Friday, April 13, 2012

How to Make a Free Standing Sign with Chocolate

Do you ever make cakes that just don't have a proper place to write "Happy Birthday"?  It happens to me all the time, especially when I make a carved, 3-D design.  This white chocolate sign is a fabulous solution!  It's very versatile in shape, color, and of course, message.  Sure I could have made a sign out of card stock, but I'm into making everything edible.  It's more fun that way.

First let's talk about color.  This example is made with white chocolate, but you could use regular milk or dark chocolate.  It would also work with colored candy melts and those things come in so many colors.  Melt your chocolate of choice either in the microwave or in a double broiler, whichever method you are comfortable with.  Pour a puddle of the chocolate onto some parchment paper.  Tap, jiggle, shake the parchment until the chocolate is smooth and evenly dispersed.   Don't spread it too thin or your sign will be fragile.  Mine was approximately 1/8" thick.

Next let's talk about shape.  I went with a simple scalloped circle, but you can use any shaped cookie cutter.  Simple shapes will be easier to work with and release from the cutter.  Press the cookie cutter down into the chocolate puddle before it hardens, and leave it there.  The second puddle you see in the photo is for the sign supports.

The supports are the most important part of this sign.  To make the supports, watch the chocolate as it begins to harden.  When it is stiff enough to keep an indentation, but soft enough to not be brittle, it's ready. (Is that clear as mud?)  With a knife, cut two identical triangles.  They must be shorter than the sign and the base angle must be less than 90°.   Now let the chocolate completely harden.  It can then be gently removed from the cookie cutter or pealed from the parchment paper.

Now it's ready to be assembled.  (I apologize for the photo being upside down.  This is how the sign was sitting on my counter.  I tried flipping it in editing, but it just looked really weird.)  Place the cookie cutter piece face down.  Melt the long side of one triangle and place it onto the cookie cutter piece and hold until firm.  Repeat with the second triangle.

The method I used to melt the side of the triangle worked like a dream, so let me share it with you.  I took a knife and heated the blade over the burner on my stove.  Then I touched the side of the triangle to it to melt the chocolate.  It only takes a second, literally.  Then attach it to the sign plate.  Rinse and repeat.

I will readily admit that I struggle with keeping my writing level, even on paper.  So I used my handy-dandy laser level to help with the message piping.  If you want to make the sign ahead of time and store it, you can use royal icing.  I used some butterceam.

Add a little embellishment and it's all ready to go.

I used this particular sign on a cupcake tower.  It was a perfect way to add the birthday message to the cupcake display.