Chocolate cakes are a favorite and with good reason. They are delicious, can be casual or formal, rich and luscious or simple and quick. Your chocolate cakes, whether intended for a dinner party dessert, a birthday or simple snacks for the kids, can be as pretty as they are tasty. Fortunately, decorating a chocolate cake does not have to require a lot of time, effort or cake-decorating skill if you know a few simple tricks.
Chocolate ganache is an excellent option for icing, glazing or decorating any chocolate cake. Ganache is made by warming cream and chocolate together, whisking until the two become a single substance. The proportions may vary depending upon your intended use. Ganache can be whipped to form a frosting, poured to form a glaze, piped like buttercream or used as a filling in your chocolate cake. Ganache recipes typically start at a 1 cup of heavy cream to 1 lb. of dark chocolate; however, more or less cream may be used depending upon the desired effect. Use chocolate ganache to frost or glaze your chocolate cakes for a rich and glossy look.
Chocolate Curls and Cut Outs
Chocolate curls and molded chocolate can be made by simply melting a good quality chocolate. Thin chocolate curls can be made by slightly warming the chocolate then shaving curls off the block with a peeler. Larger chocolate curls require that you melt the chocolate in a double boiler and cool in the refrigerator for 10 minutes in a 1/4 in. thick layer on a baking sheet. Use a metal spatula to roll curls off of the sheet, then lift carefully with a toothpick. Shapes may also be cut out of a prepared thin layer of chocolate with a sharp knife or cookie cutter. Use these curls and shapes to decorate chocolate cakes.
Quick and Easy Chocolate Cake Decorating
Some of the best ideas for decorating chocolate cakes are also some of the easiest. Place a paper doily on top of your cooled chocolate cake. Sprinkle the top of the cake with cocoa powder or powdered sugar and remove the doily. Top chocolate cakes with whipped cream instead of icing right before serving for a light and pretty look. You can also opt to drizzle your cake with melted chocolate, using white chocolate for a dark cake, or dark chocolate for a milk chocolate cake. Simply pour melted chocolate into a plastic bag with a zipper closure and snip the end of one corner off. Drizzle the chocolate as desired, then toss the bag. Fresh berries are another excellent choice for chocolate cake decorating.
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