Chocolate flood work is a technique used most commonly in cake decoration. A one dimensional transfer is created by tracing an image with dark chocolate, then “flooding” in between the traced lines with colored white chocolate. The result is a fully edible, nearly perfect image that can be applied to cakes or cupcakes.
You will need the following supplies to create flood work:
Dark chocolate semper (chocolate that does not need to be tempered, available at cake & craft supply stores)
White chocolate semper
Candy color (oil based food coloring, available at cake supply & craft stores),
Cardboard cake board
Acetate (clear plastic sheets found in art supply stores)
Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a flood work piece:
Choose an image. Flood work tends to work best on simple designs. The more complex, the more muddled the chocolate and therefore image can become. For a first project, stay with a simple design.
Flip the image horizontally. In other words, create a mirror image. Because you will be tracing the image, when the chocolate is removed, it will be a mirror of the copied image. This is not incredibly important when making characters, however if you are creating a logo with letters or writing, you will need to make sure you have flipped your image before you begin. This can be done with most graphic design programs, and is also available as a print option in the newer versions of Word.
Prepare the image. Cut out the image and tape it securely to a piece of cardboard (cake boards work well). Cut out a piece of acetate slightly larger than your image and tape that down.
Trace lines in dark chocolate. Working carefully, trace all the lines within the image. This includes the entire outline, as well as any defining lines within the image. For example, all the black lines seen on Daisy should be traced in dark chocolate. While the interior lines can be piped thin, make sure to give a little extra volume to the outline. This will stabilize your image and aid in the transfer process. The image below shows the bottom half of Daisy has been traced in chocolate.
Flood in the different areas with colored white chocolate. Melt and color the white chocolate to match the colors in your image. Working within the lines of the particular color, pipe the chocolate, making sure to fill from edge to edge. Make sure your chocolate is warm and flows nicely, so that the chocolate can easily spread into tight corners. Remember that you are working on the back of your image – so there is no need to be perfect. You can cover any interior chocolate lines, as long as they separate the same color chocolate. For example, Daisy’s shirt sleeves are defined by chocolate lines, but when I flooded, I flooded both the areas and over the line. Again, because no one will see the back, you do not have to be perfect. When you flood the first section, flood up to the chocolate line. When flooding the next section in a different color, you can flood up to and over the chocolate line.
Continue to flood until all sections are filled in. When you are finished flooding, you should not be able to see any chocolate lines. To make the image as stable as possible, each flood of color should touch the next and create a solid mass of chocolate. (If a thin chocolate line separates two colors, the image will be weak at that point and could snap.)
Let chocolate cool completely. Carefully remove the tape from the acetate, without jostling the image too much. Invert the chocolate image and acetate onto a clean surface. Slowly peal back the acetate, releasing it from the chocolate. (Notice, the final image is flipped from the paper version.)
Carefully transfer the image to a cake. I can’t stress how important it is to take your time and exercise caution. After all the hard work of creating the image, believe me, it is heartbreaking to ruin it at the end.
Below are other cakes that have chocolate flood work decorations. As you can see, flood work can be used in many different applications for varied occasions and designs.