Mark Tilling

Mark Tilling

22nd January 2016
Mark Tilling


This decadent, five-tier wedding cake combines the opulence of a mirror-like glaze with rustic decorations including mushrooms, bark and leaves, all made from chocolate. If you’re not looking for a traditional white wedding cake, this would make a perfect centrepiece for an autumnal celebration.


  • Round cakes 7.5cm (3”) high, filed and coated with buttercream or ganache: 10cm, 15cm, 20.5cm, 25.5cm and 30.5cm (4”, 6”, 8”, 10”, and 12”)
  • Squires Kitchen Belgian Couverture Chocolate: 600g (1lb 5¼oz) Dark
  • Squires Kitchen Modelling Cocoform: 1.6kg (3lb 8½oz) Dark
  • Sugar syrup
  • 36g (1¼oz) powdered gelatine
  • 300ml (10½f oz) whipping cream
  • 450g (1lb) caster sugar
  • 225g (8oz) Squires Kitchen Liquid Glucose
  • 200g (7oz) Squires Kitchen Extra Brute Cocoa Powder
  • Squires Kitchen Professional Dust Food Colours: Blackberry and Leaf Green
  • Squires Kitchen Designer Bridal Shimmer Lustre Dust Food Colour: Siena
  • Squires Kitchen Designer Dust Food Colour: Forest Green
  • Squires Kitchen Designer Metallic Lustre Dust Food Colours: Burnt Copper and Classic Gold
  • Squires Kitchen Cocol Cocoa Butter Colouring: Gold
  • Silikomart chocolate cooling spray
  • 20g (¾oz) Squires Kitchen Cocoa Butter
  • Equipment
  • Round cake boards: 10cm, 15cm, 20.5cm, 25.5cm and 30.5cm (4”, 6”, 8”, 10” and 12”)
  • Round cake cards: 10cm, 15cm, 20.5cm, 25.5cm and 30.5cm (4”, 6”, 8”, 10” and 12”)
  • Round cake drum: 25.5cm (10”) 1cm (3/8”) width double-faced satin ribbon: 40cm (15¾”) Coco Brown
  • Pasta machine (optional)
  • Thermometer
  • Wire rack
  • Round cake tins: 10cm, 20.5cm and 25.5cm (4”, 8” and 10”)
  • Cling film
  • Pastry brush
  • Squires Kitchen Great Impressions Leaf Veiners: 6cm (2 3/8”) Beech and 6cm (2 3/8”) Oak
  • Professional half-sphere chocolate mould: 3cm (1 1/8”) diameter
  • Chocolate scraper
  • Food processor


Covering the cake

Place the cakes on the corresponding size cake boards, using a little tempered dark chocolate to secure them.

Place 1.5kg (3lb 5oz) of Cocoform in a heatproof bowl and heat in the microwave on full power for five to 10 seconds to soften it slightly. Knead the Cocoform on a work surface to make it more pliable.

Roll out a portion of the Cocoform to a 3mm (1/8”) thickness and cut around the 10cm (4”) cake card to make a disc. Place the disc on top of the 10cm (4”) cake. If it doesn’t stick, brush the top of the cake with a little sugar syrup and replace the disc on top.

Repeat steps 2–3 to cover the tops of all the cakes.

Roll out some of the remaining Cocoform to a 3mm (1/8”) thickness and cut out a 9cm x 36cm (3½” x 14 1/8”) strip for the side of the 10cm (4”) cake. Top Tip: Using a pasta maker to roll out the Cocoform will give a uniform finish. The strip created can then be cut to size for each tier.

Roll up the strip of Cocoform and unroll it around the cake with the straightest edge at the bottom. Use a sharp knife to neatly cut the ends to size at the back of the cake so they sit flush with each other. Cut away any excess around the top edge to give a neat, straight line.

Repeat steps 5–6 for all the cake tiers, using a 9cm x 53cm (3½” x 20 7/8”) strip for the 15cm (6”) cake, a 9cm x 68cm (3½” x 26¾”) strip for the 20.5cm (8”) cake, a 9cm x 86cm (3½” x 33 7/8”) strip for the 25.5cm (10”) cake and a 9cm x 1m (3½” x 39¼”) strip for the 30.5cm (12”) cake. Leave the cakes to firm overnight.

Insert five evenly spaced cake dowels into the 30.5cm and 25.5cm (12” and 10”) cakes and four into the 20.5cm and 15cm (8” and 6”) cakes. Mark where the dowels meet the Cocoform, remove, cut to size and reinsert.

Stack the cakes on top of each other, with each layer slightly off-centre to leave space for the decorations, using a little tempered dark chocolate to secure them.

Chill the cake in the fridge for 50 minutes before glazing.


Stir the powdered gelatine into 200ml (7fl oz) of water.

Mix together the cream, sugar, glucose, 150g (5¼oz) of cocoa powder and 225ml (8fl oz) of water in a saucepan and bring it to the boil, stirring occasionally. Continue to heat until it reaches 106˚C (223˚F).

Remove the pan from the heat and pour its contents into a large bowl to cool slightly for five minutes.

Add the gelatine and mix well until it has completely dissolved.

Leave the bowl in the fridge to cool overnight.

Once the cake is stacked and has been chilled for 50 minutes, heat the glaze in the microwave to 30–35˚C (85–95˚F).

Pour the glaze through a fine sieve into a jug.

Remove the cake from the fridge and place it on a wire rack with a large, clean tray or sheets of greaseproof paper underneath.

Pour the glaze over the top of the cake as quickly as possible, making sure it is all evenly covered.

Leave the glaze to set for two minutes then lift the cake off the wire rack and neaten the bottom edge by cutting inwards with a palette knife. Place the cake on a stand.


Place the 10cm, 20.5cm and 25.5cm (4”, 6” and 10”) round cake tins on sheets of greaseproof paper and wrap the sides and bases in cling film.

In a bowl, mix 200g (7oz) of tempered, dark chocolate with 50g (1¾oz) of cocoa powder.

Transfer the chocolate mixture to a piping bag, snip off the tip and roughly pipe up to halfway around the bottom and sides of both tins. The piping should be rough to imitate the texture of bark.

Leave the chocolate to set at room temperature then place in the fridge to fully harden.

Remove the tins from the fridge and peel away the cling film. Use a pastry brush to brush the remaining chocolate mixture over the piped pieces to create a rough, bark-like texture.

Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature then brush a combination of Blackberry, Forest Green, Leaf Green and Siena dust food colours over the surface of each piece.


Heat 100g (3½oz) of Dark Cocoform in the microwave for five seconds until soft and pliable.

Roll out the paste to a 2mm (1/16”) thickness and use a palette knife to cut off a piece slightly larger than the beech leaf veiner.

Place the Cocoform between the two mould halves, line them up, and push evenly on the mould to imprint the leaf markings.

Use a palette knife to cut away the excess Cocoform around the edges of the mould.

Pull the halves apart and remove the chocolate leaf. Gently shape the leaf then set aside to firm.

Repeat steps 2–5 to make eight beech leaves and eight oak leaves.

Brush the leaves with a combination of Classic Gold and Burnt Copper dust food colours and attach them to the bark with a little melted chocolate, using cooling spray to set the chocolate if necessary.


Heat the bottle of Gold Cocol inthe microwave according to the instructions and pour a small amount into a cup. Dip the tip of a pastry brush into the Cocol and pull back the bristles to flick colour into the wells of the half-sphere mould.

Once the Cocol is dry, use 300g (10½oz) of tempered dark chocolate to fill 8–10 wells of the mould.

Gently tap the mould on the work surface then turn it over above a sheet of greaseproof paper or cake board. Tap it again so most of the melted chocolate flows out.

Use a chocolate scraper to scrape away the excess chocolate from the top of the mould.

Turn the mould the right way up and leave the chocolate to set at room temperature, then place in the fridge for at least 10 minutes until fully hardened.

Once set, remove the half-spheres from the mould.

To make the stems, place 100g (3½oz) of solid dark chocolate and 20g (¾oz) of cocoa butter in a food processor and blitz it. First it will form a powder but continue blitzing until a paste is formed.

Roll a small amount of the chocolaty paste into a long sausage shape. Use a cake smoother to smooth the sausage and taper it at one end. Repeat to make eight stems of varying sizes – longer ones for the bottom tier and smaller ones for the top tier.


Place the bark pieces on the corresponding cake tiers – they should stick to the tacky glaze.

Fix the mushroom stems around the leaves using a small amount of melted chocolate, setting it with cooling spray if necessary.

Fix the half-spheres to the tops of the mushroom stems using a small amount of melted chocolate.

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