Bubbles in Fondant Icing
Here are a few thoughts about the Bubbles in Fondant Icing that form in the fondant. I find that there are at least three (3) different types of bubble formations.
Air bubbles in the Marshmallow Fondant (MMF)
Powdered Sugar Bubbles (part of the powdered sugar not dissolving in and causing little hard bits and bubbles)
1. Air bubbles
If you use a mixer or an overly aggressive technique to knead the fondant, you can incorporate air bubbles. Make sure that you knead the MMF and not squeeze the mix through your fingers.
2. Powdered Sugar Bubbles
Allow the MMF to sit overnight (well wrapped on the counter or if you are making the MMF in advance, in the refrigerator). If there are little pockets of powdered sugar, the time will allow the moisture to soften them. Knead again before rolling and applying to the cake.
A technique that I like to use is to heat MMF a tiny bit in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds even if it is room temp. Be careful it can get very hot and burn you. Grease up your hands with the Crisco, palms, backs and in between your fingers (I use about a tablespoon). Add a few more drops of water while kneading if it looks dry or is cracking.
3. Placement Bubbles
The cake should be freshly coated with a thick coating of Butter Cream. I like to use at least inch and I usually use more. The Butter Cream acts as a cushion and will help you in the fondant smoothing process. Smooth the Butter Cream out. If you leave swirls and dips in the icing, you will be asking for placement bubbles.
Here is a trick you might want to use. Make a mixture of powdered sugar and cornstarch to sprinkle on the MMF. This aids in the smoothing process. If you don’t have an open bag of powdered sugar, you can still use the straight cornstarch. I just find that I am heavy handed and the mix aids my smoothing technique.
Place your fondant on the Butter Cream and very gently press it into the icing. Lightly sprinkle the MMF with the mixture mentioned above or cornstarch. Gently start smoothing and evening out the top and sides working from the top down.
Now is the point when you might start seeing what looks like air pockets under the surface of the fondant. At times, they even scoot around under your fingers and change location. Take a straight pin or thin sewing needle and pierce the fondant, at a 45 degree angle. When you poke straight into the cake you can often see a little black dot. When you poke at an angle and gently brush the surface with the cornstarch mix, the mix works its way into the hole and covers the flaw. Gently rub the fondant towards the hole to let the air escape and smooth as needed.
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Check out some of Peggy Weaver’s many Cake Decorating Articles, Tutorials, and Q&A pages below:
Peggy Weaver, author of Peggy’s Baking Corner, has generously answered all the questions on cake baking during the last 15 years. Peggy will not be able to continue with the Question and Answer pages in the future. She thanks you for all your interesting questions.
Fondant Icing 101
(Recipe and Tutorial on making & using fondant icing)
Buttercream Icing 101
(Recipe and Tutorial on making & using buttercream icing)
Decorating Wedding Cakes
(Lots of Q&A’s on decoration a wedding cake)
Other Cake Baking and Decoration Topics:
Peggy’s Cake Decorating Idea Photos
(The idea page has photos only and no detailed decorating instructions.)