(Because of the amount of steps it took to get from start to finish, I am breaking a big post in to three normal ones)

Recently I was asked to help a friend decorate a cake for her little girl’s first birthday.  It was an owl themed party and she had a picture she had found on Pinterest.  Not knowing how the owl was decorated, I started imagining how I would make it.  Immediately I knew the body was going to be krispy treats.  That is my favorite medium for making large 3d decorations. Next was deciding what to cover it with.  My options were fondant, gum paste, and modeling chocolate.  I ruled out gum paste right away because it is way too expensive to put that much gum paste on a cake, it would dry harder than needed, and it wouldn’t have a great taste.  I believe that as much as is possible, every cake should be the as delectable as possible.  Fondant was my original choice.

Getting ready and excited to start!

The things I hear said the most about fondant is that it doesn’t taste good and the texture is weird.  I will grant that some might not find the stretchy dense structure of fondant appealing, but there are many more options for flavor than people realize.  I have fondants I use that are chocolate, taste like a buttered popcorn jelly bean, and I have made some from scratch that taste like amaretto and lemon. The flavor is rich and even though I enjoy fondant, I find I can’t finish what’s on my piece of cake.  So, like i said, my first choice was fondant.  It doesn’t have the strength I needed, so it gets a little gum paste mixed in to make it stronger.  Thinking about it more, I realized that the way the owl would need to be constructed would increase the possibility that the fondant would stretch and the wings, which hang down, would droop.  Then I realized….modeling chocolate! It tastes better than fondant (Chocolate and corn syrup. That’s it!), has more strength without the stretch, and wouldn’t need anything added to it to help it keep it’s shape.  First thing is that the chocolate needs to be made.
made out of

Modeling Chocolate
To make the owl, I made a batch of white and semisweet modeling chocolate.  For the semisweet version, reduce the corn syrup by 1/8 cup, or 1/4 cup if making a double batch.

each batch produces one pound of modeling chocolate

Step One

I prefer baking squares instead of chips
I find they have a smoother finish.

Melt in a microwave on high, 1lb of white chocolate baking squares in a microwave safe bowl. Melt in intervals of 30 seconds, stirring in between each set.  Chocolate continues to melt a little even after you pull it out of the microwave, so if it looks like it might be close, stir it a lot to see if you can get the rest to melt without needing to put back in the microwave. You don’t want the chocolate incredibly hot when you add the corn syrup.  The bowl should easily be held with bare hands.



Step Two

Microwave 1/2 cup of light corn syrup for 45 seconds on high. Pour into chocolate.

Step Three

Gently stir or fold syrup into chocolate.  Do not stir fast.  Do not over stir. It will separate the solids from the oils and your batch is ruined.  Stir just until you no longer see streaks of chocolate.  The water in the syrup causes the chocolate to seize, so we want to make sure every last bit of chocolate has contact with the syrup (yes, this time we want our chocolate to seize.  It’s what make the chocolate turn to clay).  It should take no more than 30-35 strokes. For me, it takes less.

Step Four

Fold out chocolate onto plastic wrap and wrap the chocolate, making sure to fully contain it and keep out air.  Let rest overnight at room temperature.

Step Five

After the chocolate has sat at room temperature over night, it will be very hard.  Break off pieces of it and knead them until they are soft and pliable.  It will look slightly shiny.  Dust some cornstarch on the counter if needed, to prevent sticking.  The chocolate has now become modeling chocolate.  It can be stored for 4-6 months at room temperature and up to a year frozen.

The next post will cover the making of the Owl….

Sarah

As always, positive comments are welcome. Negative hurtful comments will be trashed before I can even finish reading them. I have many readers who are emotionally vulnerable, and I will not post comments that will further harm.

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Sarah