I love making cakes and I always try to make them not only look great but also to taste great. When it comes to cake decoration, it's a real challenge because what you usually get in stores is fondant-covered cakes with decorations made from flavorless sweet mass. I've also had bad experience with store bought modelling chocolate, therefore, I decided to make my own modelling chocolate that I use for all the cake decoration if possible.
Modelling chocolate is a great invention of confectionery – you can cover cakes with it, create edible decoration and unlike fondant it doesn’t have that plain sugary taste. It tastes like chocolate. The catch is that you need some time and patience to make it and it's more difficult to work with than the fondant. I've been working with modelling chocolate for a while now, so in this instructable I will show you how to make modelling chocolate and I will give you my personal tips for working with it.
Step 1: What You Can Make Out of Modelling Chocolate
You can use modelling chocolate to make cake covers as well as small decoration. Feel free to get inspired by my chocolate creations in the photos.
As you can see in the last two photos, I use it also for making pretty big and shaped decorative pieces.
Step 2: Ingredients
To make approximately 1400 g of modelling chocolate you need:
- 1200 g of white chocolate
- 250 ml of syrup (corn, rice, agave…)
- food colorant if you want to dye the chocolate
Step 3: Making the Chocolate
1. First you have to temper the chocolate in a water bath. Let some water boil in a saucepan. Place chocolate chips in a bigger metal or glass bowl and place this bowl over the boiling water. The chocolate should start melting over low heat but it should not mix with the water. Regularly stir the chocolate with a rubber spatula. Don’t melt it completely. The chocolate is supposed to be tempered which means you’ll take the chocolate off the heat when there are still chunks of chocolate in the bowl. The chunks will melt as you stir the chocolate.
2. Heat the syrup to the same temperature as the chocolate. Approx. 20 seconds at a high temperature in the microwave oven should be ok but it’s very individual so go rather slowly. I recommend you to buy a digital thermometer, it’s a great investment which will save you lots of work. Mix the food colorant in the syrup. The syrup will mix with the chocolate and the resulting color will be lighter so make the syrup several shades darker than the desired color.
3. Pour the colored syrup in the middle of the chocolate and mix fast with a silicone spatula. The chocolate will start to thicken fast so try to do it in under 1 minute. The correct chocolate should be a homogenous mass of a united color and it shouldn’t stick to the walls of the bowl.
4. Pour the chocolate on a sheet of baking paper and let it rest for one hour. Then knead the chocolate for at least 5 minutes, the resulting mass should be even more compact. If the chocolate leaves some grease, just squeeze it out. Pack the chocolate in a transparent foil and let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours before using.
Step 4: Tips
1. Patience and quiet. In my opinion, you can't make good modelling chocolate in a hurry or with your kids running around and constantly requiring your attention. So try to work at a time when you can fully focus on the process and work slowly.
2. If you want chocolate of different colors and you don’t want to make several batches, do the following: skip adding the colorant in step 3. In step 6, before kneading the chocolate split it in pieces and add the desired color to each piece. Here you’ll have to knead every piece very properly so the color is homogenous.
3. I strongly recommend you to use a silicone rolling mat and a silicone roll, the chocolate won’t stick to it, won’t break so easily and won’t catch any undesired print.
4. If you have time, let the chocolate sit in the fridge over night, it will be easier to work with.
5. If the chocolate is too tough to roll out, soften it for a few seconds in the microwave on a low temperature.
6. When the chocolate is rolled out, stroke it gently with your palm. Some of the grease will come out and the surface will be smooth and shiny. Do the same with any piece of chocolate that you have already shaped and then you discovered a crack. If the cracked area is small, just stroke it with your finger.
7. If bubbles form on the rolled out surface, do the same as in the previous tip. If the bubbles crumble, roll it gently with the roll again and stroke the newly formed bubbles in another direction.
8. If your chocolate doesn't want to keep the shape you are trying to give it (which can happen especially with bigger pieces), shape it and put it in the fridge for 30 seconds.
9. Try to work in colder environment. The chocolate melts and doesn't keep the shape when it's too hot.
10. If the chocolate decoration doesn't want to stick properly to the cake or to another piece of modelling chocolate, rub the chocolate a bit with clear and unflavored alcohol.