Posted by: njbrown | April 10, 2012

Chocolate Roses, Bows and Other Chocolate Decorations

Chocolate Roses and Bow

I love beautiful food, and especially when it looks beautiful, too.  A local chocolatier featured cakes in the display window that were decorated with chocolate roses, and I thought they were gorgeous.  It became my goal to learn to make them, but it was only last weekend that I had the opportunity.  Golda’s Kitchen – of Web fame – turns out to be about twenty minutes from my home.  They offer a variety of cake decorating classes, and this season, a half-day class in working with chocolate was one that immediately caught my eye since the curriculum included chocolate roses, chocolate baskets, piping with chocolate and making chocolates.

In class rather than using tempered chocolate, we used coating chocolate – a mixture of chocolate, sugar, etc. with vegetable oil rather than cocoa butter.  It is easy to work with, but doesn’t have the same lovely “mouth feel.”  Coating chocolate is sometimes sold under the name of “candy melts,” and comes in many colors.  You can also use the white wafers and color them yourself.

What we actually learned was a bit different from I expected, and much of the afternoon was spent learning to pipe chocolate in a variety of colors onto acetate overlaying a pattern in a reverse painting technique.  Once completed, the design was freed from the acetate, and could be used to decorate a cake.  Apparently, a New York pastry shop makes all their cakes using colored chocolate and sells them as rapidly as they make them.  I don’t think I’ll ever use the technique, although I might do simpler chocolate decorations for cupcakes, or perhaps a ganache-covered cake.

The very end of the class was spent demonstrating making a chocolate rose.  I had watched many baking shows where modeling chocolate has been used, but I had never seen or felt it.  I opted to buy the ready-made product at almost $24 for a two-pound container.  However, it can be made easily and far more cheaply but combining chocolate “melts” and light corn syrup.

For those with inadequate piping skills, this is heaven sent.  It is quite easy to form petals and to apply them to the base to make the roses, and with even less skill, you can make lovely bows.

This video shows what I think is a breath-taking wedding cake that is made using the two techniques:

For more guidance on forming a bow, this site is helpful, but they don’t tell you to cut a short strip to wrap around the join between the loops:  Modeling Chocolate Flowers.  The taste and texture are like a “Tootsie Roll.”

Although we didn’t get to chocolate baskets, this video shows how to make something similar:I once saw Jacques Torres demonstrate the technique, but he dips the balloon 3 times (covering 1/3 of the bottom and circumference each time).  This gives a lovely petal effect to the bowl.

If you’ve ever wondered how they get patterns on fancy desserts, chocolate transfers are the answer.  If you can spread melted chocolate, you can do it:

To make a multi-loop bow – either plain or patterned – you can follow these directions:

All About Candy Making

Class members were given a copy of Autumn Carpenter’s All About Candy Making, which is only $10.95, and includes a wide variety of techniques including how to make chocolate boxes.

Gorgeous confections are well within reach of the most artistically challenged.  I hope you’ll have fun.



  1. Sounds like fun! All of the decorations look absolutely beautiful!

    • Thank you, Jane!

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