Chocolate Maple Leaf Tutorial

Our amazing columnist, Erin Gardner shares a super simple tutorial for chocolate maple leaves. These gorgeous edible decorations are perfect for creating a wreath cake, or as toppers for holiday cupcakes! To learn how to make these yummy chocolate leaves, check out the tutorial below.


Trace the outline of a leaf cutter, a real leaf, or freehand a leaf shape onto a piece of parchment paper. Draw two lines extended from the base of the leaf to create a little tab. This will help you move the paper later once it’s coated with chocolate. Cut the leaf shape out. Repeat to create more templates.

Melt the pale pink coating chocolate in a heatproof bowl. To make the mauve color combine 1/2 cup pink chips, 1/2 cup red chips, and 5 purple chips. To make the maroon color combine 1 cup of red chips with 3 black chips. Colors may vary depending on the brand of coating chocolate that you use, so feel free to add chips as needed. Place each melted color in a piping bag or paper cone. To keep the candy fluid while you work, set the the bags on a heating pad that’s been lined with paper towel and topped with a sheet of foil when not in use.

Place one of the leaf templates on a small tray. Pipe around the outer edge of the leaf with one of the colors. Let the color spread over the edge of the template and done worry about keeping it all on the paper. Pipe a second outline of coating chocolate within the first with one of the other colors. Repeat, alternating colors, until the leaf is filled with rings of chocolate.

Use a tooth pick to draw lines through the melted candy. Start with the toothpick in the center of the leaf and drag it through the coating chocolate towards one of the pointy ends of the leaf. Repeat all around the leaf. Create lines going in the opposite direction by starting with the tooth pick just beyond the outer edge of the leaf between two points. Repeat the dragging process in both directions until you achieve your desired look.


Tear off a large sheet of foil and crumple it into a ball. Spread the foil back out a little to create a space for your leaf to set up. Carefully slide the leaf onto the foil using the tab at the bottom of the leave. Set it aside until the chocolate has completely hardened, about 10 minutes. Repeat with more leaf shapes and varying patterns.

Carefully peel the parchment paper off of the hardened leaves. Use the leaves right away or store them in an airtight container at room temperature until the coating chocolate’s expiration date.

I’ve used my marbled leaves to garnish a simple 1 layer cake finished with pale pink buttercream, drop stars using a Wilton 1B tip, chocolate covered cookie sticks, gold sparkling sugar, and hazelnuts that I dipped in the medium pink shade to mimic acorns.

Erin Gardner

Erin Gardner is a self-taught pastry chef, author, cake-design instructor, wife, mom, and self-described occasional unicorn. After taking an inspiring sugar-flower class in NYC, she decided it was time to strike out on her own. In 2009 she opened Wild Orchid Baking Co. in NH. Erin has competed on, and won, Food Network’s Sweet Genius, and received nods from both
Martha Stewart Weddings and Brides magazine as one of the top wedding-cake pros in the country. After the birth of her second child, Erin made the big decision to move on from Wild Orchid Baking Co. and launch her website, Erin Bakes, where she draws on her fine pastry skills, modern cake-design aesthetic, and overall kitchen MacGyver-ness to create easy, accessible, and delicious recipes and cake-decorating projects.

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