If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? What if the tree is made of chocolate???
This is my first time participating in 'cooperative' baking, or baker's challenge as it's called. I was invited to join Walnuts and Honey, Sugar Vanilla Bakes, Bakes-A-Lot, Anuta Loves Cupcakes, and a few others on Facebook to create a dessert each month that embodies the chosen theme for that particular month.
This month's theme is 'The Forest', which coincides nicely with Earth Month (well, day actually, but I'm sure Mother Nature won't mind the extended recognition).
|For instant grass, add shredded coconut and green food colour to a freezer bag, shake and Voila!.|
I have never really done a 'themed' cake, so was a little unsure of my approach.
My original plan was a little dark in it's depiction of our abuse and misuse of our natural resources and the impending catastrophic end. Sounds pretty, huh? Phew! That all went out the window when I happened upon new inspiration by way of a Thank You card at Mandagirl, a scrapbooking site. The colour scheme of the card spoke to me and I listened. And, even more so, when I received my daily dose of design seeds.
The plan was to keep it simple with just the tree, some painted on grass at the base of the cake and maybe a couple birds perched atop the cake. The tree on its own made a statement and was in line with my taste - simple, uncluttered and lots of green.
Through the camera lens, however, it appeared bland and uninteresting. So I added and subtracted and shifted and repeated until I got here - a completely edible and palatable 8 x 4 chunk of chocolate forest. I used fondant and modelling chocolate to decorate and ate a few birds and leaves along the way.
Here is a list of the items I used to decorate my little chocolate forest:
- Square Pans - two 4x4x4
- Fondant - to cover cake
- Modelling Chocolate - white and dark
- Sugar Flair - yellow, green, violet, orange
- Americolor - avocado
- Veiner - for leaf detail
- Scriber - to create bark texture on the trees
- Wilton Mold - birds and blossoms
- Xacto Knife - to carve tree and leaf shapes
- Fondant Smoother - I love these new edgers!
- Cake Board
- Paint Brush
For the cake, I used the same recipe used for the Chocolate Espresso Cake. It's a fairly dense cake, so will stack well without compromising moisture and taste. Really, I just needed another excuse to make it.
Instead of buttercream, I used chocolate ganache under the fondant. Not only does it taste better, in my opinion, it allows for sharper edges - still not as sharp as I would like, but that takes practice. I came across this trio of videos from Inspired by Michelle some time ago and finally got around to trying it. Her cakes are just stunning. I'm a convert.
Ganache is basically two ingredients - chocolate and cream - YUM!
For dark chocolate - 2 parts dark chocolate to 1 part cream.
For white chocolate - 3 parts chocolate to 1 part cream. The cream should be heavy, I used 35%.
Hope the videos will inspired you to give ganache a go for your next cake.
It's always great hearing from you - feel free to leave a comment or question below.
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