During the recent IDDBA FlavorConnect: Edible Art- Elevate Your Desserts With Custom Chocolate Decoration webinar, Chef Christian Balbierer from IRCA Group Americas unlocked the secrets of creating exceptional desserts. He helped explore how printed chocolate decorations and decadent coverings can infuse your creations with color, artistry, and flavor and leave a lasting impression on your customers, using Graffiti Sprinkles, printed chocolate decorations, RTO Ganache, and Mirror Glaze.

Mirror Glaze is a high-gloss, water-based glaze for use hot to top/cover cakes and pastries. These pectin- based mirror glazes remain shiny and glossy even at below zero temperatures (-4°F) and are freeze/thaw stable. The neutral and white glazes can be colored with powder or water-based coloring to create custom shades.

“You don’t want it too hot when doing any kind of enrobing,” Balbierer cautions. “You can create an instant marble effect with pink, using neutral mirror glaze. And there are seasonal varieties – use strawberry Mirror glaze for Valentine’s Day.”

The strawberry Mirror Glaze includes natural bits of strawberry – 15-20% fruit puree, so you get nice authentic strawberry flavor.

“Take a spatula and move toward the sides to get a drip effect – always on a cold cake,” Balbierer advised. “Flavor trends are definitely very floral. Bold flavors are in.”

From a young age Balbierer embraced a passion for pasty and cake artistry, which led him to prestigious schools like French Pastry School in Chicago, Illinois, and Notter School of Pastry Arts in Orlando, Florida. In these renowned schools he honed his skills and gained a profound understanding of the art and science of his craft.  

Upon completing his studies, Balbierer ventured into the culinary scene in Atlanta, where he joined a prominent restaurant group. Here, he used his creative flair and culinary ingenuity to craft exquisite dessert menus for a collection of distinguished restaurants throughout Atlanta. Driven by his ambition and desire to create something uniquely his own, Balbierer began a new chapter in his career, co-founding a café and wholesale bakery. He embarked on a journey of entrepreneurship, supplying top-tier desserts and custom cakes to an array of restaurants and caterers in the local culinary landscape.

Through his years of dedication and hard work, Balbierer has emerged as a pillar of expertise in both fine dining and food manufacturing. As a member of U.S. team at IRCA Group Americas, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. Using these tools, he works to combine the IRCA ingredients and Dobla decorations into creative solutions.

During the FlavorConnect webinar, the chef demonstrated a wide variety of techniques, including the spackle effect in which you use fat coated cocoa powder to create the “Happy Cow” effect.

First your coating is heated to 120-130 degrees – “hot so I can enrobe the cake” – and then you sprinkle cocoa powder and tap the bottom to get a spackle effect.

Another useful tool is Chocosmart, a fat-based, chocolate-based cream specially designed for dipping, covering, coating, glazing and pastry decorations. Less shiny than the Covercream range, Chocosmart provides a dense, clean, crack-free cut. It is extremely fluid at temperatures of around 90-95°F and freeze/ thaw stable. It comes in milk or dark chocolate.

“It is a multifunctional product that lends itself to many applications. Hard chocolate enrobing, dipping, drizzling,” Balbierer explains. “The colder it is, the thicker it is. I want a cold temperature to control that drip.”

How to color

Start with white Chocosmart and then use an oil-based color to color it. Add sprinkles or nuts to create an elevated level. This adds texture and flavor to the cake.

“Adding an accent flavor creates the wow factor for your desserts. How much you use dictates your costs,” Balbierer says.

As for sprinkle capabilities, there are so many shapes and colors, which add a lot of elevation to your cakes, he adds. “It just speaks celebration.”

You can create a sophisticated black and white cake with Dobla chocolate curls, which gives you bang for your buck.

The premium couverture chocolates have outstanding flavor and will pleasantly surprise even the most discerning palates. Their extraordinary fluidity makes them perfectly suitable for creating a variety of confections.

And there are high-quality chocolate compounds for covering, coating, dipping and molding. These compounds have a low melting point and optimal snap effect and keep a long-lasting shine without the need for tempering. They are available in dark, milk and white variations.