It’s all the rage. It allows for so much more flexibility in cake design and figure modeling, and my GOODNESS does it taste delicious.
This sweetheart cake decorating medium is none other than modeling chocolate, and it’s close cousin, candy clay.
I get questions, see confusion, and even witness intimidation with modeling chocolate and I’m here to clear it all up. With so many possibilities it’s worth the effort to learn to make it yourself and try it out. Let me be your modeling chocolate and candy clay escort for the day, and I promise we’ll win you over!
Let’s dive in!
Photo via Kara’s Couture Cakes
We’ll be making both modeling chocolate (the off-white wafers on the left), and candy clay (the bright white wafers on the right). There are slight differences in ratios with the recipes for each, so I’ll provide both. I find it so convenient to grab a pre-weighed bag of candy melts at the store, especially when I can begin with a colored batch and have little to do get my exact wanted color.
Note:I’ll be showing you step by step the methods using the white candy melts, but the methods apply equally to both real chocolate and the candy melts.
- 1 pound white chocolate – chopped pieces, chips, or wafers
- just under 1/2 cup light corn syrup or glucose
- 1 – 12 ounce bag of your preferred color melts
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
I’ll be melting these in the microwave in bursts of 30 seconds. I check them for their meltiness (yep, that’s a Kara-approved technical term) after each 30 seconds. It’s important to monitor them and not let them burn, which can be easily done in the microwave. And once it’s burnt, it’s a goner. If you’re uncomfortable using the microwave, you can melt them old school over a double boiler on the stove top.
Ooh! It looks all nice a smooth, right? Nope. there are still a few subtle lumps trying to hide from view. I’ve pointed them out for you. These aren’t good to leave in your bowl. They do need to be melted completely or they will wreak havoc in your final batch of modeling chocolate/candy clay. Little bumps and lumps everywhere when we’re looking for it to be beautifully smooth.
In the interest of not over heating, when you get near to this stage of melting, leave it in the microwave after that last 30 second burst. Don’t open the door right away. Let it sit in there, hanging out in the warmth for a minute or two. It allows for the residual heat to work it’s way through those lumps and to even out through your whole mixture. No over-heating, no lumps. Perfect!
Here I’ve taken my spatula and swiped it along the side of my mixing bowl to see if there are any small bumps or lumps. There aren’t, so we’re ready to warm our corn syrup! Well, almost…
Before I warm the corn syrup and get to mixing, I change my bowl. The bowl we melted in has some drier bits around the tops and sides from stirring and those can be a problem. So I’ve found that my best move in making modeling chocolate and candy clay is to use a fresh bowl for the mixing. Now that we have a fresh bowl, pop the corn syrup into the microwave for about 6-8 seconds to bring it to a little above room temperature. It shouldn’t even feel warm to your hands (unless you’ve got cold fingers, like me).
If you want to add color to your white chocolate or white candy melts, now is the time to add a few drops of concentrated gel color. Just drop them in with the corn syrup and mix it in before adding to your bowl.
Commence mixing… slowly and gently!
Gently pull the corn syrup through the melted chocolates or candy melts. It’s important to be sure you scrape all the melted bits from the sides and bottoms, and that all of it comes into contact with the corn syrup. While this image above looks like it’s smooth and even, you can see swirls in it, and those swirls need to be fully mixed in for a successful product.
People describe this final consistency as soft-serve, you know… the ice cream. It feels and looks like a thick ricotta cheese to me. It’s also important to not over mix this. Once you start to see this stage come together, get your hands off your spatula! Step away from the mixing bowl. If you continue, you will very quickly separate the mixture and have a pool of oil next to a dry lump of chocolate. No one wants that.
Once you’ve finished mixing, pour your mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap, flatten in with your spatula a bit, and wrap it air tight. Leave it to sit on your work surface to cool and begin to firm up a bit. If you lay your plastic out over a baking sheet and wrap it there, you’ll be able to move it from your work surface with ease.
Candy clay sets a bit quicker than modeling chocolate. This took about an hour in my relatively cool kitchen to come to a pliable, but solid state. And I’m impatient, so I don’t rest it over night before kneading and using if I need it quick. At this stage you’ll knead it and feel through a bit for lumps, smoosh them out by pinching them between your fingers. Knead until it is a consistent, soft and smooth ball.
Note: Modeling chocolate will take a bit longer to set… more like hours. But just let it rest at room temp. Trying to force it in refrigeration causes more difficulty than it’s worth with inconsistent chilling from edges inward and create umps that may not have had otherwise.
Use it now, or wrap it airtight in plastic and store it in a large zipper bag or airtight container. You can freeze this if you want to keep it longer than a few weeks.
Truly, modeling chocolate and candy clay are super easy to make once you’ve done it once or twice. I have a rainbow of colors on hand all the time to use for projects!
I do prefer using candy melts as I think they behave better with heat and warm hands. Also, having the ability to start with colors so close to what I may need for a project is invaluable to me, a time saver. If you don’t want such bold color, use part colored melts, and part white ones. You can add color later when kneading to adjust as necessary.