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How to Use Fondant

Created March 13, 2017
How to Use Fondant
How to use fondant and decorate a cake.

Learn how to decorate a beautiful cake with fondant.

Have you ever wanted to decorate a cake with fondant, but were afraid to try? Me too.

This is only the second cake I've ever covered in fondant. So, believe me when I say it's easier than you might think. I used store bought white fondant and added coloring to it for my decorative pieces. I created a very simple yet festive design to show how easily you can have a beautiful, bakery-quality decorated cake at your next party.

I do have a few tips to keep in mind when working with fondant.

  • Keep it covered. Fondant will dry out quickly, so it's best to keep it in a zip top bag or wrapped in plastic wrap.
  • Wear food-handling gloves. No matter how clean I get my hands, by the time I dry them, I end up with lint on them, which ends up in my bright white fondant.
  • Wear gloves when coloring the fondant too, to prevent stains. I've had red fingers for days when I got coloring on my hands.
  • Don't use too much cornstarch. It will dry out your fondant.
  • Use a fondant that tastes good to you. There are many brands of fondant on the market, so find one you really like. There's going to be a lot of it on your cake!

Start by frosting your cake with a nice thick layer of frosting that has been smoothed out really well. It's easiest to add fondant when the frosting has firmed up a bit. I find it best to just pop my cake into the freezer for about an hour; the frosting will harden but still be just a bit tacky. Then I wet a paper towel, ring it out, and set it over any bumpy spots.

By gently rubbing over the bumps with my fingers, I can smooth out the rough spots. The cake is then ready to be transformed into something colorful and fun!

Measure your cake across the top and the sides then add 2 extra inches to that. So if your cake is 3 inches tall by 8 inches wide you need to roll your fondant out to 16 inches. For a cake this size, start with 24 ounces of fondant.

Knead the fondant until it is soft and pliable.

Lightly dust your counter top with cornstarch. Roll fondant out using a rolling pin.

Lift and turn your fondant as you are rolling to make sure it isn't sticking to the countertop. Add more corn starch if needed. Continue to roll it until you achieve the desired dimensions (16 inches for my cake.)

Carefully roll the fondant up onto your rolling pin.

Start with fondant at one side of cake and unroll it over the cake. This technique is much easier than trying to lift a large amount of fondant with your hands and draping it over the cake.

Work your way down from the top of the cake, smoothing out the fondant with your hands. Start by smoothing out the fondant on the top of the cake, then around the top edge of the cake, then move down to the bottom edge. As you work the fondant around the bottom edge, you'll need to pull the fondant away from the cake a bit with one hand and smooth it against the sides of the cake with the other, working out the pleats as you go around the cake.

Go around the entire cake using a fondant smoother.

Trim around the bottom edge of the cake, removing excess fondant.

I didn't worry about smoothing the bottom edge out as I was going to cover it anyway. If you aren't going to cover it, run a butter knife around the bottom edge, smoothing out any tears. The cake is now ready to decorate.

You can purchase colored fondant or you can create a rainbow of colors using white fondant and gel food colorings. Add a small amount of coloring to the fondant, and then knead in the color.

Dust your counter top very lightly with cornstarch. Roll out the colored fondant to 1/16th inch thickness.

Use small cookie cutters, fondant cutters, or plunger cutters to cut shapes out of the colored fondant. I made a simple polka dot cake and just cut out several different size dots of each color.

For a colorful border around the cake, I rolled each color of fondant out into very long thin ropes, and then twisted the three ropes together.

Wrap the twisted ropes around the base of the cake. Brush the backsides of the polka dots lightly with water and press them onto the cake.

The entire cake should be decorated so it looks festive from all sides. It's now ready to serve!

Store your fondant covered cake at room temperature. It's best to cover it with a glass or plastic cake cover, or a plastic bag or cardboard box (just to keep the dust from settling on it).

Happy decorating!