Friday, 30 November 2012

Decorating with chocolate at Martha's Pantry

I was very excited to celebrate my 5th blog birthday last night at a Decorating with chocolate at Martha's Pantry session. What a delightful evening - complete with chocolate blog birthday cake!

Hosted by Martha's baker and decorator, Maria Moran, we got to practise a range of simple yet effective chocolate decorating techniques.We began by making a piping bag out of baking paper. Luckily, Maria had taught me how to do this a few years ago when I learned cupcake decorating at Tempt so I had a slight advantage. It is a really useful skill to have; chocolate filigrees have became my emergency decorating solution when time is tight and chocolate melts are in the pantry.

A potentially dodgy gingerbread man
Next, we experimented with piping melted dark chocolate onto a gingerbread man biscuit shortbread snowflake biscuit. Here is where less is more: it doesn't matter if you still have more chocolate in your piping bag. Sometimes it's better to just stop and step away from the table, otherwise decorating disasters can happen. I had to give my gingerbread man striped pants as his buttons started to look very dodgy once I piped him a belt! ;-) Thankfully my snowflake was a lot less risqué.

Shortbread showflake
We had a go at piping white chocolate outlines onto baking paper and flooding the shapes with dark chocolate. This is something that I know works well in theory but I simply haven't developed the knack for. Maria then showed us how to dip chocolate truffles and end up with round balls instead of slightly oval slabs with the chocolate all congregating towards the bottom. Her Pandoro brownie, cranberry and nut truffles are something I'm keen to try making this Christmas.

We finished up with Maria effortlessly showing us how to cut a cake into three horizontal layers before filling and icing it with a deliciously glossy dark chocolate ganache. She made it look so simple, but I can assure you from experience that there is no way I can cut a cake into straight layers without making a terrible mess and/or breaking one or more pieces, meaning I have to glue it together again with buttercream or ganache. I look forward to my cake leveller arriving from Kiwi Cakes!

Maria expertly piping chocolate onto a biscuit
We got to take home a goodie box of treats with our names beautifully written on them. And, finally, the icing on the cake was getting to harass meet Mrs Cake on our way out the door. Her Tim Tam truffles are legendary in our household!

Many thanks to Donna from Feast and Vine for organising another great foodie event and Martha's Pantry for being such welcoming hosts.

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