Chocolate Mirror Glaze

Leave it to the Japanese to come up with a beautiful and simple alternative to the high-gloss tempered chocolate coating that so many of us envy but doubt we can pull off without an industrial tempering machine. This glaze produces a very satisfying sheen, albeit without the “snap” of a true chocolate glaze. Thanks to reader Paul for submitting his favorite version.

2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
3.5 ounces (1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon) cold water
3.5 ounces (1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon) heavy cream
5.25 ounces (3/4 cup) sugar
1.75 ounces (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) cocoa powder

Pour half the water into a small dish and stir the gelatin into it. Allow it to sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Combine the remaining water, cream and sugar in a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Take the pan off the heat and add the gelatin, stirring until it’s fully dissolved. Whisk in the cocoa until the mixture is smooth.

Strain the glaze into a glass bowl (metal will affect the taste). Allow it to cool for five minutes or so, until it’s right about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, before applying. The pre-made glaze can be stored in the refrigerator and re-melted in a double boiler or in the microwave (a few 5-second bursts on high heat) for later use.

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33 Responses to Chocolate Mirror Glaze

  1. Ed says:


    Until I make this to find out myself, how thick is this glaze? Will one coat give a nice, dark, shiny glaze or do you need to layer this to get an nice even glaze?

  2. Paul says:

    I generally only do a single heavy coat with this glaze

  3. yasmin says:

    joe, you need more pictures. not a ton, really, but just a couple. even us nerds like pictures :)

    question- there’s this cake a pastry chef near me makes, and it’s got a soft shiny chocolate glaze over it. i have NO idea how he does it, but it’s even all over, perfectly shiny, and the consistency of like…fudge that one would pour over ice cream, in the hard-but-soft state it takes when it hits the cold ice cream. does that make sense? anyway, how does one make THAT? is the recipe you posted for this nebulous stuff i’m describing?

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Yasmin!

      The site is LOADED with pictures! Just start clicking over in the archives on the left! Ive been traveling lately so I haven’t had the chance to bake much. So, stay tuned! But I think the thing you’re describing is the glaze I’m talking about that. There’ll be plenty of my normal photo tutorials coming over the next several days to demonstrate it.

      More soon!

      - Joe

  4. Hey J,

    can you elaborate on the “standard” recipe that requires precrystallized chocolate?


  5. Marco says:

    After discovering it I have been using the chocolate glaze recipe of Michael Laiskonis. You can find it in the pdf here:

    It looks close to the one posted here, but there is less water. Do you think one could just change the amount of it to “tune” the thickness?

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Marco!

      That amount of water probably won’t make terribly much difference in a recipe of this volume, at least I don’t think. For a thinner glaze I’d suggest varying the amount of gelatin.

      - Joe

  6. Henry says:

    Would reducing the sugar affect the sheen?

    • joepastry says:

      I don’t think so, Henry. I think you could do it with less.

      - J

      • Henry says:

        I tried this recipe, and the result was beautiful! However, I only used 50g of sugar and it was plenty sweet enough for my taste. Also, I could never get the mixture cooler than 90F – because of the room temperature? I wonder if adding corn syrup with improve the viscosity of the glaze (as RLB does in her lacquer glaze recipe).

        • joepastry says:

          Hey Henry!

          Adding corn syrup will do a couple of things: add to the sheen and increase the flow. Personally I think this formula flows well enough and doesn’t really need any more luster. As for the temperature I can’t think of any reason it wouldn’t cool down other than the room temperature. You could try a little refrigeration, but only for a few minutes at a time between stirs so it doesn’t set up prematurely.

          - Joe

  7. Laura says:

    Hi Jo!! I wanted to say thank you for this receipe i just used it to cover some chocolate & Baileys cake filled with caramel cheesecake and they look divine!!! Super glossy ….. I loved it!!! Thanks for sharing!

    • joepastry says:

      And me a picture, Laura! And you’re entirely welcome. I love to do what I do!

      - Joe

  8. Laura says:

    I meant Joe!!

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  12. Miss Moo says:

    Hi Joe

    For us vegetarians, could you replace the gelatine with agar?

    You rock!

  13. Frank says:

    Joe – first of all, love your site. I need an answer – I operate mostly in kitchen enviroment with gelatine in leaves, can you tell me how much leaves of gelatine I should put ? Thx


    • joepastry says:

      Hey Frank!

      Thanks very much! 2 teaspoons of powdered gelatin is equivalent to just over 5 sheets of British leaf gelatin…about 5.25 according to my math. Best of luck with the glaze!

      - Joe

      • I halved the recipe and halved the gelatin and this was WAY too much gelatin. It ended up like cocoa jelly. 1 leaf is enough

        • joepastry says:

          Thanks Rochelle, I’m not en expert at powder-to-leaf conversions clearly. Sorry for any inconvenience this caused you, and thanks for checking back in on it!

          - Joe

  14. Tiffany says:

    Hi! How much does this recipe make? Will it completely cover a 9″ layer cake (4 cake layers plus 3 ice cream layers)?

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Tiffany!

      This makes a little over two cups which is enough to cover a layer cake (I expect you’re splitting two standard layers, yes?). However you may want to increase it by 50% just to make sure you have enough. Also I should say that you’ll want some sort of crumb coat on the cake to make sure it’s as smooth as it can reasonably be before you put the glaze on. You may know this already, but the glaze is very thin and will show any dimples or holes in the cake quite clearly. Have fun!

      - Joe

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  16. Jen says:

    Hi joe,
    I saw this guy bessam on facebook use it in many different colors. How can I make it in other colors besides chocolate? Oh & instead of water could you use tonic water? I’m new to cake decorating but have some crazy ideas I can use this recipe for.


    • joepastry says:

      Hey Jen!

      I’d imagine you can substitute just about anything for the cocoa powder in this recipe and it’ll work. Indeed you can probably leave it out altogether and just add whatever coloring you wish to it. The cream should make it white and opaque and ready to take any color you’d like to give it!

      Cheers and have fun!

      - Joe

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