How to make a giant chocolate sunflower cake, using chocolate candy coating and everyday tools. A new cake tutorial by our contributor Erin Gardner.
My Chocolate Flower Cake concept from last spring is getting a fall makeover! An oversized bloom made of chocolate is a fun and easy way to quickly dress up a buttercream cake. With a few simple ingredients, and tools you probably already have around the house, you’ll create a stunning fall cake. These techniques could just as easily be used to create smaller flowers for the tops of cupcakes and other desserts.
While most flowers have their popular variations – red roses, blue violets, yellow sunflowers – choosing a unique color palette is an easy way to create a unique cake without much additional effort. I picked pretty purple and burgundy jewel tones for my sunflower, but you can make yours in any color combo you like! Create two-toned petals using colors like burnt orange, ochre, brown, or even shades of green.
Craft your delicious sunflower out of tempered white chocolate tinted with cocoa butters, or keep it simple and use chocolate candy coating — either works beautifully. Only finding candy coating in brights and pastels? Add a few black or dark brown chips to create chic custom chocolate colors.
CHOCOLATE SUNFLOWER CAKE
a tutorial by Erin Gardner
Buttercream iced cake
Chocolate or candy coating (1 cup each of red, purple, and black)
Black jimmies sprinkles or black sugar sparkles
Small bowls or round plastic containers
Heavy duty aluminum foil
Tear off several 3-inch wide strips of aluminum foil. Each sheet will hold approximately 10 petals and you’ll need around 30 petals total. Melt the purple and red candy coating in separate heatproof bowls. Add 2-3 black candy coating chips to each bowl to deepen the colors. Dip the flat side of a small knife into the melted purple chocolate so that about 2-inches of the knife is coated.
Lay the coated side of the knife against the foil, lining the bottom edge of the chocolate up with the edge of the foil.
Pull the knife away, smearing the chocolate onto the foil in a petal shape. Rock the knife back and forth until you achieve your desired shape. Go back in and add more chocolate if needed. The layer of chocolate should be thin, but thick enough so the the foil doesn’t show through. Repeat to create the rest of your petals. Wipe the knife clean with a paper towel as needed.
Dip the flat side of the knife into the melted red chocolate so that 1/4 to 1/2-inch of the knife is coated.
Lay the coated side of the knife against a purple petal, lining the bottom edge of the chocolate up with the edge of the foil. Pull and smear just as you did to create the purple petals. Repeat to add the second layer of color to all of the remaining petals.
Set the petals aside to completely harden before assembling the flower, about 10-15 minutes.
Pour the black jimmies sprinkles into a small bowl. Use the end of a rolling pin to smush the sprinkles into smaller pieces. (You can skip this step if using black sugar sparkles or black sanding sugar.)
Line another small bowl with aluminum foil. Melt the black candy coating in a heatproof bowl. Spoon a quarter-sized amount of the black chocolate into the center of the lined bowl.
Place the flat end of a petal into the puddle of chocolate. Repeat all the way around the puddle with about half of the petals.
Add more coating chocolate to the center before attaching the second layer of petals. If the center firms up too quickly, dip the flat end of a petal into the melted black chocolate to help it stick. Repeat with the remaining petals. Set the flower aside and allow the chocolate to completely harden before adding the center, about 10 minutes. Lift the foil lining out of the bowl and gently peel back the sides, releasing the flower. The petals are fragile, so always handle the flower from the bottom or center.
Spoon another quarter-sized puddle of melted black candy coating into the center of your flower. Use the tip of the spoon to create a well in the center of the puddle. Dust the outer edges of the puddle with the back sprinkles.
Allow your finished flower to completely harden before moving it. Pop it in the fridge to speed up the process, but do not store chocolate decorations in the fridge long term. The humidity in your refrigerator will cause the chocolate to become discolored and soften. Place the finished flower on a freshly iced cake or store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place until needed. Once on the cake, tuck leftover petals under the flower to fill in any gaps and give it a fuller appearance.