Make a drip cake like a pro following this simple tutorial! Learn how to make a chocolate drip cake and add your glaze with confidence.
The Chocolate Drip Cake Phenomenon ready picked up steam in 2015. It's a cake trend that just keeps getting better, more fanciful, and exceedingly more popular literally everyday.
There are classic chocolate drips to neon, technicolored Willy Wonka drips – those left rustic, natural, and beautiful to those covered in sprinkles, candy, gold leaf, donuts, etc.
Whichever style you choose, anyone that has ever tried a drip cake probably understands the pain and headache that usually comes along with it. Use a glaze that is too runny, and it slides right off the sides and pools at the bottom of the cake stand. Too thick, and you are trying to force, nudge, plead, and beg your drips to look natural and not like blobs left on the side of your cake.
Now, as an experienced cake-dripper (I’ve been drizzling cakes since 2007 at my first bakery gig), I thought I would share some key pointers for creating gorgeous chocolate, ganache, caramel, and fruit glaze cake drips
Tips for Making a Chocolate Drip Cake
Chill Your Cake
A great start to a perfect drippy cake is a good base, or something for the chocolate or glaze to drip of off. A smooth buttercream finish works the best.
A cold, smooth cake not only creates a seamless, uninterrupted finish for the glaze to drip down, but the chilled cake helps control the drips from sliding all the way down the cake. Also, if the test drip doesn't turn out (see tip 5), it can easily be scraped off. Even when I drip a naked cake, I like to give it either a bit of a crumb coat or ice just the top of the cake.
Use a Recipe That Works
This might be a no-brainer, but try to use a recipe that works as a suitable glaze (see below). For example, honey by it self might be too runny while peanut butter is too thick.
Recipes that are suitable for drizzling include: chocolate ganache, white chocolate ganache (plain, flavored, or tinted with gel food coloring), chocolate glaze, caramel sauce (although sometimes a bit tricker and harder to set), and powdered sugar glaze (either mixed with a touch of milk or fruit juice/puree).
Many glazes and sauces are made on the stove or require some heat. You must allow the glaze to cool a bit before dripping on your cake. My basic chocolate glaze (recipe below) takes a good 10 to 15 minutes to cool. Freshly made caramel may take even longer!
Consistency is Key!
Other than temperature, the consistency of the glaze is very important. Sometimes this directly relates to the temperature (ganache and caramel will thicken as they cool), but other times it does not.
Regardless, you are looking for a glaze that is thick yet still fluid. It should slowly drip off of spoon, not run or plop. To adjust, wait until cool, add more powdered sugar/liquid, or reheat as necessary.
Make a Test Chocolate Drip
The best way to find out if your glaze is the correct temperature and consistency? Try a few practice drips on the actual cake! If the glaze is really off then this might cause some damage to the cake, but chances are it won’t be tragic if it is slightly too warm or thick.
Try these practice drips on the edge (not the center of the cake - see tip 6) and watch to see the rate at which it drips. Does is slide right off? Does it stop halfway down? Adjust accordingly before taking the glaze to the entire cake.
Work From the Outside In
Until you have the confidence to pour your glaze over the top of your entire cake, start by working with only a few drips at a time around the edge of your cake.
Using a spoon, start making drips around the edges. I find that I am able to control the drips and design of the cake more this way. I love the idea of “perfectly imperfect” so this helps give me back some control while the drips still appear natural.
Filling the Center
Once you ensure that all of your individual drips are looking their best, it is time to fill in the center. At this point, the glaze or chocolate sometimes cools or thickens up on me, so always re-check the consistency.
If the glaze cools/thickens up too much, it may not spread or blend evenly. Less is more here - you don't want too much spilling over the edges and ruining your gorgeous drips!
Smooth and Tap
To help smooth out the top, use a small off-set spatula to gently even it out. Try tapping the bottom of the cake on the counter to help the top settle, smooth, and pop any air bubbles.
How to Make a Drip Cake
- Frost and chill your cake
- Meanwhile, make the glaze and refrigerate for about 10 minutes. The glaze should be fluid but no longer warm to the touch.
- Using a spoon, gently drip a small amount the the chocolate glaze over the edge of the chilled cake. If it slowly drips to your liking, then continue. If not, chill or reheat the glaze as necessary.
- Use the spoon to continue adding a bit of glaze around the top edge of the cake. For the most control, make 2 to 3 drips at a time. Use the tip of the spoon to gently nudge glaze into the perfect drips.
- After the edges of the cake have been dripped, check the consistency of the glaze before adding it to the top of the cake. Reheat as necessary.
- Pour the chocolate glaze onto the center of the top of the cake.
- Use an offset spatula to gently spread the glaze smooth. Work quickly for glossy, smooth finish.
- When done, gently tap the bottom of the cake on the work surface to pop any bubbles and encourage the glaze to settle.
Chocolate Drip Cake
- 2 oz dark chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoon white corn syrup
- pinch salt
- Place all of the ingredients in a small a saucepan and set on the stove over medium heat.
- Gently heat the ingredients until the cream begins to simmer and the chocolate starts to melt. Stir everything together until smooth.
- Pour the glaze into a heat-safe container and refrigerate for 10 to 20 minutes, or until it is no longer warm to the touch.