Today I spent a whole day working with chocolate on Squires Kitchens Mini Chocolate Cakes Course taught by Mark Tilling.
Bit of info about Mark: Mark was UK Chocolate Master 2006-2010, is Squires Kitchen’s Master Chocolatier. Mark has worked as a pastry chef at top hotels including The Lanesborough, Lainston House Hotel, Hotel du Vin and Le Pave d’Auge in Normandy, France, which boasts a Michelin star. Mark twice represented the UK in the Chocolate Master world finals in Paris, where he was ranked 12th in the world in 2007 and 7th in 2009, the UK’s highest-ever placing. He has also won many other gold medals in chocolate work and patisserie. Mark is now an ambassador for chocolate in the UK and has authored two books, Squires Kitchen’s Guide to Working with Chocolate and Squires Kitchen’s Guide to Making Macaroons, both published by B. Dutton Publishing.
Now to the chocolate! We learnt how to make chocolate collars using patterned transfer sheets, a shiny chocolate glaze to coat a small mousse cake and chocolate panels to create a miniature chocolate box cake.
Behind where Mark stood to do the demos was a chocolate tempering machine with chocolate constantly running out of what looked like a tap, I managed to resist the urge to fill my coffee cup up! It was great to finally learn how to temper chocolate and work with it. I have often wondered how other cake decorators managed to get a beautifully glossy collar made out of chocolate around their cake. Here is my collar cake:
Our next project was a glaze covered mouse cake and then a chocolate box. Unfortunately the glaze covered mouse cake didn't survive the journey home but I did get a picture of my chocolate box cake:
The bow and flowers are made out of cocoform which is a bit like working with sugarpaste although it is a much harder consistency to start off with and when you start working with it the heat of your hands can make it go soft and a bit sticky quite quickly. It can be mixed with sugarpaste to make a cake covering giving the sugarpaste a bit more of a chocolate flavour.
I have been on a Squires course previously and they are great, taught by excellent well respected tutors and quite reasonably priced. I recommend this course if you are like me and have little experience working with chocolate and would like a bit more confidence. The other plus point is that you spend an entire day with a constant supply of chocolate!
Happy Baking Everyone :o)