Give the top and sides of the cake a nice thick 1/4-inch coating of
Buttercream Icing (click on the underlined for buttercream icing recipe).
NOTE: At first I was wondering why I needed to bother with this step. Well, there are a couple of reasons: The buttercream
icing helps the fondant icing to “stick” to the cake and this cushion of undercoating icing helps to give you the
beautiful smooth nearly perfect finish that you are looking for.
When you are ready to use the rested fondant icing, the first thing you need to do is decide what size you will need to roll your icing to.
Next, you need to sprinkle a bit of cornstarch on your counter to help prevent sticking (rub it in).
Crisco coating. It will be pretty stiff when you try to knead it again, but it can be micro waved for 10 to 20 seconds, if necessary.
Start off with 10 seconds (please be careful as items that have high sugar contents can get hot in the microwave very quickly). The fondant icing will soften right up and
be perfect for rolling out and playing with. You want the temperature to be close to your body temperature.
Now is the best time to add your food coloring. I prefer to store my fondant icing in it’s natural color of
white. Some colors can change the consistency of the icing. If you do need to store colored fondant icing, wrap each color very well in plastic wrap or Saran Wrap.
Colors like red and burgundy are notorious for “bleeding” into other colors and ruining them. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Bag everything in Ziploc bags. Remember that food coloring can also stain your hands and nails.
I have food-grade plastic gloves that I keep around. Add your food coloring, a little at a time, and knead it in. You can always go darker but it is
difficult to go lighter. Red has a tendency to get darker as it sits and “ages”.
Pre-shape your icing into approximately the shape of your cake. For a round cake,
make a disk shape. For a rectangular make a log shape.
OK, here is a point of controversy about the next step.
Some instructors tell you to only sprinkle cornstarch on your counter before you put the fondant icing down,
sprinkle with more corn starch, and then roll fondant icing out to desired shape. Some teachers advise that you grease the counter, put
the fondant icing down, and lightly grease the top of the fondant icing as need to prevent sticking.
I prefer the cornstarch myself, but during very dry atmospheric conditions, I have been known to use the shortening method. The grease will help to hold in the
moisture and keeps the fondant icing pliable. If necessary, add drops of water and knead it in thoroughly before proceeding. You will need to try out both ways
in the future and decide what you like the most. A third alternative is a large-sized Roulpat Mat (31 x 23 inches). It really does work
well and it can also help you with moving a large piece of rolled out fondant. I’ve never done it, but I was told that
you just gently bend the mat edges downward with the icing still on it. Place the edge of mat and the icing next to the edge of the butter-creamed cake and flip
the fondant icing over the cake. What was the top of the fondant icing that you rolled out, is now touching the buttercream and what was the bottom side
is now the topside that you see.
Most folks do not have a
nonstick rolling pin, but if you do, now is the time to use it. If not, lightly rub cornstarch
on the surface of the rolling pin and roll out to the desired size. I like to roll my icing at least 1/8-inch thick. It is thick
enough for ease of handling and strength integrity. I wouldn’t go any thinner than 1/8-inch for the cake covering.
When I’m making decorations with the fondant icing, I will sometimes roll it thinner. The MM Fondant icing is very forgiving
and rarely tears but everything has it limits.
The technique that I use is to gently roll the icing on the
nonstick rolling pin like a piece of fabric.
DO NOT FOLD! An edge will be hanging down.
Quickly place the fondant icing at one bottom edge of the cake and unroll the rolling pin, holding
it about 2 inches over the cake. Your fondant icing will then “fall” into place. You should also have a bit of overhang
over the edges. You might need a little cornstarch at this stage, but only use it very sparingly if you have a dark colored icing. I
very lightly sprinkle the cornstarch over the surface and use a buffing motion with my hand to move it around and to level
the surface. This motion seals the fondant icing to the buttercream, works out the bumps in the icing below the surface, and removes flaws from
the joined areas in the cakes surface below. Please use a VERY gentle pressure to rub the surface of the icing. I often have a little pile of the cornstarch on
the counter and dip my hands in it as needed.
Here is an important tip: Watch out for your fingernails as long nails
can mark up your surface quickly and it is very difficult to smooth them back out.
If you notice a bubble in the surface, take a thin sharp
needle and poke a tiny hole, at an angle, in the bubble. If
you poke straight down, you can almost always see the hole
even after the most careful smoothing. The angled hole lets
the air out of the bubble, and with a tiny bit of rubbing you
can reseal the hole.
I keep a clean, soft
pastry brush close by, to move the cornstarch around. Do this lightly or you can leave brush marks on the surface that are almost
impossible to remove. A number of companies make
Fondant Smoothers for around $10. I have one, but I’ve used it
only once and I’ve used my hands ever since. For me, it is easier
and quicker. If you don’t handle the smoother correctly, you can damage the fondant’s finish.
Gently, with the side of your hand, push the fondant into the sides of the cake against the cake board.
To trim the excess fondant icing, you can use a sharp knife.
I find that the easiest and neatest way is to use a
Pizza Cutter. Hold it at a 45 degree angle from the cake board and the side of the cake. Go slow and follow the shape of
the cake. If you hold the cutter at the correct angle, you will have an almost perfect bottom edge. Gently, with your
finger tips, push any little leftovers in against the cake for the neatest appearance. If the edge isn’t as nice
as you want, you can always add a fondant rope or pearls. Buttercream shells, stars, or flowers look wonderful also.
If your cake needs a bit of shaping, do it now. I used the outside edge of my hand to make the indents to define certain areas of the cake.
Well, you have finished the covering of your cake.
Many professional decorators feel that a fondant covered cake will hold the moisture in the cake for 3 to
5 days, depending on your atmosphere. I personally don’t want to go beyond 3 days. I like the cake to have a fresh taste.
Do not refrigerate your covered cake!
When you take the cake
out of the refrigerator, moisture will condense and destroy your beautiful surface.
Your best option is to store the
cake in a sealed bakery box. The cardboard sides of a box will keep the dust in the air off the cake, but allows the
Fondant to breath.