Tempered Chocolate Glaze Recipe

This will require 6 ounces of a good Euro-style bittersweet chocolate (like Callebaut or Ghiradelli) and one ounce of clarified butter.

Tempering chocolate isn’t terribly difficult, but it does require precise control of temperature. You’ll need a digital thermometer, they’re less than $20 at most kitchen supply stores. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of a tempered finish, you can just spread melted chocolate over the top of your cake. It’ll firm up just fine, though it won’t have the sheen or the snap of tempered chocolate.

Put the chocolate into a glass or crockery bowl. Melt in the microwave in the same way you’d melt chocolate for a ganache, zapping it on high for bursts of 10 seconds or so. Meanwhile, prepare two bowls of water that the chocolate bowl will fit into comfortably. Fill one with ice water, and one with hot water.

When the chocolate mixture is finished melting it will likely be over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Leaving the thermometer in the chocolate, dip the bowl of chocolate into the bowl of ice water and stir until the temperature comes down to between 80 and 84 degrees (it will start to firm). Immediately put the chocolate into the hot water bowl and bring it back up to right about 89 degrees.

Remove the chocolate bowl from the hot water and immediately stir in the clarified butter. Promptly spread a thin layer of chocolate over your cake with an icing spatula and allow it to set.

17 thoughts on “Tempered Chocolate Glaze Recipe”

  1. Hi joe,plz answer me most of the cake calls for butter.when i baked a birthday cake with butter ,it came out very well and tasty…then i spread whipped cream frosting and left it in the fridge for an hour for the icing to set.but when i cut tht cake butter hardened and tasted awful…plz tell me how can i frost a butter cake as where i live temp is 49’c and frosting will melt if i think of leaving cake on room temp before eating.

    1. Hi Aman!

      That’s the frustrating thing about butter — it’s at its best in only a very narrow temperature range. You can try just taking the cake out of the refrigerator half an hour or so before serving. That’s the best solution I can think of, but it’s not very convenient. My only other thought is an American buttercream since it uses shortening…though it’s not a particularly good flavor compared to butter I have to admit. A firm fondant is another thing to consider. It may soften in the heat, but it won’t melt!


      – Joe

  2. Joe, I just looooove your style, and your commentary is over the top funny as hell!! While I may very well never make this beautiful cake, it certainly made me happy reading about it and looking at the pictures. Thanks for sharing this with us ? ~ Denise

    1. Hey Denise! I had fun making it. I recommend the project to you some time. It’s really not very difficult and the results are stellar. Just make the pieces smaller because these were absolutely huge!

      Cheers and keep me informed!

      – Joe

  3. Hello! If I cannot find a food thermometer, can I use a digital thermometer that is used to measure fever. Thank You very much!

    1. Hi Khan!

      I wish you could, but medical thermometers only go up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Are you sure there’s nowhere to get a candy thermometer nearby?

      – Joe

      1. I have asked such a silly question. I honestly, had no idea how high a fever thermometer can reach. I am certain that there is no food thermometer nearby, which is why I thought, of measuring my chocolate’s temperature with a fever thermometer. I will have to buy them whenever I travel abroad.

        1. It’s not silly at all, Khan, in fact it occurred to me later that it might work. You could simply measure the temperature of the heated chocolate with your finger. If it feels hot after you stir it, it’s probably warm enough to “reset” the crystal structure. You can then proceed as normal using the medical thermometer. Try it and get back to me!


          – Joe

  4. Hi Joe I love your blog….so my question to you is can this cake be adapted for a wedding cake covered in fondant….what changes would you make…thanks so much

    1. Hi Enza!

      Let me make sure I understand you: you’d like to make an opera cake-style wedding cake?

      – Joe

  5. What a wonderful site and an equally wonderful person! Thank you so much for sharing all this ………. you’re making a cook out of me, you’re an inspiration … BIG THANK YOOOOOS XXXXXXX

  6. Hi Joe!
    2 questions: 1) should (ideally) the temperature of the clarified butter be brought to 89 degrees concurrently? 2) you mentioned in another post that the temper improves against a smooth metal surface… perhaps there is a convenient way to apply a (light as possible) metal slate atop of a glazed torte? Would removing the slate be an issue? Ok.. maybe 3 questions =)

    1. Hey Kenny!

      Good questions all. Once the temperature of the chocolate has been brought back up to 89 degrees the temperating process is complete so the butter doesn’t have to be a precise temperature. If it’s 89 it will probably be liquid, so just a soft texture is all that’s necessary. No need to worry about an exact temperature!

      As far as the metal goes, that won’t help unfortunately as the chocolate will stick to it. Nice idea though! 😉

      Let me know how it goes! Cheers,

      – Joe

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