Recently, I was asked to decorate the cake for my grandma's 76th birthday family gathering. I would not be able to decorate the cake beforehand, so the decorations would have to be transportable and be put in place right before the cake was to be served.
I think red roses match my grandma very well, but I wanted to lift that simple decoration into something a bit more special and eye-catching, so I got the idea of making this jewelled chocolate butterfly to go with the roses. I think the decoration was very successful, and I also got my share of "wows." The nice thing is that the butterfly can be saved for later by the day's honored guest or shared among the children.
Step 1: Melt and Temper Chocolate
The first thing to do is to melt and temper the chocolate. To do this, chop about 100 grams of dark chocolate. This is more than you will need for the butterfly, but it is hard to temper a smaller portion. Use the leftovers to make other chocolate garnishes (see A Woman's Dream Cupcakes + Decoration Techniques).
Melt half of the chocolate in a water bath, either a double boiler, or as I did, in a heat-proof bowl set in a pot of nearly boiling water. Don't let the water boil, as the steam might make the chocolate seize.
Add the remaining chopped chocolate to the melted chocolate and stir until everything is melted. To make sure the chocolate has cooled enough and thus is tempered, smear a little bit on a piece of parchment paper or wax paper and put it in the freezer. It should snap nicely when set.
Now, when the chocolate is melted and tempered, we are ready to go on with making the actual butterfly.
Step 2: Make Butterfly
Fold a piece of parchment paper or wax paper in half and place it over the butterfly template. The fold should open like a book and align with the body of the butterfly.
Spoon some melted chocolate in a parchment cornet (paper cone -- look up on google how to make one) and cut off the tip. Pipe along the lines of the template and then fill in the inside, spreading it with the back of a teaspoon. The red lines mark places that should be piped a second time to make them thicker.
Place the parchment paper with the butterfly inside a book. Place the book in the freezer and support it so the butterfly gets a natural fold.
When the butterfly has hardened, it is ready to be decorated.
Step 3: Decorate Butterfly
I made gold and silver paint by mixing edible gold and silver dust with a little bit vinegar or vodka. Paint the raised areas with gold and the rest of the butterfly with silver. The paint is more like a suspended solution than actual paint, so here are some tips to get it smooth:
- Add enough paint so it flows out smoothly.
- If a spot needs more glitter but is already wet, take a clump of wet glitter and spread it out on the spot.
- If there are clumps in the paint, smooth them out by dipping the brush in vinegar/vodka and dabbing it on the clumps until they flow out.
Let the paint dry. This can take up to half an hour, depending on how much vinegar/vodka you added.
When the paint is dry, glue on edible beads/pearls by dipping them one by one in melted chocolate and setting them in place with a pair of tweezers. Let dry.
Step 4: The Finished Cake
I put the finished butterfly on some toilet paper in a plastic container and covered with more paper, so the butterfly wouldn't slide around and get broken when transported.
I decorated the cake with fresh red roses, the butterfly, and some chocolate shavings mixed with edible gold dust. This resulted in a very elegant and eye-catching -- yet simple -- cake, where the decoration elements can be prepared ahead of time.
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