When you're getting started in cake decorating, learning to work with buttercream and other soft icings is absolutely fundamental. Once you've become comfortable with those, the next step is working with fondant. Fondant is a smooth, pliable form of icing with a texture similar to that of a child's modeling clay. It gives cakes a perfectly smooth, even surface, and can be tinted to almost any hue you need. Fondant is sold by weight, and most recipes give their yield in weight, so that's the most convenient way to measure it.
Things You'll Need
- Baker's fondant chart
- Digital or analog kitchen scale
- Parchment or wax paper
- Powdered sugar
- Rolling pin
Look up your cake on a baker's fondant chart, to see how much fondant it requires. They can be found in cake decorating books, or several cake-related websites online. The amount needed increases sharply with each increase in diameter or height.
Turn on your scale and place a sheet of parchment or wax paper on the platform. If you're using an analog scale, ensure that it's set to zero. Pinch off a portion of fondant and place it on the scale. Wait for the scale to stabilize, and read the weight. Repeat, until you've got as much fondant as you need. Cover the rest tightly, and return it to your pantry.
Calculate the physical size for your sheet of fondant, based on your cake. If it's a round cake, you'll need a circle that's the diameter of the cake, plus the height of both sides and a little more just to be safe. A 9-inch cake that's 3 inches high needs a circle 15 inches in diameter, plus an extra half-inch or so in case of error. If the same cake was a 9-inch-by-13-inch rectangle, you'd need to roll a sheet of fondant 15 inches by 19 inches, plus an extra half-inch to an inch as your margin of error.
Knead the fondant until it's pliable, on a scrupulously clean surface. If the fondant is stiff, work in a small quantity of shortening to soften it. Lightly dust your work surface with powdered sugar, and roll the fondant until it's the correct size and roughly 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch thick.
Tips & Warnings
- Many kitchen stores and department stores sell special nonstick mats for rolling and measuring dough or fondant. They're printed with circles and rectangles in different sizes, so you simply need to roll your fondant until it reaches the correct marks.
- Fondant quickly absorbs dirt and discoloration from your hands, work surface and rolling pin, so it's crucial to ensure that all three are as clean as you can make them. Most kitchen stores or department stores sell special nonporous rolling pins for fondant, made of silicone and similar materials. They don't accumulate oils and dirt like wooden rolling pins, and give your fondant a smoother surface.
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- Baking 911: Fondant -- Amounts Needed to Cover a Cake
- Wren's Cottage: Covering the Cake with Rolled Fondant
- Photo Credit Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images