I've been working on a lot of these recently. Tall buttercream covered tiers topped with a glossy chocolate drip and piled high with meringues, macarons and chocolate shards. Inspired by Sydney bakers Katharine Sabbath and Cakes by Cliff, these quirky designs are full of fun and character. They can be dressed up with fresh fruit, handmade chocolates, buttercream roses and touches of gold leaf, or taken to the party max with coloured popcorn, sprinkles, lollipops, sparklers and popping candy.
The style of these cakes is chaotic, but the finish has to be immaculate. Think about height - this can be created with chocolate sails; simply spread melted chocolate over a sheet of greaseproof or waxed paper and slide a couple of rolling pins under the paper to produce an undulating profile. If you use Candy Melts there's no need to temper the chocolate, but you won't be able to add past colour without the candy seizing up. Use gel colour, or add a few drops of Wilton FloCoat to a paste colour to avoid this.
Meringues are tricky, The Meringue Girls add hot sugar (120g) to whisked egg whites (2), a spoonful at a time, to stabilise the egg and produce a smooth finish. I've had mixed, overcooked, results with this method (possibly because the oven was still too hot from heating the sugar) and have gone back to using cold sugar, still adding it very slowly, and stopping the mixer as soon as the mixture becomes stiff and glossy. Create stripes on your meringues, either by painting lines down the inside of your piping bags, or just by swirling colour around the bowl of mixture with a cocktail stick. Bake at 90 degrees C for an hour.
A ganache drip needs to be glossy but not so liquid that it runs down the sides of the cake to the bottom. Put your frosted cake in the fridge and pour 100ml of hot whipping cream over 100g chopped plain chocolate (Sainsbury's Basics is perfect and 35p!) and whisk until smooth. When it's cooled down to room temperature, carefully drop teaspoons of the ganache around the edge of you cold cake and coax it over the edge with the side of the spoon every couple of centimetres. When you've gone all the way round you can fill in the middle and smooth it over with the back of the spoon.