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Episode 4: Fondant-Coated Cake

Sarah Breckenridge; videography by Gary Junken and Cari Delahanty; edited by Cari Delahanty
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Covering a cake in fondant gives it a beautiful smooth finish, the perfect blank canvas for decorations. This video demonstrates how to create that fondant canvas, get it on your cake in one piece and make it perfectly smooth.

Before you start, there are a few things to set up-you want to give your cake a smooth buttercream crumb coat, and let that chill in the fridge for at least an hour so the buttercream is nice and firm. When you remove it from the fridge, spritz it with a little water, which will help the fondant adhere to it and prevent air bubbles.

Have ready a fondant rolling pin, this one is made from smooth plastic, a little different from the wooden kind that you might be more familiar with-that’s important because plastic doesn’t leave marks or absorb food coloring from the fondant like wood can.

More Episodes in this Series
Episode 1: Leveling and Splitting Layer Cakes   Episode 2: Crumb Coat for Fondant Cakes   Episode 3: Buttercream Effects
Episode 1: Leveling and Splitting Layer Cakes
  Episode 2: Crumb Coat for Fondant Cakes   Episode 3: Buttercream Effects
Episode 4: Fondant-Coated Cake   Episode 5: Doweling and Stacking Multi-Tiered Cakes   Episode 6: Fruit Leather Decorations
Episode 4: Fondant-Coated Cake   Episode 5: Doweling and Stacking Multi-Tiered Cakes   Episode 6: Fruit Leather Decorations
Episode 1: Leveling and Splitting Layer Cakes   Back to Series Intro   Erin Gardner
Episode 7: Simple Fondant Shapes   Episode 8: Stamping   Back to Series Intro
Great Cake Decorating by Erin Gardner

To start, knead your fondant so it’s smooth and pliable, and then flatten it out, and roll it from the center out to the sides, until it’s about 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch thick. This is similar to rolling out pie dough, but you don’t need to lift and move the fondant as much as you would with dough. You want the diameter of your circle to equal the diameter of the cake plus two times the height. So for an 8-inch cake that’s 4 inches high, you want to roll your circle to 16 inches in diameter.  

Now trim the edges of the fondant with a scalpel or x-acto knife, to roughly match the shape of the cake so that it’s easier to handle. Or in a pinch you can use a paring knife, just make sure it’s super sharp so it gets a good clean cut.

Next wrap the fondant around your pin, lift it up over the cake, and unroll it, draping it over the top of the cake. Now smooth the top of the cake with your hands, and press the fondant over the top edge so it doesn’t tear as it hangs down.

Then you just smooth the fondant down the sides of the cake, working from the top down. To keep it from creasing, you can gently pull the fondant from the bottom with one hand while you smooth with the other.

Use the dull side of a knife to make a sharp crease at the bottom edge of the cake. Then use the sharp scalpel or knife to cut away the excess. Creasing it before you cut helps give it a sharp edge.

Now, to really make that fondant look like a second skin, you want to use a pair of fondant smoothers,. They’re made from acrylic or plastic, and you can find them at most craft stores. For the top edge, you move the smoother back and forth, and for the sides of the cake, run it up and down all around the cake. Use a gentle but steady pressure, not so much that it makes the fondant tear or move on the cake.

If your fondant develops a large crack, you’ll have to remove the coat and start over, but if you see tiny cracks, there is an easy fix: just smooth a little bit of vegetable shortening over the crack, and it will help bring the edges back together in a seam.


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