Monday, June 11, 2012

Fondant Facts

Do you find fondant confusing? Don't worry, you're not alone! It wasn't long ago that I didn't even know what the stuff was! Here is a little bit of info I thought I'd share if you ever find yourself needing to make a cake for someone and would like to decorate using fondant. Here is the what, why, how, and where to fondant…

IMG_4527 (1280x901)

WHAT is Fondant?
Fondant, or ready to roll fondant as it is sometimes called, is the smooth icing that usually covers wedding cakes. Not to be confused with Marzipan or almond icing.
Fondant has a marshmallowy taste and can be put on top of a buttercream or ganache covered cake. You will usually find fondant in plain white but it is also possible to buy it in different colours and flavours which is great if you’re trying to make tricky colours like red or black.

WHY use Fondant?
Fondant is great for giving cakes that smooth and professional look. You can do virtually anything with a fondant covered cakes, the possibilities are endless! As well as looking good, fondant also helps keep your cake moist for longer, once you cover a cake in fondant it is sealed and will last up to one week (depending on your filling).

IMG_1775 (1280x814)

HOW do you use Fondant?
You'll need to start with cake, try to use a recipe you know and trust. Once the cake is fully cooled down, cover with either buttercream or ganache. If you're making a cake with filling that needs to be refrigerated then you shouldn't be covering it with fondant.

If you have white fondant and want to colour it you will need to use gel food colouring, not the liquid ones you usually buy at the supermarket. I’ve heard of many disasters that started with using liquid colouring!

Next you will need to roll your fondant and cover your cake. Lightly dust your bench with a mixture of cornflour and icing sugar (I use my dust puff to do this) before rolling out fondant.
Put a small amount of piping gel on the iced cake before covering with fondant to ensure it sticks. I use rolling pin guides on my rolling pin and usually use the 1/8th of an inch to roll out fondant which means it'll be just under half a centimetre thick.
Once cake is covered, smooth over the fondant with either fondant smoothers or using your hands. If you have long nails you will probably regret having grown them while cake decorating, they can be a real pain if you scratch your cake!

Now you are ready to decorate your cake as you please! There are so many possibilities!
You can cut out flowers and other shapes from cookie cutters and stick these onto your cake using a tiny amount of vodka and a paintbrush to "glue" to your cake.

Useful tools:
Rolling pin
Fondant smoothers – once the cake is covered use these to smooth out any bumps on the cake. Alternatively, use your hands, but beware of your nails!
Dust puff – I make this myself by using a clean Chux cloth and filling it equal parts with icing sugar and corn flour then secure with a rubber band. You can also use a paper towel with some holes poked in the bottom. I use this to lightly dust down my surface before rolling out fondant or when my fondant gets a bit too moist.

Useful links:
Buttercream recipe
Chocolate ganache recipe
How to ice a cake
How to cover a cake with fondant
How to colour fondant

Storing Fondant and Cakes
You can store your leftover fondant by wrapping it up in Glad wrap twice and then putting it inside an airtight container for two months. Do not store in the fridge or freezer!

I do not recommend putting a fondant covered cake in the fridge or freezer, if you do, however, just make sure you bring it back to room temperature before you attempt to decorate it. Refrigerating the cake can make it taste dry and can cause problems with the cake sweating, not pretty!

Trouble Shooting
Fondant has Bubbles in it:
When you roll out your fondant and cover your cake sometimes you will find there are small air bubbles. If this happens, don’t worry! Just get a clean pin and insert it on an angle to release the air then smooth it over with your fingers to cover up the tiny hole.

Fondant is Torn:
Usually tearing happens with the fondant is rolled too thinly. If the tearing is really bad you may need to remove it and start over. You cannot re-use your fondant if it has touched the cake and icing or it will get messy and full of crumbs and icing! Sometimes you can cover up the mistakes with some decorations, you’d be surprised how often cake decorators do this to cover up their mistakes, you’d never know!

Fondant is Cracking:
Fondant that is rolled too thickly usually results in cracking as it can’t curve over the edges of the cake as easily. You can usually smooth away cracks by rubbing it over with a fondant smoother while the fondant is still soft. If all goes wrong just cover it with some decorations and no one would ever know the difference!

Fondant is Sweating:
If you store your cake in the fridge or airtight container it will sweat, it is best to leave it out in room temperature and it will evaporate. Try not to touch the wet fondant and do not put icing sugar on top (I did this on an Owl Cake once).

IMG_4212 (1280x856)

WHERE do you get Fondant?
If you live in NZ like me, cake decorating isn’t incredibly popular but it’s getting bigger and bigger so I’m finding more and more places are starting to sell decorating supplies. See my post on Where to Buy Cake Decorating Supplies in NZ.

If you’re overseas I would try a craft or hobby shop and it might be a good idea to ring in advance to see if they have what you’re looking for.

Sometimes the best option is to buy online, quite often this will mean you are guaranteed to get what you’re looking for and it’s sometimes cheaper! The only thing to remember is that you’ll need to order what you need in advance because you’ll have to wait for shipping. One of my favourite NZ online decorating suppliers are Kiwi Cakes and the Pretty Baker also has lots of amazing and cute products to chose from.

I hope that this post has been useful to you, please feel free to ask me any questions and I'll do my best to answer them and maybe even include more in this post if need be, if I actually CAN fit any more in one post that is!


  1. Love this! :-)

    I like the Bakel's Pettinice white icing (I like the taste better than others) and generally get it from Countdown. It doesn't come in colour but if you're lucky you might find the chocolate one.

    And I definitely know what you mean about long fingernails... ;-)

    1. Hi Rosa,
      Thank you!
      Yes I like the Bakel's fondant too! If I'm making black fondant I start with the chocolate one. Did you know Pak n Save is now stocking Bakel's fondant?! Sooo exciting!

  2. This is really helpful! I don't do a lot of cake decorating but I know where to turn to next time :) thanks!

  3. Thanks for the tips i really like the trouble shooting as i've had a number of problems with fondant so far but these tips are great. Thanks