How to Layer Fondant


Before a cake is covered in fondant icing, a "crumb coat" of buttercream frosting is applied to the cake, both to seal in the crumbs and act as a glue to bind the fondant to the cake. After covering the cake with the fondant base, you can layer different fondant decorations on top. You might add a wavy layer over the base layer to give the look of melted frosting dripping over the sides. Different sizes of shapes such as stars, stripes, leaves and circles can also be layered on top of each other in descending sizes.

Things You'll Need

  • Fondant roller
  • Fondant cutting tools
  • Plastic wrap
  • Clean artist's paintbrush
  • Fondant smoother
  • Roll out the fondant in the desired colors to about 1/4 inch thick, using a fondant roller.

  • Cut out all the pieces you wish to layer, using tools such as cookie cutters for shapes, a pizza cutter for stripes, or a specialized fondant shaping tool kit. For example, you can decorate a patriotic cake with a large blue star, a smaller red star on top of the blue star, and an even smaller white star on top. Create Christmas ball ornaments with a large circle accented with wavy stripes and small circles arranged in alternating rows. Keep the pieces covered with plastic wrap so they don't dry out while you decorate the cake.

  • Dip a small, clean paintbrush in clean water and allow the excess water to drip off the brush. Brush the back side of the largest fondant decoration with a light coat of water. Apply just enough water to moisten the fondant and make it slightly gummy without making it slimy or causing the colors to run. If you want to drape the base fondant with a smaller piece to create a dripping effect, brush the back side of the second piece. If you simply want to add stripes, brush the back side of the stripes. If you want to layer shapes of descending sizes, such as three differently sized stars, moisten the back side of the largest star.

  • Lay the largest fondant decoration in place over the fondant-covered cake. Line up the fondant carefully before setting it on the cake, because the water on the back can cause discoloration if the decoration is moved. Place the center of the decoration first and work toward the edges to prevent trapping air bubbles under the fondant.

  • Rub the top of the decoration gently with your finger to ensure that the soft back side adheres to the fondant on the cake. Press gently so you don't imprint the fondant. If it is a very large fondant layer, such as draping the top for a dripping effect, rub a fondant smoothing tool across the top to smooth out the fondant. This tool looks similar to a clothes iron, but it has a flat plastic smoothing plate.

  • Brush a light coat of water on the back of the next largest decoration. If you're covering the cake with three-layered stars, this is the medium-sized star. Line up the fondant decoration where you want to place it on the previous fondant layer. Set it in place and smooth it gently with your fingers. Repeat this process with the remaining decoration layers to finish the cake.

Tips & Warnings

  • It might sound easier to layer the pieces on your flat work surface before applying them to the cake, but this just makes it more difficult to apply the first layer to the fondant on the cake. While it's much easier to layer stars of different sizes when the stars lay flat on a table, you can't press and smooth the center of the largest fondant layer to secure it to the cake.

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