Tomorrow morning at 8 am (EST) is the launch of my Valentine's Day Collection. Valentine's Day is such a nice change of pace. The "real" Holidays (as in Christmas & Thanksgiving) seem to be somewhat of a serious subject to work on - always a bit daunting with a lot of pressure to deliver. There are mountains of products to buy, bake, photograph, etc. Then Valentine's Day comes along and I get to play with pink flowers and perfect techniques like "dripping chocolate" (which, by the way is very simple).
I thought I'd give you a sneak peek at the simplest and maybe most enticing project I prepared for the collection - this Dripping Milk Chocolate Heart Cake. Of course, you can make any sort of cake in the Heart-Shaped Cake Pan, but I've had this dripping chocolate idea going around in my head for a while. We frequent a local bakery (Dolce Baking Co. in PV, for locals) that always has a case full of cakes with ganache dripping down the sides - it is a very alluring effect. I'm not so hot on ganache, so I made my favorite Milk Chocolate Glaze/Icing (melted butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar & milk - think Sheet Cake icing). Oh, my goodness. YUM. And easy... this could start to be a problem.
In full disclosure, I used a boxed chocolate cake mix. I under-bake just a little to make sure it is moist. The melted butter glaze adds an extra layer of moisture, making the cake so, so, so good.
This picture, right?
I'll walk you through how I made it. It was very simple, but a couple of things really help to make sure it turns out beautiful.
I started with the cake pan and a piece of parchment paper. I placed the cake pan in the bottom corner of the parchment and traced it to make a heart-shaped parchment piece for the bottom of the pan.
Next cut two strips (one along the top and one along the side) that are at least 2" wide. These pieces will go inside the perimeter of the pan to keep the sides from sticking.
I buttered and floured in the corner of the pan - this is where the two pieces of parchment will meet, so I want to make sure there isn't any leaking/sticking.
I put the heart-shaped parchment piece in the bottom, then did a line of butter all around the inside/sidewalls - this helps the straight pieces stick to the pan so they don't flop around when you are filling with cake batter.
Put the other two pieces around the perimeter of the pan - piecing them together so they cover the entire thing.
Ready for cake batter. I filled 3/4's the way up. You could do less if you want to make extra cupcakes.
I leveled off the top, which will become the bottom. This makes it sit more level.
Flip it over onto the cake stand - I do this by leaving the cake pan on the counter, putting the cake stand upside down on the cake pan, then invert.
Peel the parchment pieces off. See how nice and neat the parchment makes the cake?!
I use a measuring cup to mix together the glaze. Recipe link below.
You're looking for the constancy of pancake batter. Too thin and it will run all over, too thick and it won't go anywhere. A quick zap in the microwave also helps to liquify it a bit.
Pour the glaze onto the cake. Pour right in the middle.
Take a spoon and gently coax the glaze to the sides, just allowing it to spill over a little at a time.
Work quickly, as the glaze will set. In just a couple of minutes it will start to harden. You need to get the drips started before then or it won't dry smooth.
Part of the magic of glaze is that it is self-leveling. It will naturally smooth itself out and look pretty - as long as you don't touch it once it starts to dry/harden.
The little drips turn themselves into bigger, yummy drips.
The Milk Chocolate Glaze Recipe is the same I used in this Milk Chocolate Cupcake post. The heart sprinkles are coming back again this year because they are always requested.
I'm looking forward to using this technique with layered cake, too. Can you imagine a mocha buttercream in between two layers, then dripping chocolate glaze? Or maybe raspberry buttercream? I would love to know what you try.
I'm off to edit product photos and play with flowers and ribbons : ) See some behind the scenes looks of getting the collection ready on Instagram!