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When I discovered cake decorating, one of the first books I fell in love with was The Whimsical Bakehouse – Fun-to-Make Cakes That Taste as Good as They Look by Liv Hansen and Kaye Hansen. One of the techniques covered in the book is how to make chocolate transfers. These edible decorations can be made weeks in advance. They can be made large for an impressive cake topper or small for a fun cupcake topper. The fluidity of the chocolate lends itself to fine-line designs that can be difficult to replicate in other mediums.
You should know these basic tips before working with chocolate:
- Do not get any water in the chocolate because it will seize.
- Because of the water issue, you cannot use gel food colors in chocolate. Instead, you must use candy colors, which are oil-based.
- Follow the directions to heat your chocolate in the microwave in short intervals. It burns easily.
- If you are working with a design that has wording, be sure to print a “mirror image” of the design.
- You may store chocolate transfers for up to a month in a cool place. Use an airtight container.
This what I used:
Plexiglass (or use a cookie sheet)
Small glass bowls
Candy melts in brown, yellow and orange
Piping bags and closures
Copies of the butterfly design from the book (alternately, you could print buttefly coloring page images)
Step 1: Tape your design behind your plexiglass as shown. Alternately, you can tape it on top of a cookie sheet. I like using the plexiglass because you can peek at your progress from underneath from time to time.
Step 2: Tape a piece of parchment paper over your work surface. You will be piping the chocolate onto the parchment paper. This will allow the chocolate transfer to release easily when it is complete.
Step 3: Follow the instructions on your candy melts to melt them in the microwave. Melt only one color at a time. Start with the brown.
Step 4: I reinforced the lower area of the piping bag near the tip with scotch tape to make it stronger for piping. Then pour the melted brown chocolate in the piping bag and seal the end with the bag closure.
Step 5: Carefully pipe the outline of the butterflies. Place them to the side.
Step 6: Melt the yellow candy melts and transfer them into a piping bag.
Step 7: Now pipe areas of yellow on the butterflies. I also use the background color to reinforce around the head and tail of each butterfly so they won’t be too thin and fragile. Be creative and have fun. Leave some room for the final color.
Step 8: Finally, it is time to melt the third color of candy melts and transfer the orange chocolate to a piping bag.
Step 9: Use the orange chocolate to fill in any remaining areas so that the brown outline is completely covered. Make sure it overlaps well with the other colors. If the transfer is too thin, you can have breaks at the seams.
Step 10: Allow them to dry and cool for a few minutes on the counter. Then transfer them to the refrigerator for at least five minutes. You can remove the print out and peek from underneath to see how they will look and ensure your outline is fully covered.
Step 11: Once the chocolate transfers feel hard and cool to the touch, you can untape the parchment paper. Lift the edge slowly to release the transfer and turn it over carefully to reveal the design.
Step 12: Store the butterflies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet in a cool place.
Place the butterflies on freshly-iced cupcakes and enjoy!