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Recently, we had the pleasure of making a 30th birthday cake which was our first creative project of 2017 and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We sourced inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest as usual and decided to make some striking marble-effect chocolate shard cake decorations to go on the top of the cake. Chocolate shard decorations can be really fun to make and they’re pretty easy too so we thought we’d share with you our method for making them. Just before we do though, we wanted to share a few tips with you.
1. Use High-Quality Chocolate:
Depending on your cake design, you can use either white, milk or dark chocolate. However, if you’re planning on making vibrant and colourful decorations then you will need to use white for the sake of colouring it. For our decorations, we used Green & Blacks White Cooking Chocolate which was infused with vanilla – very delicious. But there are other great brands out there you can use. Mainly, high quality chocolate means easy-melting, great flavour and it will be slightly easier to work with in comparison to cheaper options. When buying chocolate, look out for higher contents of cocoa solids; that it’s made with cocoa butter; and it has a smooth texture. A low-quality chocolate often has a low percentage of cocoa solids and substitutes cocoa butter with vegetable oil. High-quality chocolate might cost a little more, but it’s totally worth it.
2. Slow Melting:
Have you ever heard the saying “patience is a virtue”? It’s important to consider that white chocolate has a different sensitivity to heat and therefore may burn more rapidly in comparison to melting dark or milk chocolate. Therefore, have a little patience by ensuring the heat isn’t too high and that you take the melting process a little slower.
3. Use Chocolate-Friendly Food Colouring:
We used ‘Sugarflair’ food colouring gel which worked great but sometimes if you don’t use the right type of food colouring you can risk ruining your melted chocolate. We advise checking the food colouring you’re using beforehand just to be safe. Some liquid food colourings don’t bode well with chocolate, so avoid them like a creeper on Tinder!
4. Have the Right Equipment:
For setting the chocolate you will need either a tub or tray that’s approximately 12” x 8”. You’ll also need a skewer to create the marble-effect; a disposable piping bag for neatly piping on patterns and writing if desired; and a large sharp knife for cutting your chocolate up with precision.
Finally, here is the ingredients and method for making the decorations…
- 400g white chocolate
- Food colouring
- Sprinkles (we used freeze dried raspberries)
- Melt all the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water until smooth, stirring continuously.
- Keep a few tablespoons of white chocolate to one side if you plan to pipe some writing or numbers on the decorations later, or dip some strawberries in chocolate like we did. Depending on how many colours you are using, divide the rest of the chocolate into separate bowls accordingly. We used 3 shades of blue so 3 bowls.
- Mix the desired food colouring into each bowl of chocolate until each is a uniform colour.
- In a lined tray or tub, begin to spread one of the colours out. We began with the palest shade of blue. Then using a spoon (or piping bag) drizzle over the other colours in a random formation. Ensure the base of the tray/tub is evenly covered in chocolate, then take a skewer and use circular and wavy motions to create a marble-effect. There is no right or wrong way of doing this just as long as you are happy with the final look.
- Scatter over a choice of sprinkles. We used freeze dried raspberries which are so yummy and the red contrasted nicely with the blue which added a pop of colour. Alternatively, you could use silver balls, hundreds and thousands, or even rose petals for a bit of sophistication – up to you.
- Leave to set in the fridge for two hours. Then take it out and score large triangles into it with a sharp knife. After scoring, you will have an idea of the shard sizes. You can take this time to pipe on some numbers/writing in between the lines using the white chocolate you left to one side. Place the chocolate back in the fridge and chill until completely solid (overnight).
- As mentioned earlier, you can also use the spare chocolate to dip fresh strawberries in so these can go on the cake as decorations too. You can pipe patterns onto these too like we’ve done. These will need to go into the fridge on parchment paper to set for a few hours. We used strawberries as their red colour complimented the red freeze dried raspberries in the chocolate. But feel free to use whichever fruit suits your colour scheme. Just be weary of using more moist fruits like raspberries, as these may need to be dried out slightly before using. If you choose to use a fruit which browns easily like apple, you can drizzle it with lemon juice beforehand to prevent the browning process. Fruit should be as cold as possible for setting up a hard coating of chocolate.
- Once the chocolate shards are completely solidified, you can take a sharp knife and cut completely through the scores. If at this point you come across any breakages or cracks, don’t worry. You can use a little heat to melt the chocolate so you can glue it back together, then place it in the fridge to set again.
- Once your cake is ready you can arrange your chocolate shards and fruit on top! Enjoy!