Dark Chocolate Magnolia Cake with Ganache, Gold Dragees and Wafer Paper

I have been seeing lovely wedding cakes all festooned with crafty-looking flowers made of edible wafer paper.  Wafer paper is a thin sheet of potato starch.  Do you remember these spaceship candies from when we were kids?  That’s wafer paper!  But now cake makers are using wafer paper to make exquisite and elegant designs.  Google it.  I was intrigued but didn’t want to invest in an airbrush or special punches and tools.  So as usual, instead of seeing a design I like and trying to replicate it, I asked myself, “What can I do with the tools, materials and skills I have to make something that I think is beautiful”.  First step, buy the wafer paper!  It comes in 8 1/2 x 11 sheets that look like card stock.  After a little experimentation I figured out that moistening it a bit makes it curve in interesting ways.  Moistening it a lot makes you have to throw it out.  You can also stick pieces together with a bit of water.  So I used an exacto knife to cut out some wobbly flower shapes of different sizes, recklessly moistened them and then stuck them all together.  Then I took some ivory food dye and darkened the edges and added a marzipan center which I decorated with some 2mm gold dragees which I happen to have on hand because I am obsessed with dragees.  The result was kind of a mix between a magnolia flower and a kitchy woodburning craft.  I was pretty pleased with myself.

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But what cake was worthy of this little treasure?  Only the best cake in the world.  The recipe is from my friend Ann.  It’s a fudgy chocolate cake with an even fudgier ganache frosting.  This is one of the only recipes in my arsenal that I haven’t tweaked, adapted or “improved”.  It’s like Bridget Jones, I like it very much.  Just as it is.  I baked and frosted, then used an offset spatula to make bark-inspired, loose, concentric channels around the top.  Then I plopped the flower on top.

 

dark chocolate ganache cake with wafer paper magnolia

But it still needed something.  What’s that you say?  More gold dragees?  If you insist.  I mixed some bittersweet guitard chocolate sprinkles from King Arthur flour with more 2mm gold dragees and carefully pressed them onto the sides of the cake, tidying up the cake plate edges when I was done.  Voila.

dark chocolate ganache cake with wafer paper magnolia

As it turned out, I got to share this cake with my amazing friend Ann on her 40th birthday.  Sometimes things just work out.

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