The silky-smooth texture of rolled fondant makes it a favourite among cake decorators for elaborate cakes. Besides the creation of the fondant itself, a properly prepared cake is key to producing this practically flawless decorating canvas. Imperfections in the cake, such as lumps and bumps or ragged edges, will adversely effect the appearance of the fondant that will blanket the cake. The goal is to be able to envelop the cake with the fondant so it appears seamless and perfectly smooth; prepping the cake is the first step toward this goal.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Cling film or baking paper
- Serrated knife
- Cake leveller (optional)
- Metal icing spatula
- Buttercream icing
Level the tops of the cakes if any domes rose in their centres during baking. Slice the domes off with the wire on a cake leveller or with a knife that has a serrated blade equal to or longer than the cake's diameter. Move the cake leveller's wire or knife's blade back and forth in a sawing motion across the top of the cake.
Trim any uneven or crispy edges off the sides of the cake, using the serrated knife.
Trim any misshapen corners so you have the desired effect, whether sharp or rounded corners.
Create a crumb coat by thinning down your buttercream icing with water or milk. Add a small amount of water at a time, so you don't end up with a cake so wet that it falls apart. The crumb coat will act like a glue, preventing crumbs from escaping and make a mess of things. Sealing in the cake's moisture is an additional benefit of crumb coating.
Cover the entire cake with the crumb-coat icing, using a spatula. Do not worry about crumbs mixing into the icing because when the crumb coat dries, these crumbs will glued into place.
Allow the crumb coat to dry. It will be largely transparent; this is fine because the buttercream that is to follow will hide the blemishes.
Plaster the cake quickly with buttercream icing, filling every nook and cranny and covering the cake with a 1/4-inch layer of the buttercream.
Warm the metal spatula under hot water and shake off excess water so it doesn't thin the buttercream.
Smooth the buttercream with the warm spatula. The buttercream will provide a smooth but slightly sticky surface onto which you can apply the fondant.
Tips and warnings
- To prevent the cake from sliding while you level it, use a couple drops of icing to adhere the cake to cling film or baking paper that is taped to the work area.
- To prevent the cake from sliding during the crumb coating process, adhere to the cake board or turntable with a drop or two of icing.
- If using a crusting type of buttercream, try to apply before the icing crusts; if it has crusted, add a little piping gel so the fondant will stick better.
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