Professional bakers use fondant to give cakes a smooth, even finish. Made of glycerine, icing sugar, gelatin and a variety of flavourings and colours, novice users should buy pre-made fondant sheets. It may take a little practice to get used to working with fondant, so be patient with yourself while learning. Beginning on a square cake is a good first step, as less pleating occurs -- when fondant bunches around curves -- than on a round cake. Once you learn the trick of smoothing corners, you will be able to successfully apply fondant to almost any cake shape.
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Things you need
- Clean straight pin
- Rolling pin
- Buttercream icing
- Square cake
- Pizza cutter or sharp knife
Ice a room-temperature square cake with a thin layer of buttercream icing. This is called a "crumb coat" and allows the fondant to stick to the cake.
Dust a large work surface, rolling pin and your hands with a coating of cornstarch. This is used to keep the fondant from sticking and helps prevent tears or cracks.
Knead the fondant as you would bread dough until it is soft and easy to work with.
Roll the fondant out on a work surface to about 6.5 mm (1/4 inch) thickness. The rolled fondant need not be any specific shape, despite the shape of the cake. However, it does need to be a sheet that is larger than the size of cake to be covered. Prick any bubbles that form while rolling with the straight pin and smooth them with your fingers or a rolling pin.
Lift the sheet of rolled fondant off of the work surface and gently lay it over your cake. This step needs to take place within five minutes of rolling out the fondant, or it will become too difficult to use, and you will have to begin the process again.
Smooth fondant with the palm of your hands over the top surface of the cake. Keep your hands dusted with cornstarch to increase workability. If cracks begin to form, knead the surrounding fondant gently with your fingertips and lightly smooth it down.
Smooth the fondant down the sides of the cake. Use the palm and curve of your hand to round out the fondant at the corners. The corners of the square cake will not be sharp, but will have rounded edges. If the fondant begins to pleat, lift and separate it gently and try smoothing it out again.
Cut the excess fondant from the cake by using a sharp knife or pizza roller around the bottom of the cake.
Tips and warnings
- Leave your finished cake at room temperature. Storing a fondant-covered cake in the fridge will cause condensation to form on the icing and will mar the look you have created.
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