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Using fondant

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I'm going to be making a novelty cake soon and the decorating suggestions - not directions, just suggestions - call for using fondant to cover the irregularly shaped cake. I'm very comfortable with the baking part but I've never used fondant before. I feel a little intimidated by it.

Do I want to make the fondant myself or buy it pre-made? I have access to wholesale baking suppliers.

Are there any tricks or tips I should know about using fondant?

All suggestions that will allay my fears are welcome.

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  1. It has been a while since I worked with fondant, but here's what I suggest. The first time buy your fondant. That way you get a feel for how it "should" be. But commercial fondant can be cold and crumbly so you have to work it by hand (and with short mild blasts in the microwave) to warm it up and get it maleable enough to roll out. It is pretty tough stuff but when you mold it around irregular shapes and corners it tends to crack - so have it plenty warm.

    I made the mistake of refrigerating a fondant-covered wedding cake once and it started to sweat immediately after coming out of the fridge. I powdered it back to its matte finish with powdered sugar!

    1. If you want to make it: three cups sugar, few Tbsp water. Cook to soft ball, skim while cooking; pour on stone top, work inwards w/ spatula til sugar whitens again and hardens. For use, heat slowly to expand and make slightly liquid; don't heat so much that you lose gloss. Do a trial ahead of time on a shoe box or something.

      Used to cheat as an 18 year old baker, superheating to get it workable for a longer time period at 5:00 in the morning after very little sleep. Fall asleep standing, hand in fondant...YAAAAGHHH!

      1. I took a fondant class a couple of years ago and the instructor said that unless you were a professional baker who was rolling out several batches, just go ahead and purchase one of the 3-5 lb. bricks of fondant instead of making it.

        Some other tips I learned:
        -As for keeping it from crumbling or cracking (store bought or homemade fondant), the trick is to always keep what you're not working with covered w/ plastic wrap. Then it won't be difficult to work with at all. When you're making your main fondant base to cover your cake, make sure your cake is standing-by, cooled, on a cardboard round that perfectly fits the base, and is covered w/a layer of royal icing (or else the fondant won't stick to the cake).

        -To color your fondant - Take only the fondant you think you'll need and color it with paste-coloring (not gel), kneading the color into the fondant.

        -When your fondant is in position on your cake, you can use the back of a smooth, plastic measuring cup to smooth out the tops and sides.

        -Painting onto fondant - You can use the same paste coloring and mix it with a little bit of clear evaporative liquor (such as gin),use a soft paint brush and paint away.

        Best of luck!

        1. Here is a web that also might be of help.

          http://www.baking911.com/decorating/c...

          1. Another great website on the topic:

            http://whatscookingamerica.net/PegW/C...

            1. Pretty sure they sell it at Micheal's Craft Store (that chain) - is it any good there? It's in the isle with cake decorating stuff.

              1. Thanks for all the help. I've checked the baking911 site and ther was a lot of good info there. I'll probably buy the premade since I have so many other things to do that week. I may be ordering from Sweet Celebrations since there are a number of other things I need that I can't seem to source locally.

                1. I was the same way when i first tried it out for cookies for a baby shower. I purchased the premade precolored one at Michaels Craft Store, and all i had to do was roll it out, cut it, and stick on the cookies (and it tasted good), i used royal icing to affix the fondant to the sugar cookies. I am going to try using it on a cake next but i would suggest doing a crumb coat on the cake first that way it might go on easier and have a smoother appearance. I was watching food tv the other day on using fondant... Ace of Cakes all he did was slap it on and smooth it out. You can purchase the smother at Michaels as well.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: MiniMom

                    Mini, I am definitely a proponent of not making fondant from scratch, since it isn't something that you use for its taste but instead for its functionality and thus might as well be purchased. That being said I currently have two fondant bows drying at my house for cakes I'm making this weekend. I'm a fondant novice, but followed the directions and found that the bows turned out okay (not great, but okay). Anyway, point being, I used fondant that I purchased at A.C. Moore--I believe it was Wilton. And the main problem I've had with it is that everytime I open the container that I have the bows stored in I get a whiff of something that makes me slightly nauseous. Since you said your fondant not only was easy to use but tasted good too, I'm wondering if you could share the brand with me? It's very possible that the sheer volume of fondant, as well as the decorations (gold dust, etc) are creating some sort of unpleasant odor on these bows that one wouldn't typically find if eating a small cookie or slice of cake. And, if probably doesn't help that these bows are being stores in air-tight containers. But, I thought I'd check with you since it sounds like you had a good experience. Either I'm using a brand that carries an odor I find offensive, or something about adding the decorations and moisture (in the form of water) to the fondant, as well as the storage process, is causing the odor. Thanks

                    1. re: Laura D.

                      Hi Laura,

                      I've not used fondant, I'm a buttercream gal. Lately I've been doing a great deal of reading on the subject. I just wanted to pass along this link to you. There is a wealth of info here and a forum where you might post a question about the odor. How do you think the fondant tastes? For some reason it doesn't seem like it would taste all that great.

                      http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake-dec...

                      1. re: mrsmegawatt

                        Thanks for the link...it looks really helpful. And I agree with you--I love frosting of all kinds except for fondant. Luckily no one will be eating my ribbons (while obviously 100% edible I really am using them for decoration purposes only). Thanks for the info!

                  2. Laura
                    I attached the link, it was the Wilton Fondant..but i was using it in fairly small quantities on the cookies & only had them in the container overnight. I didn't add any decor to them either so that might be the glitch.

                    http://www.wilton.com/store/site/prod...

                    1. I would buy the premade. Personally, I do not like the taste of Wilton's brand of fondant...it smells bad and tastes worse(has a very odd chemical flavor to it). I mostly use Pettinice and just recently tried Satin Ice and both are pretty good. Good luck!

                      1. I have used the Wilton fondant before, and it's very good for small detailed projects. However for covering a cake, I would definately use my own marshmallow fondant. It tastes great, it's cheap, and it takes about 20 minutes to make.

                        The recipe is here:
                        http://whatscookingamerica.net/PegW/F...

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: erinyoung05

                          I am a huge fan of Fondarific. They have lots of flavors and the fondant tastes really great.
                          http://www.fondarific.com/

                          1. re: erinyoung05

                            Any thoughts on whether this recipe could be made with marshmallow cream in place of whole marshmallows? i don't eat gelatin and I haven't really found any homemade fondant recipes which don't require gelatin (except perhaps the poured fondant recipes, which aren't really what I am looking for). Given that I've seen many people rate the above marshmallow fondant recipe so highly I'd love to try and modify it for my own dietary preferences. Thanks!