A chocolate ribbon cake sounds easy enough to create considering we had already been through molded cakes. It is made up of three 6-inch round cake layers of chocolate nut cake, imbibing syrup, mousse, and chocolate plastic. Well, instructions can be deceiving…I had no idea what I was about to get myself into.
Class started innocently enough with making the chocolate nut sponge cake, a separated egg sponge that at this point we could make in our sleep. After baking those we moved onto creating a light chocolate mousse to fill the cake with – also a walk in the park. And then we started playing with the chocolate plastic – a chocolate mixture of chocolate and light corn syrup, essentially a tootsie roll, which can be molded into various shapes. Chocolate plastic needs to be made at least a day before you want to use it and in order to get it pliable it needs to be warmed up or pounded. You can put it in the microwave for a few seconds or rub it between your hands to warm it up enough to get it pliable.
Our chef explained that we were to take the chocolate plastic and put it through a pasta roller to get it as thin as possible. Once we had a thin sheet, we were to fold it up like a tissue paper fan and create as many as possible, we were going to use them to decorate the top of our cake.
This was absolute torture. When I was able to get the chocolate plastic really thin, it would dry out so quickly that I had no time to fold it. If I didn’t get the chocolate plastic as thin as I could, it became too thick to fold! It was a true catch-22. After 3 hours though, I was able to make about 30 of these fans and called it a day.
The next day, we came in and I was told that I would need to cover the entire outside of my cake in chocolate plastic! A day earlier I had trouble rolling a 3” piece thin enough without it drying out and today I was supposed to roll an 18” piece out?? I didn’t have high hopes of success, but after about 2 hours was finally able to get a piece long enough by using a rolling pin rather than the pasta machine – word to the wise, if you’re going to roll out chocolate plastic thin, use a ROLLING PIN!
After I covered the outside of my cake in the rolled out sheet, I placed the fans decoratively on top and painted the edges with gold to really make them pop.
All in all, looking back on the classes, it was a gorgeous cake. Yes, a bit painful, but now that I know the rolling pin trick, I am not afraid and will definitely make it again.