I've used chocolate transfer paper once or twice to embellish molded chocolates but I've never been confident enough to use it as a cake wrap. Intimidation held me back and I have never been a fan of throwing away money - specifically $7 for a single transfer sheet if I flubbed the job.
Maybe it was the recent success over poured fondant that has given me the confidence to try again. Maybe it was the simultaneous discovery of chocolate-honey cake and a cheerful honeycomb chocolate transfer. I don't know, but in the end the task was much easier than I'd made it out to be in my head.
As expected, my first-time wrap results are not perfect. Novice mistakes are apparent. The chocolate bloomed a little due to overheating, and the honeycomb pattern became skewed in places. Even so, I think if you are good at following directions, you will be at least as successful as I was with this endeavor; which, in my opinion, is not too shabby!
The honey glaze on the cake has a nice stickiness to it. Plenty enough to hold the chocolate wrap in place. I've made a short video of the glazing and transfer paper wrapping process in case you're wondering exactly how to execute the technique.
(Email subscribers may need to click over to the SB site to view the video.)
I will say this. The instructions that came with the transfer said to cut the paper to fit the side of the cake exactly. I had something more sculptural in mind, so I didn't follow that suggestion and my chocolate wrap towered high over the top of the cake. I can see how it would be much easier to fit the sheet to the cake's exact measurements, so novices may want to follow the manufacturer's rule on the first go around.
You can find an excellent resource for chocolate transfer sheets here.
One more thing, I made this cake in my food processor! If you prefer a stand mixer, you can find the instructions here.
Chocolate-Honey Cake [printable version]
Adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe:
Yield: one 9” cake
Note: I made this cake in a 6” pan so the chocolate transfer sheet would better fit around the circumference of the cake. The extra batter was baked into cupcakes. The directions below are for the 6” cake.
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 sticks soft butter
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 oz. chocolate, broken into pieces (I used Valhrona milk chocolate)
1 cup very hot water
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grease a 6” spring-form pan with shortening and line bottom with parchment paper circle. Grease parchment.
- Melt 4oz. of chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals until smooth. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with steel blade add sugar, butter, honey, eggs, flour, baking soda and cocoa. Process in a few short bursts until just combined.
- Add melted chocolate and process again briefly.
- With the processor running, pour in the hot water. Process until smooth. Batter will be thin.
- Fill the spring-form pan 2/3 full and place into the oven. Bake for 1 hour to 1hour 15minutes. (Remaining batter can be used for cupcakes.) When done, the cake will spring back when pressed in the center and a toothpick tester should come out clean. Let cool completely in the spring-form pan.
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey
6 oz. Semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- In a small saucepan, bring water and honey to a boil.
- Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Whisk until well combined.
- Add confectioners’ sugar and whisk again until smooth.
- Run a knife between the cake and spring-form pan to loosen it, then unclip the pan and remove the ring to make sure it removes cleanly. Pick up cake and remove the parchment circle, then place the cake back on the spring-form base. Put the spring-form ring back around the cake, but don’t clip it tight.
- Place cake in cake pan on a large length of wax paper.
- Pour glaze over cake inside pan, letting the glaze run down the sides of the cake.
- Let stand for 10 minutes, and then remove the cake ring. The glaze will flow around the sides of the cake.
- Using a spatula, transfer the cake to a serving platter lined with strips of wax paper.
Chocolate transfer sheet:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 10x16 chocolate transfer sheet, honeycomb pattern
- Using an X-acto knife or pair of scissors, carefully cut transfer paper into two long pieces (two 5x16 pieces).
- Measure cake and trim transfer paper to fit sides of cake exactly (or don’t – if you like my presentation). You will use one strip and part of the other strip. These will be pieced together upon application.
- Very gently – melt chocolate. I rushed this process in the microwave, and the chocolate bloomed a little, so do this in a double boiler.
- Examine the transfer paper to make sure you are applying the chocolate to the correct side. You should notice the correct side is less shiny and you can feel the design if you lightly touch it.
- Using an off-set spatula, thinly spread chocolate over the transfer pieces. Let stand until chocolate loses its gloss but is still malleable. This takes 5-10 minutes, depending on the humidity in your house.
- Wrap cake with transfer sheet. The large piece will go most of the way around the cake. Place the smaller piece side by side (no overlapping!) in the gap the larger sheet did not cover.
- If you are using the same technique I did, you’ll need skewers or toothpicks to hold the transfer sheet upright above the cake’s surface. Place them around the inside edge of the cake to hold the transfer paper in place.
- Let chocolate harden completely. You’ll know it’s ready when the chocolate is completely rigid. Peel off paper, revealing the honeycomb print and embellish as desired.
Note: I created an organic shape by snapping pieces off the top edge of the chocolate and used the pieces to decorate the top of the cake.