I am making a chess-themed cake for my nephew. I love the idea of making the chess pieces out of chocolate, but I have never worked with chocolate before. The cake is due at the end of June, so I have time to experiment.
It will be a 3-tier round cake with chess pieces decorating the tiers and I wanted to put some chocolate chess squares on the top edges of the tiers (they will overhang).
There are so many types of molds (silicone, polycarbonate, plastic) - so confusing. What type of mold should I look for? I can't use Candy Melts since they are not nut-free and we have allergies in the family, so I will have to use real, quality chocolate.
How should I make the chessboard squares? I saw a mold online, but I'm wondering if there is a cheaper way to do it since it is just squares.
Any advice would be appreciated!
AI don't know much about chocolate molds but I have a few suggestions for the chess board. Could you possibly cut out squares of fondant and assemble it like the chess board. I have made a chessboard once by piping my frosting (royal icing) onto the board. You pipe one colour of squares first exactly how it would be on a real board and let that dry then you pipe the other colour in between that. The cleaner way would be with the fondant.
Not 'expert' help, but I have worked with chocolate for some time.
Polycarb moulds give the best finish imo. You need to 'polish' the cavities with cotton wool to get them spotless and allow for a high shine.
On that note, you will need to temper the chocolate in order to get that shine. If it's not tempered correctly the chocolate will be dull and will melt on contact with skin. It also won't snap when you eat it.
Tempering can be tricky but there are tons of instructions online. It's definitely something you want to practise though!
If you don't want to use moulds, you could pour the tempered chocolate onto silicone paper/mats, or ideally acetate. Either do this just into a puddle or into a tin lined with one of the non-stick sheets I mentioned. If you puddle it the thickness may well be a bit varied, in a tin you can shake it to attain a more even thickness.
Leave it to harden for a while, but not long enough for it to set solid, then using a warmed sharp knife cut your squares.
Oh, and white or milk chocolate won't show the shine quite as well as dark.
ALizzybug nailed it, perfect advice. Definitely temper the chocolate (which must contain cocoa butter), use polycarbonate moulds (I polish with a little cotton wool, never wash them), and use an acetate-lined tray to make the squares. And if you haven't tempered choc before, start practising now. The more you do, the better you'll get!