Naiad Soap Arts Project: Bird on Branch Mini Cakes

Oh, I said I wasn’t going to bake this year but this project with the bird.on.branch mold has been waiting to be created for some time now and the holidays and a cold rainy day finally inspired me to get it done! (the rain does not make for great pics so please excuse that!) You can find my original bird.on.branch mold at Bramble Berry. Originally intended for soap making, the mold material is PERFECT for molding chocolate so I have two – one for making soap and one for making chocolate. I have provided a gluten free vegan recipe for the cake as well as links/resources for vegan chocolate and cream filling if you want to make this project all Vegan.

This is a lengthy post so read the whole thing before you begin. :)

Ingredients:

• 12 oz of white chocolate (I used Guittard melting chocolates)
or try the vegan white chocolate
• 1/4 oz food grade cocoa butter
• Oil based food colors in green, yellow and red
bird on branch soap mold from Bramble Berry
• small paint brush, medium paint brush, clean and never used for paint
• small ceramic or glass microwaveable containers for melting chocolate in microwave or double boiler.
• shallow pan with water to keep chocolate melted (optional)
• protective gloves or hot pot holders for handling hot containers
• whipped cream, or chocolate mousse. (for Vegan frosting check out the book Babycakes)
• Chocolate (or vanilla depending on your preference) cake cooled and cut into pieces. You can use homemade, store bought or boxed cake, or try my gluten, dairy, egg free chocolate cake! (see recipe below)
• 8×8 inch cake pan
• cooling rack
Chocolate Cake Gluten Free
Modified from Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods to make the cake, soy, dairy and egg free as well!
• 1-1/2 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
• 1 cup Brown Sugar
• 1/2 cup Cocoa powder, unsweetened
• 1 tsp. Baking Soda
• 1 tsp. Baking Powder
• 1 tsp. Xantham Gum
• 3/4 tsp. Salt
• 1/2 cup Almond Milk (use rice milk for nut allergies)
• 1 cup Virgin Coconut Oil melted plus more for pan
• 4 Tbs. Applesauce
• 1 tsp. Vanilla
• 3/4 cup warm strong brewed Coffee
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your 8” x 8” cake pan with coconut oil. In a medium bowl mix together dry ingredients with a whisk until blended. In a separate bowl combine Almond Milk, Applesauce, Coffee and Vanilla and stir well. Add your wet ingredients including Coconut Oil into your dry ingredients and stir thoroughly. The mixture will be thick. Transfer to your greased pan. Spread out so the mixture is even. Bake for  30-35 minutes turning the pan 180 degrees halfway through baking. Cake is done when an inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean. Take the cake out of the oven and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife along the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
Cutting the cake for the mold:
• Using a serrated knife cut the edges and top off of the cake.
• Cut the cake in half

 

• Cut each half into three equal rectangles

• Cut the bottom off of each of the rectangles and then slice the rectangles in half. You should be left with pieces 2 inches wide, 3 inches tall and ½ inch thick. These will be the middles of our chocolate covered cakes. You should get 12 slices total.

Method:
1) Melt your chocolate per package instructions in the microwave or a double boiler. Melt two containers with 5.5 oz of white chocolate each, and one container with 1 oz + 1/4 oz cocoa butter.
2) Once chocolate is melted, color one of the 5.5 oz containers of chocolate with green and yellow oil based food colors until desired color is achieved. Add red color to your 1 oz of white chocolate and cocoa butter mix until you get a nice dark red.
I kept my chocolate melted in a pan of hot water but you can pop the chocolate back into the microwave at any time to re-melt it!
3) Using a small brush or popsicle stick carefully spread green chocolate into the recessed bird and branch part of two of the mold cavities. Do the same with the white chocolate in the other two cavities. You may get chocolate outside the edges and this is ok. Once the chocolate is set, about 5 minutes, using a small piece of paper towel rub off unwanted chocolate. You can use the tip of your finger to smooth out rough edges as well.

4) once the chocolate is set spoon white chocolate over the green bird designs and green chocolate over the white bird design until you get an even coat on the bottom of the mold. Let set about 10 minutes – you can pop it in the refrigerator to speed up the process.

5) Once the bottom chocolate is set using a popsicle stick or butter knife spread a coat of chocolate on the edges of the mold in the same color that you used to coat the bottom of the mold. The chocolate will be thick enough to stick to the sides. Set upside down to cool, another 10 minutes or so.

6) When the chocolate is set, spread a thin 1/4 inch layer of your whipped cream or chocolate mouse into the bottom of each of the mold cavities. Press one piece of your cut chocolate cake into each mold so that the cake sits below the edge of the mold cavity. This is so that we have space to top off with more melted chocolate.

7) Top off each with melted chocolate. Tap the mold on the counter to eliminate air bubbles around the edges and fill with more chocolate if necessary. Let set up on the counter for 20 minutes or in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

8) When the chocolate is set it should easily separate from the edge of the mold. Press down around the edges of each cavity to release the chocolate. Put a cooling rack on top the mold and flip the mold and rack over to invert the chocolates on to the rack. You may need to gently press on the molds to release the chocolates.
NOTE: The first time I unmolded these I made the mistake of trying to unmold them individually onto my hands. They all ended up falling out and the chocolate cracked so be sure to use a large plate, cookie sheet or baking rack to do this.

9) Use your small brush and your red chocolate to decorate the cakes!

 

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31 Comments

  1. Splurgesisters says

    This is beautiful and I love that you included a gluten free vegan option as well.

    Have a wonderful Christmas :D

  2. erinpikor says

    So glad you like it Donna Maria. :) Definitely fun for the kids! It is like an art project and a baking project in one!

  3. Donna Maria Coles Johnson says

    Oh my goodness, you are so creative! These are gorgeous. I can’t wait to see more. The molds are so pretty. I should make these with my kids.

  4. erinpikor says

    Thanks Jude! These would be super cute at easter too, or any special occasion! You can really play with the colors. I did some in regular semisweet chocolate with the white chocolate for the bird design and they look and taste wonderful! We don’t have snow in San Diego this time of year either but as least it is chilly. Hope you are keeping cool!

  5. erinpikor says

    That is great! I recently found out that I have a bunch a food allergies and I thought baking was going to be off limits. Since finding a whole bunch of gluten free product it has been fun to experiment with recipes – this cake tastes really good too – you will never tell the difference – and it has more protein and fiber than regular cake because the flour is made from mostly beans!

  6. erinpikor says

    Thanks again for the congrats on getting married guys. The ring belonged to my grandmother and was a gift from my Mom. It is very special.

  7. aussiesoapsupplies says

    Way to go Erin – They are fabulous, and what a great project :) A bit too late for our Christmas Table this year, but there’s always next year! Besides we’re sweltering hot here :(. I envy you your snowy Christmas!

    Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and New Year,
    Jude

  8. TeresaR says

    I’m stunned by the beauty and artistry of this project! I have to admit that I’m too lazy to make something like that, but…wow! ;)

  9. Anfisa Ponomareva says

    it’s amazing! sooo yummy! i’ll make it for my younger sister
    Thank you, Anne-Marie!

  10. kellyanntaylor says

    omgosh Erin! That is beautiful….

    I actually purchased #40 pounds of chocolate and never quite got it together enough to actually do more than dipped oreos and bark.
    That is amazing and what a great post!
    Here’s to many MANY more creative projects for the upcoming year!
    I love your mold so much!

    XOX and have a Merry Christmas everyone!

  11. Takimakidesigns says

    I love those, they look so yum…at first I thought they were soap! Great job! I absolutely adore anything with birds. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Anne-Marie says

    Aw, congrats to Erin right? I haven’t met her fiancée but he is one lucky man. She is adorable!

  13. Anne-Marie says

    Erin is so thoughtful! And when you meet her in person, you’ll see exactly how adorably healthy she is in person too =)

  14. Anne-Marie says

    I think Erin came up with a fantastic idea! And she’s right, the molds can totally double as chocolate molds =)

  15. amywarden says

    Wow. So cool!!! And yummy too, I’ll bet! My mom has celiac, so these would be great for her!

  16. Ruth says

    Gorgeous! I’ll never look at soap molds the same way again. And I can see your engagement ring in one of the photos! :D