Decorating with Fondant
Stuck with a cake decorating conundrum? Don't worry! We're here for you at Food Network Kitchens, with tips on everything you could ever want (or at least need) to know about using fondant to whip up your confectionary creations.
- Rolled fondant is versatile. It can be tinted, flavored, modeled, formed, twisted, imprinted, and shaped into numerous of decorative pieces.
- Before applying fondant, a "sticky" surface should be applied to the cake which will help the fondant adhere to it. Many spread a thin layer of buttercream before laying out the fondant.
- When using rolled fondant to make decorations from, roll it to 1/4-inch thick. Either place them flat on greased (use shortening) wax paper or over forms to dry for 24 to 36 hours. Use royal icing to adhere fondant pieces to a rolled fondant iced cake and for the fine decorating commonly used on wedding cakes.
- The cake to be covered with rolled fondant must be cooled completely, preferably 24 hours, covered. This will tighten the crumbs and make the cake more solid.
- How far ahead you cover your cake with fondant will depend on the type of cake, filling, icing, etc. you use. With a basic butter cake, the fondant covering should be done no more than 2 to 3 days in advance of decorating and serving. A cake only remains fresh that long anyway and because fondant is sugar based, it's also how long it can stand without breaking down from the moisture in the cake. If you're using a layer cake and/or perishable fillings or icings, then you need to do everything just a day or two before the event.
- Fondant dries quickly, so while working with it, always keep excess well-wrapped in plastic, as well as the parts on the cake you are not working on.
- Once wrapped, unrolled fondant keeps for 1 to 2 months at room temperature. Do not refrigerate or freeze. If it gets too hard, put it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften; it will be easier to knead.
- To smooth out the fondant once it is put on the cake, use cornstarch on your hands to smooth out the fondant.
- If tiny cracks appear in the surface of the fondant, knead it a little - the warmth from the kneading or pressure from the rolling pin will make it smooth and satiny. Do not use water to smooth out cracks - water dissolves fondant as it is mostly sugar. Instead, use a bit of shortening on your fingertips to repair small tears.
- Cracking can also be caused if your fondant is rolled too thick. Fondant is heavy and if not rolled thin enough (1/4-inch thick is usually best) the excess can pull the fondant from the top of the cake causing it to crack.
- To cover a crack, try rubbing a little of the same Fondant over the crack in a circular motion, then using a smother or your hands to rub it in.
- If fondant pleats at the bottom, gently unpleat and smooth out with the palms of your hands. With the palms of your hands, rub slightly up on sides to form an even top edge.
- Try to work with fondant in a cool room and on a cool surface. A warm room may make the fondant too soft and difficult to work with.
Luster Dust Tips:
- Luster dust gives colors a high sheen metallic-like finish. It can be used either alone or mixed with similar colored matte dusts to create a lustrous sheen, without lightening the color. They can also be used on gum paste, royal icing or any frosting recipe that dries hard and is firm to the touch. It is non toxic.
- Luster dusts can be incorporated into buttercreams to add shimmer cake decorations.
- When using luster dust, use an airbrush, blush brush or a small artist paintbrush to apply.
- Because luster dust is not water soluble, never mix them together to make paint colors. Instead, use white spirits like vodka, gin, clear vanilla extract or lemon extract - the dust will absorb into these liquids and result in a more intense color. They also dry faster.
How To Use:
- Use a bowl, mix a small amount of the dusting powder with a clear spirit.
- Luster dust comes in small, 2-gram tubs. Carefully open the cap and, without breathing, put about 1/4 teaspoon into a very small cup.
- Add a few drops of vodka, lemon extract or clear vanilla extract. Use a small clean paintbrush to mix the liquid with the dust. Proceed to paint and decorate.