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With this icing, a rank beginner can make a magnificent cake with a perfect satin-smooth icing that looks as if it came from an expensive bakery.

Spreading icing is an art that takes practice. So, I was thrilled when I learned what I call a double-icing technique in Alice Medrich’s book, “Cocolat: Extraordinary Chocolate Desserts” (Morrow). This ganache and this technique allow anyone to make a perfectly smooth icing.

Corn syrup is the secret to a handsome surface gloss, and chopping the chocolate very finely is the secret to easy blending.

This icing can be used on layer cakes, tortes, muffins and many desserts.

Makes about 3 cups of icing (enough to ice a 9-inch, double layered cake).

16 ounces semisweet chocolate (I love Guittard, but it may be difficult to find in your area.)

1/3 cup red currant or apple jelly

1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) heavy cream

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Place the chocolate in the food processor with the steel blade. Process chocolate to chop very finely.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the jelly just to melt. Stir in the cream, sugar and corn syrup, and bring carefully to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 1 minute.

All at once, dump in the chocolate, spreading it across the top of the hot cream mixture. Jar the pan to settle the chocolate. Allow to stand about 1 minute; then, starting in the middle, slowly stir to blend the cream and chocolate together. Stir until well blended, but be careful not to incorporate air bubbles.

Put the cake to be frosted on a cake cardboard exactly the size of the cake. Strain half of the icing into a measuring cup with a spout and set aside. Allow the other half to cool.

When it is about body temperature (ideally, about 90 degrees), ice the cake with it, using an offset spatula as needed to smooth the sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set the icing.

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