Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Eating brains is the best. Halloween isn't complete without a brain shaped food product. When doing a search for Halloween food, I kept coming up with images of jello brains. I am not a big fan of jello. Actually to be completely honest, I’ve never made Jello and am a bit afraid to, with images in my mind of a liquid mess which won't solidify. People laugh at me, but since I don’t care for eating Jello that much, it doesn’t bother me to much.
White chocolate in the brain mold.
I wanted to do something with a brain jello mold though, so I started to brain storm different alternatives. I had a bunch of white chocolate left over from making my eyeballs and ghosts, so I decided, I should use it to make a cake. I wanted a nice red interior so, red velvet cake fit the bill perfectly.
Melting Chocolate and paraffin wax in a double boiler made of a mixing bowl in pot of boiling water.
I had to do multiple tests to figure out the best way to shape the chocolate and still get it out of the mold. Once the chocolate was in the mold, I couldn’t get it to come out again. I kept having to scoop the chocolate out and rinse down the mold before trying again. The process I finally came up with was to pour the melted chocolate in a mold sprayed with cooking oil and swirl it around until it coated all sides. I put it in the freezer to harden for about 10 minutes and then repeat until I had a nice thick coating of chocolate.
Two pans of red velvet cake ready to be baked.
I had two cake pans of red velvet cake baked and ready. Taking the cake and breaking it apart, I stuffed the pieces in tight. The cake was very moist, so it consolidated back together pretty well. When I had filled the brain cavity with red pulpy cake, I took the remaining white chocolate and spooned it in to coat the cake and fill in any gaps.
On left, my chocolate coated brain mold with the cake, on right, cake filling stuffed in mold ready for final layer of chocolate.
I banged the mold against the table multiple times to release as many air bubbles as possible and placed the brain in the freezer for 3-4 hours to harden. By freezing the cake, the brain solidified and made it easier to release from the mold.
My two brains packed and ready to go the party. The brain on the right cracked a bit when coming out of the mold, so I patched it with a bit of melted chocolate to patch the seams.
The brains turned out well, but as I said in the party post, they didn’t cut that great. In order to have the cake release from the mold, I had to make the chocolate layer pretty thick making the cake want to crack apart when cutting. For the most part, I used them as a table centerpiece, but everyone wanted to know what was inside them, forcing me to cut 'em up. I tried heating the knife, which helped but didn’t really solve the problem. They were worth trying, although maybe some of you may have tips which would make this process easier with better results.
Although these cakes weren’t prefect, the broken look to them did create a grotesque look which fit my general aesthetic. It was fun watching people gathered around them, picking them apart, using their fingers to shovel the red pulpy meat into their gaping mouths with a feral gleam in their eyes.