Father’s Day Cake Decorating Idea

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Chocolate Cake


6 ounces semisweet chocolate

1/2-cup butter

4 egg yolks

2/3-cup sugar

1 cup sifted cake flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2-teaspoon baking soda

1/4-teaspoon salt

1/2-cup buttermilk

1-teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 egg whites


In a saucepan melt chocolate and butter over medium heat and then cool. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and yellow, gradually beat in 1/3-cup sugar. Continue beating until very thick.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture alternately with the buttermilk; beat until smooth. Add chocolate mixture and vanilla. Beat egg whites until stiff; gradually beat remaining 1/3-cup sugar into egg whites. Fold egg white mixture into batter. Pour batter into two greased and floured 8-inch round layer cake pans. Bake chocolate cake at 375° for about 25 minutes, or until chocolate cake springs back when lightly touched with finger.

This father day’s cake is a wonderful example of a cake being made into a relief harvest picture. The cake has been built up at the top left hand side with a wedge piece of cake and then the whole cake has been covered with a chocolate ganache. The picture has been constructed with fresh fruit, but the beautiful finishing touches have been made by the art of tempering chocolate.

Before we describe what happens to decorate this cake we will demonstrate the art of tempering chocolate. Tempered chocolate is chocolate that has been treated in such a way that alters its crystalline structure. If you melt chocolate over too high a heat, and let it cool, it will reset as an unattractive, dull yucky brown mass streaked with gray.

The very last thing that you would ever want to do this would be to eat it. It will have a texture that is grainy and it will have a white bloom or cast, which will make it, appear chalky. On the other hand tempered chocolate is crisp, with a silky smooth melt in the mouth texture, in short to die for. It is dry to the touch and velvety smooth because it melts in your mouth at 2 degrees below your body temperature.

Before you start to temper the chocolate chop it finely with a serrated knife, if the lumps are too big it will not be tempered correctly. Heat a double boiler to 110 degrees, and melt the chocolate at this temperature. At this temperature all the chocolate crystals melt evenly.

Take the chocolate off the heat and let it cool to 80 degrees. Reheat the chocolate using a flash method over the hot water in the double boiler. Heat it 3 to 5 seconds at a time, take it off the heat, put it back on, rather than just sitting the bowl back on top of the hot water, until the mixture reaches 91 degrees F.

At this point your chocolate should be correctly tempered. To test, spread a thin layer of chocolate on a plate and cool it by the action of a fan. When the chocolate cools on the plate, it should be hard, not sticky, and shiny, and definitely not streaked. If this is the case, your chocolate is properly tempered. If it is not, begin the process all over again.

Apricot glaze for a 10" cake

1 cup Apricot preserves

Heat preserves to boiling, strain. Brush on cake while still hot. Let dry. Glaze will dry to a hard finish in 15 minutes or less.

Satin Icing

Use to mould decoration or place on the sides and top of the cake


25g (1oz) butter

1 tablespoon or 15 ml of lemon juice

300g (12 ounces) icing sugar

Optional food colourings


Heat the butter and lemon juice and water in a saucepan gently until the butter has dissolved. Add 100g of the icing sugar and heat gently until dissolved. Cook very gently and slowly until the mixture comes to a soft boil. Do not overworks as the mixture will become too hard.

Medium Consistency White Chocolate Ganache Icing

Yields 2 cups

Food processor

Candy thermometer

10 ounces white chocolate

1-cup heavy cream

Using a serrated knife, finely chop the chocolate into 1/4-inch pieces, or grate it

Food Processor Method

Place the chopped chocolate in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan, again when it rises to boil over pour over the chocolate in a steady stream. Let it sit for 1 minute, then pulse the machine three times. No more and no less, then use a plastic spatula and pull down all the ganache from the sides of the mixture, and then pulse three more times.

Let the ganache sit at room temperature until it cools to 70°F, which should happen in about fifteen minutes. You can speed up the process by pouring the ganache out onto a clean baking sheet (thinner layers cool faster). Once the ganache reaches 70°F, it is ready to be used. At this point it can also be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

To Make Chocolate Rose Leaves:

Wash and dry some fresh rose leaves, if these are not available use other leaves. Using a fine child’s paintbrush coat the underside of the leaf with chocolate Place the leaves with the chocolate on the upper side to set. When the chocolate is hard peel off the leaves from the chocolate, not the chocolate from the leaf. This is because the chocolate is fragile and pulling the chocolate rather than the leaf will mean that more will be broken.

Chocolate cut outs and shapes

To shape chocolate melt and then pour out on to a metal foil sheet, pick the edges of the tin foil up carefully and drop back down onto the counter top. This levels the chocolate ensuring that most of the shapes are at a uniform depth. Use one and one and a half inch cutter to make circles that can be cut into 4 to make triangles. Use the rounds to make crescents. The chocolate can be cut by molds of animals or other shapes.

Find flower and leaf cutters and other cutters here!

To Decorate the Father’s Day Cake

2 x 14 inch rectangular cake of your choice. (I personally would use chocolate as for me chocolate and fruit are an ideal taste, but for others the taste of fruit kills chocolate. If chocolate is not for you, use your favorite cake recipe.

Apricot glaze

White chocolate ganache

Chocolate leaves and shapes to decorate.

Fruit of your choice or in season to decorate on the cake are kiwis, peaches, mandarin segments, grapes, melon, cherries and fresh cranberries dipped in melted chocolate.

You need the second cake cut a wedge to make the cake higher at one side if you want the cake to look as a relief. I would then put a fruit glaze over the entire cake including between the main cake and the wedge to anchor it.

There are two obvious ways of achieving the white glaze, you can use a pouring fondant icing or use a white chocolate ganache. I would cut out pieces of cardboard to match the shapes I need for the cake and put a very sharp crease in the cardboard before I made the shapes using the tempered chocolate and the techniques used above. I would also dip fresh cranberries in chocolate to achieve the look of the little berries in the top left hand layer of the cake. The cake has mandarin segments, which can be fresh, or canned, fresh peaches, melon balls, kiwi cherry and grapes, but any fresh fruit can be used including guava, star fruit papaya, orange etc. I would certainly avoid apples and pears and bananas, as there is a danger that they will go brown and spoil the taste and the appearance of the cake.

There are two options to make the green leaves on the cake, you can use a tempered white chocolate with a tasteless green food coloring or you can mold satin icing colored with green liquid coloring.

The side of the cake has what appears to be carrot sticks. These are pieces of rolled fondant using rolled out, then rolled up very finely like a cigar; they are colored with a mixture of red and yellow or orange food coloring. Overall this taste will have a clean taste as the fruit is fresh it is a healthy option as the fresh fruit has to be better than large amounts of fatty icing. A perfect accompaniment to this cake when it is being served would be homemade ice cream. The top left of the cake has had a fine dusting of powdered sugar poured over it just before serving.

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