Charlotte White from Restoration Cake adds a flourish of colourful chocolate shards for a fabulous feather effect that's suprisingly simple to achieve – and stunning too! She says "This is a deceptively quick and extremely simple technique to master. If you can melt chocolate in the microwave, you can make chocolate feathers! I love how organic they look and how effortless this effect is to achieve. Of course, as with all cake decorating, the finish that you get is dependent on the quality of the ingredients that you choose – with this in mind, I created my chocolate feathers using Couverture Chocolate from Squires Kitchen, which is designed to be melted and set. I coloured my chocolate using special cocoa butter based colourings also from Squires Kitchen. You can really go to town with these colours and make white chocolate into any colour of the rainbow!"
Chocolate Feathers Cake
You will need
For the cake:
- 15cm (6in) chocolate cake, mounted on a 15cm (6in) cake drum, covered in chocolate buttercream (recipes available on my website)
- 150g (5½oz) White Belgian Couverture Chocolate by Squires Kitchen
- Cocol Cocoa Butter Colouring – Warm Hues Kit by Squires Kitchen
- Cocol Cocoa Butter Colouring – Iridescent Ruby by Squires Kitchen
- gold dragees
- Gold Edible Glitter Pump Spray by Cake Lace
- disposable plastic shot glasses
- cocktail sticks
- baking parchment
- You can make your chocolate feathers a day in advance of needing them for decoration. They do not need to be kept in the fridge and should be allowed to set at room temperature, so make sure that you have room for them in your kitchen before you start!
- Pour 150g (5½oz) of white couverture chocolate into a microwavable bowl and melt slowly in the microwave. The best way to melt chocolate in a microwave is in 30-second bursts, checking and stirring between each burst. The chocolate is done when only a few little lumps remain. These can be melted in the heat of the chocolate with a little stirring.
- Cocol colours will also need to be heated in the microwave. Follow the instructions on the packaging and keep an eye on them as they heat, but I found that around 2 minutes on high, with the lid undone, was sufficient to melt the colouring.
- Work with one colour at a time. Pour 20g (1oz) of melted white couverture chocolate into a disposable shot glass.
- Add colour and stir through. A marbled effect can look nice too!
- Spoon small blobs of coloured chocolate onto baking parchment and swipe through with a finger to drag out into long uneven shards. I experimented with the back of a spoon and a palette knife but found that the irregularity of my thumb and fingers worked best.
- Leave the chocolate feathers to cool and dry on the work surface. Repeat the process from Steps 3-6 with each colour that you want to use. I used red, pink, gold and iridescent ruby. Make more than you think you will need as these are very fragile when dry.
- Cover your chocolate cake in a sharp coating of chocolate buttercream. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour before adhering your chocolate feathers. Because chocolate buttercream is messy, I cover my cakes on a larger cake drum before transferring them to my cake stand when chilled and set
- Retain a spoonful of chocolate buttercream in a piping bag to help your feathers stick.
- Removing the chocolate feathers from the baking parchment can be tricky as the chocolate at the ends of the feathers will be very thin and delicate. My top tip is to carefully peel the paper away from the feather rather than the other way around – get a hold of the thicker end of the feather and gently peel.
- Start fixing feathers to your cake, working from the top corner downwards. Mix up the colours and sizes. Overlap them and try to make the finish varied, organic and interesting. This is one design that I can almost guarantee will look different each time it is recreated!
- Work the feathers from one top corner to the opposite bottom corner.
- You will almost certainly have a few broken pieces of chocolate remaining; I crumbled up a little of each colour and sprinkled these around the top edge of my cake to continue the colour from the feathers to the back of the cake.
- Add a few gold dragees to the crumbled coloured chocolate on the top of the cake.
- Spray small amounts of gold glitter spray onto the side of the cake, following the line of the feathers. To really focus on one area, because I didn’t want the entire surface of the cake covered or the feathers either, hold the nozzle of the pump spray very close to the surface of the cake and spray. The glitter will only hit a small area and you will notice a very focused dot of glitter on the cake.
- Adorn the glittered side of the cake with a few more gold dragees. If you pop a dragee onto each intense dot of gold glitter, you will achieve a lovely finish which looks as if the dragee is emitting a glittery aura.
- Serve to astonished gasps and applause.