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!
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Chocolate is used for baking for many different reasons:
If you are working with chocolate, there are a few tools you may want to consider investing in:
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.