FAQ’s on Working with Fondant

April 28th, 2016 by Susan Matusiak

We receive a lot of questions here at Wilton in many different ways – social media, email, phone calls, YouTube. Another source filled with questions and answers is, of course, this very blog. One of our most popular posts is this Fondant Tips & Tricks blog from January of 2010. It’s no surprise that the blog has received many questions over the years! We’ve read through your comments and gathered up your most frequently asked questions on working with fondant.

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Q: What are some tips for working with fondant in a humid climate?
A: Heat and humidity are the enemy of fondant! Keep your kitchen/house  air conditioned when working with fondant. Some people also place a dehumidifier in the kitchen to remove excess moisture.  If your hands are hot, rinse your hands in cold water and dry them before you knead the fondant. You can also use vinyl gloves to keep the heat from your hands away from the fondant. If your kitchen is very warm and humid, use cornstarch rather than powdered sugar when rolling out the fondant. Cornstarch will absorb any excess moisture the fondant may pick up.

Q: What causes buttercream to seep through fondant?
A: 
If your buttercream is seeping from the bottom of the fondant, the buttercream may be too thin. Another reason could be if your fondant is too thick. Make sure you roll fondant less than ¼” thick, otherwise the weight of the fondant can cause the icing to seep out.

Q: What caused buckling and folding of the fondant?
A: 
Your fondant may be too thick and too big for the size of your cake. Once the fondant is on your cake, trim the excess on the bottom edge. You will have less to handle and be able to smooth the sides a little easier.

Q: How far in advance can you put fondant on a cake? How should the cake be stored once covered?
A: 
You can cover a cake 1 to 3 days before serving, depending on how big and ornate the cake and design may be. If your cake does not have a refrigerated filling, then you could let the cakes sit in a cool room. If your cake has fresh fruit or a custard type filling, then you will need to refrigerate the fondant covered cakes.

Q: Is refrigeration necessary? Do you recommend freezing?
A: 
Refrigeration is necessary if you live in a very hot and humid climate or you have a filling that needs refrigeration. If you don’t want condensation to form on the fondant cakes, place them in a cake box and cover the cake box with plastic wrap. Refrigerate. When ready to decorate the cakes, remove them from the refrigerator and keep the box wrapped in plastic wrap while the cake comes to room temperature. Once at room temperature, remove the plastic wrap and remove the cake from the box. We do not recommend freezing fondant covered cakes. Also, do not set up a fondant covered cake outdoors when hot and humid! The fondant will soften and your decorations may slide off the cake.

Q: What do you do if you see condensation on the fondant?
A: 
If condensation does form on the fondant covered cake, do not touch or wipe the moisture. If you let it sit out in a cool room, the moisture will seep back into the fondant.

Q: How do you fix fondant that is tearing and cracking?
A: If your fondant is tearing or cracking you can smooth the fondant with a fondant smoother if the tear is small.  If there is a large tear, try to join the two pieces together side by side and smooth with a tiny piece of shortening, until you blend the pieces together. Cracking occurs when the fondant may be too dry. You can try using a tiny bit of shortening to smooth, or slightly dampen a brush with water and add around the crack and smooth with a fondant smoother.

Q: What are some tips for achieving dark colors, like purple fondant?
A: 
For black you can start with chocolate fondant and add some black paste color. For colors like dark purple you can add a small amount of black to deepen the purple color. Using the Color Right Performance Color System formulas gives a nice dark color to icing and fondant.

Q: Will fondant work over ganache?
A: Yes, you can place fondant over ganache.  Ice the cake in ganache, refrigerate to set up and then place rolled fondant over it.  If the ganache crusted over, take a pastry brush dipped in water, wipe the excess water in a paper towel and brush onto the ganache, then attach the rolled fondant.

Q: How do I attach fondant decorations to my cake?
A: If your cake is covered in fondant, then you can attach your pastel fondant decorations with a damp brush or a few dots of piping gel around the edges. If you have dark colors like black, brown or red decorations to attach to your cake then I would suggest a smooth, very thin layer of buttercream. Water may make the dark colors bleed onto the fondant covered cake. If attaching a couple pieces of fondant together, like overlays, use a damp brush. If your cake is buttercream iced and you want to attach fondant decorations, attach with dots of buttercream .

Q: Why do you suggest buttercream over other icings such as cream cheese icing? Do you suggest using a crusting buttercream?
A: 
We suggest a thin coating of buttercream that is enough to cover any imperfection on your cake. It does not have to crust. If the buttercream does crust, you may want to spritz it lightly with water for the fondant to attach to the icing.  Soft icing like cream cheese, whipped toppings and whipped cream will seep out from the bottom of the cake from the weight of the fondant or possibly the tier above it.

Q: What is poured fondant and when should it be used?
A: 
Poured fondant is made from confectioners’ sugar, water, corn syrup and flavoring. You need to mix the ingredients and heat to about 92 degrees, just to warm.  Pour the fondant on prepared cakes, petit fours and cookies. The poured fondant dries to a semi-hard smooth surface.

We hope you’ve found the answer you were looking for, but if you have more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

 

 

Susan Matusiak Susan is the Senior Cake Decorator with over 20 years of decorating experience in the Decorating Room. She is also an instructor at the Wilton School of Cake Decorating and Confectionery Arts. Susan enjoys her job because each day is new and different — from baking cookies, decorating gingerbread houses or decorating multi-tiered wedding cakes all created for the photos in our publications. There is never a dull moment in the Decorating Room…always a lot of excitement here! Susan is a member of ICES (International Cake Exploration Societe) and the State Representative for Illinois.

6 Replies

  1. Trenacye says:

    Thank you

  2. Chris Mika says:

    I have a fondant question.
    I’m decorating cookies with royal icing and want to put a strip of fondant across the icing. Will the fondant stick to royal icing?
    Thank you,
    Chris

  3. freeda graveline says:

    Thank you for answering my question and giving list of tips!

  4. Tina says:

    If fondant is hard or older, is there a way to revive it to make it sift and pliable so out can be rolled out? What is the shelf life of fondant?

  5. Sherrie Spille says:

    New to fondant. Can unused fondant be stored for another use? If so, how and for how long? Thanks in advance for their information.

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