Chocolate tempering

Looking for smooth, glossy chocolate in your cake decorating ?

Now’s the time to discover the secrets of tempering. This technique consists of melting the chocolate in order to be able to work it and start off the crystallisation process to get a solid, smooth and glossy appearance. If you just melt your chocolate, it won’t be shiny when it cools down and will have white mottling. So you need to temper your chocolate.

What chocolate should you choose ?

For cake decoration, glazing or moulds, you really must choose a good quality chocolate that is rich in cocoa butter (at least 32%) called couverture chocolate. Cooking chocolate or plain/dark chocolate is called laboratory chocolate, because it doesn’t have much cocoa butter and is very rich, and is used instead for creams, mousses or ganache.

Temperature curves

The process


Make a bain-marie by positioning a mixing bowl over a saucepan with water in it. Make sure the water isn’t touching the bottom of the mixing bowl.


Heat until reaching melting temperature

Melt 2/3 of the chocolate while stirring regularly. Make sure you stick to the stated melting temperature for the type of chocolate you are using.


Bringing it to crystallisation temperature

Remove the bain-marie then add the remaining 1/3 of chocolate while stirring to bring it down to a crystallisation temperature (it varies according to the type of chocolate used).


Bringing it to working temperature

Return it briefly to the bain-marie, stirring constantly, so you bring it to the chocolate’s working temperature.


- For structural cake decorations : brush on chocolate at working temperature in very thin layers using a brush. You will thus obtain a good rendering of the cake decoration or cake form, without any bubbles in it.
In every other case : create cake decorations at working temperature. Let it rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on the thickness you want, then empty out by turning it over and tapping. Position the utensil in the desired shape then let it cool down and shrink to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. If you are in a hurry, you can put it in the fridge or freezer for a few moments.

For the best results

  • Avoid humidity: chocolate doesn’t like water !
  • Always use very clean utensils (baking frame, moulds, etc...)
  • Using a thermometer is advised, if not essential.
  • Our special bain-marie heater makes it easy to heat chocolate at a low temperature. All heat sources including induction.
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