I had been lamenting that I would love to make more cakes but there would be nobody to eat them so there was no point in me doing it. As a result, one of my friends offered to purchase a cake from me for her sister’s birthday to help keep me occupied. After much thought, I decided that I would try my hand at chocolate cages. I loved the idea of a lattice sitting around the cake – it would be intricate and delicate at the same time. Well, in my mind it was intricate and delicate.
I decided on a 8 inch chocolate cake and covered it with chocolate buttercream. The design for the top of the cake was done with the now in vogue petal buttercream technique, which I have since made a video tutorial of on a different cake:
Recipes for the cake and buttercream available on my Caramel Spiral Cupcake post. I think from now they are going to be my go-to recipes – they work really well together. Rich flavours and soft crumb with moist texture with a very workable buttercream texture.
Then it was time to decide on how the cage was going to be. I wanted a lattice that was intricate, strong and at the same time easy to pipe. After much indecision I came up with this design. I have since made it into a PDF, available here – for download. Much neater and clearer, even if I do say so myself.
Chocolate is quite runny for piping, much more challenging than royal icing I feel – it would be near impossible to pipe it properly vertically. I decided to wrap my template and waxed paper around the only thing in the house that was 9 inch round – a pot – and hung it off the leg of one of the chairs in my house and rotate it as I went around the cake. I have tips on how to melt chocolate quickly and easily if you are interested.
Let me tell you it was no easy task – the pot would rock a little every time more chocolate was added on due to the weight. I guess my career as a dentist came in handy – I’m quite used to working on moving patients so was similar to working on a patient that was fidgeting in the chair.
Once it was all done I slid it off the pot and peeled the waxed paper away. The chocolate cage broke in a couple of spots in the process but that was okay. I carefully placed it around the cake, lined up the seams and piped more chocolate to make it whole again and voila – my project was complete.
If I could redo it again I’d probably make a 4 or 6 inch cake and make the cage 2 inches larger than the cake. I probably only had half a centimetre of gap in between the cake and the cage and I feel a little more would have been more elegant. I would make the cake slightly shorter too – I was caught off guard by how tall the tiers stacked up!
Overall, it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it. Perhaps the next time I’ll try a different pattern and do it in white chocolate instead.