Any other bakers out there intimidated by that word? Yes.....? No.....? Don't really know what it is.....?
Your answer regardless, don't worry - I got you ;)
If you don't know what fondant is, don't worry - we'll get there. ;)
If you answered 'no,' you're WAY ahead of where I was a couple of weeks ago, and still a goodly ways ahead of where I am now. I'd never worked with fondant until the cake before this one, and it's a learning curve and takes some practice right at first!
If you answered 'yes,' I'm going to level with you here - I'm clumsy and accident-prone, so if I can pull off a faint semblance of a fondant cake, anyone can. ;)
So what do you need to know to get started?
First - there are a few different types of fondant. Rolled fondant is the most commonly-used in the U.S., and is essentially a super-thick-but-still-pliable frosting paste used to cover and decorate cakes. Its perfectly-smooth surface makes beautiful cakes, and even though it sometimes gets a bad rap, fondants in general have improved in taste dramatically since their creation. In the category of rolled fondants are
- designer fondant (available in many craft stores)
- buttercream fondant (I found this online through Amazon), and
- marshmallow fondant - you can buy this, or you can make your own
Next - don't be intimidated! I won't lie, the process can be a little tricky at first - but I'm serious when I say that if I can get the hang of it anyone can.
There are many different tutorials on YouTube that cover the basics of covering a cake in fondant - I worked mostly from this one. I think it's easier to watch a video on working with fondant than to read a description, but I'll summarize below. Essentially what you're doing is rolling the fondant out to about 1/8" thickness in a sheet large enough to cover the cake. Make sure to measure your cake straight across from the base of one side to the base of the opposite side, and measure your fondant as you roll.
Your package of fondant (or recipe) should tell you how much you'll need per cake size.As you roll out the fondant, a light dusting of a combination of cornstarch and powdered sugar will help keep your fondant from sticking to your rolling surface.
Once you've reached the right thickness, your fondant sheet should be large enough to cover your cake. *Carefully* lift the fondant, and center the sheet on top of your cake. I had better luck lifting with just my hands than a rolling pin, but some people swear by the rolling pin technique. ;) Go with what works for you. :)
Once you have the fondant on top of the cake, use a fondant smoother to stick the top down and smooth it, and then begin working your way down the sides. Pull the fondant out away from the cake sides as your work, to keep from pressing wrinkles into the side of the cake (this is where it gets tricky; stay patient). Once you've smoothed down the cake sides, trim the excess fondant away from the cake.
And with that, the hardest part is over! ;) The decorating is way more fun, I promise. ;) Fondant can be colored with gel food coloring - Americolor is the brand I used, but any type of gel (not liquid) food coloring will work. I dropped a small amount in the center of a ball of fondant and kneaded it until it was evenly colored. I stained my hands an impressive shade of blue in the process too - plastic food handlers gloves would be a good investment if you have an aversion to stained hands. ;) If you want a dark color, you'll probably have to knead in some extra powdered sugar as well - otherwise the fondant will be too loose to roll or cut. I colored a small amount blue, rolled it out into a sheet, and used the smallest of my set of biscuit-cutters to make small circles to decorate the cake with. The scraps I cut into pieces and pressed into rose petals to make flowers to decorate the cake base.
I was planning to use a cake topper on a friend's son's cake soon, so I wanted to try adding one to my practice cake - but the average cake topper is a little expensive to just buy for practice. A $1 'Smile' cardboard cutout from Michaels and a cut-to-length wooden skewer later, we were in business!
I was planning to use a cake topper on a friend's son's cake soon, so I wanted to try adding one to my practice cake - but the average cake topper is a little expensive to just buy for practice. A $1 'Smile' cardboard cutout from Michaels and a cut-t0-length wooden skewer later, we were in business!
The cake I was practicing for when I made the funfetti cake is below - my friend's son's First Communion cake! Chocolate cake, filled with the blue sparkle gel he requested, covered with chocolate buttercream, and decorated with blue ribbon, white and colored fondant, and a cake topper from Etsy. I used corn syrup to attach the dots and the ribbon - I didn't want to risk chocolate buttercream smudges on the cake. :/ I did see later that the corn syrup soaked through the ribbon in a few spots though, so I'll need a different tactic for next time.
YouTube - funfetti fondant cake
If you want to make your own cake to try covering in fondant, my current favorite vanilla cake recipe is below, along with my standby cream cheese buttercream frosting!
Cake (x1.5 recipe)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 c granulated sugar
4 eggs + 2 egg whites
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ T baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 c whole milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans and line with buttered parchment or spray with baker’s floured cooking spray. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Cream softened butter and granulated sugar together on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Add vanilla, eggs and egg white and beat well, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture, alternating with the milk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and mix until well combined.
Divide batter between pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part) and smooth tops with an off-set spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; about 25-30 minutes. Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely.
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons milk
1-2 t vanilla (or desired flavoring)
1/4 t. salt
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add flavoring and salt and beat until well combined.
If desired, reserve about 1/4 c frosting to use for sticking any loose decorations to your cake.
- 1 8- or 9-inch cardboard cake circle
- Rolling pin
- Cake topper if desired
- Cake turntable, offset spatula, and bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful!
Here is my favorite tutorial for frosting a smooth cake!
Did you try your first fondant cake? Let me know how it went! :)