Autumn Cake- Chocolate Leaves!~Blog Tutorial

I love everything about this time of year–the cooler weather, the colorful trees, the fact that everything is pumpkiny or spiced…..and Thanksgiving!  I’ve been dreaming about Thanksgiving lately……

In today’s tutorial, it’s time to get a little fancy for fall.  Have you ever made chocolate leaves?  If not, keep reading!   All that you need is chocolate and leaves… what could be simpler than that?  –

Here’s what I did….

First, I gathered up some leaves.  Sturdy leaves with prominent veins are the ones to look out for.  (I tried some oak and maple leaves and they were too thin).  Preferably, you’ll want to pick them right off of the bush or tree rather than from the road- ha ha. :0) -

My favorites were camelia, gardenia, and rose leaves.  While we’re not going to be eating the leaves, it’s a good idea to make sure that your leaves are not toxic.  For a good reference, click HERE.

After selecting some leaves, you’ll want to wash them with soap and water and pat dry.

 

Next it’s time to prepare the chocolate!  I work with candy coating or candy melts because it simplifies things (no tempering necessary).

After melting the dark chocolate and white chocolate in the microwave, I mixed a little of each color into our third bowl so that we would have three different shades to work with.

Next, it’s just a matter of brushing on the chocolate.  Make sure to flip over your leaves and paint the backside.  This way, you will have more detailed veins.

By the way, if you start with lighter shades of chocolate first and work your way to the deeper shades, you will only need one paint brush (rather than a paint brush for each bowl.)

I did my painting on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

After painting each leaf with chocolate, I moved the leaf slightly to the  side so that it would not become stuck to the parchment paper.  I predict that you will be neater than I was!  I should have moved the painted leaves to a clean sheet  :0)  !

Place your cookie sheet in the refrigerator or freezer until the chocolate is firm.  (I prefer  maybe 5 minutes or so in the freezer).  The leaves are much less fragile when the chocolate is chilled and firm.

 

My favorite part is peeling away the leaves!  Just bend the stems away from the chocolate and pull back.

Here’s the cake that we’re working with today.  An 8″ chocolate cake with cream cheese filling &  ganache frosting.  Pretty….but it needs a little personality.

 

Let the decorating begin!  I used a bit of ganache as a glue to keep the leaves in place.

Keep adding leaves until you are happy  :0) –I added a few cranberries for color and because they remind me of fall!

Here it is! 

One last look…

I loved making this cake and I hope that you will try it out too! — By the way, I used a Fudge Cake & ganache recipe from King Arthur Flour–CLICK HERE for the recipe!

Thanks for stopping by!   If you make chocolate leaf cakes or cupcakes, send me pictures!  I would love to see  :0)

 

Category: Blog Tutorials, Chocolate Techniques, Fall, Seasonal & Holiday, Wedding & Elegant

46 Comments

  1. Baker for moro says: #1

    What a cool idea!

  2. Kathy says: #2

    I have a friend having a birthday and cannot make these decorations to go along with the chocolate cake recipe enclosed. I love baking from scratch and I love your FB page!

  3. Karen K says: #3

    I’m going to try this on the weekend with red, yellow and orange candy melts and maple leaves. Thanks so much for this fun easy tip!

  4. Melissa Diamond says: #4

    Thanks everybody! Kathy & Karen, let me know how it goes! :0)

  5. BeBe says: #5

    Hi Karen, just wanted to say that it is a bit more difficult to use maple leaves. It could have been the variety of maple we have, but they were thin and harder to pull away from the chocolate.

  6. I’d be careful with rose leaves, too, in case they’ve been sprayed with insecticides, etc. This is such a fun idea and I’m thinking of making the cranberries out of fondant.

  7. Melissa Diamond says: #7

    Good point, Kathleen–any leaves treated with pesticides would be a bad choice :0) Fondant cranberries would be cute too!

  8. Patricia Marino says: #8

    I was wondering where you could get these leaves. I asked around and nobody has non sprayed plants. Do you think a florist would sell them?

  9. BeBe says: #9

    Hi Patricia, you can get lemon leaves from your florist to use making chocolate leaves.

    I have Knock Out Roses and I have never sprayed them. I don’t spray my camellia or gardenia bushes either and I have had them for many years. Guess I have been lucky.

  10. Ivette says: #10

    This is one recipe I’m afraid to try out. too scared to start some kin of germ with the leaves an all.

  11. Sadia Wasim says: #11

    Love it!! Will try it tomorrow for sure! Will add few flowers maybe!! Thanks!!

  12. Astrid says: #12

    So beautiful!

  13. Kane93 says: #13

    Could artificial leaves work for this project? I would think if the veins are visible enough? Here in Ohio our leaves have fallen :o)

  14. Melissa Diamond says: #14

    Hi Kane–I’m not sure how easily the chocolate would release from the fabric side of the leaves (I think that is where the veins are usually), but if you try it…let us know how it goes! –By the way, there are chocolate molds that you can buy to get a similar effect–but using the real thing is much less expensive :0) –

    As for the leaves, we wound up using leaves from bushes that keep their leaves year round…mainly because those happened to be the thickest, sturdiest ones that we had in our yard. —

    Sadia–let us know how it goes! Just know that with flowers, the petals may be a little too thin to easily peel off for you. I hope that you have fun experimenting!

    Ivette–I understand, but as long as you check the list linked above that your plant is not dangerous, and if you choose a plant that has not been sprayed with checmicals, there is nothing to worry about. Just as people grow vegetables in their gardens and eat them.

    We washed our leaves with soap and water but you could also wipe down the leaves with vodka for a quick and easy cleaner.

    Thank you for all of your comments! By the way, this isn’t a technique that we invented… I’ve seen it done over the years and have always wanted to try it out. I hope that you have fun with it. ;0)

  15. Anna says: #15

    I made those after seeing them in Pillsbury’s Cook Book ( it’s so old, they don’t have it on Amazon ) and it works great! Your cake looks beautiful!

  16. Cathy says: #16

    I’m inspired. I’m thinking holly leaves and berries for Christmas!

  17. diamonddust says: #17

    Simply beautiful Melissa…So simple, but so elegant. I love the enthusiasm of all of your viewers. They are like sponges just aborbing every word. It is fun to read about their excitement. You really give it your all.

  18. Angie Taylor says: #18

    I’m interested on how you ganache your cake that looks so perfectly smooth? I tried the link but It presented differently compared to your choc cake. I tried it once and it became uneven. It looks so crisp and clean. Do you have a tutorial on ganaching before covering the cake with fondant? I’m just new in this class and very interested with choc ganache as a cake cover. By the way, I love what you’ve done with Autum Cake – Choc Leaves. It looks so delicious, hopefully, I can try to bake it soon…

  19. diamonddust says: #19

    Hi Angie,
    Melissa has a turtorial on how to Ganache a cake in the tutorial section and a recipe for her Ganache in the recipe section.
    Dee

  20. trisha says: #20

    WOW I love it – the leaves are lovely!!

  21. Cinners Cakes says: #21

    So talented and you make it look so easy! Will def try this out this weekend. Cake turned out beautiful. Thanks for your sight! I have used several of your tutorials and they are so easy to follow. Thanks for helping us out!

  22. Anniejoe says: #22

    So cute!! And to those who are worried about toxins. I’m sure McDonalds would made you sicker! Can’t wait to try it. I have a Holly Tree in the back yard, Thinking about a beautiful holly wreath on a round cake with plenty of berries!! Can’t wait!!!

  23. Melissa Diamond says: #23

    I love your ideas! The chocolate holly leaves sound beautiful!

    Angie– here is a link to a tutorial on frosting with “spreadable ganache”, which is a 2:1 ratio of chocolate to cream (similar to the recipe used in the tutorial)– link to mycakeschool.com

    Also, in the “Our Cakes” section under Novelty, you’ll see the tilted cake video (blue with snowflakes)– in this video, I also discuss frosting with ganache, and then covering with fondant.

    Anniejoe–Funny point about McDonalds! ;0)

  24. Sarah says: #24

    Love the idea! I made a simple wedding cake this summer and labored for hours over the leaves I wish I had this trick then. For people afraid of pesticides on plants there are a couple places you can call (1) your local florist many cake decorators get the flowers they place on cake directly from florists, these are usually edible and are non-toxic. (2) Contact your local greenery or plant/ garden supplier (not a big box store like Lowes or Home Depot) and explain what your looking for. (3) Go to a health food super market (Whole Food Markets, Mustered Seed) they usually have organic flowers. Good Luck!

  25. BeBe says: #25

    Thanks Sarah, that is very helpful information.

  26. Paula says: #26

    oh wow, this is fairly easy to do and looks incredible! thanks for sharing :)

  27. cakemama96 says: #27

    I looked at the list of plants the problem is I have no clue what plants I have. I do not know a single thing about gardening. I just have a bunch of trees and bushes in my yard and one bush has some really nice thick leaves.

  28. kristin conforth says: #28

    I love what you have done with the leaves, but my question is about the cake. Is this recipe good for stacking? Is it dense? I am looking for a new chocolate recipe for a larger cake (12 and 10 inch square) What are your thoughts? Can’t wait to try the leaves too!! Thanks

  29. Melissa Diamond says: #29

    Hi Kristin— this was my first experience with this recipe but it would be fine for stacking–it wasn’t exremely dense but definitely sturdy enough for stacking or covering with fondant.

  30. funkreativekakes says: #30

    You really are fabulous…I was trying to figure out what I was going to do for a simple Thanksgiving cake and this is perfect.

  31. Melissa Diamond says: #31

    Great! I really do like this technique, and love how fast it is! Have fun!

  32. The Partiologist says: #32

    I made a chocolate leaf cake for a fall party – it was so fun! Your cake is pretty and looks so yummy!!!

  33. May Johnson says: #33

    This is awesome! I have made leaves in the past and used small grape leaves on and around a huge grooms cake sugar coated violets. Wish I had pictures.
    Merry Christmas!

  34. natacha sauve says: #34

    love the idea…will try that for sure…thanks

  35. Paulina says: #35

    This is a great idea with the leaves. I have to try. I just started decorating cakes. Thank you for lots of great tips. this is my blog:http://ausschokolade.blogspot.de

  36. Melissa Diamond says: #36

    Thank you!!

  37. johnyang says: #37

    What a cake. its an great post and an great idea such a creative mind you have i am so much impressed by your idea of turning chocolate into leaves its really appreciable.

  38. purabi naha says: #38

    Awesome cake. Your instructions are so easy to follow!

  39. Nancy Henry Lawlor says: #39

    Lovely to look at and delish to eat! Thanks for giving me a new idea for my Christmas Buche de Noel cake. I make it every year but I love to change the decorations. Cover it with leaves! Thanks !

  40. NOLA says: #40

    I was just doing leaves this week. I am going to take your advice re the cooking chocolate I think it would make a difference. I would send a pic but not sure how?

  41. Daria Flores says: #41

    Thanks to share your abilities with us, is so beautifual!

  42. Rosangela says: #42

    Love it: easy and nice !

  43. Edith Langford says: #43

    I have made chocolate leaves using mint leaves. They have very defined veins and make lovely leaves.

  44. Melissa Diamond says: #44

    Thanks for all of your comments! @Edith–love that idea.

  45. Sophie says: #45

    Hi would this work the same if I were to use holly leaves?

  46. BeBe says: #46

    Hi Sophie, Yes, holly leaves are usually thick and should work fine. Not that you are going to use the berries but thought I would mention that the berries are toxic.

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