Chocolate Fireworks Cake – how to make red, white and blue fireworks out of chocolate for a patriotic 4th of July cake. A new cake tutorial by our contributor, Erin Gardner.
I’m typically a believer that Independence Day cakes should be super easy, super delicious, and loads of fun to make. It is a day off for most, after all. The bursting, chocolate fireworks on this cake may look like they violate this rule, but trust me, they check all the boxes!
If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines waiting to play around with chocolate or coating chocolate, this is an ideal project to start with. Fireworks are tiny explosions, so there’s plenty of wiggle room and no perfection required! Even though I list it as optional, I highly recommend using a heating pad to keep your chocolate fluid. It truly prevents many of the headaches associated with working with the medium.
If a layer cake isn’t on your holiday to-do list, you can use these chocolate fireworks as fun cupcake toppers, to dress up a sheet cake, or to add some flair to an ice cream sundae or over-the-top milkshake. And, as always, mix up the colors however you like!
CHOCOLATE FIREWORKS CAKE
a tutorial by Erin Gardner
- Coating chocolate in red, white, pale blue, and navy blue (or tinted white chocolate)
- Heating pad (optional, but very helpful)
- Paper towel
- Aluminum Foil
- Baking tray
- Parchment paper
- Small piping bags or paper cones
- Star shaped edible gold confetti
- Lollipop sticks
- 6-inch round layer cake
- Extra buttercream tinted with gel food colors (navy blue and red)
- Bench scraper or large icing spatula
- Gold star sprinkles or candy
MAKE THE FIREWORKS
Melted chocolate waits for no one, so first prep your work space. Cut a number of 3×3-inch parchment squares and set them aside. You’ll need one for each firework you want to make. Plug in the heating pad and set it to high. Cover the pad with a piece of paper towel, then top the towel with a sheet of aluminum foil. This will make a cozy little bed to keep your piping bags of chocolate fluid as you work.
Melt the red, white, light blue, and navy blue coating chocolates in separate heatproof bowls in the microwave, over a double boiler, or in a melting pot. Pour each of the colors into small piping bags or paper cones. Store the cones in the little heating pad sleeping bag while you work.
Place a parchment square on a small tray. Pipe a puddle of the dark blue chocolate onto the center of the paper. Make the puddle as large or as small as you like. My fireworks range in size from about 1 1/5 to 3-inches in diameter. Tap the tray against your work surface to spread and smooth the surface of the chocolate.
Pipe a ring of small dots in one of the other colors in the center of the puddle. Quickly use a toothpick to drag the dots out towards the outer edges of the circle. Tap the tray to smooth the chocolate.
Go back in with a second color and add an outer ring of dots between the streaks. Repeat the dragging and smoothing process, adding more dots and streaks as needed.
Add a tiny bit larger dot to the center of the firework and use the tip of a toothpick to drag the dot into a starburst shape. Give the tray another tap to smooth it all together.
Sprinkle edible star confetti around the outer edge of the circle. Set the finished firework aside or pop it in the fridge until firm. Repeat this process to make as many fireworks as you like. I ended up using 6 in my final project, but made a few extra in case of breakage. I suggest you do the same.
Flip a hardened firework over and pipe a small line of navy blue chocolate towards one of the edges of the circle. Place the end of a lollipop stick in the chocolate and roll it over to coat. Allow the chocolate to harden completely before adding the firework to the cake. Leave some of the fireworks without sticks to add to the sides of the cake.
Fireworks can be made days to weeks in advance and stored layered between parchment or wax paper in an airtight container in a cool, dry, room temperature place. Storing finished chocolate pieces in the fridge will damage the surface of the chocolate and cause the star confetti to bleed.
FROST THE CAKE
Rough coat the upper ⅔ or so of the cake with the navy blue buttercream and the lower ⅓ with first the white and a thin strip of red. (Very similar to this ombre buttercream technique, just with patriotic colors.) Use a large icing spatula or bench scraper to smooth and blend the buttercream on the sides of the cake until it’s #smoothenough. Add star confetti to the upper edge of the cake and let it trail down the sides.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
When you’re ready to serve your cake, add the fireworks on sticks to the top of the cake, always handling it by the stick to prevent breaking the firework. Attach fireworks to the sides of the cake with dabs of buttercream. Fill in with larger star sprinkles or candies on the sides and top of the cake.
MORE 4TH OF JULY DESSERTS TO MAKE: