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Chocolate Cosmos Wedding Cake

Miniature posies of cosmos and fondant lamb's ears tied with delicate satin ribbon decorate this dramatic wedding cake. They perch atop chocolate-covered tiers carpeted with shimmering sanding sugar. The curves of the flowers' petals are echoed in the contours of each tier (made by using petal-shaped cake pans). A slender satin ribbon is taped to the cake board to disguise its edge.

  • Servings: 85

Photography: Victor Schrager

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Spring 2003

Ingredients

  • 7 1/2 pounds rolled fondant
  • Gel paste food coloring in moss green
  • Cornstarch, for rolling
  • Petal dust in sage green
  • 3 1/2 recipes Modeling Chocolate
  • 1 19-inch-diameter-by-1-inch-thick petal cake board
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 each 6-, 9-, and 15-inch petal cake tiers, each set on corresponding-size 3/16-inch-thick foam board, trimmed, split, and filled to a 3-inch height
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 1 pound white fine sanding sugar
  • 10 3 1/8-inch-long-by-1/4-inch-diameter wooden dowels
  • 1 6-foot-long-by-1/8-inch-wide white ribbon
  • 1 6-foot-long-by-1-inch-wide brown ribbon
  • 5 dozen fresh chocolate cosmos, plus extras to replace wilted flowers during the reception
  • Fondant amounts (approximate): for the petal cake board, 2 pounds; 15-inch petal cake tier, 4 1/2 pounds; 9-inch petal tier, 2 pounds; 6-inch petal tier, 1 1/2 pounds

Directions

Make Fondant Lamb's Ears

  1. Tint 1/2 pound fondant pale green. Lightly dust a work surface with cornstarch. Roll a 2- to 3-inch ball of fondant 1/16 inch thick. Quickly cut out as many leaves as possible with a small leaf cutter (1 3/4 by 1 1/8 inches); immediately imprint with a leaf veiner. Gently bend leaves for a natural shape. Continue until you have about 40 leaves. Let dry on a baking sheet, about 3 to 4 hours; lightly brush with petal dust.

Prepare Chocolate Fondant

  1. Knead modeling chocolate until soft and malleable. Divide in half; wrap each in plastic. Divide 7 pounds rolled fondant in half. On a surface lightly dusted with cornstarch, knead half of fondant until soft and malleable, then knead with one of the chocolate halves until fully combined; cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining fondant and chocolate halves. Knead both portions together to form one disk. Wrap in plastic; store at room temperature until ready to use.

Cover the Cake Board

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the corn syrup and 2 tablespoons warm water. Thinly paint the mixture over the top of the petal cake board. On a clean surface lightly dusted with cornstarch, roll enough chocolate fondant to cover the board (see the fondant amounts at the end of the ingredients list) into a large disk about 1/8 inch thick. Working quickly, center and gently lay fondant on the board, smoothing it with your hands. Trim edges with a sharp paring knife. (Excess fondant may be reused if it is free of crumbs, filling, or icing.)

Cover the Tiers

  1. Thinly coat each tier with the desired frosting to seal in the crumbs, then chill 30 minutes. On a surface lightly dusted with cornstarch, roll enough fondant to cover each respective tier, working with one tier at a time. Working quickly, center and gently lay fondant on tiers. Starting from the center, smooth it with your hands. Trim any excess fondant from bottom edge with a pizza cutter. Set tiers aside, preferably in a cool room; do not refrigerate.

  2. In a small bowl, stir the meringue powder with 3 tablespoons of water until the powder dissolves. Working with one tier at a time, set each onto a large sheet of waxed paper; quickly brush the top of the tier with the meringue-powder mixture, and dust it with white sanding sugar. Brush off any excess sugar. Repeat process to coat the cake board.

Stack the Tiers

  1. Lightly brush the center of the cake board with water; center and place the 15-inch tier on top. Insert 6 wooden dowels in a circle about 4 1/2 inches inside the edge of the tier. Moisten the center of the 15-inch tier; place the 9-inch tier on top. Insert the remaining 4 dowels in a 3-inch square in the center of the tier. Lightly brush the center of the tier with water; center and place the 6-inch tier on top.

Decorate Tiers

  1. Just before displaying cake, arrange the cosmos in miniature bouquets; tie with the white ribbon. Set cake on display table; randomly arrange bouquets on top of each tier and around cake board, inserting fondant leaves into bouquets. With hot glue or double-sided tape, secure brown ribbon around board, overlapping ends in the back.

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