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Decorating Cakes with Chocolate (a How-To)

    Decorating Cakes with Chocolate is quick, easy and all you need is chocolate chips, a sheet of parchment paper and something to pipe it with.

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    You can decorate almost any dessert with chocolate. Decorating Cakes with Chocolate is quick, easy and all you need is chocolate chips, a sheet of parchment paper and something to pipe it with; either a ziploc bag, or if you have one, you can use a frosting baggy with a pointy tip (to be completely un-technical). The recipe for the cake photographed above is posted here. Now imagine how pretty this would look over an espresso creme brûlée; Eh, eh?!

    Ingredients/ tools for Decorating Cakes with Chocolate:

    1/2 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (this also works great for white chocolate decorations)
    1 sheet of parchment paper
    1 frosting bag
    Pointy tip or a ziploc bag

    For this strawberry layer cake, I also used strawberries; there’s just something about chocolate and strawberries and especially chocolate covered strawberries….mmm..

    Strawberry Layer Cake_-2

    Decorating Cakes with Chocolate – How To:

    1. Place a sheet of parchment paper on your counter (the least expensive parchment paper is at Costco).

    2. Melt 1/2 cup or chocolate chips in the microwave or stovetop (more if you are doing a larger project). Don’t overheat it and check by stirring because the chocolate chips hold their form even if they are hot. If you overheat it, they will crumble and get dry.

    Strawberry Layer Cake_-3

    3. Transfer your melted chocolate to your piping bag. If it’s a ziploc bag, cut a tiny hole by snipping the very corner of the bag; you can always make the hole bigger but you can’t make it smaller.

    4. Pipe your design onto your parchment paper. For more detailed designs, one of my readers suggested that you can print your design on computer paper, then place your parchment paper over the printer paper and trace over it. If you mess up a few times; don’t worry about it; it’s not like you’re piping it onto your cake

    Strawberry Layer Cake_-4Strawberry Layer Cake_-5Chocolate Cupcakes-15

    I used the hearts for my chocolate cupcakes recipe; it was perfect for Valentines day

    Chocolate Cupcakes-17Chocolate Cupcakes-18

    5. Put a cutting board under your parchment paper and transfer it to your freezer for 5 minutes or until chocolate hardens.

    6. Now carefully peel it off the paper and transfer it to your cake. It’s easiest to transfer it while it’s still very cold from the freezer (less chances of your 3D chocolate breaking during assembly)

    Strawberry Layer Cake_-8

    Decorating Cakes with Chocolate is quick, easy and all you need is chocolate chips, a sheet of parchment paper and something to pipe it with.Chocolate Cupcakes-1-2

    (p.s. Click here for the chocolate cupcakes recipe)

    Gosh it’s so easy. It’s too easy! You can also write out chocolate letters so you don’t destroy your cake if your “Happy Birthday” is uglier than you imagined it would be (been there) or if your flower ends up looking like a creature (done that).
    If you try this and share a picture on Instagram or Facebook, do let me know. I’d love to see your creative designs!

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    Natasha Kravchuk

    Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

    Read more posts by Natasha

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    Comments

    • Alicia
      May 6, 2021

      Thanks for sharing this recipe! I’m wondering if you have any tips on how tall one can make the designs and have them stand upright on the cake… any suggestions or am I down to trial and error. =) I’m wanting to make characters to stand on top of my daughter’s birthday cake but am unsure if that is too ambitious… Thanks for any input!

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        May 6, 2021

        Hi Alicia, these are pretty delicate since I piped them thin. I imagine piping them thicker may work. I recommend doing a trial run.

        Reply

    • Sindhu
      March 17, 2021

      Can u plz hlp me with somethng.. aftr i tak the frozen chocalate decoration outside the freezer it starts to melt how to make it stand on top of the cake like urs

      Reply

      • Natasha
        March 18, 2021

        I have found that you have to move quickly once it comes out of the freezer and handle it with warm hands as little as possible. Some readers have also reported that it does not work well in humid environments.

        Reply

    • Tre Arnold
      December 5, 2020

      I need to clarify – I want to make chocolate piped decorations that won’t run or melt in a hot clomate. Any suggestions?

      Reply

      • Natasha
        December 8, 2020

        Hi Tre, you might. need a different chocolate mixture as this one will melt in a hot climate.

        Reply

    • Diane Otte
      June 17, 2019

      I tried making designs on parchment and put right in the freezer and it never froze,I could not remove it. After reading your comments I think I know what I had done wrong but just wanted to ask you if it was because I made gnashes Belgium chocolate and heavy cream, could that be why? Thanks for your help

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        June 17, 2019

        Hi Diana, I imagine that would’ve been the culprit but with out being there it is hard to say.

        Reply

    • Jane Smith
      May 10, 2019

      do you have a good moist white cake recipe?

      Reply

      • Natasha
        May 10, 2019

        Hi Jane, we don’t currently have a classic white cake recipe but that is a great suggestion. If I come up with something awesome, I will be sure to share it!

        Reply

    • Yelena Lepekhin
      July 10, 2018

      Such an amazing way to decorate cakes, cupcakes, etc. Thank you! This has saved me many times and made decorating simple

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        July 10, 2018

        That’s so great!

        Reply

    • Prisuku
      August 28, 2017

      My chocolate designs melted when I tried to place them on my cake. Is there anything that can be done?

      Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        August 28, 2017

        Hi Prisuki, I would suggest popping them in the freezer and make sure you handle the chocolate as little as possible as the warmth from your hands will soften the chocolate.

        Reply

    • Katie
      March 24, 2017

      Hi Natasha

      I am looking for ideas for my sons birthday. Currently, thinking of making guitar shaped muffins (using a cookie cutter to cut out the shapes once baked), then using chocolate to draw out the main details. What type of cake would work best? And for the chocolate, can I melt a block of milk chocolate instead of choice chips?

      Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        March 24, 2017

        Hi Katie, You can melt a block of chocolate but I would suggest chopping the chocolate first so it melts evenly without overheating. Most of my cakes are soft sponge cakes so I’m not sure I have one that would be sturdy enough to cut with cookie cutters…

        Reply

    • Mitzi
      December 4, 2016

      Hi, I’m 56 years old and this was my very first attempt at baking a “from scratch cake,” I got a stand mixer at a yard sale over the summer so I thought I’d give it a try. WOW this was the best cake I have ever made. It was a very easy process. I am inspired to try more, more, more. The Costco bakery has just lost a loyal customer (LOL). Thank you so much.

      Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        December 4, 2016

        Awww!!! That is seriously amazing! I’m so happy reading your comment 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing that with me! 🙂

        Reply

    • Nikki Haera
      November 3, 2016

      I have a question, what specific piping bag did you use?
      Thank you!

      Reply

    • vicki
      October 18, 2016

      I just experimented with piped designs using three different kinds of chocolate. I tempered all three kinds (it’s not that hard). What I found was that the chocolate chips did not hold up and within a few minutes started to bend and fold over. The Bakers melting chocolate in a tub was much better; it actually held its shape, but wasn’t hard and didn’t “snap” when you broke it. The best, by FAR was Trader Joe’s brand (Pound Plus) dark chocolate from Belgium. It was $5 for a little over a pound – but make sure it is the one with cocoa butter (important ingredient in holding its shape). The chocolate designs were shiny dark, and held their shape. Also, they snapped when broken, and were delicious! If you don’t have TJ near you, what you need is couverture chocolate, it’s just not as easy to find (you can order it online). Just thought I’d share…

      Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        October 18, 2016

        I Vicki, thank you so much for sharing your tips! I’ll have to pick up some of that chocolate next time I’m at Trader Joes!

        Reply

    • Tina
      May 24, 2016

      Hi Natasha!
      I just couldn’t have chocolate decor stand on my cupcake it just starts to melt and bend over. Don’t you need to temper the chocolate in order for it to stay hard outside of fridge? Unless you are using compound chocolate?
      Thank you!!!

      Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        May 24, 2016

        Hi Tina I agree it would help to temper the chocolate to keep it firm, but tempering is typically done with larger amounts of chocolate which isn’t necessary for most chocolate decorating projects. Also, if you handle the chocolate too much after chilling it, it will soften so you do have to work quickly with chocolate. It also helps to refrigerate it once it’s on the cupcake.

        Reply

    • MJ
      December 11, 2015

      Hi Natasha

      Each time I have tried to pipe chocolate it just pours out of the piping hole. I have no control over it and cannot stop start. Eventually the chocolate will get clogged at the tip and its just a big disaster. Nothing gets added to it just straight chocolate. Help!

      Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        December 11, 2015

        Working with plain melted chocolate can be tricky because it can cool down fairly quickly so you have to work quickly once it’s melted. Are you using chocolate chips like the ones shown? If you are using too large of a frosting tip, it may not be ideal as it can pour out when the chocolate is very warm. What tools are you using? Sometimes when I melt chocolate chips and I don’t want to wash the piping bag, I put it in a ziploc bag and cut the size of hole that I need.

        Reply

    • Namrata
      September 5, 2015

      Hi Natasha… i faced the same problem as Skye… My chocolate started melting once i took it out of the freezer… Can i just keep the chocolate in room temperature for setting it up? will that work?

      Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        September 5, 2015

        Yes that should work but it will take longer. Try to keep it in a cool spot (out of the sun). I’m curious, what kind/brand of chocolate are you using?

        Reply

        • Namrata
          September 8, 2015

          Thanks for your help. I use dark chocolate of Morde brand.

          Reply

    • Rachel
      August 19, 2015

      How far in advance do you think I could prepare chocolate lettering before transferring onto a cake? Can these be stored without spoiling or would you recommend putting them straight onto a cake once set?

      Thanks!

      Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        August 19, 2015

        You can keep them in the fridge or freezer for several days and they will be ok. They set in 5 minutes in the freezer so you could use them right away or wait to use them later. It works either way.

        Reply

    • Skye
      September 9, 2014

      Hi! Whenever I take my piped chocolate out of the freezer, it starts to melt immediately (even after sticking it back in the fridge for much longer) 🙁 what might be the cause of this? I really wanted to decorate my cupcakes with choclate hearts

      Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        September 10, 2014

        Hmmmm… What kind of chocolate are you using? Did you add anything to it or just melt it? after it comes out of the freezer, try not to handle it too much as the warmth from your hands can cause it to melt, but it shouldn’t really even melt then, just soften. What room temperature are you working in?

        Reply

        • Skye
          September 11, 2014

          Dark chocolate, just melted it. Perhaps it’s the natural humidity and heat in Singapore… Thanks! I’ll take these points into consideration next time 🙂

          Reply

          • Natasha
            natashaskitchen
            September 11, 2014

            It could be…. All the way from Singapore; wow!! Nice to meet you! 🙂

            Reply

    • Wivi Willumsen
      June 18, 2014

      As a danish person, it,s so hard to find good recipe because danes are knowing for there fab. Cake making , but I did find a few from your site ( I lived in Australia now) And I shall defiantly try to make some if them,
      So thank you for sending your recipe on to this site
      Kind regards Wivi

      Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        June 18, 2014

        Are there any great Danish recipe blogs you could recommend? I’d love to try Danish food! 🙂

        Reply

    • Alice
      June 11, 2014

      Hi!

      Can I pipe onto a silicon mat instead of parchment paper? will I have problem removing it after freezing the designs?

      Thanks!

      Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        June 11, 2014

        To be honest I haven’t tried on silicone. It might be a little harder to remove it because silicone doesn’t move quite as easily as parchment, but I just haven’t tested it. Good question! Next time I’m working with chocolate I’ll put it to the test.

        Reply

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