This must be a question that bothers a lot of cake decorators: How to cover a cake with fondant?
For some reasons, whenever I work with fondant, it reminds me of my childhood time. That was the time I would literally spend my whole day playing with my Play-Doh. I guess my liking towards kneading and sculpturing stays in my blood until I am a grown-up.
Maybe it’s just me, but I really feel like the process of repetitive kneading and focusing on details are extremely stress-relieving. I know I may sound ‘yoga-ish’ here, but I can assure you the level of happiness when you have successfully visualized the cake in your dream, the level of happiness is literally beyond words.
So, how do you exactly cover a cake with fondant? How do you make it perfectly smooth and without any air bubbles?
Many might say that fondant is a pain but really, I promise you, you would handle it beautifully once you have known some techniques, which I will clearly state here! 🙂
How to cover a cake with fondant – Detailed instructions
First, what do you need?
I am not going to tell you the obvious part and then leave you. I know the whole thing of how to cover a cake with fondant can be confusing, especially when you are just starting out. So, I am going as detailed (okay, naggy) as possible here.
Before you start working on your fondant, the first thing you need to consider is that the type of cake that you will need. As you can imagine, fondant carries a considerable amount of weight. For this reason, here you would need a denser cake that is able to stand up to this weight. The amount of ingredient should be adjusted accordingly if you are using other types of tin. Also, if you are planning to make a layered cake, I would advise you to bake your layers in separate, smaller cake tins rather than as a big block because this will give you a fluffier texture and save you a lot of cooking time.
Preparing and frosting your cake
Once you have had your cake baked, we can move on to our next step, which is frosting your cake. According to your personal preference, you may frost it with chocolate ganache or buttercream. The target is to frost your cake as smooth as possible so it acts as a great foundation for steps later.
The most important stages for you to get a level, neat and smooth cake include leveling your layers, applying the fillings, creating a crumb coat that seals in the crumbs, refrigerating your crumb-coated cake for an hour and lastly apply the second layer of buttercream.
Once you are happy with your frosting, leave your cake in the fridge for 10 minutes before covering it in the fondant icing.
How to cover a cake with fondant – The most exciting part!
Okay, smooth cake checked. What’s next? Yep, let’s work on our fondant! Here I have listed the everything that you would need in this step:
- Fondant of 1kg (for a 9-inch cake)
- Corn flour
- Rolling pin
- Fondant smoother
- A sharp knife
- A string/tape measure
Before you start rolling out your icing, use the string or the tape measure to measure across the top and the sides of your cake so you have a clue about how big you need to roll the fondant out. For example, if your cake is 9-inch in diameter and 3-inch in depth, the diameter of fondant you need to roll out is at least 15 inches (9+3+3).
Also, make sure that your icing is thoroughly kneaded until it reaches a workable consistency before you roll it out. The flexibility of the fondant is the key to success – a flexible fondant is less likely to crack later. Lightly dust your work surface with some cornflour to prevent the icing from sticking to the work surface. You may also use confectioners’ sugar for dusting but keep in mind that this will make the icing sweeter.
I know there will be a great temptation for you to keep rolling the fondant in a forward and backward motion but I have an awesome tip for you here:
- Start with a ball of icing
- Roll forward and backwards once
- Lift the fondant and rotate it 90 degrees
- Continue to roll forward and backwards once.
- Repeat this process as the fondant reaches the desired size.
This will help to roll evenly and ensures that the icing is not sticking to the work surface. For best result, roll the icing to a thickness of about 5mm. As the icing gets too big to be picked up, use the rolling pin to aid the process by rolling the icing over the pin.
Once you have had the icing at the desired size and thickness, again, gently lift it up with the help of the rolling pin and drape the icing over your cake.
Smooth the fondant out by using your hand. Quickly but gently push on the top and around the top edges to avoid the weight of fondant pulling itself down and rip it (Yes, you need to be quick here). Once the fondant at the top edges has stuck to the cake, continue to work towards the bottom of the sides.
You may find that there is a buildup of excess icing at the bottom and this can form ruffles or pleats if you are not careful. To stick the icing to the sides, gently pull the excess skirt a bit away from the cake and then push the icing towards to cake in an upward stroking motion – you do not want to pull down icing from the top edge as you are using it to create the sharp edges later.
Removing the excess fondant and smoothing the cake
Once you have fully covered your cake with the icing, create a solid corner around the bottom of your cake by pressing down with the bottom of your hand. Then, use a small knife or a pizza cutter to trim around the bottom edge of the cake.
Here comes one of the most satisfying moments in my life. Use the fondant smoother to remove any unwanted marks and smooth your cake out. Beginning in the centre of the cake top, move the smoother in gradual circular and outward motion. Then, move the smoother down the sides and work in a rotating motion.
I don’t use my hand to smooth out my cake because obviously your hand is not absolutely flat and by using your hand, you can leave indentations on the surface of icing. The fondant smoother is basically a piece of plastic with a handle but it is flat and gives you a neat and tidy cake.
=>Tip: If you spotted any air bubbles or tiny dust in your fondant, you may gently remove it by using a needle.
Creating the crisp and sharp edges
This last step in totally optional but if you looking for a professional looking cake, this is what you need to do.
You will need two smoothers here – one placed against the side of the cake and the other on the top of the cake, so they are forming a right degree here. Move two smoothers towards each other at the same time (i.e. the side one upwards and the top one outwards), just like you are pinching the edge of the cake. Work around the cake to create the sharp edge.
You may also use a pair of flexible cake smoother to further perfect the edge.
There you go, with your sexy looking cake!
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