After recently purchasing a syringe icing set, I kinda went a little crazy at the local library and issued out as many books on cupcake and cake decorating as I could manage to carry home. I couldn't even wait to get home to start reading them and had a few near misses with power poles. I have always had an interest in decorating and crafts, not to mention an obsession with playdough as a child, so when I spotted a recipe for making modelling dough from chocolate I knew i just had to try it. It was ridiculously easy to make, and it was loads of fun watching my boyfriend attempt to create jungle animals, while I enjoyed making decorations such as roses and bows. I also experimented with pressing the chocolate onto peppermint leaves to get an imprint. It was such a fun afternoon. After we had finished 'playing' with our food, I paired the resulting creations with a chocolate cupcake that I'd frosted with peppermint icing, as I'm a huge fan of the chocolate and mint combination. If you have never tried making/using modelling chocolate you should definitely give it a go, it sure beats playdough.
300g plain chocolate
150g golden syrup
Cocoa, for dusting
Melt the chocolate then stir in the golden syrup, keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Don't worry if it looks like it has separated, it will form a smooth paste on chilling. Transfer the mixture to a plastic food bag and chill until the chocolate is firm enough to handle. Knead slightly before use, and if it's sticky, use a little cocoa powder
Note: The dough can also be rolled out like sugarpaste for covering cakes, or for creating cut-outs using fondant cutters. White chocolate can even be used, just use icing sugar instead of the cocoa if you find it too sticky to work with.
Makes enough for 12 roses and 36 leaves.
125g butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
2 Tbsp milk
100g self-raising flour (or use plain flour and add 1 tsp baking powder)
3 Tbsp cocoa
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and milk, and sift over the flour and cocoa, then beat until mixture is smooth. Divide between standard sized paper cases. Bake at 190 Celsius for 12-15 minutes.
175g butter, softened
350g icing sugar
3 Tbsp boiling water
Few drops of green food colouring
Few drops of peppermint flavouring
Beat the butter in a bowl to soften it. Add icing sugar, boiling water, food colouring and peppermint flavouring. Beat until icing is very smooth. Spread, or pipe, over cupcakes.
Makes enough for 12 standard-size cupcakes.
*Modelling chocolate recipe taken from "Cupcakes", by Sue McMahon