Introduction: Working With Fondant
We've learned how to keep our hands from becoming rainbows in the Fondant & Coloring lesson, now we can roll fondant and cover our completed ganached cake!
Covering a cake in fondant is not difficult. My best advice is to take your time and stay focused. Like anything, the more you work with fondant the easier it will become to achieve a smooth finish. Don't worry if you have a few folds and creases. Especially if this is your very first try. You will eventually find a rhythm and technique that works for you.
**If you haven't made your second cake to the fully ganached stage yet, you will need to do that before working with and rolling your fondant.
Step 1: Rolling Fondant
In order to cover a 6-inch cake you will need:
- approximately 12 ounces of fondant (I am using white fondant for this cake but feel free to choose your own unique color palette!)
- rolling mat
- rolling pin
- needle or sharp knife
HOW TO ROLL FONDANT
1. Knead your fondant into a pliable ball and place your fondant (colored or not) on a silicone pastry mat. If you do not have a silicone mat you will need to spread a thin layer of vegetable shortening on a clean work surface and roll your fondant on that. There are a lot of bakers that use cornstarch or powdered sugar to roll out their fondant. I find that it dries out the fondant and makes it more prone to cracking. If you are a beginner I recommend shortening!
2. Press the fondant into a thick disc shape.
3. Using a rolling pin, roll the fondant making sure to keep the shape somewhat circular.
4. Unless you completely luck out you will start to notice bubbles in the surface. These will need to be popped. I use a very thin acupuncture needle to pop bubbles, however, a sharp knife tip or a clean straight pin will do nicely. Smooth the bubble with your fingertip. Keep rolling and popping until the fondant is about 1/8 of an inch
thick. If you roll any thinner the fondant will have a tendency to tear or crack as you work with it.
5. Place a cake board in the center of the rolled fondant. If you have at least four inches all around the cake board you have rolled the fondant large enough. If you don't, keep rolling until you do!
Step 2: Covering a Cake in Fondant
I highly recommend having between five and ten minutes of uninterrupted time to complete this step. The last thing you want is for the fondant to dry out before you can apply it properly.
Once you have the correct size and thickness move your ganached cake close to the fondant. You want the least amount of travel distance as possible.
HOW TO APPLY FONDANT
1. Gently lift one edge of the fondant and place one clean hand and forearm under the fondant. Lift it high enough to get your other arm underneath.
2. Lift and center the fondant over the cake and gently lower it down. Do not pull or stretch the fondant. If you see a place where the fondant is not long enough and isn't completely covering a side it's okay! Gravity (and working with the fondant) will ultimately stretch it downward anyway!
3. Gently slide a fondant smoother all over the top of the cake to remove any air bubbles that might be under it. You can also use your hand for this step, however, you are more likely to make dents in the fondant.
4. Now that the top is smooth start working the top half of the cake. Smooth the fondant all around with your hands by lightly pulling on the bottom edge of the fondant while pressing in a downward motion with your other hand. Continue this process until the fondant is smooth all around the cake and no wrinkles or folds are present.
5. Smooth all sides with the fondant smoother. You can press relatively hard for this step. If you notice any air bubbles in the sides you will need to pop them in the same way as we did when rolling the fondant.
6. Using a sharp knife and holding it flat against the cake trim away the excess fondant. Knead the fondant back into a cohesive ball. Wrap the fondant and save for another cake!
7. Your cake should look something like this!
Step 3: Up Next: Lesson 10 — Decorated Cake
In the next lesson we will complete a fondant decorated cake. We will roll and cut fondant, sculpt adorable little birds, make chocolate truffles and apply a repeating pattern to the cake. We're in the home stretch!