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Mastering the Art of Using Ready-Made Fondant for Cake Decoration

by SAIRA FARHEEN 10 Nov 2023
Mastering the Art of Using Ready-Made Fondant for Cake Decoration

The cakes on those baking shows, smooth as a baby's cheek, make you wonder: How do they do it? The secret is fondant. This malleable sugar paste works magic, turning cakes flawless when draped over them. With it you can color, shape, mold - anything to create designs that dazzle the eye.

Watching fondant masters like Buddy Valastro of Cake Boss, Duff Goldman of Ace of Cakes, Martha Stewart of The Martha Stewart Show, you're inspired to try your own hand. Their splendid creations make it look easy as pie.

When buying ready-made fondant, quality brands like Satin Ice and Renshaw are trusted by pros and greenhorns alike for good reason.

But fondant's not just for experts. With ready-made from these top names, any Tom, Dick or Sally can make cakes magazine-worthy at home, no sweat. No need to whip it up from scratch or worry about the texture - it's ready to mold. Find any color or flavor you can dream up, or customize your own.

In this post, we'll demonstrate fondant icing cakes step-by-step, with some nifty tips along the way. We'll cover the whole shebang - prepping the cake, kneading and rolling out the fondant, draping it over, trimming the excess. We'll also answer common questions about store-bought fondant, so you'll be an old hand in no time.

Also Read: How to work with fondant for cakes?

With the right fondant and a little moxie, you can make cakes that dazzle too. This pliable sugar dough makes amateurs look like pros. Now let those creations see the light of day.

#1 - Let’s prepare the cake

Fondant frosting looks so pretty on cakes. But you gotta get that cake ready first, or the fondant won't look so good. Here's how to do it:

First, bake a sturdy cake. Fondant is heavy, so your cake needs to hold it up. Madeira, pound cake, carrot cake, chocolate cake - those'll all work nicely. You can add nuts or fruit to jazz it up too.

Make it flat and smooth. Once your cake's baked and cooled off, you gotta make the top flat and the sides straight. Use a long, sharp knife to slice off any domes or bumps. Get it nice and even all around. That way the fondant will look real tidy.

Coat it thin with frosting or jam. This helps the fondant stick and keeps the cake moist. Use a spatula or piping bag to spread a thin layer on top and sides. Fill in all the cracks. Get rid of any lumps or extra with a scraper.

Let it chill. Pop it in the fridge until the frosting or jam is firm. An hour should do. This sets the coating and makes the cake easier to handle when you put the fondant on. Prevents melting and oozing too. Just wrap it up good first.

#2 - Now knead and roll out the fondant icing

Once you've prepped the cake for that smooth fondant finish, it's time to knead and roll out the icing itself. Follow these easy steps and you'll have fondant that's soft, flexible, and a breeze to work with.

First, figure out how much fondant you need for your cake's size and shape. Check a fondant calculator or chart to estimate. Weigh it out on a kitchen scale to be sure. Choose a color or mix colors to get the shade you want. Add the color during kneading so it spreads evenly.

Next, knead the fondant until it's smooth and stretchy. Dust the work surface with cornstarch so the fondant doesn't stick. Dust your hands too. Knead like you would bread dough - stretch and fold repeatedly. Add a few drops of food coloring gel or powder and keep kneading until the color is uniform. A few flavor extract drops make it taste nice too. Knead for 5-10 minutes until the fondant is elastic. Stretch a small piece with your fingers. If it doesn't tear, it's ready to roll.

Rolling out fondant is easy as pie with the right tools. First, you'll need a clean, smooth surface like a silicone mat or parchment paper on a counter or cutting board. A rolling pin is key—preferably a nonstick one so the fondant doesn't glue itself as you work. Optional extras that make the job easier include fondant rollers and smoothers for an even thickness. Start by lightly dusting your work surface and rolling pin with cornstarch or shortening so the fondant doesn't stick. Then place it on the surface and start rolling from the center outward. Turn the fondant occasionally to keep it from sticking. You can also shape it by hand into a circle, square or rectangle—whatever fits your cake. Roll in one direction at a time, avoiding too much pulling or stretching which can cause tears. With the right touch, you'll have that fondant rolled out beautifully in no time.

Measure how wide and tall the cake is. You can use a ruler, tape measure, or string to find out the cake's size. Add the width and height times two to know the smallest size of fondant you'll need. For example, say you have a round cake that's 8 inches wide and 4 inches high. You'll want to roll out the fondant to at least 16 inches across (8 + 4 x 2 = 16). However, always give yourself 1-2 extra inches all around to allow for smoothing and trimming later. For the 8-inch cake, roll the fondant out to about 18-20 inches across.

When covering a cake in fondant, the thickness matters. Aim for about a quarter inch or 6 millimeters. The right thickness makes the cake look and taste its best. Too thick, and the fondant gets heavy and tough to cut. Too thin, and it tears easy or looks see-through. The sweet spot is a quarter inch. Use a ruler or measuring tape to check as you roll it out. Feel with your fingers too. If too thick, keep rolling till it's thinner. If too thin, knead it up again and work in some cornstarch or shortening to firm it up. A pinch of tylose powder or gum tragacanth will strengthen it too. The perfect fondant hugs the cake just right. Not too thick, not too thin. Just a quarter inch of sweetness.

#3 - Cover the cake

The last step to using store-bought fondant on a cake is putting the rolled out fondant on the cake. This gives the cake a smooth, fancy look and keeps it from drying out. Here's how to cover a cake with fondant icing:

Lift the fondant carefully with the rolling pin or your hands and lay it on the cake. This part takes a gentle touch, so the fondant doesn't tear or stretch too much. To pick up the fondant, roll it around the pin starting at the far edge and rolling toward you. Or use your hands to hold it from underneath. Then slowly unroll or lower it onto the cake, beginning at the middle and draping it over the sides. Go slow and steady to keep air bubbles from getting trapped underneath. The fondant will hug the cake nicely if you take your time.

Smooth out that fondant icing nice and easy. Get it on top of the cake and along the sides too. Use your hands if you want, or a fondant smoother if you got one. That's a plastic stick that'll flatten it out real good. Start in the middle working your way out as smooth as can be. Do the top first, then the sides from top to bottom. Be gentle but firm - don't tug or push too much.

If bubbles or wrinkles pop up, give the fondant a little lift and stretch. Sometimes, try as you might, they sneak on through. Bubbles and wrinkles just don't look right - got to get rid of them quick. Prick bubbles with a pin, let the air out, then smooth it down again. For wrinkles, lift the fondant with your fingers. Stretch it a bit till the wrinkle disappears. Using a little water or shortening makes the fondant more flexible too.

The final touches make all the difference for a fondant cake. Take a sharp knife and trim off the excess fondant hanging over the sides. Leave just a thin border around the cake. This seals it and keeps the fondant looking good later. Cut right along the cake board for a clean line. For extra polish, tuck that thin border under a bit with your fingers. A few quick snips and tucks give you a cake with clean lines, ready to serve.

#4 - Decorate the cake

Fondant icing makes a cake look real nice. Smooth and pretty like you bought it at a bakery. But you can make it at home yourself easily. Here's how:

First, press the fondant edges down neat. Run your fingers or a scraper around the sides to push the icing flat. Gives it a clean look.

Next, keep the cake somewhere cool and dry. Not the fridge though. Fondant doesn't like moisture or hot sun. Store it for a few days in a cake box or container.

Then, decorate however you want. Cut shapes from fondant with cookie cutters. Make flowers by hand. Color them pretty with food dye. Glue decorations with a little water. Use toothpicks to hold parts steady.

Finally, add piped designs. Squeeze royal icing or melted chocolate on top from a bag. Dust with powdered sugar through a sieve. Paint details with food coloring and a brush. Anything you can think of to make it special.

There you have it. With some fondant and creativity, you can decorate a cake real nice. Something to be proud of for any occasion. And it tastes as good as it looks.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does fondant icing last and how to store it?

Fondant icing can keep for a long time if you take good care of it. The secret is keeping air and water away from it. Wrap the icing snugly in plastic wrap. Then put it in an air-tight box or ziplock bag. Store in a spot that's cool and dry, out of the sun and far from dampness. Don't chill it or freeze it. That will make water drops form on it, ruining the smooth feel.
If you follow these tips, your fondant icing can last for weeks or even months.

Can fondant icing be frozen or refrigerated?

No, fondant icing should not be frozen or refrigerated, as this can damage its quality and appearance. Freezing or refrigerating fondant icing can cause it to become sticky, brittle, or discolored. It can also affect the taste and smell of the fondant. If you need to store fondant icing for a long time, it is better to keep it at room temperature in an airtight container or a ziplock bag

How to fix cracked or dry fondant icing?

Cracked fondant ruins the perfect look of a cake. But with a few simple tricks, you can fix it right up.

First, buttercream under the fondant prevents cracks. It seals in moisture and supports the icing. Smooth it on before adding fondant for a crack-free canvas.

Next, fill cracks with fresh fondant. Knead in a dab of oil to soften it. Then press it into the cracks. Smooth the edges clean with your fingers. Good as new.

You can also brush over cracks. Lay parchment paper on top. Then lightly brush with a paintbrush or your fingers. This blends the fondant beautifully.

Finally, cover up cracks by decorating. Use fondant shapes, flowers, or cutouts. Pipe designs in buttercream or chocolate. Anything works to camouflage cracks.

How to color fondant icing or make it flavored?

Fondant is easy to color and flavor. Just add a little food coloring or extract, then knead it in. Gels and pastes mix best - they won't make the fondant sticky. Powders work too. Avoid liquid colors, they'll ruin the texture. Flavor with vanilla, almond, lemon, chocolate - anything you want. A few drops is plenty. Knead it to spread the flavor evenly. You can color a whole batch or just a portion, whatever suits your needs. Both methods are simple. Knead a minute or two until the color or flavor blends through the fondant. Then it's ready to roll out and decorate. With a bit of coloring or extract, you can easily customize fondant. Your cakes will look and taste fantastic.

How to make homemade fondant icing or marshmallow fondant?

Making your own fondant at home is a cinch. All it takes is a few simple ingredients and a little elbow grease.

For traditional fondant icing, you'll need some powdered sugar, water, gelatin, corn syrup, shortening, and a spot of vanilla. Sprinkle the gelatin over water in a small pan. Once it's good and bloomed, warm it up gently, stirring now and again. Mix in the corn syrup, shortening, and vanilla until smooth. Now slowly blend in the powdered sugar. Knead the fondant on a powdered sugar-dusted surface until it's soft and stretchy. Wrap it up and let it rest a couple hours before decorating.

If marshmallow fondant is more your speed, mini marshmallows, some water, loads of powdered sugar, and a bit of shortening is all you need. Melt the marshmallows with a little water in the microwave, stirring after each 30 second zap. Add in vanilla and some powdered sugar and grease your hands and counter with shortening. Knead in more powdered sugar and drips of water until the fondant is silky smooth. Wrap it up tight and give it 8 hours or so to rest.

Then you’re all set to make some magic with your homemade fondant. A little time and care yields sweet decorating success.

What are some alternatives to fondant icing?

Fondant's not for you? Don't sweat it. There's plenty of solid cake-topping options that'll still make your cake a looker.

Modeling chocolate - Now that's a tasty alternative. Just chocolate and corn syrup melted down and smoothed on top. Hardens up real nice and leaves a killer chocolate taste. Can't beat it.

Buttercream - A classic for a reason. Light, fluffy, just butter and powdered sugar. Spread it on thick or thin it out to pipe pretty patterns. Tastes like a little slice of heaven with its creamy flavor and silk texture. Looks great whether you're going for fancy or homey.

Chocolate lovers, listen up. Ganache is your game. Rich chocolatey glaze from chocolate and cream poured right over the cake. Intense chocolate taste. Velvety feel. Coat the whole cake for drama or just drizzle for decadence.

Almond lover? Marzipan's for you. Sweet almond paste of almonds and sugar, rolled out and draped on smooth. Strong almond flavor, nice firm but bendy texture. Covers cakes beautifully or makes swell decorations.

Want an elegant finish? Royal icing is a classic. Egg whites and powdered sugar harden into a smooth, glossy coating with a sweet, crisp taste. Spread it on or pipe it fancy. Also great for gluing on decorations.

See, fondant's not your only choice. Find something that fits your taste and looks good to you. Your cake will thank you for it.


Making cakes that look like they came from a professional bakery is easier than you think with ready made fondant icing. Even beginners can achieve stunning cake decorations with just a few simple techniques. The key is starting with quality ingredients and having the right tools on hand.

Ready made fondant is a lifesaver for the novice baker. All you have to do is knead it briefly before rolling it out to the desired thickness. The fondant can then be draped smoothly over the frosted cake. With a few finishing touches like textured rollers, cutters for shapes, or impression mats, your cake will look like a masterpiece. The best part is fondant seals in moisture to keep cakes tasting fresh for days.

Decorating with fondant is also very forgiving. If you make a mistake, just knead the fondant smooth and try again. You can even reuse scraps of fondant, so there's no waste. And if you want to get really creative, fondant can be colored, flavored, and molded to match any theme or occasion. The possibilities are endless.

For beginners looking to try fondant icing, we have a great deal on a starter set of cake decorating tools. You'll get cutters, rollers, smoothers, and everything else you need to unleash your creativity on cakes. Supplies are limited at this special price, so click the link below to order your fondant tool set today. Sweet success is just a few clicks away.

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