Modeling chocolate, also known as candy clay or chocolate clay, is so easy to make and can be used to sculpt shapes, cover cakes, or decorate treats. Although the modeling chocolate recipe is simple, there are some tips and tricks you need to know in order to make smooth and creamy modeling chocolate every time.
What is modeling chocolate?
- Modeling chocolate, also known as chocolate clay, is a pliable mixture of chocolate and corn syrup.
- It is very similar to fondant but it tastes like chocolate.
- Modeling chocolate can be used like fondant to decorate and cover cakes or it can be used as a sculpting material to create forms and shapes.
- It dries harder than fondant, so sculpted pieces made of modeling chocolate will hold their shape really well.
- It will harden when left at room temperature to dry but will soften once in your mouth.
- You can use pure chocolate, compound chocolate (also known as confectionery coating, Candy Melts, melting wafers, or almond bar), or even chocolate chips to make it at home.
- When modeling chocolate is made using compound chocolate (made using a vegetable fat like palm kernel oil instead of cocoa butter) it is called Candy Clay.
- You can purchase pre-made modeling chocolate but it is very simple to make at home.
Types of chocolate to use:
- When making modeling chocolate I use pure milk and dark chocolate (made with cocoa butter), but I prefer to use white confectionery coating instead of pure white chocolate.
- The pure milk and dark chocolate have a richer flavor than the coatings but I actually prefer the taste of the white confectionery coating in this application and it is much less expensive than pure white chocolate.
- Read my Chocolate Making Tips page for more information about the various types of chocolates and how to melt them.
- Use your judgment when selecting chocolate for this recipe. You will definitely taste the chocolate, so choose what you like to eat.
- I personally use Peter's Burgundy (semi-sweet) and Ultra (milk chocolate,) but they are primarily sold in large quantities for the candy-making industry.
- You can find the Burgundy in 10-pound blocks from Amazon, along with these other chocolates that I would recommend. I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you when you use the links below.
Like I mentioned above, I typically use confectionery coating (candy melts) for my white and colored candy clay. There are several types of candy coating wafers that you can choose from. Here are the most popular brands...
Just choose your favorite type of chocolate or confectionery coating to use in the recipe below.
If you are a visual learner and would prefer to watch me make modeling chocolate in a video format, be sure to check out my Modeling Chocolate Course at The Sugar Academy.
White Modeling Chocolate
16 ounces white chocolate
⅓ cup light corn syrup add more if needed*
Dark Modeling Chocolate
16 ounces semisweet chocolate
½ cup light corn syrup add more if needed*
Milk Modeling Chocolate
16 ounces milk chocolate
⅓ cup light corn syrup add more if needed*
*Every chocolate has different amounts of fat, so you will need to adjust the amount of corn syrup based on the fat content.
Start with the amount listed above, then knead in more corn syrup as needed.
- Melt chocolate or confectionery coating. Check out my chocolate making tips for instructions on melting chocolate.
- Allow the chocolate to cool to about 91 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring often.
- If you add the corn syrup when the chocolate is too hot, the cocoa butter or oil will rise to the surface and you will have a greasy mess. (See links to the troubleshooting tips below.)
- If you don't have a thermometer, test the temperature of the melted chocolate by putting a drop on your lip. It should feel cool. If it's hot, let it cool longer.
- Pour in the corn syrup.
- Stir slowly until well incorporated, scraping the bowl as you go.
- The mixture will become thick very quickly, so scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate all of the melted chocolate.
- If there are any hardened bits of chocolate on your bowl or spatula, do not incorporate them into the modeling chocolate.
- You can place the modeling chocolate in a zip-top bag and allow it to cool for several hours or you can cool it on a marble or granite countertop. This will cut the cooling time dramatically.
- Pour the mixture out onto a countertop, preferably marble or granite.
- Knead until glossy and smooth. If your hands are warm use a plastic dough scraper to knead the modeling chocolate.
- Add more corn syrup, if needed, until the candy clay is nice and pliable.
- Wrap the modeling chocolate in plastic wrap and place it in a zip-top bag or airtight container.
- Allow it to dry for at least 30 minutes before using.
Types of Fat in Chocolate
- It's important to note that every chocolate has different ratios of fats and sugars so this modeling chocolate recipe is just a guide.
- Some chocolates will require more corn syrup than others.
- Start with the quantities listed in the ingredients then make adjustments as needed. Once you determine the exact ratio for the type of chocolate you use most often keep notes of your measurements.
- Also, the moisture in your room can also affect the moisture in your modeling chocolate.
- See the troubleshooting section below for instructions to solve problems with your modeling chocolate.
Candy Clay Creations
In November of 2016, I published Candy Clay Creations, a 102-page book available in a printed or e-book version, which is the ultimate guide to working with candy clay (modeling chocolate).
The book features beautifully colorful images to guide you through the process of making the perfect candy clay so that you can use it to decorate cookies, cupcakes, Rice Krispies treats, pretzels. and even caramel apples.
Be sure to get your copy today.
Take my modeling chocolate course to learn how to make modeling chocolate using pure chocolate and candy melts. Also learn how to fix dry, crumbly, and greasy modeling chocolate and how to make modeling chocolate decorations including that cute bunny.
A soft and pliable chocolate clay that can be used to sculpt shapes, cover cakes, or decorate treats will harden and hold its shape as it dries.
- 16 ounces white chocolate
- ⅓ cup light corn syrup add more if needed*
- 16 ounces semisweet chocolate
- ½ cup light corn syrup add more if needed*
- 16 ounces milk chocolate
- ⅓ cup light corn syrup add more if needed*
Melt chocolate or confectionery coating. (Click here for instructions.)
Allow the chocolate to cool to about 91 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring often.
Pour in the corn syrup.
Stir slowly until well incorporated. The mixture will become thick very quickly, so scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate all of the melted chocolate.
Place the modeling chocolate in a zip-top bag and set it aside to cool at room temperature for a few hours.
OR pour the modeling chocolate out onto a countertop, preferably marble or granite. Spread it out then scrape it up. Repeat. Continue to do this until it thickens.
Knead until glossy and smooth. If your hands are warm use a plastic dough scraper to knead the modeling chocolate.
Add more corn syrup, if needed, until the candy clay is nice and pliable.
Wrap the modeling chocolate in plastic wrap and place it in a zip-top bag or airtight container.
Allow the modeling chocolate to dry for at least 30 minutes before using.
Here are some of the tools you might want to make your modeling chocolate...
Even though this modeling chocolate recipe is really simple, things can go wrong.
You can overheat the chocolate clay making it greasy, you can add too little corn syrup and have dry candy clay, or you can let the modeling chocolate sit out for too long and end up with hard candy clay.
To solve these problems, check out these troubleshooting tutorials.
My niece would like a princess tea party birthday party. I thought I would make her a small doll cake with a beautiful princess dress for her and make tea cups out of modeling chocolate and fill the tea cups with cupcake for the other guests. Do you think the moisture of the cupcake will destroy the integrity of the tea cups made from modeling chocolate? I've never made or used modeling chocolate, so this is all new to me. Thanks for any help you can give.
That sounds like a fun idea! You can definitely put a cupcake inside the modeling chocolate. I have made cupcake wrappers using modeling chocolate and it works great. I do recommend making the wrappers ahead of time, then adding the cupcakes the day of the party. You can see an example here - https://hungryhappenings.com/halloween-cupcakes-cupcake-monsters-with-edible-cupcake-wrappers/
I actually made coffee cups using fondant but they could be made using modeling chocolate too. They are filled with a cupcake. You can see them here - https://hungryhappenings.com/smores-coffee-cup-cupcakes-and-fondant/
You are awesome! Thank you!
Awe, thank you! 🙂
Can modeling chocolate work in making a swans head and neck for a swan cake, do I need to put wire so the neck does not break?
You will be able to sculpt the swan's neck and head using modeling chocolate and allow it to harden and have it hold up but adding a wire will help to ensure the neck doesn't break. It might be good insurance against anything going wrong.
Hi Beth, wasn’t sure how to write a new comment, but I have a 2 tier buttercream cake that I was going to use some modeling chocolate on for small designs, the cake will be in the fridge for 2 days until it is used, should I put them on last minute or will it be fine to do now?
You should wait until your cake is out of the refrigerator before you add any modeling chocolate decorations to it. They will get sticky if stored in the refrigerator.
I've tried making modelling chocolate with white and dark compound. The dark compound comes out right but the white chocolate always ends up being almost like lie crust and not smooth at all. And when I try to kneed it, it just releases the fat. Please tell me where I am going wrong 🙁
If your white modeling chocolate feels like crust, it needs some more corn syrup. Let it rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes to cool down before kneading in more corn syrup. This will help to keep it from getting greasy. If it still gets greasy, you'll need to follow my instructions for fixing greasy modeling chocolate. https://hungryhappenings.com/chocolate-making-tips/how-to-fix-greasy-modeling-chocolate-2/
Thank you for all the details, including troubleshooting, and your detailed answers to questions!
Is it possible to under mix the warm chocolate? I mixed it around 5-10 swoops, there were no oily patches or lumps when I kneaded it, but even in the fridge overnight it was harder but still a bit bendable.
Anything to add to remedy, such as confectioners sugar or CMC powder?
I'm not exactly sure what you are asking. I never refrigerate my modeling chocolate as it will get sticky and wet from the condensation in the refrigerator. You may want to pull it out and set it on the counter for a while to see if it dries. If your modeling chocolate is too soft to hold its shape, then you can knead in some melted chocolate. It's tricky though as the modeling chocolate may become greasy when you add warm chocolate to it so you'll need to follow my instructions for fixing greasy modeling chocolate.
I've tried adding powdered sugar to firm up soft modeling chocolate but that has never been successful. Adding more chocolate is the best thing to do.
If this doesn't answer your question, please give me some more details and I'll do my best to help.
I was hoping to make a jelly-island cake with gelatin. Ive heard that using coloring & fondant will make the color bleed in the gelatin; ‘they’ say to usé modeling chocolate instead but i was wondering if i used a gel based icing, would it still bleed in the gelatin?
Do you hav any recommendations?
Thank you so so much!
Sounds like fun! Unfortunately, I have not tried this technique with gelatin so I don't really know how it will all work out. I'd suggest looking for a video on youtube and reaching out to the cake decorator who made one of the jelly-island cakes. Good luck.
Awesome Recipe. I am so wanting to try working with modeling chocolate.
Just wondering, given the not so available nature of candy melts in my country and the abundance of regular chocolate making ingredients, have you ever ventured into making your own white chocolate from basic ingredients ? if yes can you suggest a recipe.
Hi Maria, I have not made white chocolate on my own. Years ago I did make some dark chocolate using raw ingredients but it was too much work to make a small amount of chocolate and the texture of the chocolate was not smooth so I never did it again.
How long does this last?
Modeling chocolate will stay fresh for 3-12 months depending on the freshness of the chocolate or candy melts you use to make it. If you know the "use by" date of the chocolate or candy melts you are using, that will determine how long your modeling chocolate will stay fresh. Candy Melts typically have a 12-month shelf life from the date of manufacture and chocolate can have up to an 18-month shelf life. Store the modeling chocolate in zip-top bags set in an airtight container to keep it fresh.
Hi Beth, so glad I found your recipes. I have never done anything like this before and I’m a little intimidated. I want to make around 50 cupcake wrappers. How many will one recipe make? And would it be cheaper to purchase fondant or to make your own. Candy melts aren’t cheap so I wasn’t sure which would give a bigger quantity. Thanks for all your info. Love your work, Jo
Thanks, Jo. I love using modeling chocolate. I think it tastes so much better than fondant. Also, fondant will not firm up like modeling chocolate does so your fondant cupcake wrappers won't be as sturdy. You'd need to add some Tylose powder to the fondant in order for it to have enough structure to hold its shape.
You will need approximately one ounce of modeling chocolate to make each cupcake wrapper and you'll need extra so that you can roll and cut them all out. I'd plan to use about 56-60 ounces of chocolate or candy melts to make your 50 cupcake wrappers, which is about 6 bags of the candy melts (which cost between $2.50 and $3 a bag, if you buy them at Walmart or Jo Ann's or Micheals).
Hi I am about to try your recipe could you please let me know how to store unused paste and how long it will last. Also can I break bits off and colour it ?
You can store the modeling chocolate in a zip-top bag for up to 6 months. I like to put my zip-top bags in an airtight container just to ensure the modeling chocolate stays really fresh. Here's a tutorial all about storing your modeling chocolate - https://hungryhappenings.com/chocolate-making-tips/how-to-store-and-work-with-modeling-chocolate/
You can break off pieces and color them using food coloring. Note that if you use liquid coloring, it will soften the modeling chocolate. Place it in a zip-top bag and let it rest for about an hour before using it after you color it. That will give it time to firm up. I prefer using gel or paste colorings as they won't add as much liquid. Here's a tutorial on coloring modeling chocolate - https://hungryhappenings.com/chocolate-making-tips/how-to-color-modeling-chocolate/
Thank you very much for all the information. I’m looking forward to giving it a go.
Hi. How do you make modeling chocolate shiny?
If you brush modeling chocolate with similar colored luster dust it will be shiny. Some people brush confectioners' glaze on their modeling chocolate to make it shiny. I have never tried that though, so I'm not sure how well it works.
I'm making a Highland cow cake and need many different shades of browns. Could I half the recipe and add dark chocolate clay and white together to make different shades?
Yes, you can cut this recipe in half and you can blend two or more colors together. When making colors, always start with more of the light color (white) and blend in a small amount of the dark color. You can add more of the darker color as needed. Once you knead the dough in order to blend the colors, the modeling chocolate will be warm and very soft. Wrap it in plastic wrap or place it in a zip-top bag and set it aside for a while until it cools and firms up.
Have fun making your cow cake!
Hi, such a simplified recipie😍 I had one with liquid fondant but was not sble to provure it but i have cornsyrup do definately giving it a try:)
Just one quick question would you suggest using coverture only or we can use compound as well. Looking forward to your reply
When I first learned how to make modeling chocolate from Ewald Notter at his school in Florida, he showed us how to make it using liquid fondant. Even though he had made modeling chocolate hundreds of times he ended up with a greasy mess. He spent 30 minutes fixing it which was great to see. That day I learned that greasy modeling chocolate can be fixed and I also learned just how many amazing decorations can be created using the soft pliable chocolate.
I made modeling chocolate using the liquid fondant for a while before discovering the corn syrup recipe. Once I realized how easy it was to make using just chocolate and corn syrup I never went back to the original recipe.
You can definitely make modeling chocolate using compound chocolate. In fact, I wrote a book called Candy Clay Creations, and all of the desserts are decorated with modeling chocolate that has been made using compound chocolate, particularly Candy Melts. You can find the book on Amazon here - https://amzn.to/3gsjjxf
When I make dark or milk modeling chocolate I always use coverture chocolate but when I want white or a color I use compound chocolate instead. I personally like the flavor of Peter's White compound chocolate wafers best and I use them for much of my candy making.
Hello and thank you!!
I was hoping you can give some guidance on quantity.
I am intending to use like fondant to cover a 11x8x8 cake Wwith some extra with about an 11x8 piece cover some cereal treat forms.
(I only need it to be thick enough to give me a flush/smooth -1/2 in.??- surface to paint.). So I guess, in essence, in total enough for a 33x32x.5 inch piece.
I am planning to use semi sweet chips for a 2:1 ratio recipe.
Any idea how much to make?
Thank you again!
Also, do you know if a dusting of 10x sugar have the same qualities as cocoa for a liquid paint application?
As well as if a light coat of buttercream will adhere to this as well. (I need to attach sugar sheet appliques to a "white" back round.
Thank you so very much!!
You can find a good guide regarding the amount of fondant to use to cover a cake here - https://www.craftybaking.com/howto/fondant-amounts-needed-cover-cake
Because modeling chocolate does not stretch like fondant you will need to use a little bit more than they tell you in the guide.
You can add a little fondant to your modeling chocolate to make it more flexible.
Painting a design onto modeling chocolate can be tricky because water tends to sit on the surface. It's best to avoid water-based coloring. I personally like to add my decorations using luster dust mixed with alcohol. It works beautifully to add nice designs.
I prefer to use clear piping gel or melted chocolate to attach my modeling chocolate decorations together. If the decoration is really small you can even use water to attach the pieces. I would think clear piping gel will work best when adding sugar sheets too.
You can cover a buttercream coated cake with modeling chocolate but I prefer to coat the cake in chocolate ganache instead.
I hope this helps.
Thank-you for giving alternatives to corn syrup and teaching us how to make modeling chocolate. I have been wanting to try modeling chocolate for a while but if you can get it here it would be too expensive to even consider buying!
You are welcome, Luisa. It's always a challenge to create recipes using ingredients that are available internationally. I hope you give the recipe a try and that you are able to find an alternative to corn syrup that works well for you.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
Thank you for sharing your recipe ... I wanted to know how to stick modelling chocolate piece with pure chocolate stand for showpiece please advice
If you are attaching modeling chocolate to pure chocolate then you'll want to attach it using melted and tempered chocolate. If it's flat you can simply use a tiny bit of water or clear piping gel to attach it.
Wow I like love it thanks for the recipe
Hi. In my country we dont have corn syrup. Is there an alternative that I can use?
Yes, you can use honey, glucose, or golden syrup in place of the corn syrup. You can also use sweetened condensed milk but the texture will be a bit softer.
Great instructions to go by. I see I wasn’t letting my clay cool to 91 degrees. So happy I found u. Thanks
Thanks for this. I've been searching for a way to make modeling chocolate without using the wafers, since my son has a severe peanut & treenut allergy, and it seems that every brand I can find "may contain". Now I can use peanut/treenut-free white chocolate!
I was wondering: When would be the best time to add colouring? If I add it to the chocolate during the melting process, will that change the consistency? Is it better to knead in the colour, once the dough has been formed?
It's great that you have been able to find treenut-free white chocolate. I would recommend adding the coloring after you have made the modeling chocolate unless you are using oil-free candy coloring. If you use coloring that is specifically formulated for chocolate then you can color the melted white chocolate. If you knead in the color you can use icing colors or even store-bought liquid food coloring. Good luck and have fun!
Ive made both dark and white modelling chocolate. The dark one comes out right but I always end up with a flaky, pie crust dough looking white modelling chocolate. And when I attempt to knead it, it just starts losing its fat. Please tell me what I'm doing wrong and how I can fix this. 🙁
It sounds like your white modeling chocolate needs more corn syrup. Every chocolate (or white chocolate) has a different amount of fat, so the recipe is just a guide. You may need to adjust the ratio of corn syrup to white chocolate. If it feels greasy, but dry (flaky, like pie crust), let it cool down for 15-30 minutes, then knead in some more corn syrup. If it is still too greasy, spread it out on a cool surface (marble, granite, metal) and scrape it back up. Then, spread it out again, and scrape it up. Continue to do this until all of the fat is incorporated back into the chocolate. This will help to cool it and make it pliable. If it still feels too dry, knead in a bit more corn syrup.
I just happened upon your site as I was looking for a good/recommended chocolate for making roses etc out of modelling chocolate and I was riveted by your incredibly vast knowledge of chocolate and the difference it makes in using real chocolate/the need for tempering/ if wafers are suitable for ganache…… you answered questions I didn’t realize I had. I want to purchase your book before I go any further. I have been making cakes for years but chocolate has always been a vulnerable spot for me. I am a polymer clay artist (not jewelry as much as bowls, votives) but my granddaughter turned 10 in March and wanted me to make her a cake. With COVID 19, we have yet to celebrate her birthday and I wanted it to be very special considering I have the time. I am so depressed with this social isolation that I wanted to immerse myself in a special project. You have actually made me excited that I think I can make her the type of cake she wants (not big but intricate). I can’t thank you enough. I read parts of your tutorials 4-5 times because you explain processes in such detail I believe that I can make it work. I can make her precious dog (4 year old miniature Dachshund) out of modelling chocolate not gum paste. Thank you so much for giving me the inspiration and encouragement for this important project. I love her so much and now I have direction and a mental picture of how to I can make it work. I haven’t felt this good since the beginning of March which is the last time I hugged her. I have many physical limitations and financial restrictions that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do this for her.
However, you offer many options that it now seems viable. I truly hope you realize how positively your work and detailed step by step instructions impact people. I am so happy I decided to look up modelling chocolate today and came across your tutorials. Thank you so very much 😊
I am so happy you found this tutorial helpful. I've worked with modeling chocolate so much during my career as a chocolatier and I really love it. I just finished filming a video class all about making and working with modeling chocolate and I'm excited to share it at TheSugarAcademy.com. I hope to have it ready by the end of April.
This is such a difficult time for everyone and I understand how sad you are not to be with your granddaughter. I do hope it won't be too much longer before we are able to celebrate birthdays and spend time together again. I haven't made a Dachsund but I did sculpt a cute autograph dog that has a similarly long body like the Dachsund. You can see it here - https://hungryhappenings.com/fondant-autograph-graduation-dog/
I hope you enjoy making modeling chocolate decorations. If you have any questions as you are working don't hesitate to reach out.
Enjoy. Stay healthy and safe!
Hi This is sakthi I really love u r all blog's it's really helpful for improving myself my career u r so osm think you so much beth