Decorating media such as modeling chocolate help you transform a delicious cake into an edible work of art. Cakes covered in fondant are complemented by edible modeling chocolate decorations. To keep the decorations from slipping off, there are two common methods for adhering them: edible glue and water.
What is Modeling Chocolate?
Modeling chocolate is an edible, rollable paste made from melted chocolate, corn syrup and additives. It doesn’t harden as fast as gumpaste or fondant, so it is ideal if you need more time to create an elaborate decoration. Available at cake decorating stores and craft stores, its texture is similar to a tootsie roll or marzipan, and it is used for making flowers, borders and edible figurines. Modeling chocolate comes in semi-sweet, milk, white and bittersweet flavors. Commercially prepared modeling chocolate also comes tinted in a variety of colors to match your cake.
Using Edible Glue
Edible glue is a thick royal icing -- similar to what is used to make gingerbread houses. It dries rock hard and helps attach modeling chocolate decorations to a fondant surface. It holds better than the water method, so it is good if you have heavy decorations that need to hang from the side of your fondant cake. Use prepared royal icing or make your own by mixing water, meringue powder and confectioner’s sugar. Put the icing in a piping bag and squeeze out a small amount onto the back or bottom of your modeling chocolate decoration. Gently press it onto the fondant surface using a flat hand or a fondant smoothing paddle. Don’t move the cake until the royal icing has dried, which should only take 10 to 20 minutes.
When attaching modeling chocolate decorations as a border, such as creating a robe or ribbon border to go around a cake, water is fine to use. Use a clean, food-grade paintbrush and dip it into the water. Brush a small amount of water on the back of the decoration and press it against the fondant. Use only a small amount of water -- too much water can break down the fondant or cause colors from your modeling chocolate to bleed onto the fondant’s surface. The water creates a sticky surface on the fondant. When it dries, the modeling chocolate decoration will be stuck in place.
A Few Tips for Success
Only add modeling chocolate decorations when they are complete and partially dried. To use edible glitter or paint, add it before you place the decoration on the cake to prevent any accidental transfer. To keep your fondant surface from denting, wait until the fondant has slightly hardened on the cake -- this will also prevent the weight of any decorations from tearing the fondant off the cake. Tint your modeling chocolate with a gel food coloring because water-based food colors will break down your modeling chocolate. Add a small drop to a ball of modeling chocolate and knead it in until the color is distributed evenly. Continue to add and knead more color until you reach your desired shade. Let the modeling chocolate rest at room temperature and away from any heat sources for at least an hour, covered in plastic wrap -- the heat of your hands turns modeling chocolate very soft, which makes it too pliable for creating shapes and decorations.
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