Chocolate - Lace Collar

Melted chocolate can be used to create artistic designs with. One of my favorites is to create a chocolate lace collar to be wrapped around a cake. We make it easy-to-make with chocolate chips, and it adds an incredible decorative and elegant touch to an already frosted cake.

This how to baking technique is used with the Gluten-Free Everyday Chocolate Cake or Cupcakes as a decorative piece!

INGREDIENTS One collar for a 9- x 2-inch filled and frosted layer cake
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 recipe (9 - 10) Classic Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Acetate sheet or parchment paper
Disposable piping bag or plastic bag

The cake is iced with Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Chocolate Variation
When the icing is smooth, place the cake in the refrigerator while you make the chocolate lace collar.

1. Measure around the circumference of the cake with a piece of kitchen string.
Cut a sheet of acetate, or a piece of parchment paper that is 1-2 inches longer than the circumference of the cake and about 1 inch taller than the height of the iced cake.

2. Place the acetate strip on your work surface.

3. Place chocolate chips in a disposable piping bag or small plastic sandwich bag. Do not enclose. Place in a microwaveable safe glass for support, open side up.
Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave at 50% power for 1 minute at a time, until almost melted.
Squish the chocolate in the bag after each session until melted.

4. When the chocolate is melted and cooled slightly, clip the tip off the piping bag with scissors to make a small opening.
If using a small plastic sandwich bag, clip off one of the bottom corners.

5. Pipe the melted chocolate in a random circular pattern directly onto the acetate strip, making a CHOCOLATE LACE COLLAR.
Make sure you pipe chocolate the entire height of the strip. Pipe the chocolate the whole length of the strip.

KELLY CA SAYS: It is OK to go over the height of the acetate and end up with some excess chocolate on the work surface that may have gone over its bottom edge.
However, you should keep the chocolate within the confines of the strip on the top.
Move the CHOCOLATE LACE COLLAR away from any excess chocolate piped from it onto the work surface, so it is freed.

7. Let the CHOCOLATE LACE COLLAR sit undisturbed until the chocolate loses its sheen and has set, but not dried or become hard.
You still want the chocolate to remain flexible, but you don't want it to be flowing, either. Do not place it in the refrigerator.
KELLY CA SAYS: This took about a 1/2 hour in my kitchen.

8. When the chocolate on the CHOCOLATE LACE COLLAR is ready, remove the frosted cake from the refrigerator. The cake's frosting must be cold.
Remove the waxed paper strips tucked under the edges of cake, serving to keep the cake platter clean from excess icing.

9. Carefully pick up the CHOCOLATE LACE COLLAR, holding each end, align the bottom edge of the middle of the strip with the bottom edge of the cake.
Take care not to press it into the frosting while you adjust it because you will mar both.

10. As you wrap the CHOCOLATE LACE COLLAR around the cake, use GENTLE pressure so it adheres to the icing on the cake, taking care not to wiggle it as you do.

11. Overlap the strip where the two ends meet. Place the cake back into the refrigerator so the chocolate can set. This will take about a 1/2 hour.
If you remove the CHOCOLATE LACE COLLAR too early, the chocolate will not be set and you may mar the icing.

12. When the chocolate is hard and the icing cold, remove the cake from the refrigerator.
Carefully remove the acetate strip from the CHOCOLATE LACE COLLAR by gently pulling it away from the cake; the chocolate should stick to the frosting and the acetate should come off easily.
On the end of the chocolate collar that is exposed, you can trim any excess chocolate off with a hot knife (dipped in hot water and dried). If there is any breakage, you can always patch it with some more melted chocolate.

Decorate the top of the cake with Classic Chocolate Covered Strawberries 

The lace collare can be refrigerated when applied to a cake that needs refrigeration. Otherwise, the collar alone needs to be stored at room temperature in a cake box, wrapped with plastic, and
stored in a cool, dry place. The collar can be frozen and thawed in its wrapped cake box. Do not move until thawed because it will crack easily.

NOTE: Cakes frosted with Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC) and filled with Strawberries and Cream Filling are perishable and must remain refrigerated. The cake will keep for 2 to 3 days.
Remove the Classic Chocolate Covered Strawberries before you do because they will leech water; they must be eaten within 48 hours and do not need refrigeration.

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