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Seeking advice on creating chocolate "film strip" for cake


LucyInAust
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Hello,

 

I've been asked to make a cake with an edible film strip style ribbon (NOT made of fondant) and I'm trying to work out a solution given limited time (2 weeks) and limited skills (a lifetime's worth of lack of decorating skills and attention to detail!).

 

Ideally I'd love to use a chocolate transfer sheet ... but the only ones I can find are in the USA (I'm in Australia) and the shipping time makes that impractical.  I've been googling and not seen a decent alternative that I think I can do (actually I haven't even found something that is edible that I think looks good, even from professionals!!)!  Fondant would be the most obvious solution but I've been given the instructions of no fondant (but maybe they wouldn't notice a strip?!) ... but chocolate seems possible.

 

Some ideas I've thought of and would love feedback ...

  • Could I use old film negatives as a transfer?  Cut out the frames and then use the strips?   (am I going to kill anyone with chemicals?!!)
  • Could I create acetone strips by trying to stamp/cut out something that sort of looks like a film strip?  Use it as a stencil instead?
  • Piping on to acetate using an image behind as a guide?  I can't say I have very steady hands so am thinking it would be very wonky?!!!
  • If I did the outline in dark chocolate would I need a white chocolate layer to make it transfer onto a buttercream cake?

 

I have a chocolate tempering machine, most likely to be using Callebaut 54% but could use Lindt 70%/85%/90%.

 

I've really only used transfer sheets directly on to dipped chocolate, and acetate to create random curls for decorations ... I'm wondering about the logistics of getting the chocolate on the strips, keeping it shaped for the cake (I think the cake is square ... but maybe it might be round?!) and also transferring them on to the cake?

 

(back up plan ... plain ribbon!!!)

 

Would love any advice!  Thanks!!

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Hey Lucy, your location says Victoria. If you're in Melbourne, check out Savour Chocolate and Patisserie School in Brunswick, they always have transfer sheets in stock, but the size is probably not long enough to apply all the way around a cake, you'd need multiple strips. They also sell rolls of acetate strips which you could pipe designs directly on to. You'd have to be quick at piping to get the designs piped whilst the chocolate remained flexible enough to shape around the cake though.

 

I've seen chocolate applied to acetate and then whilst still semi-set applied directly around a cake, where it will shrink in and hug the cake, you just peel the acetate off after 20 minutes in the fridge if your chocolate is in temper. Alternatively, you could line the outside of the cake tin with baking paper, wait for the strip to be semi-set, wrap it around the cake tin + paper, let it set, slide it off, then carefully slide it over the cake (it should larger than the cake if you use the outside of the tin) but this way I think would be trickier depending on your decorations on the cake.

 

Do you know how to check your chocolate is in temper? I assume you've used the machine before if you have one ;) Is it a melting tank or an actual tempering machine?

 

Edit to add: I definitely wouldn't use old camera film.

 

Chris (also in Victoria :D)

Edited by keychris (log)
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you could also use modeling chocolate, also known as "chocolate plastic", chocolate plastique, or candy clay.  You can even make it yourself, there's lots of recipes.  There's a very  old thread somewhere here about it too.  You're basically seizing melted chocolate with warmed corn syrup and mixing it; it will stiffen and firm up then you can roll it and shape it just as you would fondant, except it's not fondant ;)  You can curve and curl it just like a strip of film....

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Here's the topic JeanneCake mentioned: Chocolate Plastic.  

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Also - wonder if you could use the film strip to make a transfer on on acetate strip. I'm trying to picture how to say what I'm thinking - you have the little holes along the side of the film strip - could you cut the squares out to make the individual frame squares then use that as a negative to paint white cocoa butter on your acetate.

 

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14 hours ago, LucyInAust said:

Some ideas I've thought of and would love feedback ...

  • Could I use old film negatives as a transfer?  Cut out the frames and then use the strips?   (am I going to kill anyone with chemicals?!!)
  • Could I create acetone strips by trying to stamp/cut out something that sort of looks like a film strip?  Use it as a stencil instead?
  • Piping on to acetate using an image behind as a guide?  I can't say I have very steady hands so am thinking it would be very wonky?!!!
  • If I did the outline in dark chocolate would I need a white chocolate layer to make it transfer onto a buttercream cake?

 

I've really only used transfer sheets directly on to dipped chocolate, and acetate to create random curls for decorations ... I'm wondering about the logistics of getting the chocolate on the strips, keeping it shaped for the cake (I think the cake is square ... but maybe it might be round?!) and also transferring them on to the cake?

 

 

Fondant painted with food color would definitely be easiest, try to convince them that a little fondant will be great for the look and they don't have to eat it :)

 

I don't think old film negatives would kill anyone - the chemicals get washed off - but I don't know how much they would help.  I guess you use them to get the size and holes.  If the cake is square you don't have to worry about wrapping while the chocolate is still flexible, you could make one piece for each side.  Or you could pipe on acetate with a guide.

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9 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

Also - wonder if you could use the film strip to make a transfer on on acetate strip. I'm trying to picture how to say what I'm thinking - you have the little holes along the side of the film strip - could you cut the squares out to make the individual frame squares then use that as a negative to paint white cocoa butter on your acetate.

 

 

So cut out the images and use the holes and frame outlines as a stencil?  She could make a template of where the images on the film would be, paint onto acetate a little cocoa butter or chocolate for the images, line up the cut-out film negatives and spread with milk or dark to get the background, remove the film and spread with white to fill in the outlines.  Trim to size with a hot knife.

 

 

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Just now, GlorifiedRice said:

I wonder if you could get food coloring ink jet ink and print "negatives" onto gelatin leaves, in photo paper mode?

 

I just came back to mention wafer paper, like you use for nougat.  If that was available, it could be printed or painted on. 

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55 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

 

So cut out the images and use the holes and frame outlines as a stencil?  She could make a template of where the images on the film would be, paint onto acetate a little cocoa butter or chocolate for the images, line up the cut-out film negatives and spread with milk or dark to get the background, remove the film and spread with white to fill in the outlines.  Trim to size with a hot knife.

 

 

Indeed

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Thank you for all the wonderful ideas.

 

Thank you JeanneCake ... I'd forgotten I'd made a cake covered in chocolate plastic before ... and I was already considering it for the top layer of this cake ... so am going to try to make a small batch to see if I can create the film strip idea.

 

I don't need images in the film strip ... just the blank film strip sort of look ...  I look for some cutters that I can use for the right shapes (and that's going to be fun doing all those tiny little holes and hope they are stable!).

 

I really liked the idea of using the acetate or transfers as it would then by shiny rather than dull ... but I think it sounds a bit risky to be able to get the shapes just using acetate, and combining moving on to the cake without mushing it up!

 

keychris - yes I've used Savour's transfers before, but the ones I was looking at (the film strip) don't seem to be available in Australia.  I have an actual temperer, not warmer ... so it's nice and easy!!  And it would be very appropriate to use tempered chocolate for this cake, as the cake is for the person who gave it to me!!  :D

 

I have a friend who prints decorations for cakes but I've never used them before and am not quite sure if that would put me back at using fondant, also she is about 2 hours drive away so not an easy thing if I need more/change my mind/run into problems.

 

I did see on a cake decorating site the other day something about shiny chocolate spray ... has anyone got some experience they could add about whether this would work on chocolate plastic?  As when I made the last cake it was quite dull.

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I'd paint the plastique with a little thinned corn syrup if you want to make it shiny - not too much, just the thinnest possible coating.  Kind of like the clear edible glue they use for fondant, but you don't have to source it.   the film strip on the pictured cake is quite thin (narrow) and putting holes in something that small is going to make you crazy. Can you make it wider so you aren't cross-eyed after?  Not that running a dark chocolate line to mark the sections and top/bottom is going to be any more fun ;)  If you were to do that, then I'd just do tiny dots in white for the edges.

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I was thinking about this the other day when we were in Michael's (a craft store) - and I saw the punches they use for scrapbooking. 

 

IMG_3549.jpg

 

IMG_3550.jpg

 

Thinking you start with two pieces of acetate cake collar just long enough to go around the cake. Use the punches to make the big squares along the middle then spend what seems like the rest of your life with the little punch making the holes that the little cogs go in along both sides.

 

Now lay the punched strip on top of the unpunched strip. Apply tempered white chocolate to the punched side and lift the punched acetate off the unpunched - leaving thin white squares and holes. Now back that strip off with tempered dark chocolate and quickly apply to your cake. Once dry peel off the acetate leaving the pattern on the cake. Since it's tempered chocolate it should be shiny from the acetate.

 

Let me know if you need pictures of what I am trying to say.

 

 

 

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Eeekk .... getting closer to cake d-day!  Cake is due Saturday night!

 

My sister has arrived from the USA .... WITH the chocolate transfer filmstrips!   Would have liked to know earlier ... as I bought cutters to make it out of chocolate plastic!

 

I'm going to wait until I see the transfers to decide ...  if the filmstrip on the transfers are pure black ... then doing pure black on white chocolate around the bottom white IMBC will look odd (cream white chocolate colour, against the white) and around the dark chocolate top layer (black will make it look browner/dull?!)

 

Still haven't decided if I should do chocolate ganache or chocolate plastic for the top layer!!  I'm worried that either of them will not looking shiny?

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Oh dear ... transfer fail ...

 

And the chocolate plastic looks really rough and not nice ... cake is due this evening (in Australia ... so in about 9 hours from this post) ... thinking of having to abandon all hope!!!

 

The cake itself looks fairly good for my first attempt at doing sharp edges ... thinking of finding some roses on the way down and plonking them somewhere?!!

 

 

transferfail.jpg

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So I googled ... and upped the temperature on the chocolate (way above temper) ... and the transfer worked better ... had nothing to lose ... so on the cake they went ... very 'homemade' looking cake ... but no one was expecting a professional look for me (I'm much more known for how things taste, than how they look!!).

 

This picture is prior to final clean up etc ... 

transfer better.jpg

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Well done, @LucyInAust!  I hope you show us the finished project.  This has been a cliff-hanger for me.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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And here is the cake ... which nearly didn't end up at the wedding, and missed it's final adjustments (my poor boyfriend had to drive it for an hour, without me there) ... but tasted delicious!!!!!  The transfers were a bit of a mess ... but hopefully better than zero decorations!

 

The IMBC had added cointreau;  the cake was a gluten free spiced chocolate cake (fresh grated ginger, fresh ground cinnamon, cloves, allspice and cardamom); and the ganache had orange zest infused cream.

 

Thanks for all the advice ... one day I might get an eye for detail and want to perfect the look of things ;-) 

 

Jenn Ron Wedding cake 20161112.jpg

Edited by LucyInAust (log)
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