Monthly Archives: July 2013

Too hot for chocolate?

I didn’t think I would ever utter the words ‘too hot for chocolate’, being a self confessed chocoholic, but when the weather changed bringing real summer heat, I must admit to saying this quite a few times in the first week of this glorious July. Why? I was teaching a class at Pipedreams on the 6th, the workshop was…….A chocolate cake, covered with ganache and chocolate cigarillos, topped with roses made from modelling chocolate. Well, we had three delightful ladies booked in for the day, all keen to learn how to work with chocolate. Frank had pre-cooked rich chocolate sponge cakes for us  and the first thing I did, was to dispel the fear of making ganache. This was always a laborious task as cream needed scalding, taking care not to boil it, then this is poured over good quality chocolate and stirred until the chocolate has melted. This seems fairly straight forward but if the cream is too hot, it isn’t possible to achieve a really good gloss on the ganache. Joy of joys, I experimented  with chocolate and cream a few days before the workshop, and produced beautiful ganache in the microwave! It was sooooo easy, and not a fluke as I repeated the process twice to make sure.

Well having demonstrated the making of ganache, using the microwave, we proceeded with the decorating of the cakes.  An hour into the class and already the temperature in the classroom was a bit on the warm side. The cakes were sliced and sandwiched together with the ganache frosting I had made the night before, then they were coated with the fresh, cooled ganache, giving a very rich, glossy finish. Once this was ‘tacky’ chocolate cigarillos were placed all round the edge…………I didn’t say this was a cake for the calorie conscious among you.

Having got this far, we started on our chocolate flowers, by this time we were all feeling the effects of the heat and handling modelling chocolate was not going to be easy.  The only way we could work successfully was to keep popping the flowers into the freezer every few minutes, to firm the chocolate up. My three lovely students all worked patiently and steadily, achieving some beautiful roses, rose leaves and cutter flowers, which, once finished, were ‘gilded’ with edible lustre dust. The flowers were placed on their cake and a ribbon tied around the cigarillos, producing a very pretty, if very fattening, chocolate cake.

My three lovely students and their finished cakes


My demonstration cake

At the end of the workshop, we had half an hour to spare so I showed the group an alternative top decoration for a chocolate cake. Using some of the cooled, whisked ganache, I roughly spread this over a cake board. Using pink marzipan, I then made some little pigs and placed these in the ‘mud’. It was a fun idea and one that children would love on a chocolate cake. Each of the ladies had time to make a couple of little pigs to take home.

Pigs in mud.


So struggling in the heat was worth the effort and perhaps it wasn’t too hot for chocolate after all!

I hope you are all enjoying the glorious weather. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

Jenny xxxx