Usually, the design aspect of my cakes requires much more thought and planning than the actual cake itself. But this autumn inspired birthday cake was the opposite, mainly because there were three parameters which I had to follow. Any milk product used must be cooked; it must be eggless; it needed to travel a distance without refrigeration.
There were very few alternatives without the almighty egg and the exclusion of whipping cream ruled out any mousse, which would not travel well anyways. Luckily, this cake was for a family of chocoholics, which allowed me to combine an eggless chocolate cake (made with soft tofu) with a whipped dark chocolate ganache (cream is scalded first).
I was given one word as thematic inspiration, family, and this immediately led me to think about a family tree and then, autumn leaves. The scroll work and tree were crafted from milk chocolate modelling paste and the leaves were rolled fondant. Everything was brushed with gold dust. After finishing the cake, I had a brief panic attack when I realized I had used MILK chocolate modelling paste (for colour contrast against the dark chocolate ganache glaze) but concluded that milk chocolate contains milk powder and milk must be heated in order to pasteurize and evaporate into milk powder. Phew!