How to Make Chocolate Decorations for Cakes

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Edible chocolate decorations add the finishing touch to a cake design. Whether you want to pipe a name in chocolate, create a three-dimensional chocolate cake topper, or simply add a few sophisticated curls, real chocolate works best and provides better flavor than candy melts or fondant. You can use either dark chocolate or milk chocolate to create these decorations.

How to Make Chocolate Decorations for Cakes
(Christian Killian/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Dark or milk chocolate
  • Microwave-safe plate
  • Baking sheet
  • Wax paper
  • Pot
  • Metal bowl
  • Corn syrup
  • Plastic bag
  • Chocolate or candy thermometer
  • Piping bag and tip
Step 1

Line a baking sheet or tray with wax paper.

Christian Killian/Demand Media
Step 2

Place a block of chocolate on a microwave-safe plate. Heat on 50 percent power for 5 to 15 seconds, or just until the chocolate begins to barely soften. If you prefer flat shavings instead of curls, microwaving isn't necessary.

Christian Killian/Demand Media
Step 3

Hold the chocolate bar in one hand and draw the blade of a vegetable peeler along the top of the block. Cut off a paper-thin slice of chocolate with the peeler, making the slice the desired length. The slice will remain flat or only curve slightly if the block is cool or at room temperature, but the slice curls if the block is properly warmed.

Christian Killian/Demand Media
Step 4

Arrange the shavings and curls on the lined baking sheet. Place them in the refrigerator until you are ready to decorate the cake.

Christian Killian/Demand Media
Step 1

Fill a pot with 2 inches of water and set a metal bowl on top. Heat the water over medium heat but do not bring it to a full boil.

Christian Killian/Demand Media
Step 2

Place 8 ounces of chocolate chips or chunks in the bowl and stir them until they are completely melted and smooth. Stir in ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon light corn syrup until the chocolate and syrup are completely mixed.

Christian Killian/Demand Media
Step 3

Place the chocolate in a plastic bag. Store it in the refrigerator until it completely cools and becomes firm, which can take up to an hour. It's ready when it has the consistency of clay.

Christian Killian/Demand Media
Step 4

Knead the chocolate lightly until it's moldable. Pat it flat to make disks, which you can cut shapes from with a knife or cookie cutter. Alternatively, roll it into ropes and braid it or shape it into letters or designs. You can also use the chocolate like clay to form animals or other shapes.

Christian Killian/Demand Media
Step 1

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of hot water until it reaches a temperature of 115 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, as measured by a chocolate or candy thermometer. Remove it from the heat and add a chunk of tempered, unmelted chocolate and stir it in while allowing the chocolate to cool to 80 F. After cooling, reheat dark chocolate to 88 F, or milk chocolate to 86 F. The heating and cooling process tempers the chocolate so your piped decorations will dry hard and remain shiny.

Christian Killian/Demand Media
Step 2

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. If you are using a drawing guide, place a paper with the designs on it beneath the wax paper. Outlining the designs with dark ink ensures you can see them through the wax paper.

Christian Killian/Demand Media
Step 3

Place the tempered chocolate in a piping bag that has a fine writing tip attached. Twist the top of the bag tightly and press out any air so the chocolate will flow smoothly from the tip.

Christian Killian/Demand Media
Step 4

Pipe the design onto the wax paper using even, thick lines. Trace over the shapes or freehand your design, as desired.

Christian Killian/Demand Media
Step 5

Place the baking tray in the refrigerator for 10 minutes so the decorations can set and harden completely. After setting, carefully lift the decorations off the wax paper with a palette knife and arrange them on the cake.

Christian Killian/Demand Media

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