How to colour white chocolate — Let’s be honest. Who doesn’t love a grand cake especially when it’s your own birthday! In our house of Lim, we unashamedly make every occasion about cake and take every opportunity to flaunt our cake adoration : ) There’s four of us so I pretty much bake a grand cake about four times a calendar year—one every quarter and amazingly, each one for every changing weather season.
So this week was the man’s turn to celebrate turning another year better, and despite an unforeseen delay (one sick kid on the eve of scheduled cake completion) I did manage to present my annual birthday cake gift to the chocoholic husband!
As my labour of love for 2016, he received from yours truly, this six-layered dark couverture chocolate cake with chocolate fudge layers drizzled with a duo chocolate glaze, barnacled with double-coated cocoa popcorn, espresso martini Tim Tams, Kinder chocolate wafers, chewy coffee caramel candy & Tiramisu Oreo Thins embellished with tri-coloured sprinkles, white chocolate panes & marbled fondant decorations.
This is my third drip cake/extreme cake I’ve created and as I’m self-taught, I’m still learning how to perfect the process and steps to making each one better than its predecessor. It’s always a pleasure to work on a new cake I’ve not created before as it gives me the glorious chance to come up with new recipes and flavours I have gleaned from the very best of my collections applied to my own bespoke cakes.
In this season of winter baking I’m very interested in the different glazes that are suited to creating these multi-tiered tall cakes drizzled in caramel, dark or milk chocolate, white chocolate or even syrups. In deciding which glaze to use, my choice is usually dependent on the best glaze that offers a complementary flavour to the cake itself as well as the most visually appealing colour contrast I can find to match the cake in question.
I can’t wait to share with you my success with tinting white chocolate at home. Besides being easier on your pocket, the possibilities for exciting colour combinations has just become limitless! Here’s what I’ve learnt from my personal experience.
It’s been written and taught widely in baking circles that as oil and water don’t mix, in order to colour chocolate, one should avoid gel paste colours or airbrush colours as they are water based. Some bakers swear by AmeriColor oil candy colours for tinting chocolate as these are apparently specially formulated to work with high fat products like white and dark chocolate. It’s also been claimed that these oil-based candy colours are best for colouring compound chocolate (which will be your chocolate or candy melts and chocolate wafers, for instance).
At the time of baking this drip cake I did not have any oil-based candy colours handy but decided to test the theories I’ve heard using my existing Wilton (water-based) gel pastes which I normally use to colour my fondant and buttercream.
I’m pleased to report that using premium white chocolate works beautifully with my Wilton gel pastes! Indeed I’ve tried and failed to get a satisfactory result previously using it to tint other compound white chocolate such as the Nestle (those chocolate melts that come in small circular discs) ones. I reckon the difference is the cocoa butter fat content in my premium white chocolate rather than the palm oil that is the fat substitute for cocoa butter in the cheaper compound chocolate. Not only does the premium white chocolate taste much better, it definitely colours so much better than the compound stuff.
I also noticed that there’s a real difference in how the chocolate looks if I added thickened cream to it (more shiny and satiny). It also sets softer which makes my cake more pleasant to bite into rather than having it set hard without the thickened cream. However if you were after a brighter, more opaque-like, matte-coloured chocolate colour, you should leave out the thickened cream in the following recipe.
Here’s my method for colouring white chocolate:
How to colour white chocolate
NESTLE PLAISTOWE Premium White (1 bar)
1/4 C thickened cream (for pouring/whipping)
Wilton gel paste in orange and yellow
Break up the bar of white chocolate into pieces and melt the chocolate over a double boiler (metal bowl or glass bowl over a smaller pot of boiling water).
Stir the chocolate with a silicon spatula until it melts into a thick liquid paste. Mix in the thickened cream and stir into the melted chocolate till it turns smooth and velvety. You’re aiming to get a satiny, smooth consistency. Add the amount of coloured gel paste you want in small increments until you achieve the desired shade you want.
Ensure your cake is chilled and already frosted either with buttercream or chocolate on the exterior. Remove the chilled cake from the fridge and start applying the coloured chocolate carefully using a spoon.
— Kat Ngoi | outofman (@katngoi) June 19, 2016