How many times have you made a cake or icing, only to have something be slightly off. Your crumb coat feels well, crumbly, your icing tastes good, but isn't as pretty as it should be — and although things taste great, Martha Stewart wouldn't be impressed? No worries, just make a chocolate collar for your cake and cover your mistakes!
What You Need
1 Cake, Frosted and assembled
Chocolate (Dark, Semi-Sweet, Milk, White)
1. Start With A Cake: You can use a cake of any kind for this trick, between the layers you can use traditional icing, mousse or fruit filling of your choice. Add a quick layer of frosting, just enough to cover the outside (which will give the chocolate something to cling to as it sets).
2. Measure: You'll want to measure the circumference of your cake and the height. Cut a piece of parchment paper to match. We cut ours 1/4" taller and longer to ensure a proper fit each time. If you'd like to use a taller filling (like berries) for the top, you might want to make it 1/2" or even 3/4" taller. Tape either end of the paper to your work surface (we cover our table in freezer paper... because we're messy).
3. Melt Chocolate: Temper Chocolate (yes you can do it in the microwave) and spread with an icing spatula over your parchment paper. Allow to thicken and set slightly. You want it to stick to the parchment without sliding off when you get ready to move it, but not crack when you wrap it around.
4. Wrap It Up: Pick up band, you might need two people depending on the size of your cake, and place the center of the band on the front center (if such thing exists) side of your cake. Wrap the sides around, ensuring your paper/chocolate touches the bottom of the cake plate. Press gently, yet firmly against the side of the cake. It should hold in place (if not, hold against the cake for a few minutes before releasing) and stay put. Allow to cool and harden completely.
5.Remove Wrapper: Once set, peel the corner of the wrapper back, it should come willingly and peel off smooth as silk. You can now fill the top of the cake with additional icing, fruit, ganache, or leave it as is! We (attempted) to fill ours with ganache, though in the name of getting photos taken in time for this post, we didn't let it cool quite long enough. The result.... chocolate waterfall. You can check out the results below. Remember to let it cool long enough!
If you'd like to try your hand at some embellishments, they aren't hard to do. Simply melt white chocolate (or other colored candy melts from your local craft/hobby/specialty food store) and apply with a piping bag. Simple dots look great, as do words and other simple geometric shapes. Just let them cool completely before spreading your darker chocolate over the top. If attempting this on a square cake, try marking gently with a pencil where the corners will hit, otherwise when wrapping the collar around the cake, a dot or word can be "stuck" when you pull the wrapper off. If your dot or line is thin, it's usually not a problem, but a little preparation doesn't hurt! It's as simple as that and has a great clean look to it!
Remember kids, warm chocolate melts cool chocolate. Cake Fail! See, we're human too, though in our defense, this is the only time we've had a problem of this sort! Remember to let your ganache cool completely, or fill with additional icing!
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(Images: Sarah Rae Trover)