Learn how to make a showstopper chocolate collar in this step-by-step tutorial by Food Thoughts – this is a three-tier dark chocolate sponge cake with white chocolate buttercream.
1. Ice your cake, making sure to add sufficient buttercream to the sides for the collar to stick to. Once iced, measure the height and cake circumference. Make sure you add extra onto the height so that the collar will be higher than the cake.
Top tip! You can calculate the circumference using your cake tin size, e.g. a 20cm cake tin = 20 x 3.14 = 62.8cm width (+ allowance for icing).
2. Using your measurements, draw 2 equal templates (half the total circumference x height of your collar) on smooth, semi-rigid plastic. Cut out the templates. Place the templates on greaseproof paper/parchment, then place on an upturned baking tray.
Top tip! A simple plastic document wallet is perfect for the templates. Creating the collar in two halves makes it easier to apply to the cake.
3. Melt the chocolate. We recommend using 150g (51⁄2oz) Food Thoughts Dark Chocolate 70% Cacao Melts (or White 35% Cacao Melts if you’re making a white collar). It does not need to be tempered.
Top tip! Put the melts in a disposable icing bag, then submerge in water in a microwaveable jug (ensure the open end does not go in the water). Melt in the microwave in 30-second bursts until the chocolate is fully melted (do not overcook). Remove from the jug, then secure the open end of the bag with a food clip before use.
4. Snip a small hole in the end of the piping bag. Swirl the melted chocolate onto the plastic templates – be as creative as you like!
5. Place the templates in the fridge, then check the chocolate collars every few minutes and remove them from the fridge when semi-set, but still pliable (if you allow them to set too much they will crack).
Top tip! You will see that they are setting when the chocolate starts to lose its high gloss appearance.
6. Gently mould each half of the collar around the side of the cake (with the template still attached to the outside). Ensure each half neatly meets at the two joins.
7. Place the cake in the fridge until the chocolate collar is completely hardened. Remove from the fridge, then gently peel the template away from the chocolate collar.
Top tip! If you accidentally break the collar, you can use a little melted chocolate to reaffix.
8. Decorate the top of your cake with fruit or other decoration of your choice.
Watch the tutorial here...