All posts by Cynthia Stroud

Cynthia Stroud is a multi-award winning British cake designer who has built a reputation as the go-to professional for show-stopping cakes.
Cynthia Stroud's trio of cakes with drip technique, chocolate transfer sheet and hand painted chocolate designs

Cynthia Stroud’s Expert Tips to Master 3 Beautiful Chocolate Decorating Trends

It’s easier than you might think to create show-stopping desserts with these three chocolate decorating ideas seen in Great Chocolate Showdown. From a simple chocolate drip technique to hand painting and transfer sheet designs, open your desserts up to a world of delicious decorating possibilities that taste as good as they look.

See More: Here’s What You Need to Know About Cynthia Stroud

How To Paint With Chocolate (Cocoa Butter)

Painting with cocoa butter is different to painting with water-based food colour and edible alcohol. The former is like oil painting and the latter is more like water colour painting. Keep this in mind when creating your designs with cocoa butter.

To create cocoa butter colours, melt cocoa butter and mix in edible food colour powder or dust. If a colour is too deep, you can add white edible food colour dust. Be sure to keep your cocoa butter warm and liquid the whole time you are painting otherwise it will coagulate and make it difficult to achieve the spread you want. To do this, whilst painting, balance your painting palette or a plate you are using over a bowl of warm water.

Cynthia Stroud hand painting with cocoa butter

Tips for Painting With Chocolate:

It is important that your paint brush is dry and free of water otherwise it will cause the cocoa butter to coagulate into clumps.

To create shades in your cocoa butter painting, layer over an area with white cocoa butter.

• To create texture, brush over any painted areas with dry brushes.

• To achieve colours true to type, it is worth painting a layer of white first

• You cannot use water-based food colouring to colour cocoa butter as the moisture in the water-based food colouring will cause it to seize up.

See More: Expert Chocolate Techniques to Master Now

How to Decorate With Chocolate Transfer Sheets

When painting on transfer sheet, paint on the details first. You ought to paint in reverse to the way you’d paint on a piece of paper. On a piece of paper or canvas you’d normally paint the background first and add details after, but for transfer sheets, paint the details first then the background after. To get a good idea of whether your painting is coming along the way you intend, lift the sheet from time to time and crane your neck to look at the unpainted side. That will tell you how your painted cake will look.

Cynthia Stroud's trio of cakes with drip technique, chocolate transfer sheet and hand painted chocolate designs

Tips for Creating Chocolate Transfer Sheets:

• When spreading the melted tempered chocolate, ensure it is not too warm & runny (or it will melt your painting) and don’t overwork the chocolate whilst spreading it on the painted transfer sheet or it will dislodge the painted details.

• Ensure the transfer sheet is covered from edge to edge or this will result in gaps in the transfer collar

Related: How to Temper Chocolate Like a Pro for Perfect Candy Making

How to Create a Chocolate Drip Cake Technique

Use tempered chocolate and allow it to drip down the side of your cake, creating a lovely and simple finish. Tempered white chocolate can be coloured with oil-based food colouring before pouring/dripping for a colourful look or drips can be embellished with gold leaf, dragees (also known as a Jordan amond) or flowers whilst still wet before setting.

Cynthia Stroud demonstrating a chocolate drip technique on a cake

Tips for Creating a Chocolate Drip Cake:

• It is important to cover your cake with a smooth coating of buttercream or ganache and chill the cake till firm/solid to the touch before attempting a drip pour.

• The tempered chocolate should be runny enough to run down the edge of a mug. Always do this test before attempting to drip straight onto the cake!

• It is important to ensure the tempered chocolate is fairly liquid. You can thin it down with some cocoa butter or coconut oil.

Watch Great Chocolate Showdown Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Watch and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

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