If you know me in real life, you’ll know this: I’m not great at decorating cakes. Yes, I’m ok at baking (although I do make mistakes sometimes!), but decorating is not my forte.
I think it comes down to patience, or my lack of. I do WANT them to look professional… But then I get excited about eating them and think, ah, it doesn’t matter!
So this is a nifty trick for professional looking decoration which is REALLY easy to do and takes no time at all.
I used dark chocolate to make these curls, which go best on a chocolate cake, like the one in this picture. But if you wanted to, you could use white chocolate and pop that on top of a fruity cake, for example a lemon drizzle, and it’d look and taste just as good.
75g dark chocolate
1 tsp vegetable oil
— Take a large, clean, flat baking tray and put it in the freezer for around 20 minutes.
— Melt the chocolate, either in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave (be careful! Be sure to keep an eye on it if you do it in the microwave as it can burn easily – heat it for 20 seconds at a time, checking and stirring in between).
— Add the vegetable oil to the chocolate and mix well. This will help the chocolate to curl better later. Remove the baking tray from the freezer and pour the chocolate directly onto the tray. Don’t use any greaseproof paper.
— Spread the chocolate over the tray as thinly as possible, but so that you can’t see the tray through the chocolate. If you have a pallette knife, use it, as it will give the best result. The thinner the chocolate layer is, the better.
— Place the tray, chocolate side up, back into the freezer, for around half an hour, or until the chocolate is set.
— When you’re ready to make your curls, remove the tray from the freezer, and leave it for a few minutes to come to room temperature. You want it just to soften SLIGHTLY but not too much. You can tell when it’s ready by pressing your finger on the chocolate; it should leave a fingerprint but not an indent.
— Holding the tray against your body, take a sharp knife and place the blade on the chocolate at a 45 deegree angle towards you. Then firmly press down and pull the blade towards your body. The chocolate should curl up into long strands. Depending on how soft your chocolate is, it may fracture and you can end up with both long and short bits. I like the different lengths as it gives a bit of variety.
— Once you’ve curled all the chocolate, leave them on the baking tray and put it back in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up.
— Then decorate the top of your cake however you see fit! I like to put pieces of different sizes on top of each other in an abstract fashion – it’s easy and very effective.
And that’s it! You will probably have more than you need, so pop them in a freezer bag and keep them frozen until you next need to use them. Just be careful as they’re very fragile!