Lessons 91-92: An Eye for Design

This is the part of the program where we are designers.

Yes, we have had the experience of designing our chocolate showpieces, but individually making fonadant-covered cakes last week was our first experience designing solo. Well, it was actually an inedible foam cake, but it still gave us something to roll our fondant over, creating a clean palate for us to decorate. The only requirement was to include a chocolate rose somewhere on the cake.

If you recall, my introduction to modeling chocolate was certainly a challenge. I struggled with rolling it through a pasta machine to make my chocolate ribbon cake. This time, I used white chocolate, working it in my hands to improve its elasticity. I’m not sure if it had to do with the warmth of my hands or the differences between white and dark chocolate, but this was much more successful than using the pasta machine. Creating the rose petals and leaves out of this material was actually quite fun. I love the process of making parts that will become something bigger and then watching each of the petals comes together to produce a beautiful flower.

With our flowers complete and our royal icing butterflies drying, we were ready to roll out the fondant to cover our cake. As Chef Kathryn was demonstrating how to roll evenly and in the shape of the cake, a circle, I had a flashback to our dough days with Chef Scott. But a cake is not quite a tart or pie. After a variety of colors of fondant were rolled over each of our foam cakes, some of us filled our pastry bags with royal icing and began decorating our cakes using the knowledge and skills we had learned the week before — shells, pearls and other piping techniques. Others of us rolled out a band of fondant to be used as a ribbon.

Some of us embossed the ribbon with a pattern using special rollers. Chef Kathryn put the timer on us, as if we were on Food Network Challenge or Top Chef: Just Desserts. When the time came, our twelve chocolate rose cakes were presented together. Chef Kathryn asked us to take note of the placement of the rose on each of the cake and see what worked and what didn’t. Observing these overall aspects of cake design will surely improve our final cake design. And next time, it will be a real, edible cake! Next up: It’s all about gumpaste flowers as we practice the basics and prepare for our final tiered cake design!

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