Wednesday, June 23, 2010

CraftShare Week 4: Turtle Cake & Modeling Chocolate!!

I really love the idea of cake decorating.  Mostly because it involves taking something delicious and making it pretty too, but also because it's an area of crafting that is very new to me.  I loved to oooh and ahhhh over beautiful covered cakes but never thought it would be possible to make something that looked and tasted good by myself, until I discovered Modeling Chocolate (aka Candy Clay).  That's right folks, this is not a fondant covered cake!

What is Modeling Chocolate?  Just a mixture made from corn syrup and candy melts (those chocolate disks that are usually used for making suckers & dipping stuff).  Modeling chocolate has a texture like play dough, so it can be use just like fondant or gum paste to decorate cakes, cookies or make edible sculptures.  Roll it out, cut it, shape it, whatever you want!  It doesn't really get hard or change consistency, it keeps well, and, most importantly, it tastes really good.

How do you make it?

1. Melt one package of chocolate melts in microwave according to package instructions.  The chocolate may not look like it's completely melted, but once you stir it a bunch, it should be fine.  Be sure it is nice & smooth or you'll have visible chunks later.  You can overcook it and then it's burnt or the consistency gets wrecked, so this is an important step!
2. Carefully fold in a 1/2 cup of light corn syrup.  Keep gently folding until it starts to come together like a dough ball
3. Spread out your mixture on a cling wrap covered cookie sheet and spread nice & flat until it's about 1/2" thick and cover top with cling wrap.
4.  Let it sit for at least 3 hours (so don't wait to make it until the last minute when you need to use it!)
5. After it's set, take small sections of the modeling chocolate and knead them with your hands until soft and pliable like play dough.  Continue until you've worked the entire batch and then use it or wrap with cling wrap and place in an airtight container.  It should keep for a couple of months wrapped up.

Tips I've learned:
  • Do not try to use chocolate chips or other random kinds of chocolate - the results may not turn out
  • The best way to melt your chocolate is in a pyrex measuring cup in the microwave
  • To color, use food color gels (found in most baking supply stores) and work in just a few drops by kneading.  You can buy the melts in several colors, but you can make any shade with the white ones & a little coloring gel, so that gives you a lot more options
  • To prevent it from sticking to the work surface, tools or your hands, sprinkle on a bit of cornstarch
  • Just like fondant, do not stick this in the fridge or it will get sticky 

To make this turtle cake, I used a pyrex mixing bowl to get the shell-shaped cake & then covered the cake with a thin layer of buttercream frosting when it was cool.  I colored my modeling chocolate in the various colors needed and rolled out & covered the cake with the kelly green.  I hand sculpted the legs, tail & head in the lime green and used the end of a small paintbrush to make the facial features & details on the feet.

The circles were made with fondant cutters and attached with icing.  For a nicer presentation, I covered a cake board with some scrapbook paper and wrapped a ribbon around the edge.

In hindsight I should have made more chocolate for the shell (I guessed on what would be enough and didn't have much hanging over the edge when it was rolled out), but for my first-ever covered cake, I was pretty pleased and it had the desired effect on my family.  I'm almost sorry to say he was eaten immediately after these photos.  I came up with this design after reading drooling over the book 50 Easy Party Cakes by Debbie Brown.  Even if you are not into making your own cakes, just looking at this book is fun (and inspires you to at least want to try to make something).  Seriously they are THAT gorgeous & creative, so I highly recommend this book even if you only get it to stare at the photos.  I may go stare at it again now....

Now it's your turn!  If you've made any kind of cake, show it off.  It can be pretty, creative, colorful, even crazy in design, I'm not picky - I just like cake.  Add your pics to the CraftShare Flickr pool or tell us some of your favorite ways to decorate or tips for making cakes.   I know you've got it in you - I've seen some tasty ones in the Craftastic Monday link party, so don't get shy!  Heck, even cake disaster stories are appreciated (I know I'm not the only one with some of those - see Easter Cake).

Sharing this with my fave link parties too so check them out here!


  1. Wow, so great! Hope I could make one.. :)


    My new blog:

  2. great job I'm going to try my hand at this!

  3. Yay Modeling Chocolate. Thanks for the recipe. Can't wait to try it.

  4. How fun! I can't wait to try this. Your turtle is just too cute for words!

  5. Great job on this! That is one cute turtle!!

  6. What a COOL cake! Thanks for this post - I'm inspired!

  7. This is awesome! Just what I needed... I've got to make a monster cake in the fall.... going to have to test out this technique! Thanks a bunch!!

  8. How cute! I wish i would've had it when my kids were little..they would've loved it! Now will keep it for grandbabies

  9. love him!! My youngest will be a Terrapin for 1 more year at elementary school and I'd love to do this for something at the school.

  10. What an adorable turtle, I just want to eat him right up! I really want to try making one of these! Thanks for linking up to Hoo's got talent!

  11. oh MY!
    it is SO super duper CUTE!


  12. this is super cute! thanks for the great info. on modeling chocolate. you have inspired me:)

  13. I love cake decorating too but haven't stepped into modeling chocolate or fondant... maybe I should because this is too cute!

    Thanks for linking with What are little boys made of?

  14. Thanks so much for sharing this idea. I am going to try it as soon as I go and get the chocolate melts.

    Lovvvvvve your tutle cake. It turned out fantastic Ü

  15. Seriously?!! Chocolate??!! Because chocolate isn't appealing enough that you need make it more-so? Can nobody make spinach and rice cakes cute? Really, it is very cute. Well done! Thanks for sharing ... please come again!

  16. Thanks for linking up to the Mad Skills party!

  17. I do a lot of cakes and had no idea modeling chocolate was so easy to make! Thanks for sharing!
    Theresa @

  18. Thanks so much for sharing on craft Schooling Sunday, I really couldn't believe it was a cake! You did a great job and thanks for the new info! all the best and hope to see you again soon!

  19. Fabulous cake! The little smiley face made me laugh. I'm visiting with sumo, hope you visit me too!

  20. the world is lucky to have a person like u

  21. Thanks for this recipe. I have been making cakes and candy forever and never tried this. Now that I have Grand kids, perfect time to make some cool shaped cakes. I love learning new things. Look out kitchen, here I come. Funny reminds me when my Mom and I took cake decorating classes, we had to make a cake for each class and having 2 cakes each week quickly became, who can we give this one to? Wish she were still with us, she would love this new (for me to try) technique. I use to have my own business selling homemade cakes, candies, etc.. This would have great back then when I need to make a small ball for a knitting ball for a cake topper.


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