Ever wanted to make a cake for someone and give it that professional look that gives it that extra WOW factor? Well fondant is your friend, and once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze to work with. Confused or intimidated by fondant? You’re not alone, I tried if for the first time a few years ago for my son’s first birthday cake, I had no idea what I was doing, but gave it a go and the end result was fantastic and I have never looked back. Here are a few fondant facts to get you on your way.
What is Fondant?
Fondant is a pre-rolled icing often used to cover Wedding cakes, not to be confused with Marzipan or Almond type icings. Fondant is made from gelatin (or agar in vegetarian recipes) and food-grade glycerine, which keeps the sugar pliable and creates a dough-like consistency. It can also be made using powdered sugar and melted marshmallows. You can cover any cake that has been iced with buttercream or ganache.
If you are making a cake that requires refrigeration then you should NOT use fondant.
Why use fondant?
Fondant will give a cake a smooth professional look and you can do anything your imagine will allow with a fondant covered cake. The fondant will also keep your cake moist, once it’s covered you are essentially sealing your cake in an “air-tight container” and the cake will keep up to a week, depending on any fillings.
How do I use Fondant?
- Bake your cake and fill it and shape it how you want.
- Apply a crumb-coat (a very thin layer of icing to seal in the crumbs) and another coat of either buttercream or Ganache, let them set/crust
- If you need to colour your fondant, this needs to be done before rolling. Use gel colours to colour the fondant, the liquid colourings bought at the supermarket will make the fondant too wet. Work the colour in as best as you can to get an even colour
- Next you need to roll your fondant. Dust your work surface with a light cover of either cornflour or icing sugar (I prefer cornflour, but it does make the fondant dry faster, so you need to work fast) Roll out your fondant to the right size and quickly cover the cake smoothing as you go. Get rid of as many airbubbles as you can.
- Smooth the cake. Use a smoother (or your hand) to smooth the cake the fondant onto the cake, be careful not to tear the fondant.
- Now decorate as you want – your options are endless.
What tools will I need?
- A rolling Pin
- Fondant smoother or you can use your hand, but be careful of rings and nails!
Other useful links and How-to’s
There are a stack of tutorials on how to work with fondant on YouTube. You’ll be able to learn how to make gum paste bows, flowers, figures, animals …. give it a go, what have you got to loose?
Storing your fondant and cakes
When you have left over fondant, you will need to store it in a bag and airtight container, this includes while you are making the cake.
Once you have covered your cake in fondant you can leave it out on the bench or a cupboard as is, if you put it in the fridge or a container you will find that your fondant will start sweating and run.
Fondant Trouble Shooting
My fondant is cracking
It probably means that either you have rolled your fondant too thick and it can’t bend around corners or you have left it out too long before you put it on the cake. Fondant needs to be worked with very fast and you need to smooth as you go as it starts to dry fast. You can try and smooth the cracks, but in most instances if you can’t smooth out the cracks and you can’t cover them with decorations and you can’t live with the cracks then you will need to start over.
My Fondant has torn
Fondant will tear if it is rolled too thinly or it has been stretched too far over a cake. Sometimes you may be able to piece it back together and smooth it out, but most often the only remedy may be to cover it with a decoration. If you can’t do this you may need to take the fondant off and start over. You can’t reuse fondant, once it has touched the cake it will have crumbs on it and any icing on the fondant will make it sweat if re-used.
My Fondant is Sweating
You need to store your iced cake on the board as is, not in a container or in the fridge, otherwise the fondant will sweat
My Fondant has Air Bubbles
Air bubbles are easily fixed, take a small pin and prick the bubble and smooth the fondant while it is still soft.
Where can I buy Fondant in New Zealand?
There are a few different brands of pre-made fondant on the market, I prefer to use Satin-Ice, but there is also Regal Ice and Bakels Pettince. All can be purchased from spotlight, and I have also seen the Bakels Pettince at supermarkets. Fondant generally comes in white, but a lot of these brands have certain colours pre-mixed. There are also some really good cake supplies shops on-line
Other stores will stock tools required to work with fondant too; Homestore, Living and Giving, Stevens and Moore Wilson.