness even.
After about 10 minutes, the chocolate started to harden, and that is the time to use a knife to score the "planks". When I first spread the chocolate, it was shiny, but as it starts to harden, it becomes matte, and that is when you want to cut it. If you wait too long, you will crack the chocolate strips.
When you stack your cakes, make sure that you use a generous portion of frosting along the side. I actually like to frost as I go, so the frosting has not started to set or dry, and is better able to secure the chocolate planks. Here is a stacked cake, with two of the chocolate strips on....
I continue icing the sides, and carefully placing the chocolate on, so that the chocolate planks are touching each other....
When I have put chocolate around the entire cake, I tie ribbons around the cake. This is a great place to accentuate colors or themes....and also to give an added bit of support to the chocolate.
I noticed on Gigi's cake, that the top of the chocolate was uneven, and had that "natural" look...and that is what I have done. When I made the strips, I made them flat and level on the top and bottom, and then broke the tops to be uneven.
To insert flowers, use straws, cut in half, and insert them into the top of the cake. You can then place the flower stem into the straw. You may want to play around a bit, so that the flowers are set in such a way to cover some of the chocolate edges.
You can make a variety of variations on this...change up the chocolate design, the ribbons, the type of flowers.....Id love to make this with white chocolate sides, and hydrangeas on top...wouldnt that be gorgeous??
Thanks again, Gigi, for the inspiration :)