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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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natashaskitchen

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 recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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  • 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

  • anna
    August 15, 2013

    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 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 16, 2013

      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 :). Reply

  • Irene
    July 29, 2013

    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 🙁 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 29, 2013

      Let the chocolate cool down until its cool enough to handle. It all depends on how much you heat it up. Hope this helps :). Reply

  • juliana
    July 20, 2013

    Thanx, I will make sure to do that nest time. Reply

  • juliana
    July 19, 2013

    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:(:( Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 19, 2013

      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! Reply

  • juliana
    July 17, 2013

    Do i have to use chocolate chips?? Can i just break chunks of choclate and melt them instead?? Will that work??? Please answer ASAP!!;);););) Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 17, 2013

      Yes, you can totally do that as well :). Reply

  • juliana
    July 17, 2013

    Do I have to use chocolate chips??? Can I just break big chocolate squares and melt them and use them instead??? Please reply ASAP!!:);) Reply

  • amy
    June 19, 2013

    i love this idea i think i will be able to do it very easely for my sisters wedding. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 19, 2013

      Congrats to your sister! What an exciting time in life 🙂 Enjoy! Reply

  • monique
    May 8, 2013

    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? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 9, 2013

      It will be fine in the fridge 🙂 Reply

  • Nadiya
    March 29, 2013

    This is awesome!!! soo much easier than trying to write/decorate letters on a cake..:) Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 29, 2013

      I agree and that is a good way to make an ugly cake (speaking from experience) 😉 Reply

  • Alena
    March 27, 2013

    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! 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 27, 2013

      That’s so sweet 🙂 Happy birthday to your daughter! Reply

  • inna
    February 13, 2013

    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? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 14, 2013

      Try refrigerating the cupcakes a little bit before and after putting the letters in; it helps them to stay upright as it cools. Reply

      • Inna
        February 14, 2013

        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 🙂 Reply

  • Victoria
    January 30, 2013

    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? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 30, 2013

      I meant semi-sweet 🙂 I’ll fix it. Thanks! p.s. either one should work fine and white chocolate works well too.  Reply

  • JuliaKuz
    January 27, 2013

    just in time for Valentines Day! Yahhoooo 😉 Reply

  • January 26, 2013

    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! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 26, 2013

      I wish I had figured this out sooner too. I think white chocolate would work really well too 🙂 Reply

  • January 26, 2013

    This is so neat, simple but good looking. I have to try it soon. Thank you so much for that! Reply

  • Lily K
    January 23, 2013

    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!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 23, 2013

      That’s a great tip Lily, I will use that in the future :). Reply

  • alana
    January 18, 2013

    need to try looks fabo!!!”))) Reply

  • January 18, 2013

    Thanks for sharing, I can’t wait to try this! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 18, 2013

      You are welcome Amanda :). Reply

  • Annika
    January 16, 2013

    This is so easy! Who would of thought? Thanks so much for sharing! Reply

  • Oksana
    January 15, 2013

    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! :))) Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 15, 2013

      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 😉 Reply

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