I'm at work on a wedding cake for a friend and this time with some issues. First of all, I work full-time and the cake is needed on Friday night! Plus I have a bunch of stuff after work this week, so I"m awfully pressed for time. Basically, I'm allotting Thursday night for assembling and decorating, but that's it.
Second, the bride and groom want chocolate (gluten-free too), and would prefer chocolate on the outside too, as it's the winter here in NYC and they don't like fondant.
Due to time constraints, I'm concerned about covering the cake in modeling chocolate--basically because I've never used it before and am afraid I'll screw it up.
So I'm trying to come up with some time-saving ideas. I'd love to hear your ideas or thoughts. Here are some thoughts/questions:
1. If I were to do ganache only, does anyone have a good way of getting it super glossy and smooth?
2. What is a good candy or coating that I could put outside of a chocolate ganache (and that would easily stick to it yet look pretty)? I've noticed ganache is not always as smooth as I'd like it to be, so I'd love to put something outside that would look pretty with the chocolate. Cocoa nibs? Chocolate shavings? Any other ideas? I'd love to know where I could get long chocolate tiles or plaques (or is athere is a suitable candy bar that has long tiles?)
2. How hard is modeling chocolate to use? I was thinking of cutting long ribbons and then putting these slightly asymmetrically up the sides of the cake, but I don't know if this will cause me major headache. My idea is like the dark chocolate one with roses on this site: http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2013/08/chocolate-wedding-cakes/
3. Any other thoughts for something pretty and chocolate AND which will not cause me major stress but look elegant?
Thanks very much!
AGanache won't look smooth unless you pour it, like the drizzle cake in the crafty blog you attached. As soon as you smooth it, it will have a matte finish.
The cake you like with roses - I think it has chocolate collars, not modelling chocolate wrapped around. BUT I don't think the chocolate was tempered properly, giving the uneven/ grainy finish that's not beautiful and glossy. If it's not tempered properly it wouldn't be very nice to eat.
Modelling chocolate looks like the cake with ruffles in that blog - the ruffles themselves. It will have a bit of a sheen, but not be as glossy as tempered choc. It can really look amazing to have different textures/finishes of chocolate in a cake.
Could you pitch 50/50 modelling choc/fondant to the wedding couple? I know it's very late, but it's also very late to be learning new techniques without plenty of time as your safety mechanism. That said, modelling choc is easy as pie, just roll and wrap it round the cake. Make the modelling choc NOW, that way if it doesn't work, you've got time to buy it if you need.
Thanks for the reply. If I do a 50/50 mix, do I just knead the two together?
Also, any ideas for a simple coating if I don't do any of this? Because I agree about the problem with learning new techniques at the last minute (tried something else last minute before and had a big failure!).
AJust knead the two together. Or you could even buy chocolate flavoured fondant if your bride would be ok with that. A friend of mine made a 3 tier modelling choc wrap cake with no prior experience, just a can do attitude, so I'm sure you can do it. It's very similar to fondant to work with. The trick is making it - I've never had an issue with it, but some people report a lot of problems! Make it early to know that you've got that under your belt.
The other thing you could do is panels of chocolate around the sides, you just cut rectangles or irregular shards of chocolate and stick them to the buttercream underneath. Use tempered chocolate if you're confident with that or candy melts if not. You can do patterns in the panels too eg. Sprays or dribbles of different colour chocolate then coated in the main colour. Then add a ribbon around the panels to give nice finish,
Or even light coloured white chocolate buttercream (I'd use SMBC) with a dark chocolate drizzle looks effective and is goof proof. Add a few flowers and you're good to go.