Decorating Cakes with Chocolate (a How-To)
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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..
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.
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
I used the hearts for my chocolate cupcakes recipe; it was perfect for Valentines day
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)
(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!
Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review
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!
Hi Alicia, these are pretty delicate since I piped them thin. I imagine piping them thicker may work. I recommend doing a trial run.
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
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.
I need to clarify – I want to make chocolate piped decorations that won’t run or melt in a hot clomate. Any suggestions?
Hi Tre, you might. need a different chocolate mixture as this one will melt in a hot climate.
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
Hi Diana, I imagine that would’ve been the culprit but with out being there it is hard to say.
do you have a good moist white cake recipe?
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!
Such an amazing way to decorate cakes, cupcakes, etc. Thank you! This has saved me many times and made decorating simple
That’s so great!
My chocolate designs melted when I tried to place them on my cake. Is there anything that can be done?
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.
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?
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…
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.
Awww!!! That is seriously amazing! I’m so happy reading your comment 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing that with me! 🙂
I have a question, what specific piping bag did you use?
Nikki, I use this piping bag.
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…
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!
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?
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.
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!
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.
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?
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?
Thanks for your help. I use dark chocolate of Morde brand.
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?
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.
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
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?
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 🙂
It could be…. All the way from Singapore; wow!! Nice to meet you! 🙂
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
Are there any great Danish recipe blogs you could recommend? I’d love to try Danish food! 🙂
Can I pipe onto a silicon mat instead of parchment paper? will I have problem removing it after freezing the designs?
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.
hey natasha just wanted to let you know when i tried to melt chocolate in microwave it burnt twice so it doesnt work for me its works better na paru:) im not the only one that had that problem many of my friends aswell just wanted to give you that tip if someone else has that issue
Thank you for sharing, microwave can be faster but it’s very easy to overdo it. I will make the update once I will return from my camping trip :).
Natasha, does your piping bag get extremely hot because of the melted chocolate, making it impossible to hold in your hands? Because that was my issue when I tried this 🙁
Let the chocolate cool down until its cool enough to handle. It all depends on how much you heat it up. Hope this helps :).
Thanx, I will make sure to do that nest time.
Can you please email me how you use a ziplock bag instead of the actual bagy thing because when I used the ziplock bag all of my chocolate like spilled out:(:(
Juliana, you have to zip seal the top after the chocolate is in and cut a tiny hole in the bottom corner of the bag, just enough for a thin stream to come through. Hope that helps!
Do i have to use chocolate chips?? Can i just break chunks of choclate and melt them instead?? Will that work??? Please answer ASAP!!;);););)
Yes, you can totally do that as well :).
Do I have to use chocolate chips??? Can I just break big chocolate squares and melt them and use them instead??? Please reply ASAP!!:);)
i love this idea i think i will be able to do it very easely for my sisters wedding.
Congrats to your sister! What an exciting time in life 🙂 Enjoy!
If i do the chocolate toppers in advance and keep it on the fridge will it fall flat after couple of days in the chiller?
It will be fine in the fridge 🙂
This is awesome!!! soo much easier than trying to write/decorate letters on a cake..:)
I agree and that is a good way to make an ugly cake (speaking from experience) 😉
So awesome! Can’t wait to try it for my daughter’s birthday cupcakes! She was looking thru your site and found this “how-to” tutorial and keeps talking about it non-stop ever since! 🙂
That’s so sweet 🙂 Happy birthday to your daughter!
natasha, i love the chocolate decor idea.. but how did you get your words to stay uprght? because mine keeps on wanting to fall flat.. lol i dont know if i made it too big?
Try refrigerating the cupcakes a little bit before and after putting the letters in; it helps them to stay upright as it cools.
Thats actually what I ended up doing! So thanks anyways. Delicious cake and the decor was so easy. I’ll definitely be using the chocolate decor again 🙂
Natasha, just wanted to clarify, bittersweet or semi-sweet? in the picture its semi and the directions its bitter….. always wanted to know is there a big difference between the two?
I meant semi-sweet 🙂 I’ll fix it. Thanks! p.s. either one should work fine and white chocolate works well too.
just in time for Valentines Day! Yahhoooo 😉
I love how-to’s, and this is awesome! I’ve always wanted a good tutorial on how to make chocolate art! Definitely using this next time I make anything with chocolate!
I wish I had figured this out sooner too. I think white chocolate would work really well too 🙂
This is so neat, simple but good looking. I have to try it soon. Thank you so much for that!
You can also print a page of whatever design or lettering you like, place it under the parchment paper and trace the design/lettering on the parchment paper with chocolate…works wonderfully!!
That’s a great tip Lily, I will use that in the future :).
need to try looks fabo!!!”)))
Thanks for sharing, I can’t wait to try this!
You are welcome Amanda :).
This is so easy! Who would of thought? Thanks so much for sharing!
This is such a cool trick!!! I am so excited about this techinque that I will surely try it out next time I work with chocolate! :)))
I am (admittedly) not the best cake decorator in the world, but this was pretty easy to do and I think it turned out swell 😉