12/16/09

National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day

Did the title make your toes curl?
Mine too!

And, thanks to other chocolate radicals out there, this is only one of many chocolate holidays celebrated throughout the year.

There's also National Chocolate Day, National Milk Chocolate Day, National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day, and National White Chocolate Day (seriously?), to name a few.

In any case, Marsha from Marsha-Kitchen is having a chocolate party, and you're all invited.



How many treats did I cover in chocolate, you ask? Well, uh...one.
I covered a single cake. Not too adventurous, true. But cake was what I craved at the time.



Besides, everything on the cake is chocolate. From the creamy ganache, and chocolate plastic bow, to the pine cone petals. Harmony is once again, restored to the universe, right?

The pine cone petals were made first, using dark chocolate, which was melted in the microwave, at 50% power, and stirred every 12 to 15 seconds.

Chocolate 'blobs' were smeared onto parchment paper, with the aid of an offset spatula. It took 10 ounces of chocolate, to cover the 9-inch cake halves.



I baked my favorite Almond Cake in a large, two-piece, egg-shaped pan.
Once cooled, I placed each half onto a cake board, and covered them with a whipped, dark chocolate ganache.
While the ganache was still soft, I placed the pine cone petals onto each cake, starting at the narrow end, and slightly overlapping each row, covering the entire cake.

The Chocolate Plastic Bow was made from a recipe I've shared on just about every cake decorating site on the interwebz, since 1995.

You may already have a recipe for chocolate plastic (which, btw, goes by many other names: chocolate clay, chocolate paper, chocolate paste, etc.), but this is the recipe I started using before dinosaurs roamed the earth, and it's always been very consistent. Give it a try.


Chocolate Plastic

1 lb. white, bittersweet, or semisweet chocolate
½ cup glucose
2 teaspoons ice water

Melt chocolate, stirring often. This can be done gently, in a microwave, at 50% power. Or, in a double boiler.
Once chocolate is melted, stir in glucose and mix in lightly. Add water. Stir again, until incorporated, but don't overmix. Spread chocolate mixture onto a plastic wrap-lined platter. Cover tightly, and allow mixture to ripen 8 hours, or overnight, until firm. Knead before using.
If the chocolate plastic sets too hard, soften it in the microwave, for only a few seconds at a time, until soft enough to knead. It should be very smooth and malleable.

The white chocolate paste can be tinted with paste, or powdered food coloring.

Note: I've always used Lindt Chocolate for chocolate plastic. But Callebaut, and even Baker's chocolate would be fine.

To make the bow, get some sponge curlers, like the ones your mom used to wear to bed every night. Remove the plastic clip, and use the sponges to support your chocolate bow, until completely set.

You can add interest to chocolate plastic by using textured rolling pins, available in cake decorating shops, or online.



For the tails, just roll out chocolate paste to 1/8 inch. If you like, place them on sponge rollers to shape, as pictured, or keep them flat.

What? Not enough love in my post?

Well here, stick your face in this...



And, if you're not a chocolate fan, well then, we just can't be friends. But I'll forgive you, and suggest you go to a teddy bear near you, and just squeeze.



The world may not be all sunshine and rainbows, but chocolate helps.

33 comments:

Dishesdone said...

Sol, you sure do know how to party! That cake looks like heaven! Your cake would make my toes curl! Would that mean I'd need a smaller size shoe?

Chocolate plastic? I'd eat it!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That is so pretty! You are very talented! Divine...

Cheers,

Rosa

La Table De Nana said...

Your post reminds me of Boyd's Bears and Friendship..

and artistry and perfection~
They are beautiful cones festooned w/ their bow..

I cannot even imagine how many hours this took..What a labor of love..
Happy Holidays to you.I enjoy knowing you:)

Lori (All That Splatters) said...

Oh how I love your creations, Mme. Sol!! If I could just have a touch of that talent, I would be a very happy woman.

Beautiful, as always. One of these days, I'm gong to have to attempt something like this... but... I'm a-scared... ;-D

Thibeault's Table said...

I've been watching for you to post. Everything you make is worth waiting for and this cake is no exception. Another work of Chocolate Art.

Kathleen said...

OMG, it is just beautiful!! You have the best ideas! You put the rest of us to shame!
Truly a work of art!
Merry Christmas, dear Sol, and good health and happiness to you and yours...and..
may we always have a piece of chocolate..:)

Marysol said...

Carol, my friend, I'll have you know 'party animal' is my middle name.
You know, I just realized how unappetizing 'chocolate plastic' really sounds. But it's so good, really.


Dear Rosa, if you had seen me, up to my eyeballs in chocolate, during my baking jamboree, you would've been tempted to add other adjectives to your comment.

Mon ami, Monique, Sam used to collect Boyd's bears when she was little. And every year, we would search for a special bear to place on her Christmas tree. Those were the memories.


But Lori, you're a baker extraordinaire! And if you could see how easy working with chocolate is, you'd jump right in. Would this face lie?


Ann, you've been watching me? [G] Seriously, I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you how much I enjoy your visits. Thank you WW!


Dear Kathleen, I feel the same about your floral arrangements and tablescapes, daunting tasks to me, all of them.

Thank you guys for the love.

Merry Christmas to all! Or, to quote Carol [Dishesdone] "Happy Everything to Everyone!"

Quinn said...

You are one crazy chocoholic!!! Me too! We can be friends!!!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Oh my goodness, Sol! I saw this on FG and was struck by the beauty of it so had to click on the link, and who did I find at the end of my journey but Vous! You are one uber-talented lady! If you ever decide to do a school for cake-decorating-challenged people like me, sign me up!

Marysol said...

Quinn, you're right, on both counts! :-)

Susan, I'd gladly give a class on sugar, if you'll give a class on, well, class. I need help combining objects and colors that do not clash with each other, and look elegant. That talent seems to come effortlessly to you.

Thank you both!

Sara said...

Gorgeous - love those pine cones! Really beautiful idea. :)

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

Stunning! There's a similar looking cake in one of my cookbooks, I think The Cake Bible, and I've been meaning to make it, but have not. =( I'm completely satisfied by looking at yours, though tasting it would be better.

Anonymous said...

Chocolastic?
Luisa

Canarybird said...

Amazing work as always Sol!
You have a world of patience and imagination.
It's far too beautiful to eat though!

¡Feliz Navidad para ti y tu hermosa familia!

Un abrazo...Sharon.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

You are more than clever - this is a work of art.

Marsha said...

WOW! Susan led me hear to see you participating in my little choc event. I think you take the prize for perfection here - simply gorgeous. I just love the look of the layered chocolate making a pinecone but the chocolate plastic bow is simply the icing on the cake so to speak :) Gorgeous!

Thank you so much for participating in the chocolate holiday - it was appreciated :) I hope you don't mind but I added your link to my original post.

chriesi said...

You are truly an artist. Beautiful work. Is there anything better than chocolate?!

zurin said...

What a splendid creation! gorgeous! and that chocolate ganache... how I would love to wear a mask made of that......

I had a tupperware half full of choc ganache in the refrigerator and throughout the day when my kids weren't looking I'd sneak up and take at least 2 teaspoonfuls of ganache each time. It was finished within 2 days. Did I feel guilty? noooo...

Marysol said...

Thank you very kindly, Sara!

Jessica, I made the pine cone cake on The Cake Bible around 1998. But I think this one's easier because I didn't bother tempering the chocolate for the petals. It just wasn't necessary in this case.
And, besides, I had to find an excuse to enrobe the almond cake with chocolate.[G]


Anon, I wish I would've thought of that first :-)

Dear Sharon, the men in this house had no trouble attacking this cake. Them Savages!
Espero que tengas una Feliz Navidad, y un prospero Año Nuevo! Abrazos para tí y Wolf.


Grazie Mille Linda!


Marsha, to me, wherever there is chocolate, there is a party. And this one was a wonderful! Thank you.


Chriesi, you're right. If there's anything better than chocolate, I don't know about it [G]


Zurin, there was some chocolate ganache left over from this project. And you can guess what I did with it. Yes, one tablespoon at a time...


Thanks my friends. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good bite.. of chocolate, preferably.

A Cuban In London said...

Oh, you temptress. Yummy post.

Feliz Navidad para ti y tu familia.

Saludos desde Londres.

Alexa said...

Oh my, Marysol you are so talented! I love your creation!!!
No, No, No, I don't want to go to my room... I would much rather share a cup of coffee or tea with you or we could go shopping for cool antique jars! Have a great weekend! :-)

noobcook said...

how cute! Another culinary art, I'm always amazed by your creations. Happy Holidays :)

Cookie baker Lynn said...

That officially wins the award for most amazing chocolate creation I've seen this season. And that includes the stuff in the stores. Wow!

Marysol said...

Cubano en Londres, visitar tu blog ha sido un gran placer para mí y siempre trato de leer, cada vez que tengo la oportunidad. ¡Gracias por tu amistad y humor!
I hope you'll never quit blogging, as your writing is truly a pleasure to read!


Alexa, I had just run out of chocolate, which would explain my rage :-) Forgive!
Btw, both tea, and shopping sound wonderful to me!


NC, thank you! But that's not art, that's just chocolate! And I can live with that.


Lynn, I'm honored, and I'll be happy if the winning prize is chocolate...or a million dollars. You gotta admit $1,000,000 would buy a lot of chocolate!


Thank you all, for visiting. Happy Holidays!

Alexa said...

Happy Holidays Marysol!

chriesi said...

Merry Christmas!

Marysol said...

Thank you Alexa and Chriesi.

It's late, and I'm still up, baking.
Insane? You bet.
But Santa will be here soon, and I have a lot of sucking up to do [G]

Best Wishes to you all!

minisuperbias said...

The pinecones are amazing! I would never have thought looking at the individual pieces that it would work that well!

joey said...

How did I, me of all people, miss this simply wonderful chocolate post! I love the pinecones ... do you give lessons, dear Marysol! As always, this site oozes with your talent both in the kitchen and behind the lens. (((Christmas Hugs)))

Marysol said...

Minisuperbias, the process is pretty straightforward. The only time consuming part is the making of the pinecone petals. But, in a way, it was kind of therapeutic.

Joey, Artic temperatures won't have any effect on me, as long as I have friends like you, whose kind words always manage to warm the cockles of my wittle heart! Hugs right back.

Thank you both very kindly!

Y said...

Amazing. Hard to imagine that in the end, someone actually cut into that beautiful piece of art!

Marysol said...

Thank you Y! Around here, a cake never gets cut, it gets demolished, and stripped of its dignity before disappearing altogether, by a certain pint-size chocoholic.

tasteofbeirut said...

How beautiful and how fun to make! I need to start learning seriously about chocolate soon; the good news is I bought a thermometer recently!