Monday, September 15, 2014

Craftsy Class Review: Chocolate Flowers

Craftsy Logo Chocolate Flowers was taught by Erin Gardner, who also did the Cakes In Full Bloom class. In this class she demonstrates a couple of ways to make different flowers out of chocolate, which is a good thing in terms of tasting better than gumpaste, but not so good in terms of melting.

Let me tell you about the monkey-iced cake...I was delivering a cake to a venue that had three separate reception locations on site. My cake was going to one of the outdoor areas, and it was 102 degrees that day. I told them that I was going to leave the cake at the indoor venue and they could move it to the outdoor venue right before the reception.

As I was putting my cake on the table I saw that there was a wedding cake that had been left there too. It looked like a blindfolded monkey had iced it and the flowers were melted because they were made from chocolate. Not a good choice on a 102 degree day. I think that whoever had made it had delivered it to the outdoor venue nearby and someone had noticed that it was melting and brought it inside, but it was too late. There was going to be one angry bride there later that day.

So that taught me two things. First, I want everyone to use the term "monkey-iced" as a normal part of conversation, and two, you shouldn't use chocolate flowers in the heat. So if you're going to do these, make sure they're a good choice for your needs.

This class covers the basics of tempering chocolate, but I suspect that there were more candy melts involved than was implied here. You can use either real chocolate or candy coating for her techniques, which aren't anything super new if you've made chocolate flowers before.

She uses tinfoil forms, veiners, molds and that kind of thing to make the flower petals and leaves, then shows you how to assemble them. She also includes a cake that's royal icing painted with brown food coloring to look like bark to make a tree stump cake.

If you've never worked with chocolate before I'd say that you should be able to follow along pretty easily, but some of the questions that people were posting seem to indicate a level of confusion that I was kind of surprised by. So maybe it's not as simple as I thought it was, but she did go over everything you'd need to know (or so I thought until I read some of the questions.)

I'd say that this class would be good for chocolate beginners or for people who have experience with gumpaste and want to try something different. If you live in the tropics or somewhere that's hot all the time don't bother. It's doubtful that you'd be able to use chocolate much unless you have a really good system for transportation that will avoid any exposure to hot air at all.

My final review:

Skill Level: I'd say beginner, but maybe not. Maybe for adventurous beginners.
Equipment you'll need: veiners, molds, etc.
Sleep-Inducing level: Pretty snoozy.
What it assumes you already know: Gumpaste basics, how to handle fondant.
Unnecessary Level Of Difficulty For Techniques Shown: Nothing much, and it's going to really freak people out when they see how much you use your hands and fingers when putting chocolate on molds, but that's the easiest way to do it.
Annoying Host Habits: Oh my God, it's ane- MO-ne! Not Ane-NO-me! That drives me nuts.
Level Of Helpful Hints Learned: Pretty basic chocolate stuff, but if you don't do a lot of work with chocolate you'll learn some things.

Click here for my Craftsy pattern shop, which has a bunch of freebies in it: A Cake To Remember On Craftsy



Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

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