Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Fastfood Themed Chocolate Cake

This is a fun bake covering quite a few genres of bakes. Presenting my version of fastfood themed birthday cake that is fondant-free!

Macaron "burger" filled with dark chocolate ganache "beef patty", modelling white chocolate pandan "lettuce", strawberry "tomatoes" and lemon "cheese; choux pastry "fries"; white chocolate "box" filled with chocolate pastry cream; all these on top of a semi-naked chocolate drip cake! 

The mainstream way of creating this fastfood theme is to use fondant for everything. The result will be something pretty but people are going to throw it away or eat very little of it. I wanted every single element to taste good with a variety of textures, and I wanted the recipient to have fun with it. I think you can tell that the birthday boy loves everything chocolate flavoured. This is a fairly long blog post as this creation has various genres of bakes involved. No detailed recipe here because I have recorded it in other posts but I will provide the links and any mentions of tweaks in the recipe to suit the nature of this creation. The order of presenting this post is roughly the order in which I baked the items. Some good planning is required because of this. 

Sauce box
I made the white chocolate box by thoroughly cleaning a McDonald's sauce box and using it as a mould for the melted white chocolate. I made 2 such boxes so I could use one for photography filled with chocolate pastry cream, and reserved another empty box for the recipient to fill just before serving. Be careful not to overheat white chocolate when you melt it as it will seize. I had to put the chocolate coated box into the freezer for 2 to 3 min before unmoulding because Singapore is really warm. You may refer to this post for the chocolate pastry cream recipe.  I tweaked the recipe a little by adding 30g of dark chocolate couverture along with the butter and folded 20g of whipped cream into pastry cream after it has cooled. This chocolate pastry cream is for the sauce as well as for the cake filling. Make the pastry cream only after the cake sponges have been baked as it has a shorter shelf life than the white chocolate box. 

Burger buns
I made the burger buns using the swiss meringue method recipe. You may refer to this post for the details. I added some cocoa powder, a drop of orange and yellow gel colouring to achieve the bun colour. I have also tweaked the swiss method recipe a little by replacing about 20% of the caster sugar in the meringue with icing sugar (with cornflour already added). 

Piped batter. Sprinkle some sesame seeds while batter is still wet. I had to make one large burger and many small ones. 

You may make the macaron shells ahead of time and store in airtight container for a few days before assembling.

Beef patty
This can be made in advance and kept in the fridge. I made a firm dark chocolate ganache and refrigerate until toothpaste consistency before whipping it with a spatula. Alternatively, you may leave the ganache at room temperature to firm up. This will take longer. I poured out the whipped ganache onto teflon sheet (you may use parchment paper or silicone mat), place another sheet of parchment over and used a rolling pin to roll it to 1cm thickness (or thinner if you prefer). I chilled the ganache until firm (at least half an hour) before cutting out circles with cookie cutter. I used a small fork to poke little indents into the sides of the cutouts to create some texture that looks like beef patty. Keep the tray of ganache cutouts chilled until ready to assemble.


You may use the recipe in this post for a firm dark chocolate ganache but reduce the amount of cream further by 5-10g, depending on the climate you live in. Use a firmer ganache (less cream) if you have to work in a hot kitchen like me.

Reserve the excess ganache as glue for assembling the parts together. Transfer the excess ganache into a piping bag and leave it at room temperature until softened before assembly.

Cheese, tomatoes and lettuce
For the modelling chocolate cheese, tomatoes and lettuce, I used the ratio of 5:1 by weight for white chocolate : light corn syrup. You may refer to this post for details of how to make the modelling chocolate. It works like fondant but taste better! Please use a higher ratio of cornsyrup to white chocolate if you live in colder climates. It is very hot and humid here in Singapore all year round. I added the pandan paste, strawberry paste or lemon paste when the corn syrup is added to the melted white chocolate. I just add a few drops of the paste and add a drop of gel colouring to deepen the shades as necessary. After kneading the modelling chocolate, I rolled them out between parchment paper and chill until firm before cutting out using square or circle cookie cutters. I used a fondant tool for thinning out the edges of the lettuce to make it more realistic. Place the cutouts on parchment paper lined trays and keep it chilled in the fridge if you live in hot climate like Singapore until you are ready to assemble.

Modelling chocolate pieces. I made the parts for small and large burgers


Assembly of burger

Begin by piping a thin layer of ganache on the bottom macaron shell. Gently but firmly press a piece of lettuce. Pipe a little ganache and then layer on the cheese. In a simolsr aay, use the ganache to glue on the tomatoes and chilled beef patties. You may layer it in any order you wish. End off with the top burger bun.


I made some regular sized "burgers" as well!  The big one for the centerpiece is 9cm in diameter.

Regular sized "burger" macarons

Fries
This version of fries does not only look like the real thing. It is fun to eat and tastes delicious too when eaten with the "sauce". Yoy may refer to this post for the choux pastry recipe. Add a few drops of yellow gel colouring to the batter. Pipe lines of batter using a wilton #8 tip and bake at 170°C for 10-12min or until puffy and very slightly browned. The pastry should be baked through but not totally crisp yet. You may bake longer until totally crisp, or if you want to shape it to make it look more realistic, Do what I did. I took the pastries out at around 10 to 11 min mark and once cool enough to handle, I used my fingers to gently shape the ends of the fries to make it more blockish. I gently shaped the length of the fries to make the round cylindrical shape to be more of a rectangle block shape.

Piped choux pastry batter for fries

Place the shaped fries back in the oven to bake at 140°C until totally crisp and dry. This may take another 20 min or so. Test one or two to check for doneness.

Drying out the choux fries. 

Store in airtight condition at room temperature after cooling. Do not refrigerate.

Here's the picture of the assembled fastfood platter! I coated the cakeboard with blue royal icing as blue is the birthday boy's favourite colour.

Ta-dah! I made a little macaron sign with the birthday message as well! 

A closer view at the choux fries 

Dipping into the chocolate pastry cream! 

Chocolate cream coated fry! Yums! 

Dark chocolate drip cake
As for the base cake, I used my default ultimate chocolate cake that have always received rave reviews. You may refer to this post for the detailed recipe.

I frosted the sides semi-naked style with chocolate ganache 

I tweaked the filling recipe a little as the chocolate custard I made was meant to be shared with the "sauce" in the sauce box, with dark chocolate couverture and a bit of whipped cream already added in. I folded extra whipped cream into the ganache as I had leftover whipped cream from the portion I made for the "sauce". This also served to lighten up  the filling by balancing the richer chocolate custard. You may use any proportion of chocolate custard, chocolate ganache, and additional whipped cream (if using) . You can make it richer (by adding more dark chocolate) or lighter (by adding more whipped cream)

Thank God the cake was really well received, and the kids at the party had fun eating the "fries" dipped in "sauce"!

With love,
Phay Shing

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