8 Simple Steps for Covering a Cake in Fondant

fondantYou've seen it on elaborate cakes, and you've seen it create fantasies on the reality TV show Cake Boss: It's fondant, the pliable, dough-like decorative cake icing. When you cover a cake with this confection it gives you a beautifully smooth surface to decorate. Usually it's made of gelatin and food-grade glycerine (a kind of sugar), and it's most often sold as "rolled fondant" in soft blocks which you knead and roll out. You can buy it white and color it yourself, or you can buy colored fondant. Here's how to use fondant the most basic way, to cover a whole cake in a single color.


cake covered in fondant

1. Set out everything you'll need. This includes fondant, a small bowl or spray bottle of water, cooking spray, powdered sugar, buttercream frosting (or that stuff in a can), a rolling pin, fondant smoother or silicone spatula, and a sharp kitchen knife. You'll need a clean, clear workspace.

2. Figure out how much fondant you need. As you can imagine, that depends on the size of your cake. Wilton (which makes fondant) had a handy fondant coverage guide based on cake size. If you're a beginner, start with a fondant already dyed the color you want it.

3. Frost your cake with icing or buttercream. This is kind of like the glue that helps your fondant stick to your cake. Let the frosting dry out a little, then spray with water so it becomes tacky again.

4. Knead the dough. You don't have to work it like bread dough. Just get it to the point where it's pliable and a little warm.

5. Roll out the dough. Spray your work surface with cooking spray and then dust lightly with powdered sugar. Now roll out dough with a long rolling pin, taking care that it's even thickness all over. Lift the fondant regularly so it doesn't stick to your surface.

6. Place fondant on cake. Lift fondant onto the rolling pin, then place from rolling pin onto your cake. Smooth fondant out over cake using a fondant smoother (sometimes comes with a kit) or a the straight edge of a small silicone spatula.

7. Trim. Using a knife, trace around the edges to trim off excess fondant.

8. Decorate. Once you've covered your cake with a layer of fondant, you can roll out more and cut it into shapes to decorate your cake.

The more experienced you get, the more you can experiment with more complex designs. There are other kinds of fondant you can play with, pourable fondant and sculpting fondant. 

Do you have any experience using fondant? What tips can you share?


Images © Vesivus/iStock


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