All About Rolled Fondant

Fondant has become increasingly popular in American cake decorating in the last several years. Previously more popular in Europe, fondant cakes have grown in number here, due in part to the amount of cake decorating shows on television. Not to be confused with fondant that is used for candy centers, rolled fondant is primarily used to cover cakes. Fondant icing is a thick dough-like icing that must be rolled out to cover a cake or can be molded to create fondant accents. While the texture is different from the traditional buttercream, many use fondant to get a smooth, ‘perfect’ finish on their cakes.

Pre-made Rolled Fondant- Rolled fondant is available to be purchased ready-made for convenience. There are several different brands of rolled fondant available, each with their own taste and ease to work with. There are many fondants that come in white and ivory and even pre-colored in bright, vivid colors. Some brands even have chocolate as an ingredient adding to its flavor. Working with different types may help you to decide which you prefer. When using pre-made rolled fondant, you will want to first knead the fondant to soften it a bit, making it easier to work with. This may require a little work as fondant is usually quite firm starting out. The shelf life of rolled fondant will vary by brand but for the most part, it will keep for several months as long as its wrapped in plastic and sealed in an airtight container.

Rolled Fondant Recipe- There are many recipes available for rolled fondant as well as rolled buttercream and marshmallow fondant. Their uses will be the same but the ingredients will vary. This recipe (taken from Autumn Carpenter’s The Complete Photo Guide to Cake Decorating) is a good icing to cover a cake with or just make decorative pieces for a cake. This recipe yields approximately 2 lb. of rolled fondant.

Pour cream into a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin on cream and cook on low until gelatin is dissolved. Add glucose, butter, glycerin, and flavorings. Heat until butter is melted. Set aside. Sift powdered sugar. Place 7 cups of powdered sugar in a mixer bowl. Pour cream mixture over the powdered sugar and mix slowly with a dough hook until powdered sugar is thoroughly mixed. Add the additional cups of powdered sugar. The fondant will be very sticky, but should hold its shape. Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap and coat with a thin layer of vegetable shortening. Wrap fondant in greased plastic wrap and allow to set for 24 hours. After 24 hours, the fondant should be less sticky. If not, add additional powdered sugar.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Rolled Fondant Amounts- Different types and brands of fondant will require you to use different amounts to cover a cake. This cake chart gives amounts needed for round cakes based on rolling the icing out to approximately a 1/8″ thickness. Square cakes will require more icing.

  • 6″- 1 lb.
  • 8″- 2 lb.
  • 10″- 2 1/2 lb.
  • 12″- 3 1/2 lb.

Coloring Rolled Fondant- Although pre-made fondant is available in a range of colors, you still may find yourself needing to color fondant. Coloring rolled fondant can be easy but a bit messy. To avoid the color staining your hands when mixing, you can either wear plastic gloves or coat your hands with a small amount of shortening. You first want to make sure to knead the fondant to make it soft and pliable. Add your concentrated food color to the rolled fondant and begin to knead it in. Continue kneading until all the color is blended in and there are no streaks left. To keep from ruining a large amount of fondant with an undesirable color, you can first color a small piece of fondant and then color the rest.

You can also marble fondant to create a really neat effect on a cake. There are a couple of simple ways to do this. One way is to add food coloring to white fondant and only knead slightly so that the color is not completely incorporated. Another way to marble fondant is to start with a hunk of white fondant and a smaller portion of colored fondant and the roll into 2 ropes. Fold the ropes together and begin kneading to create marbled streaks. (information taken from Autumn Carpenter’s Complete Photo Guide to Cake Decorating)

Using Fondant- Rolled fondant has many uses the most popular being to cover a cake with, but there are many other uses as well.

  • Covering with fondant- Many of us know that rolled fondant can be used to cover cakes, but it can cover a number of other treats as well. Fondant can also be used to cover cookies and cupcakes. It creates a nice smooth canvas for any additional decorations. Use the same cutter used to cut out the cookie shape to cut the fondant with and attach to the cookie with piping gel or buttercream. Use a 3″ round cutter to cut fondant out for on the tops of cupcakes.
  • Fondant accents- Fondant can be rolled thin and cut into various shapes and decorations and attached to a cake. This is a nice option if you like the look of fondant but do not want to cover your entire cake with it. You can ice your cake in buttercream and attach any fondant pieces before the icing has crusted. Heavier pieces may require a dab of buttercream or an edible glue to hold them in place.
  • Modeling fondant- Fondant can be used to hand model figures and shapes. Gum paste is generally used to make more intricate decorations, like flowers, but fondant can be used to make thicker, more solid pieces. The project you are working on may help to determine whether to use fondant or gum paste. Powdered sugar may also be added to fondant to make it a little more firm.
  • Molding with fondant- If you do not want to hand model pieces, fondant can be pushed into hard plastic or silicone molds to create shapes. Molds come in a wide variety of shapes and designs. For plastic molds, lightly dust the fondant with cornstarch. Push into mold and pull shape out using another piece of fondant. Silicone molds can be flexed to release shapes from them. This type of molding is easy and can create just the right decoration for your cake.
  • Flavoring fondant- If you find you don’t prefer the taste of fondant or you want the fondant to compliment the flavor of your cake, flavorings can be added to rolled fondant. Use a few drops of concentrated flavoring oils to enhance the flavor of the fondant. Knead flavor in as you would coloring.

There is a wide selection of tools available to use with fondant and gum paste. Mats to roll fondant out on, tiny cutters, rolling pins, embossing mats, crimping tools and many others all help to create the perfect decorations for your cakes, cookies, and cupcakes.

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