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Modeling chocolate and other cake advice

 
 
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 11:05 am
I'm making a snake shaped cake. I'm going to use a chocolate pound cake recipe baked in a couple of angel food cake pans and one flat pan. I intend to sculpt the cakes into a coiled snake with the tail wandering down the table.

I haven't sculpted cake before but I think I'm up to the task. I understand that the cakes should be frozen first then partially thawed before cutting. This is good because it means I can bake in advance.

But I'm wondering about frosting the cake. Will the cake need to be thawed completely before frosting?

How long does it take for a frozen cake to thaw?

I thought I would put a thin coat of regular frosting on the cake and then cover it with colored modeling chocolate rolled into ribbons, imprinted in a snake skin pattern (using some window screen) and placed on to imitate a coral snake. I'm guessing I'll have to frost and assemble as I go.

I've never tasted modeling chocolate and I do want my cake to taste good. Is modeling chocolate a good choice (I don't want to use fondant)?

Is there something else that might be better?

Can you think of a better way to get the effect I'm after?

Am I getting in over my head?

Thanks for any help!
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Rockhead
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 11:45 am
@boomerang,
"Am I getting in over my head?"

prolly.

no advice, just want updates.

I love a messy challenge...
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 12:14 pm
You say you don't want to use fondant, but I don't think you are going to get the effect without it. You could make the "skin" then apply it.

Good luck1

PS WHY a snake theme?
boomerang
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 12:22 pm
@PUNKEY,
I just don't like the flavor of fondant. I think I can make the skin out of the modeling chocolate and wrap the cake with it.

It's Mo's birthday cake and he loves snakes. I usually make him really complicated, fun cakes. It's the one time each year where I can really challenge myself with baking so I like to try new things.
boomerang
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 12:26 pm
@Rockhead,
I really think I can do this! I've been researching different techniques for the last week or so.

But I've never made or tasted modeling chocolate before. It really doesn't look any more complicated than working with play-doh but that's probably because they have professionals demonstrating it.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 12:28 pm
@boomerang,
never encountered it.

but my mental image is of modeling clay.

and it tastes terrible...
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 12:29 pm
I have seen cupcakes strung together to make a snake shape.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 12:29 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
I've never tasted modeling chocolate and I do want my cake to taste good. Is modeling chocolate a good choice (I don't want to use fondant)?

Is there something else that might be better?



buttercream icing will taste better

it's not impossibly difficult to texture buttercream icing - you can give it the colour and flavour you want

how to (this should actually be for a cake, not cookies)

http://www.channels.com/episodes/show/8795567/Decorating-Cookies-with-Texture-Mats-and-Buttercream-Icing
JessiHart
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 12:30 pm
@boomerang,
My aunt is all into the cake thing. She freezes her cakes before she does anything with them. How soon do you need the info? I can get ahold of her an ask! But I am not sure if she's ever used modeling chocolate. You can always buy a small thing of it a taste?
ehBeth
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 12:30 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
But I've never made or tasted modeling chocolate before.


it's not so tasty - people often remove the decorations made from modelling chocolate before they eat the cake
boomerang
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 12:38 pm
@ehBeth,
I was planning on using a butter cream under it and thought that if they didn't like the chocolate they could peel it off -- kind of like they could with fondant. I don't know anyone who likes the taste of fondant but know a lot of people who really like chocolate so it seems worth a shot.

I was just worried about needing to frost and assemble, frost and assemble method I'll need to use to get the snake striped. I think I'd make a real mess out of things using buttercream.

I'll check that video out, thanks.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 12:39 pm
@JessiHart,
Cool! That would be great. I don't need the cake for two weeks so I have some time to experiment.

Modeling chocolate is just chocolate and corn syrup so I could probably whip some up and give it a try.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 12:41 pm
@ehBeth,
That's what I was worried about.

I did find a recipe for a rolled buttercream icing but it just sounds awful:
Quote:

Ingredients:
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 cup clear corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon
colorless butter flavoring
1 teaspoon colorless vanilla flavoring
1/2 teaspoon popcorn salt (fine grain salt)
7-8 cups (approx. 2lbs.) powdered sugar
ehBeth
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 12:43 pm
@boomerang,
buttercream icing should be made with butter

I'm not sure what that recipe is about. It's not any kind of buttercream.
boomerang
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 12:44 pm
@ehBeth,
It's called rolled buttercream and it's billed as a fondant alternative for people who don't like fondant. I don't think it sounds much better than fondant.
boomerang
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 12:50 pm
Maybe I need to go back to thinking about ganache with added decorations to create the bands......
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 12:51 pm
@boomerang,
http://www.baking911.com/decorating/cakes_buttercream.htm

look about a third of the way down this page for the pros and cons of using butter and shortening in buttercream (and the different proportions for different requirements and weather)
boomerang
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 01:04 pm
@ehBeth,
Dang!

Who knew there was so much to know about buttercream!

That site also has a bit about using rolled buttercream -- says it taste like Tootsie Rolls (fun!) but that it's pretty hard to work with (not fun).
ehBeth
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 01:09 pm
@boomerang,
I think that's why mrs hamburger preferred baking to cooking - there's a lot more science to it. Chemistry and physics really matter in baking - cooking you can wing it more easily.

boomerang
 
  1  
Sat 1 Jan, 2011 01:31 pm
@ehBeth,
I'm with your mom on this!

Baking is very unforgiving. If you mess it up you just have to start over.

Which is why I'll spend a week or two planning the one special cake I make each year.

I really like that site, ehBeth. She has a great page on what she calls "chocolate plastic" which is what I called modeling chocolate: http://www.baking911.com/decorating/chocolate.htm

It looks fairly simple to make and use so it's looking better to me by the minute.
 

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