Friday, April 3, 2015
I have a list of chocolate sculpture ideas I want to make. On that list was the Eiffel Tower. What a beautiful feat of engineering and architecture, perfect for a chocolate sculpture.
In August last year I tweeted Michel Roux Jr a photo of my Brighton Bandstand cake. I asked him if he liked it. When he favourited it I asked him if there was a particular building he might like to see in chocolate art. When he replied "@chocadyllic Eiffel Tower would be nice but Old Trafford better!" the Chocadyllic Eiffel Tower sculpture went straight to the top of my list.
I started to collect my research. I looked online for images, references and information, sketches, paintings, architectural drawings, pictures of scale models etc. I like to make sure that my pieces are accurate and to scale, especially ones that are based on existing architecture. When I made the Chocolate Carousel cake I not only looked online but I went out to do my research. I went to Brighton seafront, to the Palace Pier, to the carousel at the end of the pier. I took lots of photos of the carousel on the pier, and did some sketches, from all angles, and made notes. When I got home I made a maquette so I could work out exactly how to make the chocolate carousel cake to scale.
Although I would have loved to have taken a trip to Paris, to the Eiffel Tower, it wasn’t possible. I had to find another solution. Then as it so happened, it was my nephew’s birthday and my husband and I went shopping for a present for him. We found a nearby toyshop and low and behold there was a 3D puzzle of the Eiffel Tower! It was perfect, perhaps a little small but I could work with it. It was a ready-made maquette. All I had to do was put it together to see how it all worked and scale it up.
When I got home I made the 3D puzzle. I’m definitely not the most patient of people, especially when it comes to fiddling with small bits of cardboard and putting it all together. However I persevered and it was a good thing that I did. The puzzle was so useful as it showed me that I could make the sculpture a modular one - this was particularly useful as chocolate is so delicate and creating a modular structure would help to transport it to shows.
Using melted dark chocolate I piped on the detail of the ironwork onto huge pieces of greaseproof paper. There was a lot of piping to do! Once I’d completed the piping and it was set, I poured on the tempered yet cool white chocolate to create the panels.
Finally I assembled the panels. The design from the puzzle was really useful like I said earlier. It was created in three different sections: the arches leading to the first level, the mid section leading to the second level, and the top really long tall section, just like the real structure.
I started with the most complicated section, the trickiest. The middle section has 16 sides which all have specific angles that need to fit together to create the four corner pillars. This was really difficult especially because the panels were so fine that they kept snapping and I had to keep repairing them. Eventually I had them assembled.
Assembling this section first had me worried, what were the other two sections going to be like to create? Especially the top section which has really long panels.
I recently heard this great saying “Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end”. Well I did do it in the end, and I can’t tell you how relieved I was that the other two sections came together quite easily in comparison to the first section.
And in the end it does feel like everything about this white chocolate architecture Eiffel Tower sculpture is alright. It stands at one meter tall. Quite a chocolate feat for this chocolate architect.
I was lucky enough to have two photographers shoot this piece. Originally Sophie Sheinwald photographed it when I had initially completed it. Then Simon Pepper came to photograph the Eiffel Tower sculpture for the March issue of Viva magazine.
I tweeted Michel Roux Jr the photos, "@michelrouxjr as it was on my list here's my #chocolate Eiffel Tower for you. When Man U win I'll make Old Trafford!" He replied, "@chocadyllic awesome come on you reds!” Who knows if Man U will win, maybe I’ll end up making Old Trafford in chocolate.
I look forward to creating more chocolate sculptures. In the meantime if you want a chocolate sculpture or a chocolate art showstopper cake for that special celebration please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Sometimes life just seems to flow. It has often felt like that for me with Chocadyllic and I feel very grateful for it. So when Carmel commissioned me to make her a Taj Mahal wedding cake as I was planning to make a large showpiece cake based on the Brighton pavilion I thanked my lucky stars. This was a dream commission! A Chocadyllic Taj Mahal wedding cake! It seemed the next natural step after the Bandstand cake. And here I was being commissioned to make it!
However I began to realise life was not all that sweet. I had gratefully accepted the commission, excitedly even. Then as time started getting close to Carmel’s wedding day I started my research. Little did I know! OMG! It was a massive undertaking. Not that the Bandstand cake was a simple creation but this was a different kettle of erm, cake.
I'd estimated it would take me around four days of work, around 30 hours. Yeah, right. By the time it was finished and I had delivered and set up the cake in Stanmer house in Brighton I had spent over 52 hours on it.
Saying that, I enjoyed almost all of the time I spent creating this cake based on the wonderful and magical mausoleum that is the Taj Mahal.
Day one: I started off by creating the panels of the main building. I wanted them to be quite thick and solid so I tempered masses amounts of white chocolate and poured it into trays to set. I carved the main panels from this - all 16 sides of the main building. When they were set I engraved the details of the panels and added the chocolate contrasting colours.
I then created the surrounding walls of the palace using the same technique. This was fun. My creativity was flowing. How lucky was I to be artistic with chocolate!
Day two: I started the day by blowing up a balloon for the main dome. Again I tempered loads of white chocolate and coated the balloon with it. So far so good!
Then I hit my first block – how was I going to make the domes for the four smaller turrets? Balloons were too big. I hunted through the kitchen, the cupboards and the fridge. Ah ha – a large egg was the perfect size. I created a mould using this marvelous food grade gel I have. And ta da I had the turret domes. I then created the walls of the turrets and the main dome using various techniques
And so on to the next challenge, the four tall towers. These had even smaller domes on the top of them and they were ever so tall and slender. After hunting around the house I asked my eldest son if he had any marbles I could use (he’s 23 so chances were slim, but I was desperate!) Alas, he had none ☹.
But then, wait, I had an idea - I had some white fondant – I could make the domes using the fondant and then make moulds from them. It worked a treat! This was a fab new technique. I used it to create the details on the top of all of the domes including the towers, turrets and main central dome.
Day three: So now I had all the main chocolate art pieces, I made the sponge. I baked a 10” square chocolate indulgence sponge that was 4” tall. I layered it together with my secret light-and-fluffy-not-too-sweet buttercream and dark chocolate ganache, carved it into shape, and covered it in thick white chocolate ganache.
And so the main construction began. I put the panels on the cake, the main dome and turrets on the central part of the cake. I covered the grounds of the palace in white chocolate ganache.
Day four: I made the gardens, the dark chocolate pond, the dark chocolate trees, and the milk chocolate paths. I piped the couple’s names and the wedding date in white chocolate at the front of the garden board.
I created one final piece of chocolate art – the main entrance doorway. I would have loved to make all the windows and doors this way – but time was no longer on my side. It was now 2am on the eve of the wedding day and therefore the day of delivery
Finally it was ready. I boxed up the parts – the main cake, the tall towers and the panels for the garden walls, the masses amounts of chocolate shavings and my kit to put the finishing touches together at the venue.
Delivery day: Driving with a chocolate art cake is more stressful than you can imagine – it’s probably the most stressful part of cake creating and making! Fortunately I got it to the venue, Stanmer House, safely.
I glued on the garden panels and the tall towers with white chocolate. Then I added the chocolate shavings to the main large board creating the garden effect and finishing the cake display off. Phew it was done!
Mi Elfverson of www.truenorthvision.co.uk brought all her photographic equipment and the Taj Mahal cake had its very own professional photo shoot. Aren’t they just amazing photos!