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Hints, Tips and Tutorials

Make your Chocolate Baking Even Better with Dr. Oetker

Baking and decorating with chocolate can be tricky. That's why here on the Hints, Tips and Tutorials page we have gathered a wide range of information to help you learn about baking with chocolate, and how to get the results you want. Read our Do's and Don'ts about baking with chocolate, or watch some of our great YouTube tutorials to get inspired to try making something new!

Share your favourite tips about baking with chocolate on our Facebook page,, we love to hear what you have to say!

Baking with Chocolate

Chocolate is used for baking for many different reasons:

  • To add flavour to your baking
  • To add texture as an ingredient
  • As a covering
  • To create decorations or moulding

If you are working with chocolate, there are a few tools you may want to consider investing in:

  • Whisks or beaters
  • Piping bags and nozzles
  • Palette knife
  • Marble slab- for tempering chocolate
  • Thermometer
  • Spatula
  • Vegetable peeler- perfect for making chocolate curls

Chocolate Do's and Don'ts

Do ensure all equipment to be used with melted chocolate is dry
Do melt chocolate slowly, burnt chocolate will result in a poor flavour
Do take extra care when melting white chocolate, as it is sensitive to burning
Do store chocolate in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight

Don't store chocolate near strong smelling household items or foods, chocolate absorbs odours easily
Don't allow water, moisture or steam to come into contact with chocolate when melting- it will go lumpy, thick and unusable!

Melting Chocolate

There are 3 main ways to melt chocolate:

1. Bain Marie- This involves placing the chocolate in a dry heatproof bowl, over a pan of barely simmering water. 

2. Microwave- Melt the chocolate pieces in a dry heatproof bowl on a medium heat for 1 minute, then bursts of 20 seconds, stirring frequently.

3. Direct Heat- Only melt chocolate in a pan if you are using other liquids too, such as butter, cream or milk.

Our top tips for melting chocolate:

  • Melt chocolate slowly to avoid burning.
  • Do not allow water to come into contact with the chocolate.
  • Scraps or curls can be melted down and re-used as a covering.
  • Chopping chocolate into small pieces will help it to melt quickly and evenly.
  • Milk and white chocolate are more likely to burn, take care when melting!
  • No chocolate bars? Melt chocolate chips or chunks by placing the pack in a jug of hot water. Snip the corner off for a great drizzle!
  • If the chocolate begins to thicken when melting, add a small amount of vegetable oil.
  • Good quality baking chocolate will give a much better flavour and a nice glossy finish.


Tempering- This is cooling the chocolate carefully to control the cocoa butter crystal size, so that you can make a bar, piece or coating which has a firm snap and glossy finish.

Blooming- This occurs when chocolate has been exposed to variations in temperature. When chocolate melts and then is cooled in an uncontrolled way, the cocoa butter crystals will be larger in size. These large crystals appear on the surface of the chocolate in white/grey speckles. The speckles will disappear again once the chocolate it melted.

Tips for the Perfect Chocolate Sponge

The perfect sponge needs to be light and fluffy, the best way to do this is sift your flour to remove any lumps, and make sure your eggs are at room temperature.

Use a high quality cooking chocolate, this will give you the best chocolate flavour as they are designed to be baked, unlike most confectionary chocolate.

  • When adding dry ingredients, use a metal spoon and gently fold the mixture, wooden spoons can cause the mixture to lose air.
  • Don't open the oven door while your cake is baking, this will cause it to sink in the middle.

Tips for the Perfect Chocolate Cupcake

  • For perfectly consistent sized cupcakes, try weighing the amount of cupcake mixture in each case before baking.
  • For a delicious surprise chocolate centre to your cupcakes, try adding a square of Dr. Oetker Fine Cooks' Chocolate to the cupcake mixture before baking. It will melt and add a delicious extra element of texture to your cupcake!
  • Don't overfill your cupcake cases, they could overspill during baking. Be mindful that they will rise!
  • Use high quality cooking chocolate to get the best flavour.
  • Take the cakes out of the cupcake tray once they are out of the oven. If you leave them in the hot tray, they will continue to cook and could dry out.

Tips for the Perfect Chocolate Buttercream

1. Beat 110g (4 oz) of softened butter in a large bowl until soft. Add 85g (3 oz) of icing sugar and beat until smooth.

2. Add another 85g (3 oz) of icing sugar, 55g (2 oz) of sifted cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of milk and beat until creamy. Beat in more milk if necessary to loosen the icing.

  • To ensure your icing it solid enough to hold its shape, do not add too much liquid or allow your ingredients to be too warm.
  • Buttercream should be at room temperature, but not warm.
  • Don't overfill your piping bag.
  • If you ice a cake on a warm day, the buttercream could separate. Put the cake in the fridge after icing.
  • To prevent getting crumbs into your buttercream when spreading on a cake, apply a thin layer of buttercream first and place the cake in the fridge to set the icing, then apply a thicker layer with no crumbs.

Tips for the Perfect Chocolate Ganache

1. Break 250g Dr. Oetker Fine Cooks' 72% Extra Dark Chocolate into small pieces in a heatproof bowl.

2. Heat 235ml double cream in a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil for a few seconds, then carefully pour the cream over the Dark Chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted, smooth and glossy. 

3. Allow the ganache to cool before pouring over your cake. The longer you leave the ganache to cool, the thicker it will be. If it is left to cool completely, whisk to make it light and fluffy again.

  • Unsalted butter can be added for a glossier finish.
  • You can add your favourite flavours to the ganache such as a liqueur, or extract, such as peppermint.
  • If the chocolate gets too hot it may burn, leaving your ganache grainy and thick.
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