Making a Chocolate “Mirror Glaze”

This is a nice technique to have in your trick bag for those times when you want to add a little glitz and glamor to a cake, torte or bombe. It’s a soft coating, but the trick of added gelatin gives it a shine other simple chocolate glazes don’t have. Begin by adding the two teaspoons gelatin to half of the water.

Let that sit while you tend to the other components. Combine the other 1/4 cup water with the cream and sugar in a small saucepan. Set that over medium high heat and bring it to a simmer.

When it’s good and hot and all the sugar has been dissolved, add the gelatin. Plop.

Whisk it all together until it’s smooth.

Now add the cocoa powder…

…and whisk furiously.

Strain the whole mess…

…and let it cool down to at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit, 75 is probably even better since it will go on a little thicker.

Give it a swizzle before you apply it just to eliminate any small lumps or skin that may have formed.

And pour it on.

A fair amount will drip off (save the excess for another use if you like). Unless it’s quite thick beforehand, the coating will be a little on the thin side, about like so:

If you want it thicker, allow it to cool down a bit more before applying. A nice thing about this glaze is that you can make it ahead, refrigerate it and re-melt it in the microwave to make it pourable.

17 thoughts on “Making a Chocolate “Mirror Glaze””

  1. Hi Joe
    I made the above, but instead of a chocolate glaze, I did it with caramel, and boy it was great. Actually I made a salted caramel cake.

    Its a Bomb…Ha


  2. Hi. Have you posted measurements for this recipe? I’m clicking around but can’t find it.

    I’m in the middle of making an ice cream and chocolate mousse bombe for my 9-year-old’s birthday. I’m just calling it a round ice cream cake. You know how boys can be. Must not give them any ideas.

  3. just wondering – does this set almost solid (eventually) or remain soft? i.e. will you be able to touch it without getting it on your fingers (yes I realise that will mean leaving fingerprints on your beautiful creation!) Trying to figure out if I can add some chocolate letter decorations without destroying the finish.

    1. Hello Akki!

      It’s a gelatin glaze so it remains soft. I wish it were a harder shell, but no. However if you’re careful you can apply things to it.

      Best of luck!

      – Joe

  4. When using this glaze can the finished product be refrigerated or even frozen if used over an ice cream? Will it still keep the mirror shine? Thank you for your time.

    1. Hi Michael!

      It can definitely be refrigerated, if froze it will lose it’s shine because of condensation, at least for a while. The gloss should come back eventually though. Let me know how it goes!

      – Joe

  5. Can you add food colouring too it rather than cocoa powder as I need something like this but red in colour.

  6. Hi,
    Good afternoon. Can u please give me a recipe of any Mirror Glaze aside from chocolate? Thanks

    1. Hey Emma!

      Just leave out the cocoa powder and substitute….well pretty much anything you like! Food colors or flavors of any kind will work great!


      – Joe

  7. Hi joe,
    can you tell me if cream can be substituted by water if we need a clear glaze…i believe cream will make it cloudy and i plan to coat a whipped cream cake with a clear red glaze. Will it work?

    1. Hello Anu,

      Yes that should work just fine. It will basically be a sweet jelly glaze. Let me know how it goes!

      – Joe

  8. Hi Joe
    I needed a raspberry clear glaze for a dome cake this very morning and struggled somewhat to get a consistency which would stick to the crumb coat. I tried leaf gelatin but no joy so (after a couple fail attempts where I had to mop and rescue my cake!!) opted for arrowroot as well and the result is fine! My cake looks splendid; the glaze is clear, glistening and tastes wonderful (its made with raspberry juice) Its sitting in my fridge as I type waiting to be handed to my special friend tomorrow. So. Mirror glaze does NOT have to come out of a bucket or be commercially bought. Trial and error and patience- oh. And joepastry method. Thanks for the rescue!!

    1. Way to go, Dancer! I love to hear good news!

      So let me understand this: you used the mirror glaze method but substituted arrowroot for the gelatin?

      – Joe

  9. If you add more gelatin, would it make the glaze more firm? I’d really like to make a mirror shine cake, but I want a less soft finish.

    1. Hi Newbee!

      Adding more gelatin will indeed make it firmer. I’d start slowly, though. If you double it the coating will act so much like a gel that it’ll actually peel off the cake. Bump up the gelatin by maybe 20% and see what that does for you. Good luck with the project!

      – Joe

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