I really love the idea of cake decorating. Mostly because it involves taking something delicious and making it pretty too, but also because it's an area of crafting that is very new to me. I loved to oooh and ahhhh over beautiful covered cakes but never thought it would be possible to make something that looked and tasted good by myself, until I discovered Modeling Chocolate (aka Candy Clay). That's right folks, this is not a fondant covered cake!
What is Modeling Chocolate? Just a mixture made from corn syrup and candy melts (those chocolate disks that are usually used for making suckers & dipping stuff). Modeling chocolate has a texture like play dough, so it can be use just like fondant or gum paste to decorate cakes, cookies or make edible sculptures. Roll it out, cut it, shape it, whatever you want! It doesn't really get hard or change consistency, it keeps well, and, most importantly, it tastes really good.
How do you make it?
1. Melt one package of chocolate melts in microwave according to package instructions. The chocolate may not look like it's completely melted, but once you stir it a bunch, it should be fine. Be sure it is nice & smooth or you'll have visible chunks later. You can overcook it and then it's burnt or the consistency gets wrecked, so this is an important step!
2. Carefully fold in a 1/2 cup of light corn syrup. Keep gently folding until it starts to come together like a dough ball
3. Spread out your mixture on a cling wrap covered cookie sheet and spread nice & flat until it's about 1/2" thick and cover top with cling wrap.
4. Let it sit for at least 3 hours (so don't wait to make it until the last minute when you need to use it!)
5. After it's set, take small sections of the modeling chocolate and knead them with your hands until soft and pliable like play dough. Continue until you've worked the entire batch and then use it or wrap with cling wrap and place in an airtight container. It should keep for a couple of months wrapped up.
Tips I've learned:
- Do not try to use chocolate chips or other random kinds of chocolate - the results may not turn out
- The best way to melt your chocolate is in a pyrex measuring cup in the microwave
- To color, use food color gels (found in most baking supply stores) and work in just a few drops by kneading. You can buy the melts in several colors, but you can make any shade with the white ones & a little coloring gel, so that gives you a lot more options
- To prevent it from sticking to the work surface, tools or your hands, sprinkle on a bit of cornstarch
- Just like fondant, do not stick this in the fridge or it will get sticky
To make this turtle cake, I used a pyrex mixing bowl to get the shell-shaped cake & then covered the cake with a thin layer of buttercream frosting when it was cool. I colored my modeling chocolate in the various colors needed and rolled out & covered the cake with the kelly green. I hand sculpted the legs, tail & head in the lime green and used the end of a small paintbrush to make the facial features & details on the feet.
The circles were made with fondant cutters and attached with icing. For a nicer presentation, I covered a cake board with some scrapbook paper and wrapped a ribbon around the edge.
In hindsight I should have made more chocolate for the shell (I guessed on what would be enough and didn't have much hanging over the edge when it was rolled out), but for my first-ever covered cake, I was pretty pleased and it had the desired effect on my family. I'm almost sorry to say he was eaten immediately after these photos. I came up with this design after
Now it's your turn! If you've made any kind of cake, show it off. It can be pretty, creative, colorful, even crazy in design, I'm not picky - I just like cake. Add your pics to the CraftShare Flickr pool or tell us some of your favorite ways to decorate or tips for making cakes. I know you've got it in you - I've seen some tasty ones in the Craftastic Monday link party, so don't get shy! Heck, even cake disaster stories are appreciated (I know I'm not the only one with some of those - see Easter Cake).
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