Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Project of the day (or week)...Making a chocolate button

I have always found it very interesting that so much detail could go into decorating a cake or cupcake, but was always stumped on how to get perfect detail of say, a button.  A USMC, dress blues jacket button to be exact.  I have watched the cake shows until I was blue in the face but never dabbled in chocolate, let alone making my own chocolate mold.  I searched high and low on the Internet to find a silicone putty to make my own mold of this very detailed button that I wanted to go on the top of my hubbys going away party cupcakes.  I finally found this putty at Michael's and thought I would share my journey of chocolate mold making with you.

This putty I found is a food grade silicone that can be used for a numerous amount of things.  I found it in the polymer clay section at Michael's and it was around $20 (of course I used a 40% off coupon to cut the cost).

It is super easy to use and comes with two different tubs of silicone that when mixed, react the putties and allow them to cure.

The hubby had an extra button on hand and I was curious to try it out.  It was as easy as the box described and only took about 25 minutes for the putty to cure and the mold be usable. 

I ended up making six molds to cut the time it would take for me to make the 60 chocolate buttons I needed for the tops of the cupcakes.

I decided to try out one of the molds before I dove in to the 60 that I needed.  I used the white chocolate candy making chips that you buy in the candy making section of Michael's.  I had used the chips before and didn't have much luck but just thought it could have been my melting technique that didn't work.  Now that I know the proper microwave heating of chocolate is cooking it in 30 second intervals until completely melted, I decided to give the chips one more try.  Needless to say, it was not my melting technique, the chips just aren't high enough quality for this type of mold.  The chocolate was chunky and never completely melted to a smooth consistency.  I had to spread the chocolate like peanut butter into the molds.  It did give me an idea of how the mold worked and I decided to try another white chocolate I had used before.  I got some Baker's White Chocolate bars at the local grocery store and started again from the beginning.

This time, the Baker's white chocolate worked much better.  Cooking in the 30 second intervals worked perfectly and the chocolate was smooth and easy to fill the molds.  Each box (about $2.50 a box) had 6 individually wrapped squares and each square filled the 6 molds I had.  So I am getting about 36 buttons out of each box.

I filled each mold using just a custard dish to melt the chocolate, and a spoon to spoon the chocolate into the mold.  I had purchased a squeeze bottle to do that job, but figured the small amount of chocolate that I had to do at a time would cause more of a mess and cleanup in the bottle.

I put the filled molds in the freezer to cut down on hardening time.  After about 30 minutes, the chocolate was hardened and ready to come out of the molds.

They turned out great, but I noticed some small air bubbles in the chocolate.  They came out of the molds very easily and did not leave much residue in the mold.  I had to trim the edges a bit due to some overflow of the chocolate.  I tapped the other chocolate in the molds prior to putting them in the freezer to reduce the air bubbles in the rest of the batches.

I had decided that the way I was going to color the buttons to match the gold color of the buttons themselves was to use a drop of water, along with yellow food color gel and a bit of brown to make them as gold as possible.  I had tested this technique out on the chocolate button I had made with the icky white chocolate chips, as to not ruin any of the good chocolate buttons, and it seemed to work great.  After preparing to do the same on the good chocolate buttons, I noticed the gold food color was separating from the chocolate and it was not turning out like I had hoped.  My guess is the icky white chocolate was a dry chocolate and when it hardened, did not have much oil left in it.  Because of that, the color stuck to it better.

Having that technique fail, as well as not having much time to hand paint 60 chocolate buttons, I decided to move on the plan B, gold cake spray paint.  I had seen the Duff brand "Cake Graffiti" at Michael's, but didn't know if it came in gold.  Much to my luck, it did!!  I headed to Michael's and bought a can to try out.  I had seen some bad reviews so I wanted to try it out before I bought more than one can.  It ended up working wonderful and gave a much better gold color than the previous paint on technique I was going to use and saved a TON of time.

Here is the final button, painted and ready to top a cupcake.  Stay tuned next week to see how the cupcakes turned out with the pretty buttons on top :)

Lacey Cakes :)