Photos: Maria McBride
Valentine's week finds everyone with a nose for chocolate making a trip to Jacques Torres Chocolate for his world-famous sweets. I, too, made a pilgrimage, spending an hour with Jacques in his hectic kitchen on Hudson Street in Manhattan—this week is one of the busiest of the year!—to watch him create a whimsical cake entirely of chocolate. To spend any time at all with Jacques is to know he is a man who loves to have fun—his exuberant spirit is perfectly expressed in his charming confections, as well as the spontaneous way he mixes elements and patterns to create a fresh, playful spin on the traditional wedding cake.
To make this confection, Jacques began with tiers of molded white chocolate, which served as the base; next, using a pastry bag filled with liquid chocolate (edible "glue"), he affixed handcrafted chocolate X's, O's, and hearts on each tier.
The final touch: cake toppers fashioned from a pair of molded-chocolate penguins. The female penguin is made of white chocolate; to make the groom, Jacques adds dark chocolate to create the tuxedo jacket. Once the birds have cooled, he uses chocolate to pipe on a jaunty bow tie and eyelashes, and places the pair, beaks kissing, on the top tier.