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How can I soften fondant once it has gotten hard?

Updated July 19, 2017

Fondant is a type of icing frequently used on wedding cakes and cakes for other formal occasions. It has the consistency of dough and is rolled out, then draped over a cake to create a perfectly smooth and seamless surface. Fondant-iced cakes are commonly further decorated using piping techniques. Fondant can be made fresh or purchased from specialist baking stores. Either kind will become hard and crumbly if you don't keep it tightly covered. Once in this state, you can't roll the fondant out properly. Thankfully, there are ways to soften fondant and make it pliable again.

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  1. Scoop a small amount of fondant onto the chopping block. Knead it with your bare hands so that the warmth of your skin gently permeates the fondant and softens it. Continue until all the fondant has been kneaded, then combine the smaller batches together by kneading them.

  2. Knead in a small amount of vegetable shortening during Step One if your fondant seems particularly dry and crumbly, rather than merely hard. Be sure to thoroughly knead the various batches together in the end in this case, as you want to make sure the vegetable shortening is distributed evenly throughout the fondant.

  3. Microwave the uncovered fondant in the microwave-safe bowl for no more than 10 seconds if Steps One and Two do not produce a soft enough fondant for your recipe. Take the fondant out and test it for pliability. Microwave it for five seconds more at a time if needed. Check between each microwaving to see if the fondant has reached the correct softness.

  4. Knead the fondant one final time before you roll it out for use in your recipe.

  5. Tip

    If you can wait before using the fondant, try coating it all over with a thin layer of vegetable shortening. Wrap the fondant tightly in plastic cling film and seal it in an airtight bag. Allow it to rest at room temperature for one or two days. Then cover your hands with a thin layer of shortening and try to knead the fondant. If this is ineffective, proceed to Step Three as outlined.


    After you microwave the fondant, the centre could be very hot. Be careful when you begin to knead it. Always make sure you wash and dry your hands thoroughly before and after handling any food products.

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Things You'll Need

  • Fondant
  • Chopping block
  • Spoon
  • Microwave
  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Vegetable shortening

About the Author

Elise Vogler is an educational consultant who started writing in 1990. She is a certified SMART Board trainer and holds teaching authorizations in history, science, English and language acquisition. Vogler holds a bachelor's degree in literature from the University of California, San Diego, and an M.A. in humanities from California State University.

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