cake decorating techniques:
modeling chocolate.

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Of all the cake decorating mediums, fondant is one of the most versatile. You can model it, mold it, paint it, stretch it, roll it, stamp it, gild it; the list is endless. However, there are two big drawback to working with fondant; it tastes really bad and it dries out pretty quickly, making it sometimes difficult for beginning cake decorators to work with. So what's a cake decorating diva to do?

Let me introduce you to modeling chocolate, one of the great undiscovered wonders of the cake world. It's very simple to make, having only two ingredients. It doesn't dry out like fondant and, best of all, it tastes waaay better than fondant. And, you can do anything with modeling chocolate that you can do with fondant.

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to make this magic modeling medium. You'll wonder why you didn't try this years ago.

what you'll need:

This recipe makes enough to cover a 9" round cake.

You only need two ingredients. You may already have them in your pantry and then you're on your way to a whole new world of cake decorating techniques:

here's how you do it:

heat the chocolate on high for 60 seconds, stir

1. Cut the chocolate into chunks and heat in a microwav-proof bowl, on high, for 60 seconds. Stir.

heat for another 30 seconds, stir

2. Heat for another 30 seconds on high and stir.

stir until completely smooth

3. Keep stirring until the remining bits if chocolate are melted and smoth. The residual heat from the already melted chocolate is enough to get the job done. Don't be tempted to heat it in the microwave again - you'll burn it and then it's un-recoverable. You'll have to toss it and start again.

If you want to add a little color, now's your chance!

adding color

You can tint modeling chocolate any color you can imagine. Here's a couple of tricks to know:

For any color, other than brown or black, start with white chocolate and tint with powdered food color or oil based candy colors.

Add a little, stir, add a little more and see how you like it. Remember that colors will darken over time so stop just shy of the shade you're after.

For brown, just make the modeling chocolate with dark chocolate. Easy!

For black, start with dark chcoolate and add black coloring to get the desired result.

Ok, now back to our regular transmission :-)

add 3 tablespoons corn syrup

4. Add five tablespoons of light corn syrup.

stir to incorporate corn syrup

5. Stir the corn syrup and melted chocolate together.

the dough will become stiff and gritty looking, keep stirring

6. The chocolate will become thick and gritty looking, but don't panic. Keep stirring.

keep stirring until the dough is smooth

7. Trust me! Just keep stirring. All of a sudden the modeling chocolate will become completely smooth.

Essentially, that's it.

wrap the modeling chocolate in plastic wrap

8. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, several hours.

Wasn't that easy? You're gonna love this stuff - it's like edible play dough for grown ups. It's one of my most used cake decorating techniques.

storage & handling

You can store unused modeling chocolate in the fridge for up to a month or in the freezer for up to three months.

For covering a cake, white chocolate is the best choice since it remains more pliable than dark or milk chcolate and it can be tinted any color you like.

Roll out the chocolate to about 1/8" thick for decorations and between 1/16" and 1/8" for covering a cake. Modeling chocolate is more elastic than fondant, so this is easier to do.

Do not store a cake covered in modeling chocolate in the fridge - it will be very difficult to cut. You can store a covered cake, at cool room temperature, for up to four days providing you haven't used any fillings that include eggs or dairy.

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