Chocolate decoration techniques can be notoriously tricky to master, but as BAKO’s last chocolate workshop with Callebaut demonstrated, if done correctly, they take your cakes to a new level of sophistication.
In this week’s blog, BAKO guides you through five of the most impressive chocolate work techniques.
Recognisable as the characteristic icing style of a cream or custard slice, feathering is perhaps one of the most simple chocolate-work techniques, so is a good starting point for learning new decoration styles. First, coat your chosen cake in glace icing or chocolate ganache, then use a piping bag to add horizontal lines of melted Callebaut chocolate callets in a contrasting colour. Working quickly before the lines set, lightly drag a fork or cocktail skewer vertically across the lines to drag the icing into this beautiful feathered pattern.
Moving up a level, chocolate bowls are still a relatively easy affect to achieve, but offer a high-impact way to serve desserts like mousse or ice cream. Sit an inflated balloon in a bowl and drip half-cooled melted chocolate evenly over the top dome of the balloon to create a bowl-shaped structure. Once set, you can pop the balloon to remove, leaving a bowl made entirely from chocolate.
A staple for classic cakes like the sachertorte, chocolate lettering requires a steady hand but is nonetheless an effective technique, particularly for personalising celebration cakes. You could also try experimenting with other piped designs, including lattices, swirls and hearts.
Moving on to slightly more advanced techniques, chocolate swirls are the mark of a master baker and a sure sign of quality for your customers. To create this look, spread a thin layer of melted chocolate evenly over a piece of baking paper and leave until it has cooled back into a solid form but not completely hardened. Use a cheese slicer or vegetable peeler to shave strips of chocolate; these will curl a little naturally, and you can use your fingers to gently roll them into tighter curls.
Chocolate collars are the true sign of a show-stopping cake, also covering up any rough edges in the bake itself. First, ice the edges of your cake with a buttercream icing or frosting to hold the chocolate border in place. Then, as with the curls, spread melted chocolate onto a baking paper sheet and leave to cool to a point where the chocolate no longer slides when the paper is held horizontally, but not too long so that cracks appear when it is bent. At this stage, all you need to do is carefully bend the collar around your cake, and you can use a ribbon to hold it in place as the chocolate sets fully.
Ready to get started experimenting with these new techniques? Share your best chocolate work creations with BAKO on Twitter, and don’t forget to let us know if you need to stock up on any more cake or chocolate supplies.