Making chocolate curls can be a really important step in the process of making your cake look as delicious as it possibly can. If there’s one thing that’s for sure about baking chocolate cakes, it’s that a little bit of extra chocolate on top certainly doesn’t hurt!
There are 3 ways you can use to make chocolate curls for cake decorating which is using the traditional knife method, vegetable peeler method, or using a grater.
There are a number of other ways that you can make really great chocolate curls, though, and they are surprisingly dissimilar to the method above. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about making the perfect chocolate curls!
What’s The Easiest Way To Shave Chocolate
The best way to make chocolate curls for decorating a cake or any other type of dessert is, quite simply, to shave down a block of chocolate.
Holding the block with your non-dominant hand, you can drag the blade of a knife down the side of it, and gently shave beautiful curls off the main block.
When doing this, make sure to use the tip of the knife blade, and regularly rotate the block of chocolate. These two things combined will help to ensure that you get the best curls possible! There is a knack to this method, though, so don’t be daunted if it takes you a while to get things perfectly right – you’ll get there in the end!
What Is The Best Way To Shave Chocolate?
The traditional knife method is similar to the method that we described above but quite different in the preparation phase.
In the traditional knife method, the chocolate is melted and mixed with some type of fat which is solid at room temperature. Typically, vegetable shortening is used, but you could also use butter. Solid fats are used so that the chocolate shavings you’ll be making do not melt when they reach room temperature.
Once melted and mixed with shortening, you can pour out the melted chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper – this is to ensure that the melted chocolate doesn’t stick to anything important, which would make cleanup a nightmare!
How Do You Temper Chocolate For Cake Decorations?
The chocolate mixture will harden as it cools, to form a solid mass that is fairly non-sticky and will be very solid at room temperature.
Using the tip of a knife, you can gently drag shavings off the main block, leaving you with a rapidly growing mountain of perfect shavings. These shavings can be used however you’d like to decorate your bakes!
Again, this method is quite similar to the first one that we described, only the tool that you’re using is different. In the method we described at the start of the article, we suggested that you use a knife to pull fine chocolate shavings from a larger block.
This is a great way to do things, but it does mean that you would be leaving yourself open to shavings of various sizes.
How Do You Shave Chocolate For A Garnish
The great thing about using an alternative piece of equipment in the form of a vegetable peeler is that you can, essentially, ensure a more uniform size for your shavings.
Just as when you’re peeling veggies, the thickness of the shavings will be controlled by the width of the gap in your peeler. Whether you’re using a speed peeler or a y-peeler, the same concept applies.
Therefore, if the continuity of the toppings that you’re using is particularly important to you, then you ought to consider using a vegetable peeler to get great chocolate shavings!
For this method and for any of the other methods which involve physically shaving down a larger block of chocolate, bear the temperature of the chocolate itself in mind.
If the block is too warm, then your knife will simply slide through it and you won’t be able to effectively control the size of your shavings.
If the block is too cool, then you’ll be tremendously more likely to chip small pieces of chocolate off the block rather than shaving small curls from them. Therefore, try to make sure your chocolate is, roughly, at room temperature.
Using a box grater to create chocolate shavings is, surely, one of the most reliable ways of making them. Not only do you have the capability to make a number of different sizes of shavings, but you can also use cold chocolate on a warm grater.
Using cool chocolate is desirable for your hands as it will mean that the chocolate won’t melt while you’re working with it. This is handy for obvious reasons, the biggest of which being that it will massively reduce the amount of cleanup that you’ll find yourself doing.
The problem of using cold chocolate, though, is that it won’t effectively fall into shavings, instead, it will likely chip rather than curling up. The solution to this problem is to use a box grater which is slightly warm. This will mean that the cold chocolate you’re working with will not melt in your hands, but it will melt just enough to grate well on the grater.
A good way to achieve this goal is simply to have your grater on or near a radiator while you’re doing other things – try to point the side that you’ll be using closest to the radiator, as it will become warm. When it’s warm, you’ll have the best chance of grating properly shaped curls.
The other advantage of using a box grater to create chocolate curls to decorate your bakes with is that you can create a number of different shapes easily. Of course, you can create different shapes with a knife, but it will be much more difficult.
Because a grater is already shaped into a number of different shapes, you can not only create different curls, but you can switch between them easily.
For example, a great choice to get started making chocolate curls could be to use the same side of your grater that you might use for parmesan – the holes are similar to standard grater holes, just much smaller.
This side will allow you to create extremely small flakes of chocolate, ones which would be ideal for use on cookies, or perhaps lighter desserts like cheesecakes.
To make larger curls that would be ideal for something more hefty, like a sponge cake, you could use the side of your grater that’s designed for grating cheddar cheese or root vegetables. The holes on this side will create curls which are roughly half a centimeter in diameter, ideal for creating very straightforward curls, the type that you might buy in a supermarket.
Finally, we come to the side of the grater with wider slits. This side is, technically speaking, designed to be used to create large slices of cheese. However, coming at these holes with a room-temperature block of chocolate will mean that you’re able to create large curls, ones that are approximately two to three centimeters in diameter.
These will be very large indeed and may be oversized for some desserts. However, they would be ideal for exceptionally large desserts such as traybakes, or for serving alongside dessert served in a bowl, such as ice cream.