I’ve made quite a few Chocolate Drip Cakes now but have to admit I didn’t find them that easy at the start. I don’t give up without a fight (and a bit of language) though so thought I would share the tips I’ve learnt to make a simple rustic Drip Cake.
Heavy duty Cake – Stacked & Dowelled
Before you can start any stacked cake, you need to make sure your recipe is robust enough to withstand the weight. I’m talking Madeira or Dense Chocolate Cake – Victoria Sponge is likely to collapse or sag.
I have been known to use dowels for 3 or more tiers and even a thin cake board (one inch smaller than the diameter of the cake) if the cake has to travel. The cake pictured travelled from St Helens to Leeds on my knee (the boot was full – I would always recommend putting in the boot first) and survived.
The most important thing I’ve learned is to leave enough time. This is probably the one that I’ve found the hardest but really baking your cakes and letting them settle makes all the difference. I found that by stacking them, putting a thin layer of jam and buttercream/frosting in the middle and doing a crumb coat of frosting then keeping in the fridge overnight is the only way to stop the cakes bulging at the sides.
Super Sweet Frosting Recipe Here
Turn Your Cakes Upside Down
Use those sharp edges! If I’m doing a 2 tier, I’m more than likely to use both tiers upside down as it is easier to disguise the edges at the bottom than the middle of a drip cake. You will judge your own cakes yourselves, I’m sure but if doing a 3 tier, I’m likely to use the bottom tier right way up as the jam and frosting sinks in better to a cake where the crust is cut away and is less likely to slip during transport.
Use the whole of the cake board
While I am talking about cake boards, please please please use drum boards rather than the thin ones and definitely always cover with something. You will see in this picture that the ribbon around the board is slightly too wide and definitely far from perfect but still a lot better than leaving the edges uncovered.
I also like the effect of setting the cake back slightly on the board. There’s more scope for decorating the front of the cake and less wasted board space at the back of the cake that no-one might see.
Over the years, I’ve learned that using colour on cakes makes them so much easier to decorate. They seem to require less work if they are bold. For drip cakes, I’d advise colouring the drips rather than the main body of the cake frosting. There is nothing worse than colouring your frosting or buttercream then finding out you don’t quite have enough and have to start colour matching whilst making more.
Don’t forget that if you don’t use all of your buttercream, you can freeze it too!
Getting Smooth Frosting/Buttercream
This is one of my favourite tricks and makes the world of difference.
When you have put your last layer of frosting over the cake and got it as neat and even as possible, dip your smoother or pallet knife into a cup of boiling water and go over if again LIGHTLY. You won’t believe how smooth your buttercream covering ends up.
There’s no getting away from the fact that White Chocolate can be an absolutely swine. The best way to melt it is in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water. Do NOT let the water boil up and touch the bottom of the bowl though. Melt white chocolate as slowly as you can and hopefully you will have success
No matter how careful you are though, sometimes your white chocolate simply will not melt and clumps together (This is known as seizing) To rescue seized white chocolate, stir through 1/2 tsp of vegetable oil per 150g white chocolate and you will be amazed at the results.
Getting Chocolate Drips right
In a perfect world, you would spread your chocolate neatly on the top of the cake then it would fall perfectly down the sides, stopping just when you need the drip too. If yours, does this – fair play to you! Its happened to me a couple of times, but purely through luck and always when using milk chocolate.
For using white chocolate drips, you can use Candy Melts but I’m really not keen on the taste. I pipe the drips as the white chocolate sets almost instantaneously and then spread the top with most of the remaining white chocolate (which has more often than not been coloured with gel food colouring).
Sprinkles Will Save Your Life
I pride myself on being able to get a neat finish using fondant icing but frosting or buttercream is a different beast. By adding a light covering of edible sprinkles to the top of the cake and board you will disguise a multitude of sins.
Use Chocolate Glue
Do not rely on your buttercream to hold all your decorations, Particularly if your cake has to travel more than 10 metres and especially if you are using vertical decorations.
Again, chocolate will be your saviour. Using the remainder of the chocolate in the piping bag from your drips, attach a small bit to each sweet, chocolate, gin bottle – whatever you are using to decorate your cake.
And there we go – I hope you have found these tips useful and they will save a few of the errors. This style of rustic cake is showing no signs of going anywhere – they are so pretty but definitely nowhere near as simple (or cheap!) as they appear.
Feel free to add any tips that you have come across in the comments!
More Posts you might like about Drip Cakes
Bake of the Week
Well, it’s back! The summer break was lovely but hopefully everyone is feeling inspired to get back in the kitchen with the return of the Great British Bake Off.
I’ll be hosting on my own this year so there will be post every TUESDAY here on Casa Costello. To enter simply link to me (https://casacostello.com) in your blog post and add your URL to the linky below. Any questions, please ask.
To spread the word about the linky, please add the badge to your post. There’s hardly any rules – old posts are completely fine as long as they haven’t been added before and include the badge. Up to 3 posts per blog. All bakes are welcome, professional, novice, savoury, sweet, biscuits, tarts, cakes, casseroles – anything that has been baked in an oven or slow cooker.
If you don’t blog but share your bakes on Facebook or Instagram, feel free to tag my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CasaCostello/) or Instagram I will happily share.
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