Found this super cool idea to hand paint chocolate and then wrap it around the cake. This fondant alternative was created by Erin Gardner, which I discovered on her blog here. For all those non-bakers out there, don't be perplexed. As I've mentioned in other posts, my DIY skills are pretty top-notch except when it comes to the kitchen. But I am learning...slowly. Let's do this together! lol <3
1 Already-baked and crumb-coated cake, refrigerated
First, find the circumference of the cake top. In case you're not a mathlete, just multiply the diameter by 3.14. If you are using a 9-inch pan, you'd multiply 9 x 3.14, which = 28.26.
Second, measure the height of the cake.
With the cardboard on the table, measure and cut out a strip of acetate that is 1/2 inch longer than the height and 3 inches longer than the width. Make sure that you leave a corner piece extension (so that you can pull and peel it later).
In a microwavable safe bowl, melt the colored cocoa butter and prepare to paint. If you're flummoxed about the design that you want, it's TOTALLY cool to cheat by placing a graphic under the acetate. It's clear, so you could put anything under there. Wrapping paper. Book. Whatever.
When your design is finished, carefully spread out melted white chocolate over your painted design. Tempering chocolate for this method is not required.
Once covered, you want the chocolate to firm up to a point where it is still flexible to bend without dripping and running. The best time for this is when you can see that the wetness has shifted from glossy to dull. This shouldn't take more than a couple minutes.
Remember that little corner piece I told you to leave on the acetate? You want to use that to pick up the strip. With the white chocolate side facing the cake, place one end against the cake. Do your best NOT TO TOUCH the acetate with your hands or fingers. Using the corner piece, drape the rest of the strip around the cake completely.
With the acetate still on the cake strip, place cake in the fridge to firm up for about 20 minutes. Take the cake out and peel the acetate off and trim excess if it hangs over.