How to Cover a Cake with Fondant
So you’ve seen the Pinterest posts of stunning covered cakes and want to learn how to create your own sugary masterpiece? Or perhaps you’ve just started baking and now reaching the next level where you are trying to master fondant icing? Whatever your reasons, there is no doubt that a fondant covered cake is super impressive; it’s next-level baking and looks amazing at the same time. But is it as easy as it looks?
Read on to discover the easy way to make a fondant cake!
What you will need to make the fondant icing cake:
So at this stage you’ll have your cake made and set aside on the table. You should also have the correct amount of buttercream set aside in a bowl ready to be added to the cake. Once you have this ready then you’re going to need the string! The purpose of the string is to use as a measuring tool so you can see how much fondant you will need to completely coat the cake.
If you have a single layer of cake then you will simply need to take the string and lay it gently across the top of the cake and drape it down the sides. Once it reaches the plate you can trim the string to size. If you have a multi-layered cake then you will measure one tier at a time.
At this stage you begin to add the buttercream. This is an important stage as the buttercream acts as a type of “glue” to stick the fondant to the cake. If you don’t want to add buttercream you can add jam or ganache as an alternative. Using a cake decorating turntable (as this makes the job so much easier) you will need to use your palette knife to coat the cake in an even layer of buttercream (or jam). Make sure that you fully coat the top and sides and you can almost use the buttercream as a type of filler to fill in any holes or bumps. Once the buttercream has been smoothed over, you need to then place the cake in the fridge to allow the buttercream to harden a little. Soft butter and fondant doesn’t mix!
You’ll need a large smooth work surface which is suitable for rolling. Make sure the surface is clean and dry before dusting with powdered sugar. It is vital that the surface is smooth at this stage because otherwise it will create marks on your fondant. The most important thing is to have a smooth fondant icing when applying to the cake. If your fondant mix is too dry you can add a little vegetable shortening and if the fondant feels too sticky then a little cornstarch can go a long way too.
You’ll need to allow the fondant to reach room temperature to make it more pliable and easy to work with. Knead it a little to soften but never allow it to get soft and sticky. If you want your fondant icing colored or flavored then you will add colored gel or flavoring at this stage too. Liquid food coloring is not designed for this purpose so stick to gels.
Using your clean hands, you need to flatten the fondant into a round shape – like a pancake. Obviously if your cake is a different shape then you’ll need to make the fondant that shape too. You will then roll out the fondant until it is approximately 1/4 inch thick. Keep turning the fondant as you go along to keep the shape nice, neat and even.
Remember that piece of string you used earlier? You’re now going to see how it will really come in handy! Take the string and lay it across the fondant. If the sizes don’t match then you will need to roll out the icing a little more. If the fondant is too large then don’t worry, you can trim it down to size a little later.
Take your rolling pin and roll out the fondant. Try to pick up the fondant as you go along and don’t be too heavy handed. It’s easy for the fondant to rip at this stage so we have to be careful to keep the shape and not roll it too hard. If you roll too hard then it’s also going to stick to the surface and it will almost be impossible to add to the cake later! Adding powdered sugar to the rolling pin can really help this stage. As it will prevent the pin from sticking to the fondant.
Now’s the exciting part! You’re going to unroll the fondant onto the cake by placing the rolling pin onto the top of the cake and gently rolling towards the opposite end.
Once the fondant icing has been added to the cake you can set the rolling pin aside and smooth the fondant using clean, dry hands. You really want to look out for any bumps, wrinkles or air bubbles at this stage. Use your hands to mold the fondant to the cake – we cannot stress how important it is for you to be gentle at this stage. Trim off any excess using a sharp knife, trim as close to the bottom as possible.
If you’re looking for a professional looking cake then you’re going to need the tools of the trade! At this stage you can get an even smoother look by using a fondant smoothing tool or a flat side glass. Using the tool, gently smooth down the surface, without adding too much pressure. You can even add a little shine at this stage by adding a spritz of cooking oil mist and smoothing the fondant icing down once more.
You now should have a smooth fondant cake which can be enjoyed as it is or it can be a base for other fondant decorations – it’s time to get creative!