Professionally decorated cakes seem to have a molten, silky look. To get that same appearance at home, frost as usual and then use a hair dryer to “blow-dry” the frosted surface of the cake. The slight melting of the frosting gives it that smooth, lustrous appearance.
When your charcoal fire peters out before really getting started, you can douse the coals with lighter fluid, toss in a match, and create a thrilling fireball—or you can try this safer, tamer method. Turn an electric hair dryer to high and aim it toward the base of the pile of coals. The hair dryer acts as a bellow to get the fire going again in just a few minutes.
If the chocolate is too hard, it can be difficult to pull off thick shavings. Even if you do cut off nice shavings, warmth from your fingers can cause the pieces to melt as you try to place them on the cake. Here’s how to avoid both problems. Warm a block of bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate by sweeping a hair dryer over it, taking care not to melt the chocolate. Holding a paring knife at a 45-degree angle against the chocolate, scrape toward you, anchoring the block with your other hand. Pick up the shavings with a toothpick and place them on the frosted cake.