How to Make Modeling Chocolate Video

This is a video supplement to Chapter 1 from the book, Cake Decorating with Modeling Chocolate, which demonstrates how to make modeling chocolate out of chocolate + sugar syrup. The sugar syrup can be corn syrup, liquid glucose, or golden syrup, depending on what you have access to in your part of the world (I use corn syrup because that’s what’s available to me).

Video: Recipe with Instructions on How to Make Modeling Chocolate

I used a high quality dark chocolate in this video, so it’s quite runny in its melted state (a characteristic only of chocolate with high cacao content). As a result, more stirring is involved than there would be if a lower quality chocolate or a white or milk chocolate were used. Therefore keep in mind when using white or milk chocolate to stir about half as much as I do in the video. If you over-stir modeling chocolate, you risk breaking its emulsion, which causes the oily modeling chocolate problem.

Follow this link for recipes and instructions for how to make modeling chocolate

Why Modeling Chocolate is Sometimes Oily

The most common problem that occurs when making modeling chocolate is that it breaks, losing its emulsion. Fat then migrates to the surface of the chocolate, making it oily. Once that fat hardens, it can make the modeling chocolate grainy. So first it’s oily, and then it’s grainy, which is not what you want.

How to Make Modelling Chocolate Video Wicked Goodies

The Top 3 Causes of Oily Modeling Chocolate

1. If the chocolate is overheated. Some chocolate types, particularly white and milk varieties, are fragile. When overheated, chocolate seizes (gets tough and clumpy) and won’t cooperate with the addition of sugar syrup, which eventually leads to a broken emulsion, which leads to an oily batch.

How to Make Modelling Chocolate Video Wicked Goodies
Solution: Chopping or grinding up white chocolate in a food processor before melting it helps speed up the melting time, thereby reducing the amount of heat that’s needed, thereby reducing the chance that the chocolate will get overheated and break.

How to Make Modelling Chocolate Video Wicked Goodies

An effective way to melt chocolate without overheating it is to only melt half of it over very low heat. Just before it’s fully melted, remove it from the heat and add the other half off the chocolate, stirring periodically (still off the heat). It will take a few minutes longer but this helps the chocolate maintain its molecular structure (temper) so that it’s less likely to break.

2. If the sugar syrup is the wrong temperature: if it’s too hot or too cold, the chocolate may react by separating. The sugar syrup should be warm.

3. If the modeling chocolate gets over-mixed, the emulsion breaks. When combining chocolate and sugar syrup, stir gently with a spatula as if you were folding egg whites into chocolate mousse. This also applies when sculpting figurines or decorations, as overworking modeling chocolate with the hands can also induce the effects of #1 an #3, with the heat coming from the body and the over-mixing happening as a result of too much kneading or handling.

Modeling chocolate is finicky like hollandaise sauce…sometimes it breaks even when you execute all the steps correctly. Also like hollandaise, rest assured that even a broken batch of modeling chocolate can be saved.

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Cake Decorating with Modeling Chocolate
Cake Decorating with Modeling Chocolate

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LOTS more free tutorials here:
The Ultimate Modeling Chocolate Resource Guide
The Ultimate Modeling Chocolate Resource Guide


Comments

How to Make Modeling Chocolate Video — 58 Comments

  1. Hi! I love this website and I am going to purchase the book. I am new to modeling chocolate. I just made your recipe and am waiting to see how it turns out. I am making a baby crib half sheet cake. I want to know how far in advance I can make the pieces of the crib – the spindles, head and foot boards? The actual sheet cake will be the mattress of the crib. I need the spindles to support the top rails. Thoughts?

  2. Can I use this to wrap a boob cake instead of fondant if so can I use food coloring to get it to a skin color?. Do I use this over buttercreme icing I plan on making ? So nervous.

  3. Hola, soy de Buenos Aires, Argentina, y quisiera saber como adquirir tu libro de modelado en chocolate, gracias, espero vuestra respuesta!!
    Carina

  4. Hi, I have to make a Hulk fist on top of a cake for my grandson, would this modelling Bo ok for this or would it be better to use fondant icing

  5. I would like to try making this modeling chocolate but i couldn’t find the corn syrup in my country and the chocolates are high prize so could you send me same chocolate and the corn syrup pleas .so that i can cook it pleas pleas . you can send it to me by DHL and your cooking book pleas pleas!!!!!!!!!!!!xoxoxoxoxoxoxox your fan haben abrhaley and my adress is mata No 11

  6. Nice barbell! I may borrow that idea for a birthday cake some time 🙂 By the way, I mentioned your help and the Wicked Goodies site on the Craftsy page where I upload my cake pics. Hope that was OK. I was amazed at how easy it was to cut out the skyline and running figures with the modeling clay. The cake even traveled well — 2 hours by bus. It sweat a lot at first when I moved it from fridge to counter to finish putting on decorations, but by the time I delivered it all the moisture was absorbed and nothing shifted. Here’s one more pic … and much thanks again 🙂

  7. And here’s the view from the other side with the city buildings.
    The wizard girl on top represents my daughter’s physical therapist 🙂

    • Awesome! She must have been thrilled. What a thoughtful gift! Now you have reminded me as I nearly forgot that I also once presented a cake as a gift to a physical therapist who helped me recuperate after my back was broken. It was a simple barbell cake wrapped in modeling chocolate – there it is.

      Sounds like you had a similar experience of bonding with the PT and wanting to do something in return. I love that we both agree that is an excellent excuse to make a cake! Thanks for sharing your results, Francine! I’m so glad your cake came out great and that your modeling chocolate deco worked!

  8. The cake “Running in the City” was a success! Much thanks to you
    for your patience and help with all my queries. Am trying to attach 2 pics.

  9. Hi Kristen.
    It is me yet again. The modeling choc for the silhouettes rolled out well and stuck nicely to the sides just as you said it would. The buttercream covered cake had been in the freezer until I started attaching the silhouettes and then it was in and out of the fridge while I was rolling, cutting and attaching. It has been covered with clear cling wrap and aluminum foil on top of that and a nylon bag on top of the whole thing. For the meanwhile I have it in the fridge (It’s warm here.) but am wondering if it would be better off in the freezer since I need to deliver it on Friday and it’s just Tuesday now. I’m concerned about condensation. Basically it is finished except for a few fondant decorations that I’ll stick on at the last minute. Thanks again for your help.

    • Hmm…I would have waited to start decorating that cake until Thursday but I think that since it’s fully frosted and wrapped, it ought to stay fresh in the fridge. I would not go back and forth in/out of the freezer any more as that could damage your decorations. Looking forward to seeing how this one comes out, Francine!

  10. Thanks again Kristen. I look forward to being able to send you the pics 🙂 I’ve had 3 ventures with white ganache. The first time it separated and turned an oily yellow mess. After panicking and then searching the net I found that putting the whole cold disgusting blob on the mixer and beating very well turned it into a beautiful snowy white lovely spreadable ganache. This last time I got distracted and erred with the proportions and it didn’t set up properly so I just lightly and very gently warmed more white chocolate and blended it well with the room temperature batch that I had already made and all worked out well once again. Hope that helps anyone else who might be having difficulty with white choc ganache. Thank you again Kristen.

  11. Thank you for getting back to me so quickly, Kristen. All went well with the kneading 🙂 — thanks to you and the microwave! The plan is to make silhouette city buildings on one part of a white ganached cake and silhouette runners on another part — a gift to my daughter’s physical therapist. Can I expect the modelling choc silhouettes to stick on to a cold ganached cake or would I need some sort of glue? And what thickness would be reasonable for modeling choc silhouettes on the sides of a cake? Thank you so much for all of your help. You are truly one of a kind!

    • Francine,
      That sounds like a fun cake design! White chocolate ganache can be a tricky finish to work with – it’s one of the most unstable finishes, but yes, the modeling chocolate ought to stick to it without any help, especially if the cake is cold. In that case, not only will the MC stick but it should also set permanently into place after about 5-10 seconds.

      I would shoot for a thickness of no more than 1/8 inch for silhouettes in modeling chocolate. I have gone as thin as 1/16 inch for that sort of thing. Good luck! I’m looking forward to seeing your results 🙂

  12. Hi Kristen,
    Well I took the big leap today and started to make dark modeling chocolate. It seemed to go well and has been resting wrapped up on the counter for several hours. Thing is that it seems extremely hard. Don’t know how I will ever be able to knead it tomorrow 🙁 Should I just try to break off small pieces to work it as I warm it in my hands … or perhaps put it in the micro for a few seconds? I’d appreciate any suggestions that you could give. Thanks. Francine

    • Great, Francine! Keep in mind that modeling chocolate is always super hard at first. Yes, try breaking off small pieces and kneading it. The warmth of your hands should make it more pliable. You can soften it in the microwave with 5 second blasts on medium heat if you want to make it easier on your wrists.

  13. Hi Kristen.
    If modeling chocolate is mixed with fondant, where would the cake decorated with it be stored? I understand that plain fondant needs to be kept out of the fridge, but you mentioned that all your cakes are kept in the fridge. Also could / should CMC be added to the fondant before mixing it with the modelling chocolate? And yet a third question, can a cake collar be made of modelling chocolate and would that be more stable that a cake collar made of regular chocolate melted and rolled on acetate?
    Thanks so much for all your help and advice.

    • I would store a cake like that in the fridge covered with plastic wrap.
      You do not need to add CMC to the fondant in this case.
      In my book, I explain how to wrap a cake in modeling chocolate using the Paneling Method. This is more stable than a cake collar but probably around the same level of difficulty since handling sheets of modeling chocolate takes some getting use to.

  14. Hi I just made my first ever batch of modelling chocolate with Whittakers White chocolate as it has a high cocoa content. Fingers crossed it looks okay at the moment. I need to make some lettering and figured it would look better in modelling chocolate as opposed to fondant and I will whiten it with Sugarflair super white which is a powder which contains titanium dioxide which is a whitener. Will see how it goes. Im fairly new to cake decorating but have set up a small business which is growing 🙂 Thanks for your helpful comments and have ordered your book from Book Depository.

    • Sounds like you are ready for a fun cake adventure! I’m looking forward to seeing how your cake comes out and how it goes working with the powdered titanium dioxide. Please share a pic! Kudos on your growing cake business.

  15. I am making a wedding cake with white chocolate but I need to make it a little whiter that than the natural color of the chocolate. do you have a recipe with how to do this?

    • Titanium dioxide is a naturally occurring white food coloring that you can buy in liquid form. You can either add titanium dioxide to your white modeling chocolate or you can buy white chocolate with titanium dioxide already in it (it should be listed on the ingredients label). That will whiten anything up.

        • Thanks, Marion for pointing us where we can get powdered titanium dioxide! That is not as common here in the states! I’ve looked for it before with no luck, so how funny that you found it all the way from New Zealand. We appreciate your input 🙂

    • Actually the recipes in the book are universal and can be used with any kind of chocolate including candy melts. However candy melts are not real chocolate. They are an imitation product. However a lot of Americans do use candy melts and they will work for modeling chocolate. In fact they are easier to melt without over-heating since they don’t contain cocoa butter.

      • I find the Wilton melts work better in my warm Climate (down here in Aus) for exactly that reason (no cocoa butter), I also have warm but slow hands … the choc clay seems to last just that little bit longer while I’m working it

  16. hello, i bought your ebook and am trying the modelling chocolate recipe. i bought callebaut white chocolate n high fructose corn syrup. ive wrapped it in sandwich wrap now. but im looking at amd its looks juicy and oily. did i do something wrong? i live in a tropical country and its summer now so i stuck it in the fridge instead.

    • Hello, this post addresses your question in terms of what probably caused that oiliness so I would suggest going back to read it. You can definitely fix the problem (see pages 24-27 of the book) but putting the modeling chocolate in the refrigerator at that point is not the right move, because that will cause the fat layer to set up like a rind and then it will be harder to reincorporate it back into the batch. Again, go to the book’s troubleshooting section and you will find the answers there.

  17. I made chocolate modeling chocolate and it got oily. I just absorbed the oils with a paper towel. Can I salvGe the modeling chocolate

    • Yes. There are a number of ways to salvage it, the best way being to knead it an hour two after the batch has been made. As soon as it’s possible to knead it, before that fat layer has had a chance to harden but after the chocolate has had some time to relax and cool down fully, the emulsion can be restored with some calculated and gentle kneading of the modeling chocolate (not too much!).

  18. This tutorial is very helpful. Is there any way you can have the modeling chocolate set faster than refrigerating overnight?

    • You only need to refrigerate it for an hour or two if you want it to set fast. But I don’t recommend doing that unless you are really in a hurry. It’s better to let it set slowly overnight at room temperature.

  19. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I made a molded chocolate frog for a “Princess and the Frog Cake”, and it came out fabulous. First time making molding chocolate. The recipe is so easy!!

  20. I just ordered your book but I need to make my husband’s cake for Saturday I have worked with fondant but know one likes it can I cover a whole cake with chocolate clay .. I or rice crispy treats?

    • Yes you can certainly cover a whole cake in modeling chocolate. It’s easiest to wrap a cake with it instead of covering it like you would with fondant. It’s a little tricky but totally doable. The how-to is in my book.

  21. Kristen- I just ordered your book on book depository to be delivered to me in Israel. I have recently discovered the amazing thing you can do with modeling chocolate and I can’t wait for your book to arrive!

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