Fondant is a fun and versatile medium for covering and decorating cakes; however, it can be tricky to work with. Weather, temperature and environment can all affect the texture and performance of your homemade fondant. You can avoid these problems before they start with these helpful fondant tips and tricks!
From how to color fondant to the best ways to store it, these tips for working with fondant are great to keep in mind before starting your next project.
How to Work with Fondant
Dust your work station with powdered sugar, cornstarch, or vegetable shortening
Fondant can be sticky and has a tendency to pick up crumbs and dirt, so make sure your work surface is nice and clean before you start rolling. Prevent fondant from sticking to your counter by lightly dust your work surface and fondant roller with confectioners’ sugar or cornstarch. You can also use solid vegetable shortening to prevent sticking if you live in a very dry climate or if your fondant is already a little dry.
- Coat clean hands in vegetable shortening or wear food-safe gloves
Before rolling, take some time to knead your fondant until it’s soft and pliable. Make sure you wash your hands before you start so nothing sticks to the fondant. You can also coat your hands with a thin layer of solid vegetable shortening or wear food-safe gloves.
- Keep fondant moving
It’s also important to keep the fondant moving as you work. Never flip it over after you start to roll. Just turn it about a quarter of the way to prevent sticking and help ensure the thickness of your fondant is even.
How to Work with Fondant
As you roll and mold fondant, you might find that it tends to crack, especially on edges and corners. If you notice that your fondant is cracking, rub some solid vegetable shortening over the crack in a circular motion to smooth the cracked area together. We suggest not using water to do this, as too much liquid can break down your fondant.
How to Decorate with Fondant
You can use fondant to cover a cake, make little figurines or cut out decorations for cakes, cupcakes and cookies. For assembling figurines and fondant decorations, you can use water or buttercream frosting to adhere pieces together. Fondant will also start to dry as it sits out. If you need your fondant decorations or figurines to be hard, make them at least two days ahead of time and let them sit at room temperature to dry.
How to Soften Fondant
Soften fondant that’s too hard to knead using about 1/8 teaspoon of water for every 24 ounces of fondant. If your fondant is too soft, add a small amount of confectioners’ sugar or Gum-Tex powder to help strengthen it. Soft fondant is usually caused by kneading too much or adding too much liquid.
How to Color Fondant
There are a couple ways to color your fondant. The most common way is to use gel food coloring or Color Right concentrated food coloring. Both of these options offer concentrated color, so you only need a little to add rich color to your fondant. Liquid-based food colorings can change the consistency of your fondant, so we suggest avoiding those.
The great thing about Color Right concentrated food coloring is that you can simply squeeze the color directly onto your fondant without any mess. If you’re using gel icing colors, use a toothpick to add the color to your fondant. Make sure to wear food-safe gloves to mix in the color so it doesn’t stain your hands.
You can also mix more than one color of fondant together to get a whole rainbow of shades! Add a small amount of dark teal fondant to white fondant to get a lighter teal, or combine red and blue fondant for purple. This is a great way to use up any leftover fondant you may have from another project, so don’t throw your scraps away!
For super rich colors, like black or red, you may need to add quite a bit of color to get the shade you need. This might affect the consistency of your fondant. For those instances, we suggest buying pre-colored Decorator Preferred fondant, which comes in a variety of shades.
To get a nice, clean finish to your fondant cake, make sure you frost your cake smooth with a thin layer of buttercream frosting before covering it with fondant. This will prevent any imperfections on your cake from poking through the fondant.
If you’re using a lighter shade of fondant, frost your cake with white buttercream. Using white buttercream is a good rule all around unless you’re using black fondant, in which case chocolate frosting works just as well.
Use a rolling pin to help drape the fondant over your cake. Once draped, work quickly to smooth out the fondant using a Fondant Smoother for the top and your hand to smooth out the sides.
Any excess fondant on the base of your cake should be cut off with a knife or Fondant Trimmer.
For a more in-depth look into how to cover a cake with fondant with complete step-by-step instructions, check out our How to Cover a Cake with Fondant post!
How to Store Fondant
Fondant tends to dry out quickly, so be sure to keep it covered or wrapped in plastic wrap when not being used. After decorating, roll unused fondant into a ball and coat with a thin layer of solid vegetable shortening to prevent drying. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature in an airtight container. Stored this way, your fondant should last about a couple of months.
Other Fondant Tips & Tricks
- Fondant picks up dirt and lint easily so be sure to avoid wearing fuzzy sweaters or clothing when working with fondant
- Check out our Fondant Coverage Chart to find out how much fondant you’ll need to cover your cake
- For fondant decorations that need to keep a shape, add a small amount of Gum-Tex to prevent drooping
- Use guide rings on your fondant rollers to help get an even thickness when rolling out your fondant
You can find even more fondant tips in the above video.
What are a few of your go-to fondant tips? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to share your favorite fondant cakes on Instagram. Tag us @wiltoncakes so we can check them out!