Modeling chocolate is a simple chocolate paste made from melted chocolate and corn syrup. The finished mixture is kneaded gently until it has the texture and feel of modeling clay. With modeling chocolate, bakers and decorators can make braids, borders, embellishments, flowers, figurines, and more.
Benefits of Chocolate Modeling Clay
Many people enjoy using chocolate modeling clay because they prefer its taste, texture, and unique decorating potential.
- Often, people like the taste of a chocolate paste over fondant, which can be overly sweet and dull, and some types of buttercream, which may taste rich or too sweet. Since the primary ingredient is melted chocolate, people who aren't fans of confectioners' sugar may feel it tastes better than other decorating materials. The paste will also satisfy fans of white chocolate, since it can be made with white chocolate and corn syrup.
- It feels pleasant to work with and is enjoyable to shape. While fondant, gum paste, pastillage, and buttercream can all dry out easily in the open air, modeling chocolate is moister and often holds up better over longer periods of time.
- The paste is a good compromise between the tangy, sweet taste of buttercream and the favorable texture and look of fondant. While modeling chocolate does not have the benefits of coming in different colors like fondant and is a bit less forgiving for detailed work than gum paste, it can be used to form very intricate figures and patterned decorations. Its taste is also an asset here, since most of the frostings used to form such decorations do not taste very good.
- In addition to its applications with sculpting and shaping, modeling chocolate can be imprinted with patterns and cut into shapes for cake decoration. It can also cover cupcakes or make small adornments that can be used in conjunction with other cupcake decorations.
- Modeling chocolate is not hard to make and use at home. Though it is available commercially, factory-produced modeling chocolate can be expensive, and it's cheaper to make your own.
- Extra chocolate modeling clay will remain usable for several months after it's made, giving it a much longer shelf life than that of buttercream or fondant. Wrap leftover paste tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it in an airtight container.
How to Use Modeling Chocolate
After modeling chocolate is thoroughly mixed, it needs to be refrigerated until firm (usually for several hours). Knead the chocolate mixture gently until it is smooth and feels like modeling clay in your hands. You can then use the chocolate to decorate.
- Use fondant tools, cookie cutters, or a sharp knife to cut the rolled paste into clearly defined shapes, which can then be applied to a cake with a dab of buttercream frosting.
- Use your hands to roll the paste into a long rope that you can wrap around the bottom of a cake as a border. Alternately, roll the paste into several thinner ropes that you can apply to other parts of the cake.
- With a rolling pin or pasta machine, you can roll the chocolate into a flat sheet. Cut circles from the sheet, and use them to coat cupcakes or small round cakes. Apply the circles on top of a thin coat of buttercream to form a smooth surface.
- Apply a 3-D pattern to a flat sheet of modeling chocolate to imprint it with the decoration.
- Press the chocolate into a mold and remove it to get a pre-shaped figure.
- With your hands and thin pieces of paste, form small flowers or other miniature objects to place on top of cakes and cupcakes.